How to fit everything into your hand luggage!


In today's economic climate, now, more then ever, its important to save money on your holiday. In this blog Holiday Homes in Italy Rental Manager Kate draws on her years of experience to help save you money.

Not one for paying up to £60 return for a less then generous 15kg of hold luggage, Holiday Homes in Italy Rental Manager Kate is an expert at fitting everything into her hand luggage.  Take a look at Kate's top tips for squeezing a weeks worth of clothing and accessories into your hand luggage and save money on expensive hold luggage!

A Weeks worth of clothing in hand luggage? Yes it can be done!  

I travel to Italy often for business, and its quite easy to fit all you need into your hand luggage if you are going alone for 2 - 3 days but as I became a more experienced flyer, I started to challenge myself to managing longer and longer with just hand luggage.  The benefits of doing this are not only financial, it is much easier to manoeuvre through the airport with just hand luggage and if you are hiring a car there is no waiting for luggage when your plane lands, you go straight through and can be one of the first in the car hire queue which can save hours on your travel time!

I can now go on holiday for a whole week with just hand luggage using common, a bit of initiative and a few handy tips I have picked up over the years

My top tips for fitting a weeks worth of holiday essentials into hand luggage

  1. Luggage.   Making sure you have the correct size and lightweight luggage to start with is very important.  Investing in a hand luggage suitcase at your local shop will be a wise purchase and will ensure you have the maximum space as well as the lightest bag.  Failing this a rucksack is usually as lightweight as you can get and it can be easier to transport around with you.  Just make sure you have checked the size you are allowed on your flight carrier website, it will be in the terms and conditions.  As Ryan Air probably have the worst allowance of any of the low cost airlines,  and are the strictest,  I have used their terms and conditions as a guide. Ryan Air website states "Strictly one item of cabin baggage per passenger (excluding infants) weighing up to 10kg with maximum dimensions of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm is permitted. (handbag, briefcase, laptop, shop purchases, camera etc.) must be carried in your 1 permitted piece of cabin baggage 10kg with maximum dimensions of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm is permitted" For more information you can check out their General Terms & Conditions of Carriage.  I have a Tripp air steward style hand luggage case (picture below) which has maximum space, I have had it for many years and it still shows very little signs of wear and tear, well worth the investment! The Tripp Superlite selection are brilliant and lightweight. When choosing the bag, check out how much it weighs to start with, Louis Vuitton might look the part but if it weighs 5kg before you have even put anything in it then its not going to be suitable. 
  2. Condense your toiletries down.  I never pack full size versions of anything.  Any of the pound shops will stock sets of small plastic bottles which you can fill up with all your essentials including shampoo, conditioner, hair gel, shower gel, moisturiser even toothpaste! You can even get tiny perfume dispensers which is a huge space saver, especially if you like to take more then 1 bottle of perfume or aftershave with you.  You just have to remember that the maximum allowance per item is 100ml, so basically each bottle or container MUST be transparent and must not weight more then 100ml.  Here is what Ryan Air website says: "passenger cabin baggage containing any liquids, gels, pastes, lotions or liquid cosmetics MUST be presented at the airport passenger security point in a transparent resealable bag of no more than one litre capacity (e.g. 20cm x 20cm ziplock freezer bag). Only gels, pastes, lotions and liquid cosmetics in containers of 100mls or less will be permitted through the passenger security screening points at all EU/EEA Airports, please note there is a limit of one transparent resealable plastic bag per person"  Every little amount of space and weight you can save means you can pack another top, shorts, bikini or trunks or any other item of clothing you prefer.  This is a massive space saver and those little bottles will easily hold a weeks worth of toiletries if you are economical with them
  3. Buy your suntan cream/aftersun at the airport.  If you are a family of 4 then you will benefit from buying a large bottle of whatever factor you prefer in the airport shopping. Because with hand luggage you can not carry more then 100ml in each bottle this is the best route. Its not so expensive these days and most airports have a Boots which stocks everything you would need, usually at a similar price to the high street. The extra few pounds you might spend on a bottle at the airport far our weigh the amount it will cost you to pay for hold luggage.   You will already be through customs at this point so you can purchase any size you like.  By the time me, my husband and son have applied this all week there is very little left so when we leave we simply put  the rest in the recycle bin on resort and head to the airport.
  4. Think about what you are going to wear.  I used to pack everything I had, my entire summer wardrobe went into my suitcase and most of it came back without even being taken out of the suitcase! This take a little planning but it will work out well for you in the end.  Think about how many days and nights you are away, the times you will be to and from the airport,  and plan out your clothing accordingly.  Lets face it, in the day time you generally are only likely to need your swim wear, a sarong/summer dress or shorts and t-shirt and a pair of flip flops so you just need to think about your evenings.  Wear the same outfit twice in the week and you will only need to pack about 3 lots of evening wear.  If it gets stained, wash it on location, either by just running it through in the sink and peg out, it will be ready to wear again in a few hours! wash your swim wear through and peg out at night and you will only need 1 or 2 costumes.
  5. Vacuum Pack your clothes - when you have finally decided what to wear, load your clothing into vacuum packing bags and suck every last inch out of them before packing into your hand luggage. This will create essential space in your bag, either for adding another item or for presents on the way back.  I bought 3 vacuum pack bags for £1 at Poundland. Just be careful about the weight as you condense down the size, keep weighing your luggage and try to leave a few grams in case of discrepancies between your scales and the airports.
  6. Finally - Wear your most heavy and bulky clothing onto the plane.  This goes without saying but shoes can be the bulkiest and heaviest item in your luggage so make sure you wear your heaviest pair on the plane.  Its all good and well trying to look your best in the airport, but by the time you have spent hours in the lounge, on the plane and transferring to resort you never look your best so wear your jeans, these are by far the heaviest of all clothing, take your jacket or cardigan with you, tie your jumper round your waist, put your hat on, double up your t-shirt and wear under a jumper, your heaviest clothing, jumper or coat, trousers should always be warn on to the plane, there are no restrictions as to how much clothing you can physically wear.  I read a story once about a man who put his snow boots on in the airport because they were too heavy in his luggage.  The airline told him he couldn't wear them but as there was nothing in their terms and conditions to say what was appropriate footwear for the plane he was aloud on it and was probably about £40 - £60 better off! Now I am not encouraging this as it is an extreme example but you get the general idea!
Have a great holiday, enjoy the one piece of luggage when others are struggling through with several and enjoy planing your week knowing that you will have less washing to go home to!

If you haven't booked your holiday yet, check out our website for some really great deals on Italian Holiday Rental


  1. This atlantic luggage may be packed with the business man or woman's essentials and then carried on the plane so when the plane land the individual simply needs to get off the plane and head to their final destination without wasting any time stopping off and waiting for their checked luggage.

  2. Thanks for the post, really appreciate it. Will stop by again!

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  3. Nice and very interesting. Thank you for your sharing...........

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