Hand Luggage Packing Tips

Air passengers breathed a huge sigh of relief last week, when the Air Transport Association (ATA) confirmed they were scrapping their proposals to reduce the size of hand luggage.

Initially, the ATA called for baggage sizes to be reduced to 55cm x 35cm x 19cm so that all passengers’ hand luggage would be able to fit in the overhead lockers.

This reduction in size would mean a bag would have little more than half the capacity the current allowance permits.

Although the suggested reduction in bag size has been withdrawn, there’s no guarantee it won’t be introduced at a later date, so there’s no better time than now to address how you can pack lighter when you’re flying with hand luggage only.

Pack light, get the maximum amount in your small space and, you never know, you might even have room for a little souvenir or two.

Here's our tips for getting the most out of your hand luggage:

Remember the 100ml rule:  All your toiletries need to be in quantities (and containers) of 100ml or less and must all be placed in one resealable, clear plastic bag – only one bag per passenger is permitted.

What’s more, the bag must seal. If it does not, a security officer will make you discard products until it does close.

Hand luggage liquids include toothpaste, deodorant, aftershave and perfume, face wash, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, suntan lotions, contact lens solution, mascara, lipstick, foundation etc.

Travel-sized items can be purchased from all major supermarkets and high street chemists.

For a short break away, the chances are you’ll find 100mls more than enough. For a longer holiday, pack the basics and find a supermarket once you’ve arrived.

Mix & Match Clothes
Think carefully about what clothes you will need, mixing and matching and colour co-ordinating items - a pair of trousers or shorts for daywear can be glammed up at night with accessories.

Lay everything out on the bed first, making sure each piece goes with at least two other items. Limit yourself to just two pairs of shoes – a daytime pair and another for the evenings.

Space Savers
When packing your hand luggage, you must view every conceivable nook and cranny as space for your belongings. So, if you’re taking shoes, fill them. Socks and undies are ideal as they can be folded up to small and it doesn’t matter if they are creased.

Roll, Don’t Fold
Believe it or not, if you roll your clothes, not only will they crease less, but you’ll also fit far more into your case.

Wear bulky clothes
You may not need heavy jumpers or thick coats at the airport, but they will take up valuable space in your hand luggage. Instead of packing them, wear them. The same applies to jeans and shorts – wear your jeans and pack your shorts.

Gadget Multi-tasking
Forget a camera, you’re taking your mobile phone so use the camera facility on it. OK, it might not be quite as good as your SLR camera, but space is at a premium so a smart phone is ideal.

Remember to download all your favourite tunes on to your phone too, so there’s no need to take an extra iPod or MP3 player. Why not download a few movies too, so there’s no need to take a bulkier tablet. And did you know that there’s even an iPod and Android Kindle App so you don’t need to pad out your case with books, instead you could load an entire library on your phone.

Still not convinced about travelling with hand luggage only?

Then here are some last-minute reasons to travel light:

  • No baggage fees – many airlines, especially budget airlines, charge passengers for taking a suitcase however, hand luggage is included in the ticket price, saving you pounds
  • No airport trollies – forget rummaging around for a pound coin and battling with a trolley to take your cases into the airport, no need when your small case has its own wheels
  • Go straight into the Departure Lounge – check in online and you can forget the time spent checking in your hold luggage. Instead, go straight to security and into the Departure Lounge to enjoy some shopping, food and drink!
  • Forget the baggage carousel - travelling with hand luggage only means you can forget hanging around waiting for your luggage by the baggage carousel, instead you can walk straight through security to meet your transfer.