For my most recent 10-day trip I used only hand luggage. I don’t like trolleys, even if I admit that they are invaluable when you have a large load, but for hand luggage, I prefer a backpack; it’s more functional, weighs less, and has that small amount of extra space that is always useful. The other advantage is that you very rarely get chosen to hand over your luggage when the flight is full.
Funny enough, my biggest challenge is always with toiletries. My skin and hair are quite sensitive, so I cannot use anything I pick up, and I have to take along at least shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and face cream enough for the trip. I use a Crumpler transparent bag to hold my collection of small travel containers from Muji, integrated by a 50 ml tub of shea-butter-based cream. I also found a convenient hydration stick at The Body Shop, which works really well and can get through security out of the liquids bag 🙂
I used my Crumpler Director’s Cut Board Backpack, which is presented as a business trip type of luggage, but it’s actually quite tough and very comfortable, despite its silky sleek look. I added the waist strap and could walk for miles with that thing on my shoulders without problems. I like it because it has a large inner space like a duffel bag, but it opens like a suitcase, so it’s easy to arrange stuff, and it also has compression straps inside, so that the load does not move about too much. The other thing I like is that it has quite a few pockets to organize your things, such as a back pocket for tablet and laptop, an inner pocket that takes up all of the cover (where I put a shawl and two pullovers), another pocket on the front where you can put all your electronics and which also contains the rain cover (the backpack is water resistant, but has a rain cover in case of storms/heavy rain), and a top pocket with a key fob and dividers, that I used for my liquids bag. All of the zippers are sealed and the one to the main compartment is lockable.
The straps can be hidden away under a cover and the bag can be carried with the provided shoulder strap, or by one of the handles. The bag has also an expansion zip, in case you need more room when coming back :).
I used packing cubes for t-shirts, skirts, underwear and socks and everything fit perfectly and was well organized, as the bag is shaped as a rectangle and has no funny spots that are not easy to use. It fit perfectly in the hand-luggage measure and it was easy to go through security. The material looks durable and shows no sign of wear, despite my banging it around in the desert and on public transport, so I am really happy with it.