When I went to Kraków for a weekend trip I flew with Lufthansa. The flight was fine, but the luggage allowance was stress-inducing – it was just 8 kgs, with a maximum bag size of 55 x 40 x 23 cms.
Why I was worried about the luggage allowance
When I first found out about the weight limit I was worried. I couldn’t book additional luggage. I had to travel with hand luggage only as my flight from London to Kraków was via Munich, with just an hour between flights, and I didn’t want to risk my luggage not making it all the way.
I was going to Kraków for work and I had to take my DSLR camera and my iPad with me. Together these two pieces of equipment weigh 1.88 kgs (according to my kitchen scales), nearly a quarter of my luggage allowance. Plus, I was travelling in February, a very cold month in the Polish city, and I was going to be sightseeing, so I had to take warm gear. I thought that there was no way that I’d be able to fit everything that I needed for the trip into my hand luggage.
How I stuck to the luggage allowance
I decided that I’d have to be extremely selective about what I took on the trip, wear layers and layers of clothes for the flight, and stuff as much into my pockets as possible. I even considered using a plastic bag to transport my stuff and I wondered whether I could carry my iPad on my body somehow. I wasted an hour or so online looking at wearable luggage jackets (they’re an actual thing – they have tons of big pockets, and they look horrendous). A friend even suggested cutting my toothbrush in half to make it lighter.
But then Lufthansa told me (via Twitter) that I could take a small handbag (measuring up to 30 x 40 x 10 cms) in addition to the 8 kg cabin bag, and this made me feel that the luggage allowance was achievable.
Then, once I laid out everything that I absolutely had to take on the trip, I was astonished to find that I could just about fit it all into my favourite rucksack-on-wheels cabin bag, and my Kipling handbag. (My favourite cabin bag is my trusty Lowe Alpine TT Roll-On 40, which weighs 2.7 kgs. It’s discontinued, but the latest version is the Lowe Alpine Trolley AT Roll-On 40, which looks very good. My kids detest my Kipling handbag but I find it really useful for travelling because it has a gazillion pockets and it weighs practically nothing as it’s made of nylon).
So, it was all fine in the end. I managed to pack everything that I needed, without chopping any of my possessions in half or buying a horrific new luggage jacket. And, just in case you ever have an 8 kg luggage allowance for a winter weekend city break, and as quite a few of you have asked me, here’s what I took with me and how I carried it.
My 8 kg packing list
This is what I wore for the flight:
- Warm winter boots
- Long-sleeved cotton top
- Warm wool jumper
- Long coat, with pockets where I carried my iPhone, portable charger and charging cable
This is what I packed in my Kipling handbag:
- Travel insurance document
- Purse with cash and credit cards
- Polish money (zloty)
- Printout of my work brief and travel documents
- Lonely Planet Poland guide book
- Pen and notebook
- Selfie stick
This is what I packed in my Lowe Alpine Roll-On bag:
- iPad and keyboard
- DSLR camera
- Clear plastic airport liquids bag containing my daily disposable contact lenses, make up, medication, mini toothpaste, mini Liz Earle Moisturiser, antiperspirant, lip balm
- Makeup wipes
- Hairbrush & hair ties
- Plug and adapter for charging gadgets
- Three sets of underwear
- Spare pair of trousers
- Spare long-sleeved cotton top
- Spare wool jumper
- Smart top
I didn’t pack any shampoo, conditioner or shower gel as I was staying in a four-star hotel and I figured (correctly) that these would be provided, as was a hairdryer. I used everything that I packed, apart from the smart top (no need) and my sunglasses (it was foggy throughout the trip). The only thing which I had to buy in Kraków was a pair of warm gloves, as my posh cashmere ones weren’t up to the job. I bought some gorgeous grey sheepskin mittens from the Cloth Hall in the historic city centre, and I’m very pleased with them.
This experience has made me realise that I usually pack far too much when I travel. I’m going to be ruthless about what I pack from now on, and try to travel light.
More on Kraków
You can find out more about my trip to Kraków in these posts:
If you’d like a guidebook, I recommend Lonely Planet Poland, which I used for this trip.
Over to you
What sort of packer are you? Do you have any tips to share on packing light?