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What’s In My Hand Luggage: Essentials!

My main issue when it comes to hand luggage, is choosing which bag to bring. Backpack, small bag and put everything in a case, just a carry on case, handbag? I never know. I didn’t fancy being responsible for a mini suitcase so I went for this bag that I have been using for weeks. This one from PLT is ideal because it has a zip the whole way across and a long strap. You need a secure bag on holiday! I know I’ll use this throughout my holiday.

There’s nothing worse than having an incredibly heavy bag when you’re walking round an airport (slight exaggeration), and it’s also a struggle of how to know what to bring. Me and Matt are going to New York for 2 weeks in a few days, and I really didn’t fancy having a heavy bag and loads of stuff on a long haul flight. I wanted to keep it simple, so I could still find my phone when I unzipped my bag.

Here is everything that I’m bringing, that also came in handy when I went to Croatia so I know isn’t a waste of space. I’ve split them into categories so it’s easier to check if I have everything aha.


  1. Small folder: I have so many of these with different documents in. I always bring one on holiday to keep passports and documents in, but also to collect tickets and receipts while I’m away. They’re just bigger than A5 size and fit loads in, as well as slot into most handbags.
  2. Powerbank: I forgot mine on the way to Croatia and regretted it because I basically drained my friend Sinead’s. This time I am fully prepared with 2 charged so Matt can have one as well.
  3. PHONE CHARGER: Even if I don’t charge my phone at the airport, it’s worth having it in your hand luggage in case your case gets lost.
  4. Jewellery: My case has never been lost, so I get a bit anxious every holiday thinking “THIS WILL BE THE TIME”. Therefore I make sure that there is nothing in my case that I can’t replace. I don’t like wearing my jewellery to the airport in case I have to take it off at security. It would be a major faff putting it all back on, so I bring mine in a tiny purse. To be honest, any jewellery I don’t wear I usually have with me because I’m worried about hotel rooms being broken in to/cleaners stealing. (Call me paranoid but I’m not risking it).
  5. Camera: I don’t really take photos on the plane, but again I don’t want to risk it being lost if my case gets lost. I also don’t like the thought of it being thrown around in my case.
  6. Personal items: Obviously essentials, phone/purse/house keys etc. I wouldn’t get very far (or get home) without these so I try and not forget them.


  1. Neck Pillow: When I went to Croatia, I was umm-ing and ah-ing about bringing my neck pillow. In the end, I’m so glad I brought it. Yes, it only got used on flights but I used it on the way there, the transfer, and the way back. It’s a bit annoying to carry but I think getting a few comfy-ish hours of sleep on a long flight will be worth it. I’m sure you can get better ones than mine but it does the trick.
  2. Socks: Even just flying less than hour to Ireland, I love taking my shoes off on planes. I tend to wear slip-ons because it’s easier at security, so socks come in very handy. They are also a god-send when you return back to the UK and it’s ALWAYS cold when that happens. Compression socks are also a very good idea for long haul flights.


  1. Clear plastic bag: I usually get told to swap my liquids into one of the bags the airport provides, but packing them altogether makes it super handy to just switch them over. I find that plastic bags are also very useful on holiday. I also use mine to put my phone in in a beach bag so that it doesn’t get sand on it.
  2. Liquids: I don’t bring many. I do my makeup in the morning and pack all of it except concealer, as this is the only thing I couldn’t live without. I always bring a couple of mini perfumes, hand sanitizer and lipbalm everywhere with me.
  3. Pencil case: I usually have some form of small pencil case/makeup bag within my bag. I love this one from Primark because I can keep pens and nail files in it as well so they can’t ruin my bag. I also keep an eyelash comb and a couple of bobbles in here, just in case I lose the one that is glued to my wrist.
  4. Tissues: Again, you never know when these might come in handy.


  1. Headphones: I bring in-ear apple headphones when I go abroad so that if I want to sleep, I’m not leaning on bulky over-ear headphones. They’re also tiny when wrapped up so save valid room in my bag.
  2. Kindle: To be honest, I do prefer a hand held book most of the time. However, I always bring my Kindle on holiday because there is no limit to how much you can read. Mine is incredibly light and the light dimming feature is the best part of it.
  3. Tiny Notebook: You just never know. Most people write things down in their phone, but I have to write everything on paper. I also know that Matt will get bored and we’ll resort to old fashioned paper games.

Things I’d Need If My Case Got Lost:

  1. Sunglasses: Obvious essential for a summer holiday. I just love having them with me in my bag for that glorious moment when you step off the plane.
  2. Toothbrush: Another thing I daren’t risk being lost in my case. I can buy toothpaste, but I don’t fancy forking out for another electric toothbrush.
  3. Paracetamol
  4. Medication: I always keep my pill on me on flights. There’s a bit of a reoccuring theme here, I REALLY worry about my case being lost.

Now I’ve read it all back, it actually sounds like a lot. I swear it’s all necessary though aha. I hope this helps somebody else to not forget something!

Check out my Holiday Beauty Essentials post HERE and my Croatia Diary HERE! 


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