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. This required some very careful thought about how and what to pack.
Why I was worried about the luggage allowance
When I first found out about the weight limit I was worried. I couldn’t book any 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), eating into 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. I realised that I was going to have to plan very, very carefully and make a Proper Packing List.
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 seriously considered whether or not I could carry my iPad on my body somehow. I wasted an hour or so online looking at wearable luggage jackets (yes, 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. This made me feel that the luggage allowance might just be achievable, as long as I was very organised.
Then, once I laid out everything that I absolutely had to take on the trip, I was astonished to find that I could in fact 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 or wearing all of my clothes. 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, soap 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’m pleased to tell you that 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 soft grey sheepskin mittens from one of the stalls in 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. It was great not having to wait for my suitcase to appear on the luggage carousel at the airport, and it felt really freeing to have just hand luggage. I’m determined to be ruthless about what I pack from now on, and to try to travel light and not to pack anything that I don’t actually need to take with me.
More on Kraków
You can find out more about my trip to Kraków in these posts:
More travel tips
If you found this post useful, you may like some of my other travel advice posts:
Over to you
What sort of packer are you? Do you have any tips to share on packing light?