Holidaymakers are largely at the mercy of airlines, but taking just hand luggage on flights is one way passengers can potentially avoid some of the chaos.
Packing a small bag, one that can be brought onto the plane rather than being checked into the hold, cuts down on delays waiting for the baggage at the other end and limits the chance it might go missing.
If you’re keen to fly with just hand baggage on your next trip, here are six tips to help you.
1. Choose your airline carefully
Take onboard baggage allowances into consideration when you’re booking your next flight. As some airlines clamp down on the weight allowed in the cabin ahead of peak summer travel, it pays to know what you’re getting before you book.
One of the best airlines when it comes to onboard baggage is British Airways, which allows one larger cabin bag up to 23kg in weight, as well as a handbag and laptop.
If you can afford it, opt to fly premium as business class passengers often enjoy better cabin baggage allowances such as with Flydubai, which allows two 7kg pieces in the cabin for premium travellers, but only one for those flying in economy.
2. Check for bonus baggage on budget airlines
When you’re flying on a budget you’re typically more restricted in terms of what you can bring onto the aircraft with you. However, often if you book priority seats or fast-track services you can enjoy extra carry-on luggage allowances.
This is the case with EasyJet which gives passengers who book certain seats an extra large cabin bag, in addition to their small under-seat bag. Wizz Air also lets passengers book priority fares to bring an extra bag on board. Ryanair gives travellers the option to purchase priority boarding, which comes with a bonus 10kg carry-on bag.
3. Pack smart
When you only have a limited amount of luggage allowance you need to pack smart. Fit more into your case by rolling clothes instead of folding them and opt for lightweight items such as microfibre beach towels or all-terrain shoes that you can wear hiking, at the beach or even out to dinner.
Use all available space by packing smaller items inside shoes and bags, and consider using smart luggage, which integrates a portable battery into your suitcase — meaning you may not even need to pack your phone charger.
4. Follow the rules
When you’re travelling without checked baggage, there are a few rules you need to adhere to. Everyone knows you cannot bring liquids over 100 millilitres onto planes at most airports, so it makes sense to ensure all yours are miniature sized and in a plastic bag.
Also, check your airline’s list of prohibited items, as there are some things that are perfectly acceptable in the hold, but are not allowed in the cabin such as some sports equipment, gel candles, large scissors and knives.
5. Wear your heaviest items
While you don’t want to be walking onto the aircraft like the Michelinman — it definitely pays to wear your heaviest items if you are only taking hand baggage on board.
Travel in your heaviest walking boots, chunkiest heels or bulkiest trainers and pack your sandals, flip-flops and espadrilles in your carry on. Wear any jeans you plan to take, as well as bulky cardigans or sweaters and carry your outdoor jacket with you onto the flight.
If you really want to push this, you can also put some things in your jacket pockets to maximise space in your carry on. Just make sure to take them out for the security checks.
6. Can you buy it there?
For most destinations, you don’t need to bring absolutely everything with you when you travel. Some stuff can be left behind, as it’s easy to find when you arrive. Things like toiletries and sunscreen are widely available in most destinations so leave yours behind.
It’s also worth considering renting specialised equipment such as bike helmets and scuba masks in your destination rather than having to bring your own gear when you travel.