Top tips for travelling with hand luggage only


Here are some of the top reasons from seasoned travellers, as to why travelling with hand luggage only, is their preference.

It saves you time. There is no need to stand in a queue to check in your bag, or to pick it up at the other end. It also means you get to the front of the taxi or car hire queue a lot faster.

You are more mobile. It is easier to navigate public transport, as well as walk anywhere, with hand luggage only.

It is safer. The airline can’t lose your bag if it is right above your head or under your feet. It is also safer on public transport or in taxis, as you usually keep it close to you.

It saves you money. With so many airlines charging for checked luggage, it is cheaper to travel with hand luggage only, leaving you the cash to spend on a nice meal, souvenir or local experience.

Pack small bottles of your essential toiletries and purchase larger versions airside, thereby not using your luggage allowance. You can of course use hotel toiletries, but personally I find that most hotel conditioner does not hit the spot and so I buy my own at the airport.


Bundle or roll your clothes, if bundling, do remember not to make your laptop the centre of the bundle as you will only have to undo it all at security!


Consider wash and wear items that do not crease.

Stuff shoes with socks, tights, pants, ties, jewellery etc

Use packing cubes and keep some small plastic bags in case you have any wet or damp items to pack.

Alternatively, hotel shower caps are great for wrapping damp or dirty shoes.

No, you do not need them all!

No, you do not need them all!

Wear your bulkiest items on the flight.

If travelling somewhere cold, pack a variety of layers, which can be dressed up or down and used for a number of situations, a day out, a nice dinner. Most cold countries have the heating on pretty high indoors, so that one big bulky jumper that takes up most of your luggage, could be a curse later.

Try to plan your wardrobe in advance, if you find that a challenge, there is an app that comes recommended, called Stylefinder.


A little cheat, Easyjet has an annual paid program, Easyjet Plus that allows you to choose your seat at no extra cost, and bring a handbag/rucksack or similar, that will fit under the seat, as well as a bag to go in the overhead locker. It also gives you access to Fast Track immigration at some airports. Worth paying for if you travel regularly.

Important note. Remember that some airlines have an extremely strict hand luggage policy. Emirates for example, has a 7kg allowance in economy, so keep this in mind when choosing your hand luggage.The US brand Tumi has some fabulous luggage, but some of the cabin luggage weighs in at 5kg, before you have even put anything in it!!

Obviously, hand luggage only might not work for every trip, but you could probably do it more often than you think, if you follow some of these tips.

If all of the above sounds far too complicated, perhaps you could invest in a session with a professional image consultant? A good one will help you find the colours that suit your skin tone, styles and shapes that suit you AND help you create that capsule wardrobe so that you look effortlessly stylish every time you travel. Now wouldn’t that be worth investing in?

Click here for some tips on Summer packing from one such professional image consultant, the very successful, Helen Reynolds.

Helen is also running a Masterclass in London, to help you get your style sorted. Click here for more details.

Some recommendations from contributors on where to buy great hand luggage include New Zealand brand Minaal, and also , and

Thank you to Susan Marot of and Alison Rothwell of for their suggestions on how to travel light, and Helen Reynolds of Helen Reynolds Style for allowing me to share her post with you.

Happy travels

Janet x

P.S All links are included purely for your reference.

Janet Mactavish