What to pack in your hand luggage

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When opting for cabin baggage only, it isn’t always clear what we can and can’t take onto the plane. Airline restrictions can vary depending on who you fly with, but there are some basic rules to follow when packing for a trip, be it a family holiday or weekend break.

Here are seven essential items we recommend you take:

Tablet over books

Many prefer reading a book to a tablet, but a tablet allows you to take a vast amount of literature away with you on just one device. Depending on your technology, you can also read articles and play games should you wish to.

Clear plastic bag

Airlines restrict liquids within hand luggage to 100ml containers which must fit in a sealable plastic bag measuring 20cm x 20cm. Pre-packing the bag before you get to the airport helps ensure a smooth transition through security and makes you think carefully about what you need to take.


Those travelling with hand and hold luggage may want to put fragile items such as an expensive digital camera in hand luggage, avoiding potential movement and damage while in the hold.

Light clothing

The best way to space-save in your cabin baggage is wearing heavier items onto the plane, like a larger coat or chunky shoes. That way you’ll have extra room to pack lighter clothing in your baggage and still have room for extras.

Important documents

Certain airlines offer an option of carrying a small purse or bag as part of their hand luggage policy, so keep important documents in here. These will include your passport, travel insurance information, and accommodation and transfer details. Keeping them on your person will speed up your journey at your destination.


Not all budget airlines provide inflight entertainment, so don’t forget to take headphones with you on your trip. Why not download music or a podcast to keep you occupied during the flight?


Medication can be carried within your hand luggage. If you require medication that totals more than 100ml, supporting documentation must accompany it. Full details can be found on the government website here.

Baggage information does vary on each airline and it’s advised that you read each of policy before booking. Travel experts Expedia have created the Hand Luggage Size Guide with sortable options, providing you with one place to discover which airline provides the most for your money, with links to individual policies.

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