Hand Baggage Essentials



One thing I have learnt over my years from all my travelling, less is definitely more when it comes to hand baggage. Yes, you need the essentials like your Passport when going international (obviously), but don’t be that person carrying kilos of unnecessary hand baggage through the terminal.

Below are the essentials I always pack to take on board a flight. What else is really needed?


No explanation needed for why I have included this. For me this usually consists of a toothbrush and toothpaste, cologne and eye drops. There is no more uncomfortable a feeling of a furry mouth or the smell of ‘Eau de Boeing’. Most airlines offer a complimentary amenity bag these days, but always handy to have one on you just in case. If you don’t fancy packing a toothbrush, some extra strong mints or mouth wash strips will do the trick. Just remember when packing liquids of the restrictions!


While airline food has improved throughout the years, the snacks available on board aren’t exactly the best for you. Pack some crisps (potato chips) or protein bars, and you will feel a lot better than snacking on chocolate.


The amount of times I have sat on a plane and realised I’ve forgotten to buy a packet of sweets (candy to my North American readers) before take off. If you are prone to your ears blocking on take off and landing, the motion of chewing and sucking encourages swallowing, which allows the Eustachian tube to open and release air pressure.


Very important to stay hydrated when flying, and most long haul flights have water taps on board or fill the water at airport water fountains. Make sure the bottle is empty, as a lot of security checks will not let you through with any bottle with liquid in it.


We all carry headphones with us these days, but a good tip is to also use them for the in-flight entertainment. Headphones available on board are not always the best, using your own increases the quality of sound and is a lot more comfortable.


There is nothing worse than getting off a flight only to discover your baggage didn’t make it to the other end. Having a change of clothes will save you the stress if that happens, and it’s also great if you want to freshen up halfway through the flight.


Being on a plane is one of the few times where you have no choice but to switch off from the world of social media. A flight is the perfect time to go back to reading. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a novel. I find a travel guide to where you are flying to is great.


If you want to get some sort of “sleep” on a plane, earplugs are essential. Also great if you want to cancel out all the noise around you and get some quiet time.


IMPORTANT! This is actually the most essential item you could bring with you. How many times have you gone to fill out an immigration form to realise you didn’t pack a pen. You don’t want to be that person frantically filling in forms at the crowded booths at passport control.


Nothing worse than your phone going flat before you land. How would you order a Uber? Buy yourself a back up battery charger for on the go, they come in very handy and saves you from fighting over power points at the airport.


I’m sure I’m not the only one out there that suffers from indigestion when flying. It never bothers me in everyday life but as soon as board a flight hours later I become crippled with pain. I find a couple of tablets thrown into my travel bag really helps with any discomfort later on.