14 Travel Hacks For Packing Hand Luggage Only To Avoid The Queue

Put a metaphorical middle finger up to those budget airlines by hacking your packing.
Dodge the queues and excessive costs by ditching on check-in luggage
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Dodge the queues and excessive costs by ditching on check-in luggage

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Whether you’re looking to swerve the sky-high hold luggage prices, or just can’t face any more queueing than is necessary when airports are in such chaos, there’s never been a better time to go hand-luggage only for your holidays.

While some tickets entitle passengers to store a 10kg cabin bag in the plane’s overhead lockers, the more budget airlines charge extra for this, and insist your free carry-on bag must fit underneath the seat in front of you.

But don’t let this deter you; according to the many travellers of Tiktok, it’s totally possible to fit everything you need for up to a week away in a rucksack, holdall or mini-suitcase.

Alongside key tricks like rolling your clothes rather than folding them, and wearing your bulkiest items for the flight, these hacks will help you fit everything you need in your hand-luggage.

Pick a handy holdall that slides under the seat
Available in black, charcoal, navy, baby pink, and berry red, this holdall has been designed for under-seat storage in mind. It’s quite basic in design, but has a 20 litre capacity, and can be carried by its velcro-clasped handles or slung over the shoulder.
Or go for a stylish backpack you’ll use throughout your hol
If you’re after something a little more chic, this black backpack lined with pretty rose gold detailing won’t disappoint. Guaranteed to fit under your seat, it’s got a 20L capacity, external laptop sleeve, quick access top pocket, and a pop-out water bottle holder.
Decant your liquids into little see-through bottles
All less than 100ml, this nifty set comes with two large bottles, three smaller bottles, two mini tubs with handy application spatulas, and a facial cleansing brush. Plus, they all have changeable labels, so you can quickly identify what’s in each one.
Charge all devices with a clever 3-in-1 cable
Too many cables will bring chaos to your carry-on bag so go for a 3-in-1 gadget like this. With IP, Micro-USB, and Type-C ports, this is all you need to keep any devices charged. Best of all, its cable is fully retractable so incredibly compact to store.
Swap the stack of paperbacks for a slimline Kindle
Although nothing quite beats the feel of a fresh paperback, a Kindle is far more convenient if you’re the kind of person who gets through a book a day on holiday. Plus, a single charge lasts weeks, so you probably won’t even need to make space for a charging cable.
Pack your clothes into some clever compression cubes
An upgrade from your classic packing cubes, these clever ones come with compression zips that reduce the depth of each cube to just 3cm. There are three sizes, each with breathable mesh panels so your clothes stay fresh, and the set comes with a handy laundry bag!
Take a break from sightseeing to visit a local launderette
If you’ve not got enough room to pack a new outfit for everyday of your travels, then going to the laundrette will definitely end up still being cheaper than checking a bag into the hold. Just pack these biodegradable laundry strips so you don’t have to hunt down detergent, too.
Or just plan to do a trusty sink rinse
Finding a washing machine not feasible? Then handwashing is the next best thing! Simply dissolve one or two teaspoons of this travel wash gel into a basin of hot or cold water, clean your clothes, rinse off the soap, and hang them out to dry.
Store your toiletries in a bag that's TSA approved
When you’ve got luggage that’s filled to the brim, trying to dig out and decant all your toiletries into a see-through sandwich bag at security can be quite the exercise. To avoid the hassle, choose a TSA-approved toiletries bag that can be placed straight on a tray.
Wear a money belt to keep your cash close by
Keep personal effects to-hand instead of constantly having to rifle through your rucksack, by getting yourself this slimline money belt. A great way to quite literally attach your cash to you, it’s also a superb sightseeing solution if you’re worried about potential thieves.
Use an organiser to ensure jewellery is transported tangle-free
With six ring rolls, three necklace hooks, four divided compartments, and an elastic pocket and a zip pocket, this compact case is the perfect size for transporting some of your favourite pieces, and will ensure everything stays untangled.
Swap the shampoo bottle for solid bar alternatives
If 100ml just won’t cut it for shampoo and conditioner, then go for solid bars instead. Designed to last up to twenty washes, these clever bars are available as both shampoo and conditioner – and are each easily stored in one of these nifty tins once used.
Pack a waterproof pouch for wet swimmies
For later flights back home, pack a waterproof pouch so you can get a swim in without having to worry about making sure your swimmies are dry before putting them in your carry-on bag. A far better way to spend your final day than just waiting around in the lobby!
Keep passports and boarding passes in plastic wallets
Avoid the awkwardness of presenting airline staff with a passport that’s attached to a pair of knickers by keeping your essentials separate from your luggage. You can easily make them accessible by keeping them in an A5 plastic wallet.