What is in your hand luggage?

What is in your hand luggage? By Packing my Suitcase.

I have to confess: I love packing. What I don’t like is unpacking. Probably because going on a trip is much more exciting than returning from one. In any case, packing is an important step to start your trip with the right foot. There is no coming back if you forget to pack a certain item, and you just don’t want to get upset over something you could have avoided. Right? Right!

I know that travelling light is a nightmare for any woman, especially with the airlines limitations nowadays. I have always admired people who manage to travel only with a hand luggage. How do they do that? Ok, if it is a short trip, fine. But if you are staying longer than 3 days you will most probably need some more room for your stuff.

I normally share a suitcase with W, the one I am checking in, and each one of us take a hand luggage (carry-on) with our personal things. That being said, what do you think I take on my hand luggage*? Any guesses? Well, I am soon leaving to Copenhagen for 6 days, and I decided to open up my hand luggage to you and reveal what I am taking along with me…

Of course, my documents and money are essential, so normally they are the first ones on board! This includes my passport, my German resident permit, credit and debit cards, insurance, money, etc.

What is in your hand luggage? By Packing my Suitcase.

I travel with a lot of electronics! Laptop, cameras, smartphone, tablet, headphones and all the chargers, which means that they probably take up almost all my space and weight allowance. They are my main travel companions; for listening to music, watching a movie/TV series, working on a new post, taking pictures during the flight and so on.

What is in your hand luggage? By Packing my Suitcase.

Plus my camera that is being used to take the photo!

I also like to bring some snacks. I am always worried about feeling hungry during the flight, so chocolates, cookies, and rice waffles are normally my choices.

What is in your hand luggage? By Packing my Suitcase.

I love reading, and I always like to bring a good book to read at the airport and during the flight.

What is in your hand luggage? By Packing my Suitcase.

I previously had problem with allergy during flights, so two essential items for me is my antihistaminic medicine and a package of paper tissues. Just in case I start sneezing.

What is in your hand luggage? By Packing my Suitcase.

Lip balm, as my lips get really dry during the flight.

What is in your hand luggage? By Packing my Suitcase.

Some basic make-up, so I don’t look so tired when I finally arrive at my final destination!

What is in your hand luggage? By Packing my Suitcase.

My travel plan (I do one for every trip, with addresses, reservations and must see’s).

What is in your hand luggage? By Packing my Suitcase.

 My travel journal and pens for registering my trip, which already starts on the flight.

What is in your hand luggage? By Packing my Suitcase.

I always avoid packing liquids on my hand luggage. It is never convenient to pass through security check with so many electronics plus liquids! However, whenever I take some (medicine, lip gloss, etc.) I make sure to put them in a Ziploc bag.

What is in your hand luggage? By Packing my Suitcase.

All ready!

What is in your hand luggage? By Packing my Suitcase.

What is in your hand luggage? By Packing my Suitcase.

What is in your hand luggage? By Packing my Suitcase.

 * I normally take my personal purse and a carry on. The smaller stuff goes in my purse, the rest on my carry on.

No matter where I am travelling to, I tend to pack the same things, for no especial reason, but it is probably because I have found my own ideal way of packing my hand luggage. I believe that many of you might not enjoy packing your hand luggage, right? I can totally understand that. It always seems to never have enough space, or that it is always heavier than it should be.

Thinking about that, I decided to share with you a little list of basic things you should consider taking on your hand luggage**, keeping in mind the restrictions and weight allowances of the airline companies:

  1. Documents (passport, insurance, driver license, credit and debit cards, etc.)
  2. Snacks (preferably healthy, like cereal bars)
  3. Electronics (laptop, smartphone, cameras, tablets, headphones, etc.) and their respective chargers.
  4. Travel plan, maps and/or guides
  5. Personal medicine, lip balm and paper tissues
  6. Books or magazines
  7. Extra clothes, at least 1 item of each (t-shirt, jeans, underwear, socks). Especially if it is a long haul-flight.
  8. Other personal items of your choice: glasses, mini perfume/deodorant, make-up, mirror, hairbands, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.

 ** Assuming that you are also bringing a suitcase to be checked in.

Important notes:

  • Keep in mind the restrictions and weight allowances of the airline you are traveling with.
  • Don’t forget to put your liquids in a Ziploc bag to save time at the airport’s security check!
  • Make sure you are not bringing any pointy objects like scissors or pocketknives.
  • Last but not least: is your carry on within the dimensions permitted as cabin luggage?

For some extra information for packing your hand luggage and preparing for your next trip, take a look at all these very useful advices from Purple Parking to be aware of restrictions and much more.

Now I want to know…. what is in your hand luggage? Have you ever managed to travel with only a hand luggage?



*Disclosure: this post was an editorial collaboration.

About Allane

A Brazilian living in Germany. Married to W. mommy to a baby girl and a Golden Retriever. Traveler, writer, aspiring photographer, diver, wine appreciator, Formula 1 fan, avid reader of historical and young adult fictions books. City girl, nature lover, believer of a better world, one little change at a time.

  • Perfect timing! I’m heading to Cambodia and Thailand for an 11-day trip tomorrow and plan to travel with a hand / camera bag and a check-in bag the size of your hand luggage bag – perks of travelling in the tropics, I guess. 😉

    • hahaha yaaay!! Awesome… I hope it helps you somehow 😀 and wowww, Cambodia and Thailand! It sounds like an unforgettable trip <3 I hope you make a safe trip and have lots of fun 😀

  • I can’t agree more with the unpacking part. I hate the feeling of a trip being over, so I postpone it as much as possible 🙂

    • hahahaha me too!!! It is always hard to unpack everything…. not to mention the work! But well, traveling always means packing and unpacking. As long as we keep traveling, it should be fine 😀

      • I have to be honest, last summer I used to go camping every weekend, so I didn’t unpack the whole summer hahaha. At least I got depressed only once :))

        • hahahaha how awesome!! That was a great idea, you only had to go through the pain once 😀

  • I guess what you have mentioned above is absolutely essential.

  • Super helpful, love this post!

    • Thank you so much dear 😀 happy that you liked it!!

  • I only travel with a small sports bag 🙂 Only on hiking trips I would also carry a daypack with me. I think I’ve taken “packing my bag” to a new level. Thanks for sharing your luggage with us! 🙂

    • Oh my really?? You are my inspirations then 😀 you certainly are in a whole new level hahaha

  • I am the same, I love to pack but hate unpacking, haha. I never traveled just with hand luggage, mostly because I don’t have to worry about what things I can and can’t take with me on the plane. Have fun in Copenhagen, I can’t wait to hear all about it! 😀

    • hahahaha we are the same then 😀
      Thank you Vlad!! CPH has been amazing… already leaving today 🙁
      You will have a wonderful time here during summer 😉

  • Lately I don’t know what to pack in my suitcase, different things become essential year after year!

    • You are right, every year it might change…. there are always some new things in the market and ended up choosing new things to pack 😀

  • I cannot believe how organized you are. I am far from that organized. I wish I was organized like you though.
    I always make sure to bring a change of clothes in my hand luggage. Always some underwear, a t- shirts, and pants or shorts. This because if the main luggage get lost, I have to change after a long flight. One time it actually happened and then I was really happy I had it. 🙂

    • hahahaha thank you! I try… and most of the time I also have to pack for my hubby too!!
      You are right, that is a great idea… it never happened to me, but I’m afraid it will someday and I better get used to packing some spare clothes too!!

  • BookOfBokeh

    Brilliant and succinct. One suggestion: you can cut out the book with a Kndle app.

    • hahaha I know… but I am still the kind of person who loves a paperback book 😀

  • I can see that you also like to do some sketches/water colour paint… ? do you do that when you travels? and what kind of equipments do you pack for this?

    • hahaha, no actually I don’t paint. I use it to highlight my text or to make little notes 😀 also to circle things on the maps. 😀

  • Similar list than yours, minus the book 😉

  • earthwanderess

    I love packing too!! And to push minimalism to it’s end. I only travel with a hand luggage, even when I go to the other side of the world xD

    • Ohh my really?? You are the example to all of us! I can’t manage to travel only with a hand luggage, especially if it is to a place far! Great job 😀

  • I don’t like packing and unpacking is easy for me because most of the clothes just go directly to the laundry. Here is what I take on my carry on 🙂 http://anewlifewandering.com/2014/12/08/whats-in-my-bag-when-i-travel-by-air/

    • hahaha cool!!! Most of my things also go to the laundry, that is for sure 😀

  • I’ve learned the hard way about included an extra set of clothing in hand luggage when my checked bag got lost for a few days over the holidays this year. I try to travel with only hand luggage if I’m going for less than a week, which usually involves stuffing my backpack to the limit

    • Ohhh nooo 🙁 until today I have had no problems with that, but I am afraid that one day it might happen, so I really need to start packing extra clothes in my hand luggage! Great job on traveling only with your backpack!!

  • If my trip is a week or shorter, I only travel with carry-on luggage. Last fall I went on a 5-day trip to the Baltics with JUST my purse (albeit a sizable Furla). If I do have a carry-on suitcase with me, my purse is rather small – nothing like your roomy longchamp 🙂 So it is filled with: ultra-thin Lenovo laptop, DSLR camera, wallet/passort/mobile and mobile charger only (other chargers go into the suitcase), gum, Xanax and Advil (+Trazadone for 6+ hr flight), and in my makeup bag – concealer, lip balm and facial moisturizer. Plus a small notebook and a couple of pens. I dont bring snacks – usually I eat at the best airport restaurant before boarding, and then stick to wine and water on board.

    • That’s awesome!!! You are a pro, since you travel so much! Good job 😀
      Oh well, I don’t always have the time to eat at the airport, but when I do I also eat before my flight. But I always carry snacks anyways, sometimes a get bored and just want a little sweet 😀

  • I have got this update on my list, mine is pretty much all goes on board with a backpack. This is telling me to do the update.

  • I totally agree with this list!! A paperback and some snacks are very important. 😀

  • Like you, I love packing and hate unpacking (which I have to do today, but I’m procrastinating). I am a woman and yet I am a very light packer! It is freeing to not drag too much stuff around. I can do up to two full weeks with only carry-on bags; the only time I check luggage is when I’ll be hiking for many weeks and need a big duffel. I always figure I’m on the move so much that no one will notice I keep wearing the same outfits!

    • hahaha oh no!! I hope it unpacking was not so bad this time 😀
      Ohh you rock, that’s amazing… I wish a could do that!! I always bring too much outfits in the end, even if I only pack basic t-shirts looking almost all the same 🙁 gotta learn with you!! It is always better to travel light, especially if you are going somewhere where you have to walk a lot with your luggage!

  • Great pack list and I love that neat little tripod – I always end up leaving mine behind because it’s too big…

    • Thank you dear!! This little tripod is veeery practical. It is not heavy and it’s extendable, perfect for a trip 😀

  • I hate unpacking to, but try to do it as soon as possible, because I don’t like luggage lying around for long! I admit that I usually have a checked luggage, but during my latest trip I spent one week out of a hand luggage. The most difficult part was cosmetics. Thankfully I have a collection of samples to choose from and also found tiny containers (about 15ml) for things I didn’t have in samples!
    A quick question: what brand is your tripod? It looks so portable!

    • You are right!! It is better to unpack as soon as possible… otherwise we end up leaving for the day after and the day after… hahaha
      I arrived yesterday and made sure to unpack everything already so today I didnt have to worry about it!

      Ohhh my tripod used to be my mom’s, it is a veeery old one, though almost not used. The brand is called The Stabiliser, I don’t even know if it exists anymore! It is very practical though, it get small and compact, perfect to taking for a trip 😀

  • Mabel Kwong

    I loved this post! That is quite a a few things in your hand luggage but you seem to be able to squeeze it all in! I also love MAC makeup and Kinder Bueno and I need antihistamines in the plane…so I would looove to be sitting next to you on your flight 😀 Also I see a tripod? I am looking for a tripod to buy!

    Usually in my hand luggage I will put my essentials like passport and some money, map of how to get to the hotel, camera, book, and of course a stuffed monkey to keep me company all the way and back 😉

    • Ohhhh we really do have many things in common <3
      Yess, it is a tripod… this one is pretty old, my mom gave it to me as she almost doesn't use it 😀 I like it because it is very practical to take for a trip!

      Awnnnn I also used to take a teddy bear on my trips… as I am afraid of heights hahaha… take-off and landing are a bit stressful for me hahaha 😀
      Great list!

      • Mabel Kwong

        Lol, the tripod looks like it’s new! So lucky it’s from your mum. They are very expensive, I hate that but hopefully one day I will get one 😀

        I didn’t know take off and landing are stressful for you. I am afraid of flying in general, and my favourite part of the flight is the landing part. Don’t like the part right after that when everyone stands up and rush to get their overhead luggage, so chaotic 🙁

        • Yesss, I know they are veeery expensive 🙁
          My mom had this one since before I was born can you believe it? She almost didnt use it so she gave it to me. It really looks brand new!
          Speaking of expensive, I need a new lens, but they are sooo expensive 🙁 need to save up a little!

          Yes, take off and landing for me are a bit stressful… It wasnt always like this. I think with time I became afraid of it… but it’s fine, I know how to handle it 😀
          You are right, after landing there is always the chaos to rushing to get the luggages. I actually hate waiting for the luggage hahaha

  • Thank you Gi 😀
    Yes you are right… let’s say it is already included in the extra pieces of clothes. 😀

  • hahaha thank you dear 😀
    The travel plan is veeery helpful, during the trip I always carry it with me, so I know what to do next or where to find the places 😀

  • Ooohhh my, you are a pro already!!
    I am getting better with travelling only with a hand luggage, and I am very happy about that. It certainly makes things easier 😀

  • hahaha yess, I take a lot of stuff depending on the trip and on how much weight the airline allows. Underwear is veeery important 😀

  • hahahaha good point!! I think I might have to reveal that sometime soon 😀

  • Lately I have been doing that too. I have found miniatures of everything I use, so I just leave it there for the next trip 😀

  • hahaha I think it might all change for me when I have kids though 😀 at the moment only the dog and the hubby makes a mess 😀

  • hahaha good observation! Yes, I like to bring it printed… I like to take notes, and scratch things, and as you I also feel safer, just in case something happened with the electronics and I can’t open what I need 😀

  • 😀

    yesss, I looove books, I can never exchange it for kindle! There is nothing like touching the pages of a book, and using a bookmark! 😀

  • hahaha oh my! I can imagine that it is very different coming back from a camping trip, you certainly take more stuff along 😀

  • hahahaa happy that you found it useful 😀
    I hope it helps you on the next trip!

  • hahaha oh my!!
    I think with kids is different, you always need to take a lot along, so I couldn’t manage to pack it all in a suitcase either! It’s already hard enough to pack only for myself 😀

  • hahahaha don’t worry you are not the only one have problem with travelling only with a hand luggage. The first time I managed to do that was this year 😀 I always take a big suitcase which I share with my husband.
    You are right, having a print copy it’s the best 😀

  • Thank you dear, I hope it helps you on your next trip!
    Nowadays I try to take less as possible on my hand luggage, I also hate it when it’s heavy and I have to walk the entire airport with it haha.
    Yesss, allergies on places is soo not cool 🙁 I always need to be prepared in case it happens.

  • hahaha it’s pretty hard, especially with kids I guess. This year for the first time I took only a carry on, but sometimes I just give in and check my suitcase 😀

  • hahahaha I think practice helped me out a bit. For one year I had to travel back and forth between Geneva and Munich, so I had to pack a lot. But in most of the case I take my suitcase, this only what I take on my hand luggage 😀 though, this year I managed to travel with only a carry on.. it was hard work deciding what I really need hahaha

  • hahahaha same here!! I hate unpacking, especially if it is from a long trip 😀

  • hahaha same here!!! Though this year I finally managed to travel with only a carry on 😀

  • Yaaaay someone like me 😀
    The swim suit is important 😉

  • A travel plan is very helpful, especially if at some point you won’t have internet access.
    I hope you enjoy your trip to Budapest 😀

  • hahaha I find traveling with only a carry on too much work, and you have to give up so many things! I have managed to do it once this year and it was a challenge hahaha
    I can’t give up my paperbacks, I don’t like reading on tablets, but it’s that you like it, this way you have more books along 😀

  • hahahaha it happens to me too! Sometimes I forget about the Ipad and then when I already passed through security someone calls me and says “you forgot to take your Ipad out”, oh my, I hate that.