how to pack: making the most of hand luggage size restrictions

how to pack: making the most of hand luggage size restrictions

Who would have thought it, I’ve somehow become a dab hand at packing hand luggage! This is the girl who would seriously pack the kitchen sink, 286 pairs of shoes, and enough outfits for a month when I was only going for a week. Bright pink suitcases adorned with tacky luggage labels, hi me in 2007. I’m like a new woman now, planning every inch of what I need to take with me. I know exactly how to pack hand luggage.

Plan plan plan

I mean, you know I love a plan or two, right? Before I go anywhere for more than 1 night, I make a list of all of the outfits I need, to fit the number of occasions and days I am away for. If I am visiting somewhere hot, then I need a day outfit and a night outfit. Somewhere cold, and perhaps I just need some way of jazzing up my daytime outfit for the evening. My one word of advice to you is only pack what you need. Seriously. If something goes terribly wrong, I’m pretty sure you can buy whatever you need when you’re there. Unless your trekking across a desert I suppose. Save the space and do not take anything that isn’t necessary.

I recently went to Barcelona, and I packed 8 outfits along with all of my toiletries and electronics into this suitcase8 outfits. Clever packing = much options.

Buy the biggest bag you can

I had no idea that hand luggage is actually so roomy! Now, each airline is different so you need to check your carrier before you travel, but generally something like the case I have is perfect. I also can’t recommend 4 wheels more. There may or may not have been an occasion where I had a meltdown in the middle of the road in Amsterdam, which of course was also a tram line, where I lost all control of a suitcase on 2 wheels. I feel much safer with 4!

For me, a 4 wheel suitcase is way more comfortable to travel with than a backpack. I cannot deal with that weight on my shoulders! I also love that it has compartments. Try to pick something that you can zip into separate sections, or strap down. Trust me, if you are a hold luggage only kinda gal, you can do it! I love the feeling of just walking straight out of the airport with my hand luggage, ignoring the fight for the luggage conveyors!

Separate everything

Omg this is the best bit. I know travel cubes have become super popular, but I’ve got the best hack ever, which is particularly good for how to pack hand luggage only. You’re going to think I’m mad, but it’s these plastic resealable bags. I pack one entire outfit into one of these, rolling up each item, including the underwear for that day. Everything you need in one package! The reason I love these for hand luggage instead of packing cubes is the fact that they are so lightweight and flexible. Squeeze out the air and it’s such a space saver.

Sort your liquids

OK, this is only relevant if you are getting on a plane, but of course you also need to think about your liquids. Firstly, one of your handy resealable bags is just what you need for liquids. You can take 100ml, which again, is way more than I actually realised! I thought everything had to be teeny tiny, but actually, I don’t even need to get a different toothpaste to take it in hand luggage. Lol, the little things, ay.

My point is, don’t stress about what you can and can’t take, there are so many travel mini options these days, and you might find that some of your usual products are within the limit anyway.

Take a separate bag

Leave room at the top of your luggage to easily slip in or remove a bag to put all of your essentials in. I’m talking, phone, passport and money. Remember, the only time you actually need to only have 1 bag is when you get on the aircraft. Before then, you can do what you like! A wheeled suitcase like mine isn’t the easiest to get things in and out, so I pack a small bag with all of those things for ease through the airport, and I zip it into my luggage just before I board.

As soon as I’m on the airplane, I can get it straight back out, and that’s it for the rest of the journey! Easy peasy.

Now…I just need to get my next trip sorted and I’ll be off… Have you always struggled with how to pack hand luggage? I’d love to know where your next trip is!

how to pack

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