Proper Packing: Packing your Hand Luggage | Long trips

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Sorting my hand luggage is normally the last bit of packing I do for any trip, and without preparing properly (throwing everything in there in a mad rush when your dad is shouting at you) it can end up a bit of a mess and missing some important things you need.

Packing your hand luggage for long trips | Read my tips at

A tidy mess? The ugliest flat lay ever?

The bag itself
Leaving for my season, I decided to turn up to the airport with a giant handbag, one of those open bucket style ones. Not only was the bag gaping wide open showing off all my stuff (and making it much more likely to fall out) but it was so bloody HEAVY. My shoulder was dead after 5 minutes of carrying that thing. We ended up buying a backpack with lots of sections and pockets at the airport which was waaay better for me, but I don’t think my Dad’s wallet would agree. (It was about £60, ouch.)

Save yourself the trouble, and buy a backpack before. While it might not be the look you are going for, I just looked like a right ol’ wolly when I thought I looked fabulous (read: I looked like a twat with no idea). Look for one that is lightweight, sturdy and has separate parts for you to put your laptop, tablet, phone, passport & documents & everything else. It will save you the stress of panicking (when your passport is stuck under your giant heavy laptop) as everything will be organised. 🙂


Important Documents
I like to have a folder prepared for any trip that will include: passport, visa, supporting documents for visa, cash, travel insurance, e-ticket, hostel/hotel details, transport details and any contact numbers that I may need. I do tend to over-prepare on this front, but I get so worried about my phone dying on me (it’s happened before) so I can feel really secure that I have everything I need. Getting a folder organised before you have packed everything else will put your mind at ease and you know that you can handle any problems very quickly.


Have a hassle free security experience by packing all your liquids in a clear plastic bag before you leave the house. Even if it’s a sandwich bag, you can easily switch it over at the airport instead of rummaging about in your bag and getting flustered when you think you’re compromising national security cos of that 10ml lipgloss that’s rolling around at the bottom of your bag.


Make sure that all your gear is charged up, they do random security checks now and might not let your stuff go through with you if it can’t be turned on. You can take plugs and wires in your hand luggage, but don’t take loads as it will just confuse you. Another tip is to only take what you know you need, so don’t take a camera if you know you will use your phone the whole time. Do you need both an iPad and a laptop? You might, but others wont. So just have a think about what you truly need before you go. It will save you luggage space, weight and the worry of getting things lost or stolen.


Your Survival Kit
When I travel, I have a few things that I must have in my hand luggage. This includes fluffy socks, chewing gum, travel wrist bands, sunglasses, tissues, lip balm & hand cream. I always put socks on as my feet get cold, and it gives me a bit of comfort on the plane. If I forgot to take them, I would probably feel off all day. Work out what your personal survival kit consists of and have it ready to go. It could include things like a toothbrush, eye-mask, deodorant… You will feel much happier and give yourself a little bit of comfort on an otherwise uncomfortable journey.


Pssstt! If you need packing tips for checked baggage, click here! 😉


If you have any prescriptions, or know you suffer from travel sickness, then have your medication packed somewhere easy to access in your bag. It would be the worst thing to come unstuck at the airport and make a stressful experience more difficult! I always include my contraceptive pill, painkillers and plasters just in case.


Flat Lay
Okay I’m not really telling you to Pinterest or Instagram your hand luggage stylishly, but having everything laid out next to the bag makes it easy to see what you’re missing. I like to do this rather than actually pack my bag the night before, then packing it doubles up as a final check before I leave and I can grab any last minute bits that pop into my head.


I hope this helps you, and gives you a few ideas to have the most cruisey airport experience ever. I never have an issue with packing now that I have a structured lil plan to follow.

Do you have a survival kit? How do you pack your hand luggage for long trips?

Let me know in the comments 🙂

xo Becca

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