Packing - is it your least favourite part of a holiday? Do you struggle with what to pack and when you finally get it all together, you don’t have enough space? Tedious. The fact that there is no weight limit for luggage on a cruise is extremely attractive to everyone, but what happens when you are flying to meet your ship?

The job of packing completely changes when there is a weight limit involved and it is estimated 40% of holiday-makers will not take a fly-cruise due to airline weight limits. With most European flights having a 20kg allowance it sparks instant panic in our minds.

I regularly visit cruise forums to see what cruisers are talking about and more importantly, what people are wanting to find out. A subject that I have seen regularly is the dreaded 20kg weight limit.

 

Do all airlines have a 20kg weight limit?

Although international flights normally have a higher weight limit, flights within Europe continue to have a 20kg limit and appear to continually raise their overweight prices. With this in mind I have compiled a list of weight limits for the most popular airlines when flying between Europe:

 

British Airways

Checked baggage: One checked bag per person weighing up to 23kg

Hand luggage: One Personal bag (laptop/handbag) 40cm x 30cm x 15cm plus one cabin bag 56cm x 45cm x 25cm

Children: Same as adult allowance plus a collapsible pushchair and one car seat

Virgin Airlines

Checked baggage: One checked bag per person weighing up to 23kg

Hand luggage: One cabin bag 23cm x 36xm x 56cm weighing up to 10kg

Children: Same as adult allowance plus a collapsible pushchair and one car seat

EasyJet

Checked baggage: A charge of £13 - £30 per bag is required for any checked luggage weighing up to 20kg and totalling in size less than 275cm (adding length + width + height)

Hand luggage: One cabin bag 56cm x 45cm x 25cm

Children: Same as adult allowance

RyanAir

Checked baggage: You can purchase checked baggage of either 15kg or 20kg at a cost of £13 - £24 online

Hand luggage: One cabin bag 55cm x 40cm x 20cm weighing up to 10kg plus one small bag

Children: No cabin bag allowance for infants (8 days - 23 months) travelling on an adults lap, however a baby bag up to 5kg may be carried by the accompanying adult in addition to their own allowance plus one pushchair free of charge

Thomas Cook

Checked baggage: One bag weighing up to 15kg whereby an extra 10kg can be purchased at £25 - £30

Hand luggage: One cabin bag 55cm x 40cm x 20cm weighing up to 6kg plus one small personal bag/laptop/coat/umbrella

Children: One checked in bag weighing up to 10kg plus a pushchair, a travel cot or a car seat

Thomson

Checked baggage: One checked bag per person weighing up to 15kg

Hand luggage: One piece of cabin baggage per person 55cm x 40cm x 20cm weighing up to 5kg, other bags such as handbags must be carried within the single item of cabin baggage

Children: Same as adult allowance apart from infants under 2 years old have a 10kg allowance plus pushcharis

 

Tips for making the most of 20kg

From the above it is clear to see most airlines still offer around 20kg per person. Although your initial reaction may be that this is not enough, if you pack right it is more than enough. Of course if you had more allowance it wouldn't be hard to use it but trust me, from someone who has had to pack six months into 20kg, it is ample allowance for your cruise. I've compiled a list of tips on how to make the most of your 20kg:

• Take full advantage of your hand baggage allowance – Pack heavy items such as shoes and belts in your hand luggage.

• Wear what you can – Try to wear any heavy items such as your coat or costume jewellery when travelling.

• Forget the 'just in case' – We all do it, but you do not need to pack the 'just in case' pile. You will not need multiple layers, that extra pair of shoes or a spare swimming costume. If the worst comes to the worst and you do, there are shops onboard.

• Towels are not needed – Towels take up lots of weight and space in a suitcase. As well as bath towels, a fresh beach/pool towel is provided every day on a cruise.

• Purchase travel size toiletries – Toiletries are the main culprit for heavy luggage so purchasing travel size toiletries are perfect for a one/two week cruise. Most cruise lines provide shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and body lotions so these are not needed. Ladies, take minimal make up.

• Make the most of your children's allowance. Naturally, packing for children will not require as much space as adults so use all of their allowance too!

• Invest in a foldable beach bag – It is a good idea to take a beach bag as you are likely to use it every day on a cruise, whether carrying a towel and lotion to the pool or using it to hold belongings when out exploring. However, if you pack a large one it will take up unnecessary space and weight. You can purchase a lightweight foldable one for a couple of pounds and they are great.

• Do not over indulge on formal attire – Another one us ladies are guilty for, but you only need to take a maximum of two formal dresses. Most cruises will only have one or two formal nights during a cruise so you do not need to pack a selection of dresses.

• Plan your outfits – I know this is not the most enjoyable thing to do but if you plan your outfits it makes it less tempting to pack clothing that will not be needed.

• Onboard laundry service - Most cruise lines provide a laundry service. Some have a self-service laundry room where as others offer a valet laundry and dry-cleaning service. This means you can pack less clothing knowing that you can wear the same basics again.

 


Original copy by Sally Grimes