Hand Luggage Only: The Small Lessons Learned

Hand Luggage Only: The Small Lessons Learned

There were some big lessons to be learned from the Hand Luggage Only project, but there were also some smaller gems as well. Here’s 20 useful travel nuggets for the active road worrier.

  1. Far too many hotels still think it’s acceptable to offer International Roast coffee.
  2. It doesn’t matter which Apple Store you visit.
  3. It’s entirely possible to not switch on the TV in your hotel room. (Over May, I stayed in 11 hotels and used just one television. I blame The Chaser.)
  4. You’re just as likely to get dud 3G in metropolitan Sydney as in Far North Queensland.
  5. Travel doesn’t have to mean a lack of exercise. I managed 10,000 steps pretty much every day.
  6. Despite that, nobody wants to see my underwear. Quite possibly they don’t want to see yours either.
  7. Qantas never has enough ginger beer on its domestic flights. If you like ginger beer, you’ll need a seat near the front.
  8. Worst hotel of the trip: the Astor Metropole in Brisbane. No desk and no towel rack.
  9. Google Maps can’t always be trusted. (It’s slightly confused about where the Astor Metropole is for starters.)
  10. Best hotel of the trip: the All Seasons Oasis in Alice Springs. Space, desk and a secure laundry room.
  11. You can get nausea on a boat that’s not moving.
  12. There’ll always be one thing you should have packed right from the start (in my case, it was the sink plug.)
  13. There’ll always be one thing you don’t need (in my case, surprisingly, it was the Skype headset).
  14. You really can meet friendly, genuine people online.
  15. Sydney train station gates have an annoying habit of swallowing your tickets, thereby depriving you of a physical receipt.
  16. Don’t trust airport shuttle buses, especially in Alice Springs.
  17. It doesn’t matter where you are in Australia: the “use your own bag” option on Woolworths’ self-service checkouts is a bug-ridden disaster area.
  18. A packed-to-the-brim carry-on bag gets a lot less appealing when the wheels (literally) fall off.
  19. Your devices will always stop working at a highly inconvenient moment.
  20. Travel broadens the mind. Unfortunately, no matter how much of a cheapskate you are, it narrows the wallet.

Throughout May 2009, Lifehacker Australia editor Angus Kidman travelled throughout Australia with just one carry-on bag for the Hand Luggage Only project.


  • How weird- I stayed at the Astor Metropole last month and I had a writing desk (put my Wind on it) and a towel rack. My complaint is that it’s near the top of a steep hill. On the plus side though it’s near the train station and importantly the station that has a train that goes to the airport.

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