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How to Pack a 7kg Carry-on, Minus the Stress

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On AirAsia flights, only one cabin bag (with maximum dimensions of 56cm x 36cm x 23cm) that fits the overhead bin and a small bag (40cm x 30cm x10cm) that fits under the seat are allowed on board. The total permitted weight for the two pieces must not exceed 7kg. Anything larger or heavier will have to be checked-in, with applicable fees.

The 7kg limit still applies when you reach boarding gate. The only exceptions are duty-free items purchased at the airport, on the conditions that they are sealed in the tamper-evident bag and come with proof of purchase. Additional info here.

If you’ve never packed less than 7kg before, it’s admittedly not as simple as reducing the number of items. We’ve got a few tips on how to make this work.

1. START LIGHTWEIGHT

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If your handcarry luggage and handbag together weigh 4kg empty (go on, actually weigh them and be shocked), not even the most ninja packing strategies will save you from going over 7kg, unless you wear the same clothes every day (in which case, you probably don’t need two bags). Aim for 2kg total. A single backpack or overnight bag would be ideal for short trips.

2. THINK SMALL

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Liquids are a major contributor to the load travellers carry. The restriction on LAGs (Liquids, Aerosols and Gels) on international flights have made us accustomed to small containers, but you can go further. Decanting your toiletries into tiny vials is necessary if you’re set on not checking in baggage. Fortunately, you probably don’t need to bring soap, shower gel or a towel for most places you stay at.

3. STRIP DOWN TO THE ESSENTIALS

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Wear the heaviest garments (i.e. jeans, sweater) when you fly, but pack light, quick-drying fabrics that take up very little space. A capsule travel wardrobe allows you to layer and mix-and-max all the pieces.

4. MAKE IT MULTI-PURPOSE

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Double-duty products are a godsend: gym clothes you can swim in, a sarong that works as a shawl or a skirt, moisturiser with sunscreen, lip & cheek tint. And don’t forget that your mobile phone is as versatile as any item can be with the right apps. It’s your journal, expense tracker, trip planner and more. Load up your mobile phone with your notes, reading materials and videos so you can leave books, tablet and printouts at home.

5. GO ON A ONE-GADGET DIET

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If you are bringing a laptop or an interchangeable lens camera, you will likely need check-in baggage for your other stuff, unless you have an ultrabook and are on an overnight trip. Consider getting a lightweight Bluetooth keyboard and saving documents to the cloud if you need to work.

6. BE REALISTIC ABOUT YOUR NEEDS

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Let’s face it: you will need check-in luggage for if you’re travelling for more than 4 days, especially if it’s to a temperate country during winter. The same is true if you cannot live without two extra pairs of footwear, your makeup kit is the size of a handbag, or you plan to buy souvenirs. You don’t necessarily have to give them up.

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Anyone who’s had to remove items from their bags knows that nothing is as stressful as thinking of what to dispose of when everything you packed is important to you. If you anticipate that you will need more than 7kg, be smart and pre-book your check-in baggage with your initial booking for maximum savings. It’s much better value to pay in advance for 15kg for less than the price of 1 kg excess at the airport counter.

Remember that these size and weight limits ensure that every guest has sufficient storage on board, making the boarding process a smoother and faster one. So, are you ready to take on the 7kg challenge? Go for it. Enjoy your trip!

Click here for more information on AirAsia’s cabin baggage policy.

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