Many budget airlines like @easyJet and @Ryanair allow generous hand luggage so I rarely  add a bag. But when I recently booked a flight that allowed only 6kgs hand luggage my initial plan was to pay to add a bag on, discovering a £45 baggage fee I decided to save my pennies. My flight was with @ThomasCookUK but many charter airlines have a similar hand luggage allowance so if you choose to book flight only, you may be faced with this decision in the future. I have compiled my actual packing list for this trip plus a few extra tips I have learned over the years.


Use a lightweight bag

I have a fabric case which conforms to hand luggage size requirements and also has wheels, it was only cheap but it does the job for now until I can invest in a better quality backpack style one.

Roll your clothes

You can spot an expert packer in seconds as they do not fold but roll, you will be surprised how much extra you can get in and your clothes are less likely to get creased too!

Lightweight clothing

This was a sunny holiday destination so I picked the lightest clothes and shoes I had and was wearing my jumper and jacket if it had been cooler in the evenings. It is hard to leave you favourite dress and bulky beach bag at home but this is the sacrifice you have to make for the 6kgs allowance. Thin garments will also dry quicker if you need to wash anything.

Save mini toiletries

Any free sample or travel size toiletries I have get saved for trips, this also goes for any sachets in magazines and any good sized plastic containers that I think will come in handy. Remember no liquids can be over 100ml for hand luggage. Any extras you don’t have can be purchased at the airport.


What I wore

comfy/smart jogger style trousers (could substitute for jeans?)

long sleeved t-shirt

jumper (that also converts to a cardigan!)

denim jacket

scarf (long one that also doubles as a sarong)


holiday hat (saves space and any damages)

undies: bra, pants and socks

Jewellery and accessories: watch, 2 rings, 2 bracelets, small chain necklace and large necklace, earrings, hair bobbles and clasps

I also carried a small handbag with passport, purse, mobile, ipod and a book. (Choose a bag that you can use day and night).

What I packed

1 x pyjamas

2 x summer beach dresses

2 x smarter evening dresses

1 x pair of flat black shoes

1 x maxi skirt

1 x shorts

1 x vest top

1 x smart top

1 x flip flops

2 x bikinis


1 x bra

3 x knickers

2 x pairs of socks

1 x plastic bag filled with mini toiletries and make up

1 x sunglasses


Nikon D90 and 18-70 lens (probably half the weight but I need my camera!)

mobile charger, iPod charger

notebook and pen

selfie stick

travel adapter

beach towel

lightweight canvas shopper bag (for the beach)

For those of you who do not need to take a DSLR camera on your trip you could probably exchange this weight for a kindle or tablet if you choose, or take more clothes. I was only away for a week but think I had plenty choice of things to mix and match if I had stayed a fortnight. I actually still came home with a few unworn garments, so please give this a try and see how it goes.

What is your experience of hand luggage only packing? Any tips to add?


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If you enjoyed this, check out what to pack when backpacking!