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Re: Cutting down the pounds (or KGs) for intl travel

International travel carry on weight limits really force you to cut down on weight if you’re doing carry-on only. Electronics and toiletries are usually the heaviest things. Any tips on significantly shaving weight there?

4 Replies

Typically, it is pretty easy and not very expensive to buy new toiletries where ever you are going so you can completely eliminate that weight. This might be a bad example for you as I don't care about brands of shampoo and toothpaste and you might.

As for electronics, try and see if you can get away with less items that do multiple things. Most phones have nice cameras now, maybe that can be left behind. If you have a tablet, possibly skip bringing a laptop and e-reader. Typically, just a smartphone is enough if you don't mind some inconvenience. Just make sure to put it in airplane mode so you aren't charged for overseas usage. It works fine as there are tons of places with free wifi.

PS A good way to save wieght is to wear your heaviest shoes, clothes, coats, etc as you are travelling. Then they don't get weighed and you still have them.

Hope this helps.

paul trusty

Weight-wise, one of my biggest gear questions is my laptop. It's so powerful, and so easy to use when I want to write emails or research things we need to know but forgot to research in advance. But even with my newest, very small laptop - it's heavy. 3-4 pounds. 

Last summer I tried something new. I got a portable keyboard that attaches to my ipad/iphone. Some people are happy typing long emails or searches with their thumbs, but I would *much* prefer to use a regular keyboard. The portable keyboard almost turned my ipad into a computer - enough to get by. I had used portable/folding bluetooth keyboards before, but between the keys being in odd places (to make them small or foldable) and the bluetooth being difficult to use - they didn't work out. This time, I got a wired keyboard that attaches to the lightning port. They make them with micro usb also. The wired keyboard immediately when I plug it in, doesn't need batteries, and the keys are full-sized and in the right places. All for maybe half a pound. That shaves quite a bit of weight! 


I agree with @paultrusty about toiletries. I only bring the "I only want this exact brand" things and leave the rest to use for free at hotels if I know ahead of time they provide them either in the room or by asking at the desk. I also will bring things on the trip I know I'll run out of towards the end so I can have room for any souvenirs. 

For electronics, I have a charger that I can plug up to 4 usb cords into, and only bring the tech I absolutely need and will use. I used to bring my GoPro and tons of accessories for it everywhere until I realized I rarely use it and the extras.

For clothing, I LOVE ExOfficio to cut down on how much I bring and rewear/wash as much as I can. 

I use the same principles I use for ultralight hiking:

-Take only what you will actually use. "What-ifs" are heavy. We pack to lessen our fears and knowledge is the answer---and light.

- Assemble a closely integrated layering system of clothing and color coordinate so it's all interchangeable. You can always buy more if needed.

- Use the "three method" for clothing: one worn, one dirty, ine clean. Use items you can hand wash and line dry overnight. You can travel for months with the same items it takes for a week. Laundry is the difference. On a recent three week trip I used a laund once and an Airbnb had a washer which I used once. Everything else was hand wash and line dry. If the weather is good, walking sandals are great and no socks to wash!

- Get a Kindle to eliminate book weight. I've gone to a small tablet to replace a laptop and that fills the e-reader niche too. Be careful on electronics -- they can snowball with all the cables and chargers, powerbanks, etc. I have a 4 port usb charger that takes care of everything for two people and needs just one outlet. It is 100~240 volt so it just needs an adapter for the local outlet type.

- I carry my electronics, books and TSA liquids in my carry on "personal" bag which goes under the seat. Where they might weigh your larger overhead carry on, I have never had my personal bag weighed (yet). All said and done, a 10kg limit is a good thing for me as I use a backpack and who wants to haul more than that anyway! It's not hard to do. When hiking, I am carrying shelter, sleeping gear, cooking gear, essentials, food and water and my 3 day limit is 21 pounds, so taking just clothing, toiletries and electronics at 22 pounds is much easier.