How to Pack for a Holiday If You’re Only Taking Hand Luggage

The summer season is typically the time when everyone jets off on their summer holidays to enjoy two weeks of sun, sea and laughter in a Mediterranean resort. And with the great British summer leaving a lot to be desired, it’s something that more of us are considering.

It’s easy knowing what to pack for a summer break. Bikinis, shorts, vests, sun cream, after sun… But what do you pack if you’re going on a city break? And more importantly, what do you pack if you’re only taking hand luggage?!

Firstly, and essentially, what you need to do first is create a list.



A no-brainer. If you’re packing for a short trip, then be sure to make a list of everything you will need to pack and then when you finally do, be sure to do it in advance of the holiday (not an hour before you’re being picked up!) so that you can ensure you have everything you need and it all fits in.

You’ll need your passport and travel documents for sure, a phone charger with adapter if you’re going to a country where the plugs are different, socks, underwear, any hair styling products (and remember to keep these towards the top of your case so they can be easily removed during security checks), any electricals including iPads, notebooks or cameras and don’t forget about the liquid allowance!



What bag do you take? The next all-important question you should consider. Suitcase? Or holdall? Suitcases tend to be easier when travelling, and especially with kids and a partner, but they can sometimes be deceptively small as opposed to a fabric holdall which packs a lot in!

If you do take a case, be sure to invest in a good, sturdy and high-quality one as nobody wants the wheels to fall off whilst running through the airport!



Whether it’s a city break or beach holiday it’s important to decide on the clothing you’ll take. Especially when taking only hand luggage as if you choose the wrong items, you’ll be forced to wear one outfit throughout the duration of your getaway.

Comfy shoes are a must. Sure, take sandals or flip-flops as they’re comfortable when on the beach and in hot weather as they allow your feet to breathe but if you have a pair of trusty go-to shoes then be sure to take or wear these as a spare. No one likes the agonising pain of having blistered or bloody feet after your shoes rub.

Layers are also a must. Prepare for every eventuality and if, for any reason, you encounter some sunburn a flowing kaftan, lightweight scarf or even t-shirt will do wonders for protecting you or the children against even more potential sunburn.

Make sure you do have enough underwear and socks if you’re taking anything other than flip-flops. If you or the family will be wearing trainers, the heat can cause the feet to rub and become blistered so take precautions.

Also, don’t forget a small handbag, as it’s great for holding travel documents whilst you’re on the way, but also when you arrive at your destination it can keep all your valuables safe whilst out and about. When you’re round the pool or in the hotel complex, keep your valuables in the bag and lock it away somewhere safe so that you’ll always know where they are and they aren’t scattered around the room.


As everyone is entitled to a certain amount of hand luggage be sure you buy some small, travel size containers and put enough sun cream in each of these to cover the duration of the holiday. The limit is 100ml so distribute each bottle to a member of the family (and especially those who don’t take many toiletries) who can pop them in their clear plastic bag.

Remember to take handy travel size shampoos and conditioners if you don’t like the complimentary hotel ones as well as toothpaste and other everyday essentials.

Finally, remember to ensure you’ve got plenty of storage on your phone and camera and bring spare memory cards if needs be to ensure you can capture these treasured moments! And enjoy!


How do you pack when only taking hand luggage? Be sure to get in touch on Facebook or Twitter and let us know!

Posted on