How to fit your life into hand luggage

If you’re only heading off for a short trip and travelling with a budget carrier, the chances are you won’t want to pay the excessive charges required to put a bag in the hold. Carry-on restrictions are pretty tight, and the likelihood of squeezing everything you need for a holiday into a tiny bag are slim. But that was before you read our guide on how to do it like a pro. Forget inflated prices, here’s how to squeeze everything you need for your next vacation into a bag small enough to pass as hand luggage.

Measure up

Before you even think of what you’re going to pack, check the size allowance for the airline you’re planning on travelling with. The sizes range from 55 x 40 x 20cm to 56 x 45 x 25cm and you don’t want to get caught out. To play it safe, you can always opt for the smallest option.

Don’t worry; you’ll soon be a pro-packer so losing a few centimetres here or there won’t be an issue.
Remember, airlines employ a weight allowance too, so make sure you opt for the most lightweight case available to you. These allowances vary too, so be sure to check beforehand.

Preparation is key

Make lists, lots of them if you have to. Before you pack, you’ll want to be 100 per cent sure on what you’re going to need and when. Split your planner up into the days you’ll be away; this will make the process far less taxing. Clothes will take up the majority of your bag so be smart. Do you need more than one sweater?

Another great tip is to wear your most awkward items to the airport, think overcoats and heavy shoes – flip-flops fold up nicely and remember, you’re not on holiday quite yet.

The rolling method is ideal for those larger items you can’t fit on before you fly. You can also roll up your undergarments in there too – you’ll be surprised by how tightly you can pack things in when prepared like this.

Go miniature

With worldwide restrictions in place on the volume of liquids you are allowed in your hand luggage, the decision’s kind of been made for you. But there’s no need to put a bag in the hold just because you want to bring along a whole can of hairspray and a huge makeup bag.

As well as buying miniature body sprays, toothpaste and moisturiser, you can decant any extra special liquids like perfume, aftershave or high-end cosmetics into small bottles that will pass security. For sun cream, pack a small bottle and pick up the rest when you arrive.

Life’s a beach

If you’re jetting off for a beach holiday, don’t go overboard on outfits. One bathing suit is enough for a short break. And bring along a cloth beach bag. It’s so light and will take up hardly any space in your luggage. If you have a sarong, bring that along in place of a bulky beach towel. It will stop the sand from bugging you and doesn’t weigh a tonne.

If you can get hold of one, bring a travel towel. They are super lightweight and dry in minutes. Otherwise, you can always ask at the hotel.

Stay sparky

Forget the electrical equipment. Unless you’re going the self-catering route, most hotels will be able to provide you with a hairdryer. What’s more, they’ll have one with the right plug fitting. If you are desperate to blow dry while away, you can always invest in a portable one, there are a number of options on the market.

As for all your other gear try and keep it as low-volume as possible. Don’t bring reams of chargers with you. Get yourself a single cable with multiple ends; it will be worth its weight in gold. Not only will it make finding the right charger easy, but you'll also avoid the untangling process too. Don’t forget the universal plug!

Tone down the bling

There’s no need to fill your carry-on bag with kilos of jewellery. Holidays are special, celebrate them even more by bringing particularly precious items with you. Yes, you will have to be careful not to lose anything, but keeping it all together in a zip-lock bag should iron out that problem.

Above all space saving is about being smart. Don’t pack the night before, start planning at least a week before you go and not only will you save money, you won’t have to wait for your luggage at the airport or drag a heavy suitcase around with you when you’re done.

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