The 21 most useful things you NEED to pack in your hand luggage

In partnership with Readly

Holidays are amazing, aren’t they? The sunshine, the adventure, the new people, the sunshine, the exciting experiences and, did we mention, the sunshine… But you have to get there first, so it’s all about the packing, the queues, the delays, the packing, the lugging heavy magazines in the airport and, did we mention, the packing. Ugh. It can be so stressful. 

Packing a huge suitcase to check in isn’t the hardest part, it’s the carry-on luggage that can be tricky. Firstly, choose your bag wisely – we’re talking lots of pockets. Secondly, don’t pack ‘just in case items’ - there’s no room for doubt, you must be decisive, ruthless even. And thirdly, always bear security in mind and have all toiletries at the top of your bag, ready to whip out in a this-isn’t-my-first-rodeo move. 

1/ Packing cubes

These genius bags are useful for organising items - they could be simple zip-lock bags or more durable travel packing cubes or even compression bags. Using these means you can compartmentalise your travel gear with each bag for a different category of item.

Top tip: pack swimwear in one and put in easy reach for a speedy swim on arrival 

2/ Dry Shampoo

This is a must-pack, just make sure it’s under 100ml. It’s perfect for if you want a little refresh before landing, plus imagine if your full suitcase doesn’t join you in your destination!

3/ Oil blotting sheets (especially if you’re going somewhere hot!)

One sheet will soak up any excess shine and leave skin soft and smooth. They’re perfect to keep to hand for long journeys.

4/ Transparent bag for your toiletries

Keep it at the top of your bag and opting for a clear bag means security can easily inspect the items and get you through quickly and to your gate on time

5/ Travel pillow

You don’t want to be dribbling on your travel partners shoulder now, do you? It won’t take up much room but will make your travelling experience that much nicer, trust us. 

6/ Mini umbrella

It won’t take up much space, but if the weather, no matter where you are takes a turn for the worse you want to be ready.  Plan ahead, weather is the one thing you just can’t control on holiday.

7/ Electronic devices

With a travel cushion in one hand, a child in another and hay fever tablets shoved in your pocket, sometimes it's just too easy to leave your phone on charge on the hallway table. Make sure to write a note to remember it, because how else could you navigate to the best ice cream shop near your hotel?

8/ Disposable ear plugs

Great for blocking out any unwanted noise, both on the flight and the other side – hotels aren’t always as quiet as you’d like. 

9/ Hand sanitizer

Combat getting sick on your holiday with a reliable hand sanitizer – going for one that kills 99.9% of germs and creates a barrier for up to 24 hours will keep you covered. 

10/ Readly membership

One of the best things about holidays apart from sunshine, is the time to read a mag or three. But, let’s be honest, no one loves lugging them around and they’re not light, the average monthly magazine can weigh up to 4.5lbs!

Avoid weightlifting ahead of your hols and treat yourself to a Readly membership before you fly. You can use it on any tablet or phone, and, with over 4,000 mag titles to choose from, from celebrity and royalty, to real crime and Suduko, you might no longer mind those pesky flight delays…we said maybe.  

11/ Mini wet brush

Always pack with a ‘what if my suitcase doesn’t follow me’ thought, and this bad boy is something you want on your side. It will detangle post-shower hair in the least painful way and won’t take up much room in your bag. 

12/ Reusable water bottle

If you go for a fancy-pants thermos one you can keep your water cooler for longer.  

13/ Eye drops    

Because of all the air-conditioning moisture is always at an all-time low. 

14/ Extra pair of underwear 

Because you never know what’s going to happen on your flight – spilly spillersons. Or with your luggage, no one wants to be caught with your pants down.

15/ Baby wipes

Cheap, versatile, handy and refreshing. No baby required. 

16/ Travel friendly toiletries 

Exchanging your moisturiser for a sheet mask or a bottle of shampoo for a bar of your favourite hair care product, these are a few handy tips to avoid that pesky 100ml liquid limit at the airport.

17/ Blanket scarf

Because we all know just how cold planes can get – no matter where you’re going or when -30 degrees, no matter what. 

18/ Pack of bobbles

There’s nothing worse than wanting your hair up off your neck and nothing to do it with!

19/ Portable chargers

Perfect for if your flight is delayed and your phone battery is dying a slow and painful-to-watch death. There is nothing worse than running out of battery, especially if you are in the middle of reading your favourite magazine on Readly

20/ Pain killers

Paracetamol and ibuprofen are the best ones to keep in your hand luggage. Paracetamol is best to use if you’re also suffering a delicate stomach as it’s gentle on the lining. 

21/ Disinfectant wipes

Because everything is germy when travelling, plane trays, toilet doors, airports, taxis, other people… 

 Now all you need to do is the actual packing… Good luck! 

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