How to Pack All Your Stuff In Your Hand Luggage

Last Updated on November 10, 2019

how to pack all your stuff into just your hand luggage

I couldn’t believe it when I heard of people being able to pack everything they needed for a 2 week holiday into just their hand luggage.  I didn’t think it was possible, but I have seen it done so I gave it a try and decided to give you some tips on how to pack all your belongings into your carry case!  Just think, you don’t have to wait around for your luggage to come through those annoyingly slow conveyor belts and the airline can’t lose your bag because you will have it with you the whole time!  Bonus!


  • Check the airlines measurements for hand luggage restrictions.  Each airline will not only have a weight allowance but also measurements.  Sometimes you are pretty lucky and they won’t even look at your hand luggage but other times they can be very strict and check everything down to the detail.  You will need to find a bag that will fit into these measurements.  Remember if you get one with a suitcase styled handle then that will add to the weight so the best thing, is to get one with straps so you can wear as a backpack. Shoulder strap bags are annoying and heavy when just on one shoulder so the best thing is to get a backpack style to even out the weight.


  • Only take two types of shoes.  The heaviest is to be worn and the other pair should be a pair of jandals or sandals.  For men, wear sneakers and then take jandals or boat shoes.  The plus with taking a pair of boat shoes or sandals is that you can wear them out if you are wanting to have a night on the town as well.  Jandals you may have a problem with because they aren’t as dressy.


  • If your packing everything into just your hand luggage you will not have room to be stylish and plus that is not what travelling is about anyway!  Make sure you pick simple clothes. Think practical and maybe don’t bring that jumpsuit you have worm once.  If you desperately stink and don’t have enough clothes to see you through your holiday then usually the hostel/hotel you are staying at can organize for your laundry to be cleaned!


  • Get back down to the basics in terms of grooming.  You don’t need to take nail files, eyebrow pluckers and fake eyelashes.  Get back to the basics and only take necessities. Change out makeup to tinted moisturizer which will give you basic coverage.  If you need to take shampoo and conditioner use your conditioner as a body wash as well then that is one less bottle you have to take.  As you will just be taking hand luggage you will only be allowed to pick a certain amount of liquids so think wisely what you need.


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  • Give yourself an allowance for buying things like shavers and other grooming needs if you absolutely need them.  You will not able allowed to take shavers or scissors so give yourself a bit of money to buy the things you can’t take in your hand luggage.  Buy the cheapest you can because you will just have to throw these out at the end anyway.


If worst comes to worst and you end up buying too much crap then just wear everything you can to the airport.  Makes for good entertainment and an even better photo!  Just packing everything into your hand luggage might save you $50 that you can spend on something else!  If you are needing help with accommodation check out Agoda and Hostelworld, they both have fantastic deals.

how to pack all your stuff in your hand luggage

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The Comments

  • Neha Verma
    September 23, 2016

    This is wonderful! Even I have learnt a lot through my travel. Although I haven’t yet reached the state where all my things would fit into just one backpack, still I have managed to reduce my luggage to just half of what it was earlier. Usually I carry small travel bottles for cosmetics and toiletries which I refill if required from local supermarkets. Since we all use international brands of products, we get them everywhere. I have also learnt several techniques from fellow travelers like how to fold cloths compact, weed out the unnecessary etc.

  • Lisa Live Low and Slow
    March 12, 2017

    Having spent a year backpacking around the world with a 7 year old for a year I did learn what was really needed and not. Like those enormous torches that needed batteries the size of a mug, or the full set of 100 colouring pens, and the hospital size first aid kit that never got used! I did eventually ditch the first two and downsized the first aid kit to emergency essentials.

    A couple of years later son and I headed off to Egypt for a couple of weeks. I continued to travel a bit like a backpacker, booking a package holiday for ease and then going off track…saving £££’s into the bargain too. Arriving at the hotel the look on Muhammed’s face, the hotel manager, was priceless. He’d gotten immediately concerned and assumed our luggage had gotten ‘lost’. It took quite a bit of convincing that our two small rucksacks were all we had for our two week stay.

    The freedom of having less is so liberating and cost effective.

    The son is now 23 and living his own life, so I just have to convince my new-ish partner that ‘travel lite’ is the way to go for our forthcoming indefinite travelling adventures… it’ll be interesting to say the least. How does one decide to ‘pack your back for the rest of your life’. My initial thoughts are taken nothing and see what happens, but don’t think that one will fly with him indoors!