One of the least appealing parts of travelling is lugging suitcases through airports, waiting for ages at the carousel and hoping yours has made it to your location in one piece. It’s also knowing in some cases you have paid as much for the privilege of taking a suitcase as the flight cost in the first place!
But on every flight there’s someone who looks calm and exits the plane knowing they will have an hour head start on their holiday while you are waiting for your case to arrive. All because they are only travelling with hand luggage. What if you could be that person too? It might sound impossible but with some clever packing and consideration to what you are putting in your suitcase it is possible!
Travelling with just hand luggage is all about packing what you need rather for any and all eventualities and using your space carefully. Also, rather than making packing harder, having less can make life less stressful as there is less to organise on your return and keep track of whilst you are away.
Check the carry-on rules for the airline you’re flying with. Most airlines allow roughly the same size (55cm x 45cm x 25cm) for their hand luggage. Some airlines don’t have weight restrictions when it comes to hand luggage, you will just be required to be able to lift it into the overhead locker yourself. Other airlines do have weight restrictions but many don’t check unless the bag is obviously too heavy.
With this in mind, it’s important to choose your bag carefully. Make sure it’s the maximum size you are allowed (many labelled carry on are actually smaller) and choose a soft, lightweight fabric rather than a solid case which is heavier and less flexible.
Although there may be a restriction on your luggage, anything on your body does not fall into this! For that reason choosing your travel outfit wisely is key. Make sure you have plenty of pockets and stash your chargers and devices in them. If you need to take a coat or bulky jumper then wear it on the plane or knot it around your waist while you are in the airport, so it’s not taking up space and weight in your luggage.
Many airlines allow you a small handbag, as well as a carry case, so use this for important documents, money and the transparent bag with your toiletries so you can easily access them. It’s also worth taking a lightweight tote which can be your beach or shopping bag when you are out there. Look out for nylon ones which fold in on themselves and are tiny when empty.
Airport restrictions around the globe mean you are not able to take on liquids in bottles over 100ml. These also must all fit into a transparent bag. Remember that each person can take one of these bags so share with your travel buddy to make the most of the allowance.
It’s easy to buy most products in travel sizes now and most will last a week if not more. This not only means you can keep in the allowance with your liquids, but also that you can lose the bulky packaging. For example the 7-day supply of Lumity supplements in the Lumity travel collection can fit flat in its soft packaging. The hydrating Lumity Facial Oil is also in a smaller 10ml size as is the new 4-in-1 Cleanse.
If you know you are travelling to a hotel, check what they provide so you don’t double up. Consider buying solid versions of toiletries like shampoo bars which work for hair and body. Foundation sticks, solid deodorants and solid cleansers will take up less room and won’t need to go into the transparent bag to be declared.
Any product which can multi-task is your friend! The new Lumity 4-in-1 Cleanse
is a case in point, at only 10ml it will not only remove your make-up and cleanse your skin, it will also moisturise before you apply your sun lotion. Speaking of which, instead of stocking up on suncream before passing security, buy it on the other side before you board the plane. You can ring ahead and reserve or do click and collect at some airport air-side pharmacies so for minimum hassle buy most of what you need there. If you’re buying more than 100ml, get them to seal it all in some plastic bags with the receipt so that if you’re on a transfer flight and have to pass through security again, they’ll wave it through.
It’s also worth keeping hold of trial sizes of your favourite cosmetics when counters have offers and you can also ask your dentist for trial sizes of toothpastes. Decanting foundation and liquid makeup into tiny pots (think the ones make up stores give you to test products at home) or even contact lens cases, this means you will save lots of space and actually think about what you are taking. Only take what you will truly wear. Look out for compacts which combine a mirrored palette with eye-shadow, bronzer, gloss and blush in one. Remember you can also use your make up differently. A rosy lipstick also makes a fab cream blush. Make sure your toiletry bags are not bulky too, choose a zip lock bag or wrap them in your towel for transit.
Every space in your luggage needs to be accounted for. That means making sure every space is used to the max. Have anything you may need to get out during your journey through the airport in an easy to access outside pocket, it will save opening your case and digging around for your electronics or passport.
All nooks and crannies should be used, so if you are taking shoes then fill them with smaller items like chargers or folded socks. If you have an evening bag, it’s also a jewellery case for travelling. Your case should be a solid mass!
Planning is key when selecting what to take on your trip. How many nights will you be out? What is the dress code for the restaurants you plan to visit – there’s no point taking heels if you plan to make the most of beach bars. Think about what you are likely to be doing and what you would wear. Don’t pack for a ‘just in case’ as so often it never happens and this is why you return with unworn items. If you don’t have it – you won’t wear it!
Capsule wardrobes are built on the idea that almost everything can mix and match. If you have a top which only goes with one pair of shorts then they are no good to you! Choose items which all work well together and you can mix and match. Small, light accessories like earrings, scarves and even a bright lipstick are all you need to ring the changes.
Look out for multitasking items, the scarf that can also be a sarong or reversible swimwear so you feel you have more items than you really do. Be honest about how much time you will spend in certain outfits. You don’t need a different dress for every day and night. If you are planning to mainly be by the pool then that dress for dinner can be worn on at least two nights. Sportswear is great even just as your outfits for travel as it’s light fold up to tiny proportions and is often made of a non-crease fabric and it adapts well to different temperatures. The super thin microfibre sports towels are also excellent for the beach, can be washed and dried quickly (you can even do them in the shower while you are washing and use the residue from your shampoo to wash them!) and fold up small.
If you are holidaying somewhere cold, take thermal layers to put under thinner tops rather than taking lots of thick jumpers. You will be just as warm but it will be much easier to pack. If you need specialist clothing think about hiring it at the other end. This saves buying something you will rarely use and also supports local businesses the other end.
If you are in an apartment you may have a washing machine, hotels often have laundry service and you can always hand wash a couple of items in a sink in a couple of minutes. Take a 100ml or less of detergent in a container to use or buy some when you get there – still a lot cheaper than the cost of taking a checked in bag!
Folding items individually into squares is the most common but actually worst way to pack. It encourages creasing, takes up lots of space and takes time. Seasoned travelers tend to roll their clothing. Just lay your items on one another on a bed, starting with the larger, heavier ones then work in to lighter items. So jackets, dresses, shirts, trousers, t-shirts, swimwear. Alternate the thickest parts so you won’t have a large lump at one end and then place your underwear (except bras) in the middle at one end and roll the whole lot up like a sausage roll! Roll the items smoothly and neatly and there should be minimal creasing on arrival. Most creases will fall out if an item is hung in a steamy bathroom for 15mins.
Packing intelligently and efficiently can save a lot of time that could be much better spent at the hotel bar or lounging around the pool! It will also save you a number of headaches including having to waste yet more time traipsing around the local shops for any items you may have forgot! Put these tips into action and you’ll make your holiday that bit more relaxing! Did we miss a tip out? Let us know in the comments below.