There’s no doubt that there can be chaos in airports these days: it depends on the airport and the time of day, it’s obviously not *certain* that it’s going to go badly. But there is a way to be 100% certain to avoid a lot of the chaos and it’s soooooo simple…
We’ll have many more important tips for this unusual situation very soon (like for flight delays), this is just part 1 — sign up for our free newsletter that 90,000+ savvy Canadian travelers already receive.
Because finally, people are getting onboard with revenge travel (better late than never!) and Flytrippers is receiving a ton of questions about the current chaos (by the way, our live Q&A video is on Monday at 12 PM Eastern on Instagram).
This is a welcome change from all the questions about COVID-19 travel rules, another sign that finally, more travelers are realizing that the pandemic is finished, or at least pretty much as finished as it’ll ever be.
That realization is why there’s this high volume of travelers that is causing many problems…
#1 tip to absolutely use with no exceptions
It’s a trick we’ve been telling you forever — not even related to the current chaos — and one you should always use!
But it’s an inevitable tip these days!
It’s so simple: TRAVEL WITH NO CHECKED BAGGAGE (BAGGAGE IN THE HOLD)!
A lot of people still think it’s impossible, and they’re all wrong. But it’s normal to think that when you just don’t know and when you’ve never tried it. There are so many myths in the world of travel.
We’ll help you out, but here’s what you really need to know about this tip that’s vital right now:
- Everyone can travel light (saying otherwise is just wrong)
- The first try is the hardest, but after that, you won’t go back
- This is pretty much the only thing in the current chaos that is 100% under your control
- You’ll avoid 50% of the friction points in the current chaos
- All the pro fliers have always been in team carry-on only
It’s not even just to save money: your trip will be so much more pleasant and more affordable (and saving money = traveling more)!
So let’s look at each element in detail, because now is really the perfect time to try traveling lighter with the current chaos. It makes everything so much simpler all the time, but especially now.f
And by the way, we’ll talk about this again soon, but if you do take a checked bag and it’s delayed, you’re entitled to compensation that again, unfortunately, nobody knows about. Having a delayed bag would be more profitable financially, but we know very well that the majority of people don’t really want to save money: they want everything to be less complicated even if it’s less valuable (not surprising that so many people still believe the myth that travel has to be expensive…)
Everyone can travel light
It’s really doable for any traveler! If you don’t want to, that’s one thing, but it’s completely 100% wrong to say you can’t. And it’s fine not to want to, but if you “can’t”, you’re probably not trying very hard, clearly.
Even with kids, yes! They have the same allowance of 2 carry-ons as adults and their clothing is much smaller, so there’s plenty of room for the extra things you need, at least according to many of the travel pros who follow us and have kids and are able to do it (infants under 2 might be among the few exceptions below, since they don’t have their own bag allowance on some airlines, while others give infants a bag allowance).
All those who can do it are probably not all smarter and more extraordinary than you are, because I know you are very smart: when you want to travel light, you can travel light. It’s that simple.
In over 400 flights, I’ve never traveled with a checked bag, even for trips longer than a month. The length is completely irrelevant. Flytrippers’ other co-founder Kevin is a full-time digital nomad and travels with just a carry-on bag that holds his entire life, so you can definitely go away for a few weeks this way!
I do consider myself very smart and good in general, but that has really nothing to do with traveling light. It’s really not hard to travel with 2 carry-on bags: just bring less stuff! Simple!
Yes, almost all airlines allow 2 carry-on bags:
- A full-size carry-on that goes in the overhead bin
- A personal item that goes under the seat in front of you
(Ultra low-cost carriers charge for 2 bags and a few rare foreign carriers have a 1-bag allowance, but in general it’s always 2 bags: your airline’s website will have all that info!)
So it really doesn’t take that much effort to be able to travel with that!
In short, anyone can travel light if they want. If you don’t want to, like anything else in life, of course it’s easy to say that it’s not possible.
But it’s not true!
If you’re moving, if you have professional/sports/medical equipment, if you are going to take part in a fashion show, or if you are in an extremely specific situation, maybe you’re one of the rare exceptions.
But for 99%+ of travelers just going traveling somewhere for leisure, it’s absolutely doable and by far the best option (especially with the current baggage chaos).
The first time is the hardest
Like anything new, the first time is the hardest. That’s understandable! We’ve all always been so used to bringing way too much stuff and we’ve been conditioned to think that this is what’s normal.
We’ll share all our tips on how to travel light and our packing list since we’re pros at that too, so stay tuned soon.
But basically, as the saying goes, it’s not rocket science: just bring less stuff! You’ll never go back to overpacking if you give traveling light a try.
In terms of clothes, you can simply do some laundry if you leave for more than a couple of weeks. Bring as much as will fit and that quantity determines how frequently you do laundry.
You can even have someone do it for you if you want it to be simpler and if your goal is not to save money! As I said, this is not just a budget travel tip: it’s a tip for all travelers, it’s so much more fun to travel light!
Roll and use packing cubes (they’re amazing) and if you travel often enough, Unbound Merino clothes are worth it: they’re designed to not need washing for 1 month while always smelling good (it really works, that’s what we have) and they’re life-changing even if it is on the more expensive side. You can get 10% off with the FLYTRIPPERS10 promo code. Anyway, I’m getting carried away, all the tips will be in another post because this one is already long just to get you to realize you should try it!
In case you didn’t know after ≈ 20 years of this rule, all passengers are also allowed 10 bottles up to 100 mL. And believe it or not, unless you are going to the far reaches of Amazonia, you can find whatever you need where you’re going. And if you also follow our tip of not always traveling to the same expensive countries everyone always travels to, all your stuff will even cost you less than it does here in super-expensive Canada.
The only exception is sunscreen. Use as many of your 10 slots as you need for that. I’ll explain in a detailed post, but I want to make sure right away that you don’t make that common mistake.
I’ve never found a cheaper option than the $4.47 Walmart-brand sunscreen at precisely 100 mL so that’s what I always use personally (don’t forget to get a minimum of 5% back on all your Walmart purchases thanks to the gift card trick with your American Express Cobalt Card or your Scotiabank Gold American Express Card instead of just 1%-2% like most people get😉).
The only thing under your control
You don’t control canceled flights, you don’t control delayed flights, you don’t control the wait at security and customs (although there are tricks for that too; to be continued), but you do very easily control just bringing less unnecessary stuff!
This is one of the few problems in airports today that is 100% under your control! If you don’t bring checked baggage, you’ll avoid a lot of chaos, arguably the most major one! Simple as that!
It’s okay if you want to make zero efforts of course, but then don’t be surprised if it causes you a lot of inconveniences and wasted time during your trip.
It’s an informed decision if you take checked baggage with you: it’s absolute chaos with baggage these days, it’s a known fact. Of course, it’s embarrassing that the situation is so messy, we obviously agree (and we can talk about the reasons and causes in a future article).
But that doesn’t change the fact that this is the reality right now with checked baggage and that you can’t change that.
So don’t bring any! Problem solved! That easy!
Avoid 50% of friction points and problems
You will avoid 50% of the friction points at takeoff and 50% of the friction points upon landing! A way for your chances of something going wrong being divided by 2 is pretty good! Especially since it’s so easy.
When you takeoff, you’ll be able to go directly to the security checkpoint, so there’s no wait for baggage. Yes, 1 line out of 2 avoided completely (by having done your check-in online of course; most airlines have started to allow it again thanks to online vaccination/test document verification tools notably — and you should obviously always check-in online).
When you land, you will be able to go directly to the passport control point, so no wait for baggage. Once again, 1 in 2 lines avoided completely (and if unfortunately you haven’t chosen to reconnect with the joy of international travel, it’s even faster: you go straight to enjoying your destination without any wait).
Even during my 9 pandemic trips, from the plane to outside the airport rarely takes me more than 5 minutes! Because I obviously never have checked baggage.
(That’s one of the many things that fascinate me, how people are willing to pay $200 more for their flight to get there 1 hour faster, but they never want to save time by not waiting unnecessarily for baggage!)
Flight pros never check baggage
It’s a fact that pro fliers have always traveled with carry-on baggage only.
It’s so much better for so many reasons:
- more affordable
- more convenient
- more light
- more easy to get around
- more environmentally friendly
- more flexibility for changes
- more fast
These are all good reasons at any time, but these last 2 points are even more important these days!
Obviously, it’s always faster without a checked bag compared to with a checked bag, whether the bag is delayed/lost or not. If your flight is going to be delayed for hours (and that’s more probable than ever these days), at least make sure you do start you have no more delays as soon as you get to your destination!
As I said, I’ll share my pro tips for all the rest of the canceled and delayed flights, but not having a checked bag always gives you priority for an alternative flight when there are canceled or delayed flights! It gives you incredibly more flexibility to get there faster!
It has happened to me at least a dozen times that not having any baggage allowed me to board another flight much faster. Because it’s so much easier for the airline, they just have to change my flight in the system, with nothing else to do. Compared to having baggage sent to another plane!
It also makes connections simpler: even if it’s tight because of a delay, the baggage might not make it in time but you can!
And as you’ve seen, there will be a ton of canceled and delayed flights this summer, it’s only going to get worse! Hence the importance of the vital tip #2 coming soon in my next post!
By the way, if you like to save money on airfare, in addition to obviously avoiding baggage fees, traveling light also allows you to take advantage of a very advanced tip to find much cheaper flights in certain situations (it’s a technique airlines don’t like because it circumvents their pricing mechanisms entirely to save you hundreds)!
But it’s only possible if you don’t have checked baggage!
That tip is coming soon too, we’ve got lots of great content to help you save money now that pretty much everyone has figured out how simple it is to travel in a pandemic and we can finally share more interesting content!
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The easiest way to avoid much of the current airport chaos is to simply not bring checked baggage. It’s that easy!
What would you like to know about this tip? Tell us in the comments below.
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Featured image: Baggage claim in Toronto (photo credit: @jldundas on Twitter)
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