What should you take in hand luggage?

If you’re heading abroad for a weekend city break, chances are you’ve saved money by not checking a bag in, opting for a carry-on, cabin-sized bag and a small handbag. If so, you need to be clued up on what you’re allowed to take on board with you, because with heightened security and airlines changing their baggage policy it can be a confusing process! Just have a think of all the things you’re going to need with you for the short flight and then check whether they’re allowed on board.

If you’re allowed a suitcase and handbag on board then try to pack all your bulky items that you won’t need on the flight into your suitcase. Your handbag should have all your important things in it such as your passport, money, boarding pass, tickets and documentation and things you will need to hand when up in the air. Don’t forget to pop any medication you’ll need on the flight into your handbag too.

With the important things out of the way, it’s time to make a short list of nice-to-have things for the flight. If you like to get a bit of sleep on a short flight, pop some ear plugs and eye mask in your handbag. Or if you just like to drown out the noise on a flight, don’t forget your headphones. It can get chilly with air con, so pop a light outer layer in your bag if you have room.  If you have kids, make sure you take something to keep them entertained. And if you’re bringing milk or food for them it’s best checking with Gov.uk and your airline for the legal requirements. If you like to have a freshen up before you get off a flight, why not take a toothbrush and toothpaste with you?

Hand luggage allowance

Once you have a list sorted of things you’d like to take in your hand luggage, you need to check your hand luggage allowance. Are you allowed a small case and a handbag? Or just a handbag? If you’re only allowed a cabin-sized suitcase, why not take a small handbag with all your essentials, leave a small amount of room in your suitcase, and when it’s time to board, put your handbag inside your suitcase. Always remember to check with your airline on the maximum size of both your suitcase and handbag. Nobody wants to be caught out with a unexpected charge when boarding.

Don’t forget to check the weight of your carry-on luggage. Weight restrictions apply and they vary with each airline. Pick up some luggage scales to be on the safe side.

What toiletries can I take in hand luggage?

If you’re not checking a bag in then all the liquid you take with you will have to be in 100ml bottles/containers and fit securely into a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag that measures approximately 20cm x 20cm. The bag must be sealed too. Struggling for room? Why not buy mini reusable bottles and decant contents from your big bulky items into these? It’ll help make sure you have all your make-up essentials with you for your short trip away, and you can reuse the bottles each time you go abroad. If you don’t have reusable bottles opt for travel size toiletries.

It can often be confusing when figuring out what’s classed as a liquid. You may be surprised to know that toothpaste has to be put into your liquids bag. Check the government website if you’re unsure what has to be put in your plastic bag.

And don’t forget, a small suitcase is still classed as hand luggage if you’re bringing it on board. So you can’t fill it with liquids over 100ml; you’ll still have to put them in a plastic bag and get them checked at security.

What is not allowed in hand luggage?

Sharp items or liquids over 100ml won’t be permitted on flights. There are some exceptions though to liquids, so check with your airline in case you need liquid medication, baby’s milk or formula taking on board with you.

Hand luggage checklist

  • Passport
  • Money
  • Tickets/boarding pass
  • Headphones
  • Phone charger/battery pack
  • Toys for the kids
  • Ear plugs/eye mask
  • Neck pillow
  • Jumper
  • Toiletries
  • Medication
  • Book

We hope that’s made things easier for your next trip away! For all your holiday needs, visit our holiday shop online.

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