Travel essentials: what to pack in your hand luggage

hand luggage

What are the rules?

hand luggagePeople often leave packing their hand luggage until the last minute and end up getting flustered trying to decide what to include. There are strict rules for what you can and can’t pack in your carry-on. These may vary slightly between airlines, so make sure you check your airline’s specifications when travelling.

When packing your hand luggage, it is best to pack light and only take items you will need on or immediately after the flight.


Of course, this should be the most obvious one. Any trip that involves crossing borders means that you will most likely need your passport to hand to show the authorities at any point. So keep your passport safely in your hand luggage or on your person at all times.


You may need access to your funds at any point before, during or after your flight. Therefore, it is advisable that you carry small amounts of cash in both currencies just in case, even if you plan to use your debit or credit cards while abroad. Also, while the risk of lost luggage is low, it still would not be a good idea to pack your money in your case.

Chargers and headphones

Keep your chargers in your hand luggage so that you can charge devices while you’re waiting for your flight. Although you may not have internet access on the plane, most airlines offer Wi-Fi which could help the time pass quicker on the flight. In addition, you can use the flight time to do some last-minute holiday prep, like looking up information on your destinations culture, customs, and activities. Or you could even look up the most-followed celebrity in each country to give yourself a real insight. You can find this research from Travel Department.

If you plan to watch videos, listen to music, play games, or listen to audio books on the flight, headphones are essential. Headphones can also simply help to block out the ambient noise even if you aren’t listening to anything and you just want to take a nap.

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Hygiene essentials

Travelling can be a bit gross at times, and you should be prepared for that. Wet wipes and tissues are often overlooked, but they can be extremely useful for cleaning your surroundings as well as yourself. Tissues can also be used if you encounter an aeroplane bathroom without toilet roll.

Food and drink

Long flights can be tiresome, and it is important to keep hydrated and have a bottle of water to hand. You can also use the water to clean your hands, if necessary. Make sure to buy or fill your bottle after you come through customs and pass the liquid restrictions. In-flight snacks can be expensive, and they also aren’t particularly nutritious, so you should remember to pack your own.

In conclusion

Packing your hand luggage thoughtfully can play a part in making sure your flight is as stress-free as possible. This is vital as the flight can set the tone for the entire holiday. If you have any doubts, refer back to the above list. This will help you remember all the basics you need.

About Kay Garrett

I’m Henpicked's editor, which means I'm lucky enough to spend my time reading the fabulous articles our authors send in. I'm a massive James Bond fan, an Agatha Christie geek and love films and books in general. Most of my spare time is spent with my husband and our two lively and very lovely daughters.