We’ve discussed how to pack your suitcase like a pro, now let’s talk hand luggage. Here’s how to avoid getting anything confiscated, keep all your valuables safe, and get the most out of your allocated 7kgs:
Buy the perfect bag
When you use any random bag you risk it not being the right dimensions for your flight, and might have to pay extra to check it in. Rather treat yourself to a nice piece of hand luggage that will never let you down. Dimensions vary slightly but generally hand luggage should be 22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm. Make sure you get a lightweight one; some hard-bodied cases can weigh up to 4kgs!
Keep your essentials separate
Shoving your hand luggage into the overhead compartment is stressful; there always seems to be someone behind you impatiently waiting for you to hurry up. Then once you’re comfortably seated, you realise you left your Kindle up there and have to squeeze past the people next to you to retrieve it (or the seatbelt sign is on and it’s too late). Pack the things you’re going to want on the flight (like your moisturiser, headphones, ear plugs etc) in a separate zip bag. Then just pull the bag out before you put your hand luggage away and pop it in the front pocket of your seat. All awkward fumbling avoided.
Pack clean socks
When getting off a plane after a long flight you feel sweaty and gross. Pack a spare pair of socks and underwear in your hand luggage, then just before you’re set to descend nip to the toilet and change into them. You’ll instantly feel way fresher.
Have your electronics ready to unpack
Put your laptop, tablets, e-readers, etc in a separate bag inside your hand luggage so when you go through security you won’t have to unpack your whole bag to get them out. Electronics need to be placed in a separate tray to your hand luggage, so just take out the separate bag and place that in a tray to be x-rayed.
Ditch the liquids
If you’re a super organised person, you will decant your toiletries into 100ml bottles and store them in a clear Ziploc bag in your hand luggage. If this sounds like too much effort for you, just put your toiletries in your main luggage (placing them in a plastic bag in case of explosions). You’re not going to need your shampoo on the flight any way.
Make use of all your allowance
Did you know that on most flights you’re allowed a piece of hand luggage as well as another ‘personal item’? This could be a laptop bag or a handbag. When packing, every last bit of extra space is precious so make the most of this extra carry-on. Take your heaviest item as your ‘personal item’, like your clunky laptop or a heavy camera popped inside your handbag so that you get to use your main item’s 7kgs to the max.
Double-check what you’re allowed
We all know not to pack knives and scissors in our hand luggage by now, but what else could be confiscated? Check on your airline’s website as to what you are allowed before you go. You don’t want to stock up on fancy cheese in Switzerland only to be told to put it in the bin when you arrive home. If you want to see some of the crazy stuff people try sneak through in their luggage follow TSA’s Instagram.
Embrace the fanny-pack
Luckily moon-bags are still pretty stylish so you can look after your most precious items while still looking chic, phew. If you’re taking lots of cash spread it out between your handbag, your moon-bag and your hang luggage so that you won’t be totally screwed if any of them go missing. Anything really vital, like your passport or driver’s license, keep in your moon-bag so that it’s on your body at all times.
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