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The ultimate hand luggage packing guide


Whether it is for a long weekend break or a two week long haul holiday, packing can be a stressful task. But packing your suitcase is easy compared to your hand luggage. You need to ensure your hand luggage has all the essentials whilst still weighing under the allowance whilst also keeping your liquids to the minimum.

It is also becoming increasingly popular to only travel with your hand luggage. This is great as it saves you on costs of paying for additional luggage, its more convenient once you get to your destination as you have less to carry and it usually means you can get through the airport a lot quicker than if you have to check in luggage. Many believe it is more secure to only take hand luggage as it is with you all the time so there is no risk of ending up in a different location to you. Here we discuss the essentials you need to pack when you are limited to hand luggage.

Packing Cubes - These are amazing as they allow you to sort your items out in an easy way and they maximise your space. You can place your t-shirts in one, electrical equipment in another and so on. Not only does it keep your stuff neat, it also means you can easily access your electrical equipment and liquids which you must remove from your bag to get through security checks. You can also use Ziplock bags if you don’t own packing cubes.

Travel Pillow - This is a travel essential if you want to try and get any comfortable rest whilst on the plane. It not only provides comfort; it supports your neck from pain and also stops you from ending up falling asleep on the person next to you (who you may not even know!)

Transparent bag for toiletries - Although airports provide these, having your liquids already in a transparent, zipped up bag will make your security check a lot smoother. Just make sure they are the correct dimensions. Place this at the top of your bag as well for easy access.

Mini Umbrella - It doesn’t take up a lot of space and you will appreciate it when you arrive at your destination and it’s raining.

Ear Plugs - Great for blocking out noise on the plane but also good for when you are at your hotel.

Hand sanitizer - Airports and aeroplanes will always have a lot of germs due to the number of people around you. Having hand sanitizer can help kill bacteria and help you not get ill.

Collapsible water bottle - It takes up hardly any space and will be really useful during the rest of your holiday as well.

Blanket scarf - It keeps you warm whilst you are on the aeroplane but is also lightweight and versatile.

Mini hairbrush - Great space saver.

Valuables- Ensure you pack any valuables in a secure place in your bag, preferably an inside pocket.

Travel-sized toiletries - Great as you don’t need to bring them back, leaving you with more space on your journey back. Just check what toiletries your hotel provides to ensure you don’t buy anything you don’t actually need.

Snacks - You can buy food and drink on the plane, but it is usually expensive. Pack a small snack to stop you feeling hungry in the air.

Capsule wardrobe - Plan your outfits carefully. Try and go for outfits where you can mix and match items as it will save you a lot of space.

Change of underwear - Even if you have checked-in luggage, having a spare pair of underwear in your luggage is essential, just in case your luggage ends up somewhere else!

Entertainment - Download programmes to watch on the plane in advance on your tablet or phone. Also, download some e-books or get a magazine subscription app so that you only need your device rather than several magazines and books which take up precious space.

Medication - Always ensure you have your medication with you at all times.

Documents - Keep your passport and documents near the top of the bag as well so you can access it easily. Keep all documents together in a small folder.

Some general top travel tips
• Wear your heaviest clothes and jackets allowing you more space in your hand luggage for other clothes

• Choose your bag carefully. Soft-sided bags are better as they provide more space. Opt for a rucksack over a pull suitcase as they are more convenient when you get to your destination. Also go for bags with lots of pockets!

• Don’t pack any “just in case” items. You don’t have space to waste on items you may not actually need. Keep your hand luggage to essentials. All other items can always be bought when you get there, if you even need them.

• Avoid duplicate items. If you are travelling with someone else, check what items they are taking that you can also use. You may not need two tubes of toothpaste for example.

• Roll your clothes rather than folding them.

• Go paperless if possible - Hotel reservations and boarding passes can now often be stored on your phone and don’t require a paper version.

• Be ruthless- Go through each item and think if you REALLY need it. You will be surprised how many items you don’t actually need.

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