I've already covered this topic before, and showed how I take advantage of the loophole that weight doesn't count when it's on your person with an intentionally “destroyed” jacket that I used in my travels.
A company that actually makes jackets especially for taking advantage of this loophole got in touch with me and sent me one of their jackets. Jaktogo is the ugliest jacket you'll see in your life, but was a huge improvement on what I was doing before.
Since they were nice enough to send me a free jacket with no strings attached, I've recorded this video to showcase it, although I am not affiliated with them or care if you buy or don't buy it; I mostly think it's funny that such a thing exists! Especially since it turns into actual carry luggage that you can hold in your hands!
I genuinely got use out of it on the flight in this video (Taipei to Shanghai – only got around to editing and uploading it now five months later!) because I had way too many books for learning Chinese that I didn't take the time to get rid of, as well as winter clothes I flew in with that I hadn't taken the time to find a home for or dispose of.
All of this extra stuff meant that I was way over the 20kg check-in limit on the very cheap flight I was taking. And yet, I didn't pay any extra fees because I “snuck” it all through.
In case you're wondering, NO there are never any security issues. I've been using my previous jacket hack for years and never run into problems with it. This includes in the states.
That's ONE way to “hack the system” and take as much as you like with you on any flight.
Much better way: get rid of crap you don't need, seriously!
The problem is not actually the airlines though. Maybe you can “stick it to the man” by taking advantage of this loophole, as I did when I had too many books with me. But there's a much better way to do it.
Since leaving Asia and travelling over the summer, I have also “travelled with everything I want/need”, but not by mailing things to myself, using jacket hacks, or paying overweight limits.
I got rid of crap that I don't actually need.
I took a serious look at all my possessions (everything I own in the world), and sliced it down to 23kg (50lbs). This includes all the actual baggage (when empty), which we tend to overlook.
It turned out the cheap bag I had when going to China weighed five kilograms when empty, and this was forcing me to find ways to squeeze more stuff through, so I replaced it with a lighter one.
Next I thought to myself “If my apartment were on fire, what MUST I take out with me?” I had a few items for “just in case” situations, that I realized I was dragging around with me and never actually used. Donated to charity or sold.
And you know what? Since I got rid of things that I thought I “needed”, nothing has actually changed. Well, nothing except a MUCH more comfortable travel experience. Seriously, the last few months have been WAY less stressful, and so much more comfortable to go from A to B.
I only have one check in bag, and my carry-on is so small, it fits under the chair in front of me on the flight.
(There are indeed plenty of travel hackers who travel just with carry on luggage, but keep in mind that I don't have a base to dump my stuff anywhere in the world, so literally travel with everything I own).
Either hack the system, or hack your life
So there you have it! I've given you a travel hacking item you can think about, but I hope you'll consider the words above too – that perhaps you need to hack your LIFE.
I don't understand this need for stuff. People buy new furniture and all sorts of rubbish that takes up space and then they need a bigger house, and then they need a new car to drive to it etc.
When everything you own on the planet can be wheeled leisurely behind you, you really start to wonder why people have dozens of pairs of shoes, libraries of books gathering dust (Stop knocking down forests for your shelves and embrace e-book technology!! All physical books I buy are sold after I finish them or given away on a site like bookcrossing so someone else can appreciate them), and other things that cost money but don't have any real value to enhancing your life.
The best things can't be measured in monetary value or weight, but in depth of experience. I don't buy souvenirs when I travel, I make friends and learn languages. Airlines never charge me extra for that 🙂