12 tips for packing your hand luggage

12 tips for packing your hand luggage

Going on holiday? The trip begins with boarding the plane, so be sure to organise your hand luggage and make a stress free start!

Avoid overpacking, digging through your bags and other inconveniences when boarding your plane with these 12 useful tips for packing your hand luggage:

No more than one item

A lot of airlines are quite strict about taking only one item of hand luggage aboard the plane. If you are flying with such an airline, make sure your purse fits inside your main case or bag.

If you have two smaller pieces, just carry a large plastic bag with you to put both items in when you are boarding. Technically it counts as one item!

Measure and weigh your bag

Make sure that your one item is no larger than 45cm x 40cm x 25cm (some airlines differ). You will probably be fine with 55cm x 40cm x 25cm, but there’s a chance these sizes will have to checked in if the plane is full.

The maximum approved weight of your bag differs per airline. They can allow anything from five kg to 12kg, with 10kg being the most regular.

Keep your travel documents separate

Keep your travel documents separate. Put them in a little bag that’s easy to remove from your hand luggage. That way you don’t have to dig whenever you need your passport, tickets or money.

Manage your liquids

Any liquids you carry must not be more than 100ml each and must all fit into a clear 1-litre plastic bag. Pre-pack them in your own plastic bag to avoid having to dig through your bag to collect everything at the checks.

Swap liquid cosmetics for solid counterparts, where possible. You can also use contact lens cases and other small receptacles for measured amounts of toothpaste, shampoo, creams and so on.

Pack immediate necessities

A toothbrush, a change of underwear, all your important information and anything else you may need the first day after landing, pack it in your hand luggage! There’s always a chance your other suitcases don’t end up taking the same trip as you and get lost or delayed along the way.

Save space - roll up your clothes

Roll up your clothes up into cylinders instead of folding them. It will give you more space, and avoid wrinkles!

Bras, shoes, hats and gaps, fill them all up with rolls of socks and other smaller items. You’ll have more room and the items won’t dent as quickly!


If living in the Netherlands taught you anything, it’s to wear layers to be prepared for any weather. The plane generally gets quite chilly, so wear whatever you can on your person as you board.

Long trousers, jackets and socks are all fair game! This system saves packing space and it ensures you don’t catch a cold right before your holiday.

Comfort and fun on the plane

There are various things you can bring to ensure your comfort on the plane, such as your own headphones, a charger for your phone, an e-reader or book, face wipes and snacks.

A simple deck of playing cards can make for hours of fun on a boring flight! Make sure you brush up on those blackjack rules, fold down that little table and start shuffling!

Divide into smaller bags

Organise your hand luggage by putting things into different little bags and shoe dusters. You can just pull out the one you want when you need something on the go! If you have a little rolling suitcase, make sure you put heavy items nearest the wheels so it’s easier to roll.

Look professional

If you are going up and down for a quick business trip and you only have some hand luggage with a clean shirt, wrap your belt under the inside of your collar to avoid ugly folds.

Don’t bring anything else

Possibly the best thing you can do on a shorter trip where you won’t be needing a lot of stuff is to pack just your hand luggage, and forgo checking in any other suitcases completely.

Your waiting time will be drastically decreased when checking in and out, you won’t be worrying whether all your things arrive safely and you won’t be lugging around any more than you need!

More travel packing tips

What is your favourite packing hack for your hand luggage? Let us know in the comments below!

Alexandra van Kampen


Alexandra van Kampen

English and Japanese theatre and culture are my forte. My mother was raised in England, and my grandmother in Japan. I studied Japanese Language and Culture, and Film and Photographic...

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