From how much liquid to cabin bag sizes and electronic gadgets – expert advice on packing for the plane

  • Seasoned travellers have revealed the best ways to pack your hand luggage 
  • These top tips will help you decide what you should and shouldn’t take with you

Packing can be one of the most stressful things about going on holiday, especially if you aren’t sure on what to bring with you. 

Many airlines restrict hand luggage to one bag per passenger with strict measurements and guidelines on what you can and can’t pack. 

Some of these requirements are set to change, and passengers may be able to fit more into their hand luggage. 

Amid all these rules, you still have to decide what to bring. But worry not, these travel experts have advised what you should and shouldn’t pack when travelling on a plane.

UK airports are set to scrap the 100ml liquid rule by 2024 and will introduce new 3D CT scanners which allows passengers up to 2ml liquid bottles

What is the maximum cabin bag size?

The maximum cabin bag size depends on which airline you’re flying with, it’s a good idea to check each airline’s and airport hand luggage requirements before setting off. 

On Ryanair flights for example, each passenger can take a personal bag of 40x20x25cm.

While easy jet allows hand luggage sizes of 25x36x20cm and a maximum weight limit of 15kg.

As a general rule, all bags must be able to fit under the seat in front of you. 

If the your hand luggage exceeds the amount, your luggage may be refused at the boarding gate or you might be fined by the airline.  

How much liquid should I take in my hand luggage?

READ MORE: British airport scraps 100ml liquid rule and will allow passengers to carry up to two litres in their hand luggage

One of the main questions passengers have before jetting off on holiday, is how much liquid to take with you. 

Thankfully, many UK airports are scrapping the 100ml liquid rule and adding new 3D security scanners which allow passengers to carry up to two liters of fluids.

The Department for Transport has set airports a 2024 deadline to ensure the CT scanners are installed, but until then jetsetters will have to abide by the limits. 

Monica Stott, travel blogger for Travel Hack, advised checking if your accommodation supplies the necessities such as shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. 

She suggested avoiding heavy liquids is one way to travel light. ‘I use tiny 10ml sample pots and face care as you don’t really need a lot,’ she said.

According to experts, packing light is the best way to travel and passengers use every bit of space in their hand luggage 

What electronics gadgets can I bring?

According to the UK Government website, you can only take certain electronic and electrical items on flights to the UK . 

These include: Phones, Laptops, tablets, hairdryers/ straighteners, travel irons, electric shavers and e-cigarettes. 

You can also take camera equipment with you but their might be some restrictions on certain equipment. 

Some airlines may have certain restrictions in place so it is always best to check their website before flying.

How to maximise space in your hand luggage 

Travel writer Tom Bourlet said keeping your liquids at the top of your hand luggage is a good way to maximise travel space. 

‘I tend to bring them in a clear transparent bag so I don’t need to fish around my bag at the airport, I just take it straight out,’ he said. 

Also, packing light is the best way to travel and, if you have any heavy items Mr Bourlet suggested packing them towards the bottom of your hand luggage. 

Packing cubes can help organise your hand luggage but might not save you much space, rolling is reportedly a good method to pack clothes

If you don’t have enough space in your hand luggage , seasoned travellers suggest buying something from duty free and transferring your items into the carrier bag 

Shoes can take up the majority of space, so Ms Stott suggested finding a comfy every-day shoe to pack. 

Mr Bourlet added: ‘If I’m bringing more than one pair of shoes, I’ll wear the bulkiest on the journey. You should also make sure to slip in your pairs of socks into the spare shoes to make the most of the room.’

READ MORE: Etiquette experts say you should only recline your seat on a flight in these circumstances 

Ms Stott said passion compression cubes can be a good way to organise your hand luggage but won’t actually save you much space. 

She suggested keeping your essential items easily accessible and at the top of your hand luggage.  

‘If you’re running out of space you’re best off avoiding packing cubes and accepting that your luggage will feel a bit chaotic,’ she said. 

To avoid chaos, Mr Bourlet said to make sure there is no ‘dead space’ in your hand luggage. 

He suggested being ‘tactical’ when packing by rolling clothes and filling every last bit of space.

If you don’t have enough room in your carry-on, Darryl Newby, seasoned traveller and co-founder of Welcome to Travel suggested buying something at duty free to transfer hand luggage items to the plastic carrier bag. 

‘You can make a small purchase in the airport, say chewing gum or a packet of mints, ask for a carry-on bag and pop any excess items that do not fit into the bag.’ 

Mr Bourlet agreed: ‘Some will allow for a second bag, such as a hand bag or carrier bag, so if you’re struggling for space, you can shift a few items over, especially if the issue surrounds the weight of your luggage.’

Both experts said backpacks or suitcases could be used, Ms Stott commented: ‘I really like hybrid suitcase backpacks which you can easily convert from suitcases depending on the situation.’ 

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