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Why I broke up with my backpack over a carry on

Why I broke up with my backpack over a carry on  (VIDEO)

These days I find I’ve downsized my backpacker’s backpack and suitcase luggage to a carryon sized luggage.

 Oh, I still love my Northface Terra 45 backpacker’s backpack and I’d recommend it to anyone who were going backpacking. It served me well when I was backpacking for seven months, through India, Asia and Southeast Asia.

But the one thing I never liked about it is the fact I’d always have to wear it on my back.

Why I broke up with my backpack over a carry on

The older I get, wheelies sound more attractive and with airlines baggage fees adding expense to a flight ticket… I like bucking the system where I can. Now that I’ve experienced the compact, light-weight ease of a three-in-one (backpack, wheeled, carry on) carry-on, it’s hard to go back.

Despite what the news is saying about how airlines might be banning carry ons, I would still opt for a convertible carry on bag.

Watch video here. Note, the second bag you’ll see qualifies as a purse. It’s my “day pack” which holds my laptop, camera, things I don’t want to lose or get broken. If I ever need to check my carryon- some airlines like me to put it in that metal sizer as proof it fits- I can separate from it with peace of mind.

Carry on luggage hacking tip:

Even if an airlines says it might not fit requirements but you know it’s close, ask if you can try it at the gate. Sometimes, if they decide they want to bone pick an inch or so at the gate, or the flight is full, they’ll check it in “complimentary”. Not always, but that’s what I’ve experienced or seen several times. Obviously, do not abuse this privilege. Too many people taking advantage of this privilege will eventually  kill it for the rest of us and you’ll start seeing fees charged at the gate.

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How to choose a backpack that’s right for you

Reasons to use a carry-on

Avoid baggage fees

Get around quick, light-weight & compact

  • Makes navigation easy: 
  • Crowds
  • Usually fits in storage & metro lockers
  • Running for trains, flights and buses

Escape luggage fees in every country

Avoid complications with:

  • Connecting flights
  • Hidden fees
  • Lost luggage
  • Broken luggage

See the video ( for examples of my amazing backpack-wheely-carryon that I use. I’ve traveled with it anywhere from 2 weeks to over a month. I’ve used it for the past couple of years now and this past year, it’s even accommodated a trip with a varied itinerary of backpacking at hostels, attending conferences, auditions and staying at hotels.

Carry On Luggage, Carry On Luggage tips

Waiting at the airport during a layover with my Carry On

Unfortunately, Lufthansa Airlines and Frankfort Airport destroyed my perfect carry on the one time I decided to send it through luggage (a couple days after shooting this video).  Obviously, I’m upset. Not sure if I can repair it, but these are the alternatives I’m researching in the meanwhile:

Carry on dimensions:

Maximum dimensions cannot exceed : 22″ long x 14″ wide x 9″ tall or 115cm (56 x 36 x 23 cm).

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Why I broke up with my backpack over a carry on


What do you take traveling?  Any recommendations on good working carryons?


.Note: This post contains affiliate links at no extra cost to you.  Recommendations expressed are solely of my own.


  1. Backpacks have always looked super uncomfortable to me, so I’ve never had one. Glad to see I’ve been making the right choice this whole time. 😀

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @Deia: Yeah, unfortunately, the carry on luggage market, doesn’t offer much variety. I don’t feel like they’re keeping up with the times and peoples’ needs. Why there aren’t more outside pockets for quick and easy access, I don’t understand.

  2. Allan Wilson says:

    Can’t agree more 🙂 I gave up on big backpacks a while back so I can travel solely on low-cost carriers with hand baggage. At the moment I’m using one with pull out handle and wheels but also straps so it can be worn as a backpack, and the front compartment can be detached so it splits into two smaller packs which works perfect for smaller day trips etc. There’s no way I’d go back to backpacks, but travelling light is essential 🙂

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @Allan: What brand is your carryon? Trying to find the closest fit to what I have now.

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