Whether it’s a big trip or a quick visit, what you pack in your hand luggage will make all the difference.
1 Avoid Having Your Hand Luggage Unnecessarily Weighed
Most airlines allow 7kg but a few airlines will offer 10kgs hand luggage. When you walk through the departure gate airport staff are often waiting to weigh hand luggage. They will single out hard case shell bags, upright wheel bags, and usually let satchels and backpacks by without checking. This is because in theory it’s harder for satchels and backpacks to be overweight.
If your bag is on the weight line, pack a satchel. If your hard case or wheel bag is overweight, you’re unlikely to get away with it.
2 Copy Your Essential Documents
Before you leave take a photocopy of your travel insurance, passport photo page, flight details and overseas contact information. Place one copy in your luggage and one copy in your hand luggage. If your bags go missing, you lose your passport, or you get stuck somewhere, this information will save you a lot of time and money.
In addition I usually pack my passport and tickets in a money belt strapped around my waist. This is not necessary, but merely my preference.
3 Quality is the Key
Cheap bags may look nice (or not) but they are not made for multiple use. Often you will find seams tear, handles rip and fittings crack.
Zippers also play an important role as they are the doors of your bag. YKK Group (Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha) are comprised of around 80 companies and make most zippers worldwide. Any quality bag will have a zipper made by YKK and this will ensure a long life.
My advice is to splash out and save yourself money in the long term. A good carry-on should last for years as opposed to days.
4 Pack for a Delay
Delays happen and when they do you’ll want to be prepared. A change of clothes is handy, however, make sure you pack light materials.
Books, magazines, crosswords, phones and tablets are all good forms of entertainment. If you’re going to use electronics think about buying a spare battery pack for longer flights.
Aeroplane food has come a long way, but nothing beats your favourite snack. Snack food and mints are always well received after a long flight.
I always keep some cash on hand just in case my bank card fails and there are no banks in sight. I have had a few embarrassing moments when I’ve had to ask a friend to pick up my tab due to a faulty bank card issue.
Most importantly I take headphones and ear buds to drown out surrounding in-flight noise.
5 Don’t Pack What You Can Buy
Laws about liquids seem to change a lot and as a result I often buy what I need when I arrive. When it comes to toiletries, a toothbrush, comb, toothpaste and soap bar is all I need. Ladies may want to expand this list, but keep it simple. Foreign countries do have shops too.