Packing tips for carry on

Last updated on February 5th, 2018 at 03:33 pm

Travelling with carry on only on budget airline isn’t easy – you got the liquid restriction, size restriction and only airline magazines for entertainment. However, with their unbeatable prices, you can only grit your teeth and adhere to the increasingly intricate rules of carry on restriction to save the extra dosh on something more worth it.

Carry on luggage size

The Ultimate guide to packing your carry on for budget airline flights. Learn how to beat the hand luggage restrictions by airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet.

The two most popular budget airlines in UK are Ryan air and Easyjet. Surprisingly, Ryan air is the more lenient of the two and offer travelers a 10kg limit of a carry on of 55 x 40 x 20 cm size, as well as an extra carry on of 35 x 20 x 20 cm dimension. Though allowing a bag up to 56 x 45 x 25 cm, Easyjet only guarantee your luggage with you if it’s smaller than 50 x 40 x 20cm and you can only take one bag.

Here’s a list of budget airlines and their hand luggage restrictions:

budget airline packing tips europe
budget airline packing tips europe

Whilst this might not be a problem for some, those of you who are a heavy packer, like me will cry in outrage. How on Earth are we supposed to fit everything we need into such a small space? However, since I been on two one-month-long trips this summer, I realised that you really can pack as little as that and still be okay, as long as you are prepared.


1)     Plan your outfits two, no three times


Whether it is for a weekend getaway or a month-long trip – choose your favourite outfits, then choose from it your favourites, then again. This will help you narrow down which really is your favourite and save you the dead weight and used space in your carry on. If you are not that picky, do it twice only. Remember that unless you are heading off into the wilderness (in which case you really need that 20kg luggage), there’s nothing you can’t buy once you get there.

> Here’s my minimalistic outfit guide!   

2)     Get those 100ml bottles from Primark or drug stores

smelling good

There are really no needs to succumb to buying those small travel portion shampoo and conditioners they have in boots that cost an arm or leg. Be green and buy a set of travel bottles for 1 pound and save yourself some money. Unless you shower three times a day, a 100ml bottle of shampoo can last you for up to a month. Same goes for any of your favourite skin care products – put them into those handy little clear, circular containers. This way, you can fit a lot into your 20 x 20 cm plastic bag and your carry on.

And need I remind you that you are only allowed liquids in less than 100ml bottle, even if the actual content in it is less than 100ml.

P.S. despite listing makeup in the list, if it’s only small things like lip balm, concealer or mascara you can usually get away with not putting it in (though it’s not a 100% guarantee, I was never penalized for leaving them out.)

3)     Clear plastic bags: save some for next trip


Speaking of the clear little plastic bags, you might be shocked to know that not every airport offers them for free. What? Aren’t they compulsory to put your liquids in? Yes. You can grab some (in fact, tons) for free at Heathrow and Gatwick, but if you are flying from Stansted or Luton, bring you own, otherwise you will have to pay 1 pounds for five even if you only need one. If you are a frequent traveler, just grab a few and reuse them – saves you time as well. I have a couple of them in my usual carry on bag just so I always have some. 

4)     Solid body lotions

All The Colours Of The Triangle

These are, on official records, not allowed on the flight. In practice, however, some friends and I had managed to get them through in our carry on several times. The tip is to bring ones that are solid-like so they don’t flow. But this one is not guaranteed to succeed.


5)     Wear all the chunky stuff

EDC 2.0 (part 2 of 3)

This is especially true for shoes. If you are bringing a pair of walking boots, or any chunky footwear it’s best to conserve space by wearing it. Bundle as many layers on your body as you can, it might look weird but you are saving precious space.          

6)     Send in one bag as a group Tis the season

If there are enough of you going together, and you all have something you desperately want to bring that is liquid (or simply running out of space) then it might be feasible to send one in together. This will make it more economical and also, if you are all in it together than no one can point fingers when you wait for luggage. This is useful for bring sunscreen and toiletries so you don’t have to do the 100ml bottles.

The Ultimate guide to packing for budget airline flights. Learn how to beat the hand luggage restrictions by airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet.
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Written by Nam Cheah

Hi, my name is Nam. I am 24 and spent half my life in Hong Kong and the other half in UK. I believe there's endless experience and beauty in the world and this is me chronicling how to experience the best at the best price.

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