Make Travelling with Hand Luggage Easy with these 5 Steps

Posted on Tuesday, 19 March 2017

More and more of our customers are opting to travel with hand luggage only. After all, charges of more than £40 for 15kg of luggage in the hold are enough to encourage anyone to travel light!

We decided to bring you our top tips on packing light to avoid those dreaded excess baggage fees. It’s no longer just for business travellers and short breaks – with these five simple steps, you too can go hand luggage only for your next holiday.

Step one: buy the right hand luggage

You may be tempted to invest in one of those luxury hard-shell suitcases which you’ve seen glamorous travellers toting around, but stop right there. Hard-shell cases are not your friend, when it comes to squeezing a week’s worth of clothes into a hand luggage-sized case.

Soft cases are your new best friend, as they can hold much more, have space to expand and they’re significantly lighter than the alternative.

Annoyingly, hand luggage rules vary depending on which airline you’re flying with, so always check before you travel. As a general guide, sticking to the following sizes should see you through security with the majority of airlines (but PLEASE check as we don’t want to be held responsible for ruining your holiday!): maximum length 56 cm , maximum width 45 cm , maximum depth 25 cm . These sizings include wheels, handles and external pockets, so be careful when measuring!

Step two: what to pack in your hand luggage

Let’s face it, we ALL pack too much for any given holiday and it’s a tough habit to break! Ask yourself, did you really wear every pair of sandals you took on your last holiday? And did you seriously need a different bikini for each day of the trip?

If you’re anything like us, the answer to both of the above will be a reluctant no.

But there’s never been a better time to streamline your packing act than when you find yourself faced with a modest hand luggage allowance for a week away.

We’ve put together a basic list of essential items which will all fit into a 10kg hand luggage sized case. Stick to it and you’ll be sorted!


Driving licence
Boarding tickets
Bank cards
EHIC card


1 pair of flip-flops OR sandals (you don’t need both, so choose!)
2 pairs of shorts or skirts
1 x belt (top tip – wear it on the plane!)
2-4 x daytime tops or shirts
1 x hat (again, wear on the plane to save valuable space)
1 x trainers (wear these to travel for comfort and space-saving)
2 x dresses
1 pair of jeans (wear them on the plane)
1 x jacket (wear it to travel)
2 x swimsuits
7 pairs of underwear
3 pairs of socks
1 x dressy top
1 x dressy trousers or skirt


Mobile phone (don’t forget your charger and earphones)
First aid essentials
Adaptors for the correct destination
Small clear bag of makeup with essential items
Beach towel

And that’s it.

Guidebooks and maps may come in handy, but you can always photocopy the pages you need or pick them up at your destination.

Step three: limit your liquids

It’s no wonder one of the top holiday-related Google searches is “what liquids can I carry in my hand luggage?” We can always use a reminder, so here we go.

You’re permitted to carry a maximum of 10 containers of up to 100ml of liquid in your hand luggage, adding up to a total of 1000ml maximum.

If this will be a struggle, simply stock up on minis at duty free or when you arrive at your destination. There’s no need to haul everything there with you – most resorts and holiday destinations will have a nearby store when you can pick up everything you need.

Step four: pack smart with these space saving tips for hand luggage success

We promise, it IS possible to fit everything you need for a week away your hand luggage. But it all comes down to some carefully planning before you even open your case to start.

Follow our tips for packing excellence!

  • Roll, don’t fold! You can fit more in and it reduces creasing, too. Soon, you will be on a roll!
  • Put fragile items in the middle, surrounded by things like towels and shoes, to protect them
  • Wear as much as possible to travel, within reason! Jackets, hats, trainers and accessories can all be worn for your journey. After all, airlines don’t weigh people (thankfully!). Just make sure you’ll be able to do the same on your return journey – leave that winter coat in the car!
  • Make sure electrical items are near the top of your case or in a separate pocket so you can easily access them when you go through security

Step five: weigh it up

Don’t undo all your hard work by falling at the final hurdle, when you place that case on the scales at the airport.

Weigh your carry-on case and make sure its dimensions comply with your chosen airline’s limits. When you arrive at the airport, pop your case in the hand luggage holds before security to make sure it’s not bulging at the seams – you can always quickly rearrange items or wear a few more things just to get past security!

Things to know before you go

Although travelling with hand luggage can be a cheaper and more streamlined way to holiday, there are downsides.

Each aeroplane can only carry a certain number of cases in the overhead compartments, so if you’re one of the unlucky passengers, you could be asked to check your hand luggage into the hold.

Unfortunately, this seems to be happening more and more frequently. A Ryanair Boeing 737 seats 189 passengers but can only actually fit 90 hand luggage sized cases in the overhead compartments.

If this does happen, your hand luggage might not be covered by your travel insurance policy, so be sure to check with your provider before you purchase.

Start your holiday the right way with Airport Park & Ride

Our final tip for today is to start your holiday off in style by booking your airport parking with Airport Park & Ride.

Browse Glasgow Airport car parks and book securely here .