How to Travel for 12 Days with 7kg Carry-on: Philippines Tropical Island Adventure

Tomorrow, the 15 hour journey from Sydney to Tropical Island begins! Mr. Piggybanks and I are heading to the Philippines for a 12 day tropical island adventure: all 15 hours of flight time, 3 flight legs, 1 carry-on and 1 handbag worth of adventures.

Yes, this piece of paradise actually exists.


This marks my 9th city travelling with only a carry-on (longest trips were 3 weeks long) so I’ve had practice packing however I always find there’s room for improvement. Most of these trips were international and I luckily many of the budget airlines I flew (*cough*Ryanair*cough) had air hostesses that would only check the carry-on dimensions instead of weight. Other local airlines (*cough*Jetstar & Airasia*cough) are notorious for weighing in and measuring everything to the T (you’ve been warned).


While preparing for this trip and knowing I was flying Airasia with air hostesses that don’t let anything sneak past their sight, I had to make sure that everything will be under 7kg to avoid revisiting my student days of pulling everything out of my carry-on and wearing as a hat/accessory/10th coat to make the carry-on weight limit.


My go-to back-up plan if the air hostess weighs my bag and it’s over the limit. Viva la student days!



Before packing, I watched countless hours of Youtubers on how to pack for carry-on to pick up some extra packing tips, as well as get insight into what travel luxuries they indulge. So, I’ve summarised the most efficient and cost-effective way to pack with no stress.


Here are my top three tips to packing minimally and making sure your carry-on is well within the limit:

ONE: Create a photo catalogue of pre-styled outfits on your phone.

My first tip is to plan out your outfits not just in your head, but in flatlay-style photos including shoes and accessories. By pre-styling your outfits before the trip, you can make sure each piece is versatile across different events, activities or weathers. I ensure each piece I’m bringing is not just comfortable, location and weather appropriate but can be integrated in minimum 3 or more outfits. It the garment doesn’t make at least 3 outfits, cull it! Once you’re on your trip, you’ll have an album of stylish outfits which are mixes and matches from a small carry-on sized selection of clothes without having to think about it.

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Image credit to The Lust List


TWO: Plan what toiletries you can and can’t buy at your destination.

Toiletries are the heaviest part of my carry-on and I find myself bogged down by tiny bottles of everything which weigh a tonne and often is provided by the hotel. However, for this trip, I’m staying in basic airbnb accommodation the whole stay so don’t expect these frills to be provided. In this instance, I’m bringing all the toiletries I will need on a long-haul flight to stay fresh and clean while all other toiletries can be purchased when we arrive. Basic items like body wash, shampoo and moisturiser can be bought at every stopover.

Illustration by Cristina Alonso


THREE: Decide on your make-up look for the trip.

Second to toiletries, one of the bulkiest things to take on any trip is make-up. Stick to an easy, low-maintenance look such as a bright red matte lip, pink glossy lip and nude eyes. This not only makes getting ready in the morning easy but reduces all bringing unnecessary make-up which is either impractical for the trip or for glamourous occasions that don’t end up happening. No way I’m taking my smokey-eye palette on my tropical island trip.


Illustration by The Lust List



Have you ever travelled on just carry-on before? If you have any tips or comments, I’d love to hear them so please pop them below!


xx Miss Piggy

Cover illustration by The Lust List



5 Comments Add yours

  1. Sounds like an exciting and frugal trip to be had! I tend to keep my makeup routine simple in every day life, but I love the suggestions you made. Hope you have a wonderful and safe trip! 🙂

  2. Miss Piggy says:

    Thanks OFE! I plan to write more as I’m over there as it’s such a beautiful country plus so cheap to stay! As for the beauty routine, sounds like you have a great routine going! I’m a bit of a beauty addict so easily go way overboard on packing!

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