The Hang-ups with Hand Luggage

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but when it comes to travel, I’m cheap.

I hate paying extortionate airline fees to bring a bag with me.

I would honestly rather wear 4 jumpers and have my clean undies stashed in my pockets than pay £50 a bag. For long weekends or city breaks, I’ve always just stuck to hand luggage due to their versatility (and they save SO MUCH MONEY), but the discount-goblin inside of me does sometimes wonder how far I could push it. The maximum time I have survived on just hand luggage is 7 days, (where I’ve had to actually look presentable for the duration. If I can get away with no make up and a couple of old T-shirts, I would survive for weeks!) and when you think of it, can it really be that difficult? Some people are like-minded, and others cannot even fathom how it is possible to fit a weeks worth of clothing in a small case, let alone all the other stuff you need from day-to-day. I have both of these kind of people in my friendship circle and it’s a LOT easier if you’re both on the same page (One of my friends doesn’t let me book our trips anymore because she knows I wont pay extra for luggage). So, here is my advice on how to survive with just hand luggage. Some of it may sound like a bit of hard work to you, but just think, that extra £££ could get you guys a round in the nearest bar once you land!!

(I should also point out that I have been allowed to use my 35ltr backpack as hand luggage before {photo in the ‘Backpack or not to Backpack’ post}, however this post is based solely on hand luggage cases. Every Airline is different, so if you have a backpack you would like to take, take the measurements and call them up).

CLOTHES: Do any of you know of those people that have the ‘Cinderella effect’? The girls who wear no make-up and sports gear all day, only to turn up looking all glammed up and fabulous when you go out for dinner? Yeah, I’m definitely not one of those. I probably dress always slightly below average, at best (nobody has ‘the best night of their lives’ in heels and a body-con. Trust me.) Although not to everyone’s taste, my relaxed style works well when travelling. When I’m only using hand luggage, I tend to stick with dresses. They’re comfy, it’s easy to pack tights if it gets cold and you essentially have an entire outfit from one item of clothing. They also have that magic ability to be dressed up or down. Unless it’s something really fancy, I can’t stand getting changed into fresh clothes at the end of the day and so I just change my shoes, put on some lipstick and run a brush through my hair. Done. If you want to take trousers/shorts/skirts, try to mix and match to get a few days out of certain items. For example, I have a trusty leather skirt that I can pair with a few different styled tops, going from day to night.

SHOES: it depends on your activities but I’d always stick with one dressier shoe and one comfy shoe. Personally, I’m not a heels kind of girl, but I always wear my trusty leather Chelsea boots with a slight heel if I know I’m going somewhere dressy (in winter, summer is more for nice sandals). I think for short breaks you just need to be comfortable. When I went to Dublin in Winter, I only took my Chelsea boots, and worked my outfits around that (they’re worn in pretty well by this point so no worries of blisters). For a longer stay, maybe pack a pair of comfy trainers (I’m a converse girl myself). If you are putting shoes into your case, shove items into them (socks, undies, tights), push them together and put elastic bands around it all to keep it tight. I also usually keep my shoes in a plastic bag, to stop the soles from touching my clothes.

WEAR YOUR HEAVIEST THINGS ON THE PLANE: Needs must. Wear your coat. Wear the chunkiest shoes you are bringing and put on your jewelry. It just stops you wasting space in your bag.
TOILETRIES: With all of the rules and regs nowadays, it’s awkward to bring liquids onto a flight. my advise would be that if you can buy it pretty cheap there, just do that. I try to avoid bringing lots of liquids anyway, but it IS possible with a little preparation. At this point in time, you are only allowed to bring a SINGLE CLEAR, SEALABLE PLASTIC BAG containing 100ML OF EACH ITEM, to a total of 1LTR OF LIQUID. Certain things like lipsticks are usually counted as liquids also, however stick deodorants (not the liquid) are not, although these may differ with airlines. I’d always advise you to buy the little container jars, they’re a life saver for face washes and moisturizers that can take up a lot of the litre limit. Just measure out roughly how much you need and store it in them (I’m personally a coconut oil fiend, and use it for EVERYTHING, so a couple of little jars should last me a week or so). I have a travel toothpaste and toothbrush that lives in my bag (no point faffing around with my chunky home set). Remember that toothpaste is classed as liquid. I tend to buy the little shampoos or use freebies (magazines/hotels/testers etc.) when I’m away on a short break, however I do sometimes bring my travel sized Aussie set with me, especially if there is a few of us travelling together (one person takes the shampoo, another takes the toothpaste etc.). Remember that you are not allowed aerosols. Razors are a tricky one. Sometimes I have been allowed through and sometimes I have had them taken off me. It’s a gamble, and it’s up to you. I usually take either the Venus snap (the fact that it is contained in a case sometimes plays a role) or just a cheap razor from a multi-pack. To be honest, the worst that can happen is that they throw it away. (once you are through customs, you can usually buy razors in the Boots at the airport.)

GADGETS: I always try to travel as light as I can with gadgets. It usually comes down to my phone, my charger and my GoPro with a couple of accessories. If I’m in a group of friends, I always just share chargers etc. and I never take my laptop unless it’s a long trip. For my GoPro I have a little safety case that I can fit in a few extras. For a short trip, I usually take a couple of batteries, a spare SD Card and my 3-way stand. I also sometimes take my chest or wrist strap if we are doing any exciting activities. If ‘m going somewhere longer than a week, I also take my old iPad mini (4 years strong!) to act as a laptop and excess film storage. All of this doesn’t take up much space at all but if you re ever worried, keep what you can in your pockets (but remember to take them out when going through security!).

PACKING: Roll baby Roll. It stops your clothes getting so wrinkled and saves so much space. If clothes do get wrinkled, borrow a hair dryer/straighteners and give it a blast, they should fall right out. I also try to roll outfits together, so I’m not rummaging in my bag first thing in the morning. I am OBSESSED with little bags. I put bags in bags in bags. I always find a use for them, whether it’s for dirty clothes, shoes or make-up. Once I’m all bagged up, I like to really push all of the air out before packing. You’ll be surprised how much space you can save. A lot of strategic packing depends on if you know the type of place you are staying. I have a travel towel (would highly recommend, guys) but I don’t bring it if I know I’m staying in a hotel that provide towels and toiletries. You can usually find out what the hotel provides from the websites or trip advisor. Finally, when you’re almost packed, zip that baby up and stand it on its wheels. Bump it around a couple of times and you’ll find you have a bit more room at the top to slip any last-minute items in. This space is always good to keep though, in case your airline doesn’t let you have an item of hand luggage AND a handbag (check with the airline before you leave).

AIRPORT STRATEGY: Most cheap airlines are robbing bastards. For example, Ryanair charge £30 for 15kg, which no one wants to pay. They say you can have 10kg hand luggage for free, however, EVERY SINGLE TIME I have flown with them, they have taken the hand luggage off of people and placed them in the hold. I have 3 problems with this. Firstly, they do this after the first 20 people in the queue, so they all get to keep their hand luggage but they HAVE to take yours, in which case, you could have filled it with all of the liquids you want. Secondly, They take it pretty much immediately, so you don’t get any time to remove any items from the bags. This has caught me out before as I didn’t have a handbag and so had absolutely nothing on the plane. Now, I always have a small handbag with my toothbrush and a pair of undies in, in case they ever lost my bags. Finally, I . Hate. Luggage. Carousels. They are slow and just waste so much time. I’ve also had a backpack destroyed by being thrown onto the conveyor. Unfortunately, the only way to guarantee that you keep hold of your hand luggage is to make sure you are at the front of the queue. Usually on cheaper airlines, the over-head space isn’t great either, so if I were you, try to stick it under the seat in front of you.

And that’s it! I think its easy to convince yourself that you need more than you do. Realistically, as long as you have enough clean underwear, how many time are you going to get changed? If I find myself hording, I start training myself a few days before my trip. All I do is create a pile of stuff that I actual use in the corner of my bedroom. I only put it there as and when I use it and if I don’t use it repeatedly, it gets put away. I find that its good to do this with make-up, as I often end up filling my bag with lipsticks and old concealers that I never actually use. It’s a good way of de-cluttering for your holiday, but in day-to-day life to!


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