How to: Travel with hand luggage alone

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Travelling with a lot of luggage can be expensive, stressful and can result in lots of hanging around waiting at the airport. Travelling with hand luggage means you can skip the check in lines (so long as you have checked in online) and go straight to security. It also means you don’t need to suffer the tedious wait at baggage claim as you nervously pace up and down, praying your suitcase will eventually appear, or indeed the stress of being left with nothing but the clothes you are wearing if you bags do go missing. Follow our top tips for packing like a pro and you can be whizzing your way through the airport in no time.



Things you can’t go without:
Visas if required
Travel documents – tickets, insurance docs, info regarding transfers etc
Scan copies of all of the above and keep them on your phone in case you lose anything.
EHIC card if travelling in Europe. Apply at:
Toothbrush and paste (you might be able to live without them, but other people won’t like you and won’t want to be your friend).
Mobile phone – preprogrammed with numbers you might need in an emergency such as your travel operator, insurance company etc. Also a good idea to find out the emergency number (999 alternative) for your destination, and get that programmed into your phone too.
Medications, remember your prescription if required

Hand Luggage

Hand Luggage

Comfy shoes for walking
Roll on deodorant (no aerosols!)
Camera, spare batteries, charger and memory cards
Flight socks – unattractive but important for people who travel far or often.

Two-pin adapter socket

Two-pin adapter socket

Phone chargers – Many hotel TVs now have usb ports on the back, so you can often use this extra port to charge your phone. Phone chargers are the number one item of lost property in hotels (trust me I used to be a chambermaid), so if you forget yours ask at the front desk as they will likely have a stash of spares.

Have a plugin external mobile battery which is fully charged, airports are boring and phone batteries rarely survive boredom. You can pick these up fairly cheaply online nowadays.

Relevant adapters for where you are travelling.

4 plug power splitter. Most hotel rooms come with a maximum of two sockets for customer use which is rarely enough in this gadget crazed world. Don’t overload the splitter with powerful things like hairdryers and laptops, but you should be fine with small charger and low wattage appliances. Use one with a surge protector built in to be safe. You can also find usb splitters on the market, which is a great option for charging phones, cameras and tablets etc and take up less space in your luggage. You can see my treasured two-pin european adapter to the right… It is a life saver!.. Two power sockets and two usb sockets means I can charge everything all at once.

Underwear – as lightweight as possible.
Swimwear – I usually take three bikins for a week long beach holiday and mix and match the tops and bottoms and wash out in the sink overnight.

Clothing that goes with other items you can mix and match, and layer up to prevent bringing thick clothing.

Most hotels supply towels and basic toiletries, shampoo and shower gel, so go without wherever possible, and remember you can only take liquids of up to 100ml each and they must be in clear plastic sandwich bags of no more than 20cm x 20cm. This includes liquid makeup such as mascara, lip gloss, foundation and eyeliner.

Large hotels usually hire beach towels or you can use bath towels instead, so don’t pack bulky towels unless you are self catering. Most hotels don’t however always provide flannels, so bring your own as they don’t take up a lot of space anyway.

Sun cream and after sun. Don’t skimp on this or you’ll regret it later, sunburnt is not a nice way to spend a holiday and it is notoriously expensive to buy when you get to your destination. Remember the 100ml and plastic bag rule for hand luggage though.

Sandals which can double for beach wear and dressing up in the evening, killing two birds with one stone.

Sun dresses can do the same and don’t crease easily.

Roll your clothes rather than folding, it causes less creasing and packs more neatly.

What about those things you can’t take in hand luggage?
You’ll be surprised at what you can take in your hand luggage which you think you can’t. Nail scissors can be taken provided the points are not longer than 6cm from where they cross. Tweezers, nail clippers, sewing needles and disposable fixed cartridge razors are also fine if you really can’t do without them. Check out the official government guidelines at:

Aerosols – go with roll on deodorants and pump spray hair styling products

Wear your bulkiest clothes such as trainers, jeans and a hoody on the plane.

Use any shoes you pack as additional storage, stuff them with socks and small items then place them inside a shower cap to stop dirty soles rubbing on your other items

Check the dimensions and weight allowance your airline allows for hand luggage. You are generally allowed a small case of set dimensions and weight and a small hand bag. In my experience they weigh the small case, but not the handbag, so put all your heaviest items such as cameras in your handbag. If you are using online check in and have printed your own boarding passes, you can often escape the weigh in entirely, unless your case looks too big and they just go by measurements.

Think about where you will be visiting. If you are going to see religious sites you will need to ensure you are covered up over your shoulders and legs. Most places accept three quarter length trousers, but shorts and vest tops are not acceptable. Don’t miss out, plan ahead. I usually carry a light scarf with me which I can throw round myself if needed, but doesn’t weigh much to be carried the rest of the day.

Remember to check out local guidelines on dress wherever you are going. In some countries you face prison or worse if you aren’t respectfully dressed, whilst in others – topless sunbathing is the norm!

Check out these great travel hacks:

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