10 things to pack in your hand luggage


Does anyone else find packing your hand luggage can be just as tough as packing your main case?

I begin with just a couple of things, maybe a magazine and my phone, and before I know it my bag is overflowing with stuff. Cosmetics and gadgets and entertainment and food are spilling out of my bag and it’s so heavy I can barely lift it. By the time I get on the plane I’m a flustered mess because I just have so much stuff!

After years of practice I’ve finally managed to keep my hand luggage to a minimum and here are the 10 things I always fly with.

My 10 hand luggage essentials to try and keep that bag a little lighter

1. trtl sleepscarf

trtl sleepscarf.jpg

The trtl sleepscarf calls itself ‘the next generation of travel pillow’ and it’s a really comfortable way to get some shuteye during a long journey.

When I first saw it I thought it was one of the strangest designs ever but as soon as you’re wearing it you have that light bulb moment where you think, ‘How has this only just been designed?’

It basically a scarf with a strengthening rib you can rest your neck, chin or jaw against. You can comfortably relax and fall asleep with no head lolling or drooling on your neighbour’s shoulder. It’s particularly good if you have a middle seat on a plane and have nothing to lean on. It’s also small and lightweight so you don’t need to carry a bulky pillow.



2. Face wipes

I always travel with a pack of make-up removing face wipes. They’ll help you freshen up and remove the make-up smudged across your face after that awesome nap.


3. Battery to charge your phone

Power Tube MObile charger

While I’m at an airport I pretty much spend the entire time on my phone as I send the last few emails and catch up with friends and family before I leave, so I always arrive in my destination with a dead battery. There couldn’t be a worse time to have a dead battery when you need to use your maps and internet and get in touch with people.

I’ve arrived before and expected a driver to be waiting with my name on a sign but he wasn’t there and my battery was dead so I couldn’t phone anyone.

The moral of the story is to always have an external charger and write down important phone numbers and addresses!

Something like the Anker PowerCore + Mini is perfect as it charges quickly and it’s small and lightweight.


4. A huge cardigan

After travelling on a freezing cold overnight flight I never travelled without a large cardigan again. You can use it like a light blanket to keep you warm as not all airlines will have extra blankets to hand out.

A nice cardigan can also dress up a plain outfit so you can get away with wearing leggings and T-shirts.


5. Toothbrush and Toothpaste

Nothing freshens you up as quickly as brushing your teeth. This is especially important if you’re meeting a special someone at the airport!


6. Headphones

You can’t beat a comfortable pair of noise cancelling headphones for a flight. Block out the sounds of kids screaming, shouting parents, rowdy passengers and the noisy hum of the plane then close your eyes and escape to your own little world. I currently use Beats headphones but I’m drooling over the rose gold headphones by Frends.


7. iPad

I can’t imagine travelling without an iPad these days. An iPad helps you pack light as you have all your entertainment in one place. You’ve got your books, magazines, games, videos, movies, TV shows and music. Then if you decide to do some work you’ve also got all the tools you need for that too.


8. Vapur Water Bottle

I’m a big fan of the Vapur water bottle because they can be rolled away once you’ve finished with them. Save money on bottles of water and reduce wastage too.

They’re really handy when you’re flying. Long-haul flights usually have a drinking water tap onboard that is just big enough to fit a tiny glass beneath (it’s almost shot glass size, it’s ridiculous). This tap is handy to wet your whistle but a nightmare if you’re parched because you have to stand there for 10 minutes knocking back tiny cups of water. The Vapur water bottles, however, are flexible so you can bend them under the tap to fill them up. Handy!


9. Healthy snacks

I know the thought of eating healthy snacks isn’t particularly exciting but nothing makes you feel tired, bloated and groggy like a few beers and a tub of Pringles. Bring along some fruit and you’ll feel much better when you get off the plane. I usually stock up while I’m at Boots or Pret ready for the journey.


10. Posh eye mask

Posh eye mask - 10 things you need in your hand luggage for long-haul travelThis is the luxury extra you could definitely fly without but is always nice to have. This relaxing lavender eye pillow is slightly weighted so it helps you relax and the delicious smell will soothe you to sleep. Most airlines will provide an eye mask during a long haul flight but you can’t beat this posh one!

Are there any items you have to have in your hand luggage?

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10 hand luggage essentials



  1. Josie 7 years ago

    A huge scarf is the easiest way to make your journey comfortable, I always take a pashmina in my hand luggage!

    Josie xoxo Fashion Mumblr

    • TheTravelHack 7 years ago

      Definitely, I love a good pashmina. I end up using it all the time while I’m away too.

  2. Great hand luggage list! The neck pillow sounds really good. A scarf, a book and snacks are things I can’t get on a plane without! 🙂

  3. Jodie 7 years ago

    Great tips – definitely getting my hands on a vapour water bottle for my next long haul flight!

    • TheTravelHack 7 years ago

      Yes do. I love mine, I use it for everything and take it with me everywhere. I hate wasting plastic bottles but hate lugging empty ones around with me too.

  4. Emily Ray 7 years ago
  5. Charlie 7 years ago

    I’ve never heard of trtl sleepscarf, I’m totally going to look into getting one. I always try and use one of those travel pillows but find them so uncomfortable I always give up with it halfway through the flight. A big cotton scarf to act as an extra blanket is always a must.

    • TheTravelHack 7 years ago

      I’ve tried those horseshoe shaped ones before and I just don’t get them. They’re not comfy!

    • Heather 6 years ago

      You need to try a travel pillow called Resteaz. It really is good especially in airport seats. I also like not having to use the dirty armrests.

  6. That trtl sleepscarf is something else! Normally I’m adverse to things like that because of how they look, but this one seems to blend in nicely!

    • TheTravelHack 7 years ago

      It really does. If you were travelling in the winter it would blend in with your clothes no problem.

  7. Thanks for sharing this interesting articles! full of useful information! it’s really worth reading! keep up the great work!

  8. Jessica 7 years ago

    I hadn’t heard of the sleepscarf but I definitely want to check it out! I love the vapur water bottles too – they’re on my list as well!

  9. Caroline 7 years ago

    These are great tips, I am going on a long haul flight this month so this is really handy!

  10. That Trtl scarf is the BEST idea! Ugh, but they don’t ship to Canada yet. BOO! Gotta get my hands on one eventually!

  11. […] last week I read a post on The Travel Hack about things to pack in your carry-on luggage. One of the items the author highlighted was this neat travel scarf called the Trtl […]

  12. Elle Croft 7 years ago

    Oooh, I’m intrigued by that gum!
    And YES to the face wipes…I cannot travel anywhere without them! 🙂

  13. joey 7 years ago

    I have to try that gum – I’m intrigued.
    And yes to the soft tees and scarf – for long overnight transatlantic flights I usually bring comfy socks and sweatpants to sleep comfortably.
    I change as soon as I board the plane and change back before we land, and it makes uncomfortable economy class seats seem less so.

  14. Lauren 7 years ago

    Ok this is going to sound strange… But I ALWAYS pack at least a weeks worth of underwear in my carryon luggage just in case my checked luggage gets lost out delayed. It has never happened to me personally, but I was once traveling with a friend and her luggage got lost and she was stuck hand washing her only pair of underwear for a whole week until the airline tracked it down. I also bring at least one set of clothes for the same reason.

    • TheTravelHack 7 years ago

      I’ve heard of a lot of people doing this, especially with a few spare sets of underwear.
      I always think that lost luggage could be the perfect opportunity for a shopping spree!

  15. […] There’s more about my favourite travel pillow in 10 things to pack in your hand luggage. […]

  16. […] 8)      Keep Calm, it’s in your Carry On. Keep a small arsenal of just-in-case items in your carry on for the flight. Consider: a large, but not bulky scarf (think pashmina), an extra phone charger, a cotton t-shirt, face wipes, the trtl scarf for sleeping, and any small amount of snacks or toiletries. h/t: The Travel Hack  […]

  17. Tommy 6 years ago

    I always ensure i have my headphones in my luggage… everytime i travel!

    Tommy, Content Editor @ LuggageRate

  18. Stanley Chan 6 years ago

    Phone battery is the most important thing that must not be forgotten in your trip. Healthy snacks of course are definitely important in your whole trip. I cannot travel without my travel neck pillow. I’m used to wear it every time I travel and I’m comfortable to have it rather than trtl sleepscarf.

  19. […] // Anyone else just want them all?Read more:My dirty little travel beauty secrets10 things to pack in your hand luggage […]

  20. […] they’re normal glasses or sunglasses, they’ll still be space in there to add small hand luggage items. Tuck your earphones into them when you’re not listening to music, place your miniature liquid […]

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