Gear & Equipment, Transportation, Travel Tips

Tips and tricks on how to pack your cabin baggage

I know how hard it can be when you have your first flight to prepare – packing your luggage properly can be quite a challenge – especially as a girl!

Actually when I first travelled by plane to London I didn’t even know that I can take my beauty products so I had to pay a big tax for an extra luggage just for that and a few clothes. But in the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to travel very much by plane in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany and so many other countries that I’ve become an expert in packing my cabin luggage.

Hopefully these simple tips and tricks will help you as much as they once helped me!

The size of the cabin bag

First of all, you should really check out what is the allowed type of cabin luggage – different airlines have different rules. If you travel low cost (like I almost always prefer for short distances) you have to pay extra attention. For example Ryanair (one of the most used low-cost flight company in Europe) allows you to take 2 cabin baggages, a small one (like a purse) and a normal one that shouldn’t weigh more than 10kg. But this varies depending on the company, there are some where you can carry no more than one small backpack or some that allow you to take larger bags.

Image via OZ Bargain Mart.

So, after you are sure of the correct baggage requirements depending on the flight company you are flying with, we can go to the next step.

Liquids and Hygiene products

A general rule for is that you are actually allowed to take liquids in your cabin bag, but they set some limits to that. First of all, the containers should not be over 100ml. For example, if you have a liquid soap container of 200ml but it’s just half empty, it won’t work. All the containers (it’s best if they are marked) should have a volume of maximum 100ml.

So OK you’ll just put everything in small containers and that’s it – but there is also a limit of the whole quantity of liquids that you are allowed to bring with you in the cabin. The maximum quantity of liquids is just one liter. This means that you can take up to 10 small bottles and plastic containers (this may depend on the volume of your containers).

What is very important now is that you will have to put all of your liquid beauty products in only one sealable transparent plastic bag. They usually have this type of bags at the airport, at some airports they even charge you a small fee for them but most of the times they will offer them for free. I really prefer to put all of my products in a plastic bag at home, because you really never know who will check or luggage and what might happen. You will be asked to take out of your bag the transparent bag with liquid products and put them separately so they will check them properly.

OK, now you know how to pack your liquids, but you don’t really know what to categorize as a liquid maybe. I have to tell that almost all of the beauty products are liquids, from face and body lotions to deodorants and face foundations. Lipsticks unless they are lip-glosses they won’t be marked as liquids. Of course, no 0,5l or 0,33 bottles of water.

Here’s some Tips:

  • Use a solid soap instead of a liquid one, this will help spare some space in your small transparent plastic bag.
  • Buy some small packs with travelling containers or use the bottles from the shower gels and shampoos from other hotels or hostels.
  • You can use a reusable bottle water, like those from cycling or mountain tracking, but be sure they are empty before you go to the check point, otherwise they will have to take the whole bottle.
  • Dried shampoos might be a better substitute for liquid ones.
  • Don’t forget to take some pads or tampons that you are used to from home country. Many countries have different types and sizes and you might end up frustrating yourself and spending money on products you cannot use or aren’t in conformity with your needs.
  • Wet wipes are not liquids, so don’t be afraid to take them with you, they will help you get through many situations.


Food & Medicine

Of course you can take some food with you, I wish I knew that the first 10 times I travelled by plane. The condition is that, they should be not liquids. Biscuits, sandwiches, even chocolate, or big boxes of flapjacks (like I always use to buy when I am coming back from London). Even fruits like bananas and apples, just be sure they aren’t to ripe so they will mess all of your clothes up. At one moment I even forgot a small plastic container with humus and nobody told me anything, but I won’t do this next time as this might have been just my lucky experience. For the fruits it’s easier if you chop them and put them in sealable food small boxes.

You can take along baby food and medicine, if you’re traveling with a baby. Because some of you might travel with their babies and I’ve seen a lot of people travelling like this in the past few years, you have to know that even though you are not allowed to take some types of food and water for you, you can pack baby food. There is still one condition, you will have to put them in a resealable plastic bag like you do with your beauty products and liquids.If you are seriously ill or you only have a flu, you should know that you are allowed to take your pills with you. Just to be sure, put them in a separate plastic bag or paper bag, it really doesn’t matter, and don’t forget to ask your doctor or pharmacist for a copy of your prescription, in case there’s something wrong with one of the medicines you take when they will check your bag.

You must be aware of the fact that some countries have banned some pills and drugs which means that at some point even if in your country are just normal pills in others may be illegal, so check them first on the internet.

Pocket knifes, scissors and other sharp tools

We all know how useful they are when you travel, I personally love my small tools, it really got me out of some very ugly situations, but there are some things you might want to know. Normal knifes are forbidden, you maybe are not surprise by this, but I’m telling you, there are lots of people who don’t know this and think that they can take all of their cutlery with them just because they want to have a nice picnic in another country.



Pocket knifes, well this part is quite tricky because if you travel in most of the countries there is no problem if you have a small one, but I once had a problem at an airport in Portugal where they wanted to keep my pocket knife because they thought that it exceeded the normal length.

Scissors, just to be sure, just don’t take them with you, it’s much easier if you have a pocket knife that also has a scissor, but usually you are not allowed with one even though some of them can only cut paper.

Tips: Check out for a hostel that has a kitchen, this way you will not have to take any cutlery with you.


You can also take your laptop, tablet, mobile phone, whatever pleases you, but you really have to remember to put them on flight mode or shut them down during the flight. If you carry a laptop or big tablets you will be asked to take them out of your bag at the security check point, this doesn’t mean that they will take them from you, so don’t panic. I personally prefer to only take my tablet, is smaller and lighter than a laptop so I don’t have to carry lots of weight on my shoulders around the town and on my way to the airport. Besides, if you don’t travel for business you usually need your laptop for e-mails, Facebook or whatever social media website you use.

Don’t forget about chargers. It is way easier to have only one charger. Most of the small electronics and gadgets nowadays use a microUSB cable, so it’s easier to just take one, but if the cables are different is always a better choice to take some small adapters. Before travelling to a country don’t forget that some countries use different voltages and have different plugs (beware especially with US-UK-continental Europe). Even if most of the times you will find a plug adapter in the Duty-Free it is most advisable to buy one from your home country (it’s usually cheaper and this way you will don’t have to stress yourself about not finding the adapter you need).

Tips: If you don’t really need your computer just take a tablet, or your smartphone might work just as fine for e-mail checking.


Well, you can basically take everything you want just be sure you don’t take more than you need. For example if you are travelling in the Summer maybe you will want to take more skirts or t-shirts than when you travel in the Winter time. If you travel for 5 days or so, 5 t-shirts and 2 skirts or pants/jeans will be more than enough. If you travel in the Winter time, well you don’t really need so many shirts but if you take one hoodie instead of 2 or 3 long-sleeved shirts might save you some space and also might be a lot warmer and comfortable. You don’t really want to not be able to move yourself freely when you visit monuments and lots of places in a day, might also be quite frustrating.

Tips: Don’t forget to take one pair of flip-flops with you. At hostels most of the time you will have to share the bathroom with lots of people and this way you will keep your feet safe from different types of bacteria that might be found in the showers or bathrooms. They are also really useful because you don’t really want to go to the bathroom in your boots.


All in all, the most important tip is that you really need to take some time and patience to prepare you baggage so that you won’t have any type of problems at the check point in the airports. Keep tidy and take some time to keep everything in place, this way you will be able to take more things and also souvenirs for your loved ones when you’re coming back.

So, now you should be set up and good to go. I hoped that this will help pack your hand luggage or cabin luggage when you travel by plane, and don’t forget to share with us if you have any ideas, comments or feedback! Enjoy your travels!


You Might Also Like


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.