6 things to pack in your hand luggage when you fly

The sight of hundreds of suitcases piled up at Heathrow Airport recently – a result of a backlog in luggage handling – is enough to strike fear into the hearts of even the most confident traveler.

One thing is if your luggage gets lost on the way home, but if you are leaving on a long-awaited vacation, it is difficult to be without clothes and belongings, even for a few days.

Although you can claim insurance for any extra expenses, you still have to trudge around the shops (wasting valuable relaxation time), and you may not be able to find everything you need abroad.

Therefore, it is important to bring important items on board as part of the hand luggage allowance – for safety. Here is what you should always think about having in your hand luggage …

Important documents
Storing documents such as travel insurance, vaccination journals and booking references on your phone or tablet is the easiest way to take them with you – and it’s a good idea to have digital copies available in your inbox as well.

But for everything that needs to be a hard copy, such as tickets or visas that can not be easily replaced (even if you do not need them until later in the trip), keep them in a folder in your hand luggage.

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Medication
Depending on where you travel, medications can be difficult to replace – even with a prescription. Take at least a week of medications you are addicted to, and be sure to check before you travel, as restrictions on medications such as painkillers may vary between countries.

Electronics
In addition to your phone and tablet or laptop, be sure to pack chargers, cables, and an adapter if necessary. A universal adapter with several USB ports is a great space saver.

4. Sentimental elements
If the loss of an item would result in tears, do not risk putting it in the checked bag. Jewelry given by someone you love, for example, or a child’s favorite blanket / cuddle they can not sleep without, should be on hand.

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5. Spare clothes
If you include a few clothes, you will not have to buy replacements if your bag is delayed after the flight.

At the top of the list should be underwear and swimwear (if you are going on a beach holiday), plus a hat, sunglasses and versatile things like shorts and tops.

Wear your most useful shoes on the plane – ie trainers if you are going to walk a lot, or sandals if it is a relaxed itinerary.

6. Toiletries

Unless you are staying in a fancy hotel with mini toiletries, a small set of necessities (in bottles no larger than 100 ml) is a good idea – and do not forget sunscreen, which can be hugely overpriced at some holiday destinations.

You may also want to pack the makeup (because it can be very expensive to replace an entire set) and a small bottle of travel wash – so you can wash and reuse the clothes.