15/11/2013 09:13 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

Three Weeks, 11 Flights, Four Time Zones - and Hand Luggage Only

Yes it can be done.

Travelling with hand luggage only is an obsession and proves difficult at times. But gosh I love it when I walk past the weary travellers waiting by the carousel to dance my way into the sunshine of my new destination.

Yes, I've been a HLO aficionado for many years, since... well since my luggage never appeared through those little black flaps and I wept lonely and sad in the recently deserted far away airport at the loss of my favourite frocks. They never did reappear and I often wonder if they tumbled off the conveyor belt into a dingy corner where they remain, buried in dust; an exciting archaeological find of the future?

But packing as a HLO traveller is an art, it really is. This trip - from Canada where I may be frozen and besieged by bears (unlikely, but let's add some drama), to the dizzy warmth of fizzy, flirtatious Florida. From hiking to high heels, from Heathrow to Hollywood. Yes it can be done. Well let's get this straight, it can be done on British and American Airways or any sensible airline. It most certainly can't be done on Sleazy Jet or Mr O'Stingy's Ryanair.

I'm travelling for three weeks and I have in my small case:

  • 8 dresses (including a slinky number)
  • 1 pair high heels (silver glitter encrusted) but quite walkable in
  • 1 pair boring boots
  • 1 pair flip flops
  • 2 cardis
  • 1 pair of skinnys
  • 1 vest
  • 1 bikini and a sensible lengths swimsuit plus goggles

I think that's about it.

The wheelie bag needs to be purchased carefully. Too big and you will fail at the first hurdle, too small and you just won't fit it all in. When it comes to wheeled bags, four wheels are good, two wheels are bad. Try the two-wheel models and you will find out why - the first time you lose concentration and whoop, over she goes, handle skinning a leg of the next person in the queue.

In my rather lush black leather handbag which fits satisfyingly well on top of the lovely little rolly case, I keep my work, leisure and potions including:

  • A gorgeous little iPad, with super full-sized keyboard
  • iPhone (my love)
  • Red leather notebook - Smythson, naturally
  • Bag of mini sized potions
  • Bag of makeup
  • Vaseline & First Defence (anti-illness spray - works every time)
  • Wet wipes & chewing gum - emergency spruce-up
  • Book - yes, I'm still scared of travelling without one - what happens if all the batteries die simultaneously?
  • A few back issues of The Week
  • 2 ink pens and cartridges
  • Sunnies, and of course a scarf for all eventualities from sarong to bed sheet

That's all. Who could possibly need more? Well maybe I am missing something - but all that fits into a carry-on bag. So what's the problem? Try it next time, whilst wheeling your wheelie through the airport is a tad tedious, oh the joy, the elation, the friskiness as you skip off the plane, jump the queue for car hire, and positively fly out into the new and delightful land you have just arrived in.

Heaven is Hand Luggage Only. Try it?

x Laura