If you are planning a trip and thinking about what you are going to pack, more and more airlines are introducing hand luggage/carry on only policies. It can mean a reduced fare, which is why it can be so appealing. But because you only have so much space in hand luggage, and you have to adhere to luggage allowances, it does mean that you are somewhat restricted in what you can pack. So to help you get the most out of the hand luggage space that you have, while still managing an affordable budget, here is a definitive packing list to help.
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One of the secrets to packing when you only have the use of a carry-on is to think about a capsule wardrobe for the trip. That way, you will be able to use some mix and match pieces to be able to combine your outfits, and you don’t really need to take too much with you. If you choose things that are in solid colors, then they are easier to mix and match with, rather than everything in clashing prints. [This is really clothing à la française which I have written about for all the seasons, check out summer to start.] On top of that, you can then add some accent pieces to show off your personality, whether that is scarves (you know how I love my scarves!), headbands, or fun sneakers from somewhere like the Vans Vault range. With items like this, you will be able to have full flexibility with what you wear and be able to mix things up as and when.
Another key piece of advice for someone packing clothing with hand luggage only is to plan out each day with what you are going to wear or what you will need. Will you be at the beach most days? How about a city break? Check the weather forecast, and then plan ahead. You’re quite likely to use much less than you think you will need.
Some airlines allow you to have a handbag with hand luggage, but others want everything to fit in the hand luggage case. Whether you use a backpack and a suitcase, it doesn’t matter; what does matter is making sure that you have the right kind of paperwork with you for your trip. Of course, to start with, you will need your passport or ID card. Passports are obviously needed for foreign travel, and ID cards can be just used domestically. Having both can be a good way to prove identity, should you need to. It is wise to make sure that you have a passport that has at least six months’ validity, as some countries do require that as standard.
The other must-haves for your trip are the obvious ones, like a boarding pass (try to be more eco-friendly with a digital version if you can), alongside a copy of your itinerary or documents for the trip like your hotel reservation information. It can be a good idea to take a photo of these documents with your phone, as it can help if things do ever get lost and you don’t have access to the internet to find them again. It can be wise to have printed out of your return flight details, as some countries like to know when you will be leaving. These are small things but can make a difference with border security.
It’s a good idea to think about the minimum that you will need when it comes to toiletries, as your toiletries do have limits on them when you fly. The toiletries can’t be bigger than 3 oz./100ml in size, and they need to all be able to fit into a small plastic bag, about a quart size. You can only have one per passenger, so although you can spread them out between your group or party, you will need to limit what you take, especially if you are traveling alone. Of course, some toiletries can be bought once you are at your destination. If you’re not sure what will be available at your destination or you’ll be arriving late at night, for example, having a few things such as toothpaste and lotion can help. Having liquids in your hand luggage does mean taking them out at security checks, so if you don’t travel with any, you won’t have to do that. Please consider eco-friendly and sustainable toiletries and beauty products, a lot of them aren’t liquid which helps with your limits!
Once your main travel essentials are in, you just need to think about what you will need on the journey. For example, will you be taking books or a laptop? Packing chargers, adapters, and the other recreational items that you will need should be the last to go in, as what you take may depend on what you can fit in.
How about you? Is there anything else that you would add to the list?