The ULTIMATE Hand Luggage Packing Guide

March 05, 2018

The ULTIMATE Hand Luggage Packing Guide

With the Easter holidays on the horizon and lots of people going abroad to escape the Arctic conditions we've been having this winter, we thought it would be useful to create a comprehensive hand luggage packing guide, especially for our customers.

As we are a company that specialises in selling items for traveling with kids, we've learned a thing or two about what to pack when it comes to family trips. Our customers often send us tips and tricks they've learned too so we've compiled an ULTIMATE hand luggage packing guide for you to use when planning your next trip.

'Essential' Backpack Hand Luggage:

Everything that you REALLY need at any given time needs to be in YOUR essential hand luggage that you take everywhere and never leave unattended - and really this should be packed into a rucksack that you can put on both shoulders so you have your arms and hands-free to deal with everything else. Having to carry round hand luggage is a pain, literally, so it might as well go on your back. Here is a list of what we take with us in our 'Essential' hand luggage:

  • Money, domestic currency, local (destination) currency and your usual wallet/purse. If you have enough time one of the best things we've done is sign up for a WeSwap card. This is a pre-paid charge card that you load with your domestic currency via their app and then 'swap' with other users (it's all automated) for the currency of your choice - there are tiny fees, the conversion rate is great as you're essentially swapping currency peer to peer with other travellers and you won't be charged any ridiculous credit card/bank charges when using the card to pay for things when abroad - its brilliant! You can continually load it up throughout your trip using their app. Obviously, give yourself enough time to receive the physical card prior to travel. On the subject of credit cards, make sure all your cards are loaded onto your Apple Pay or Android Pay - this has been a lifesaver if you ever forget your wallet you invariably always have your phone with you at all times - so you can make small purchases using your phone's contactless. 
  • Passports (duh!), paperwork: tickets and a printed itinerary with hotel and transport details and reservation numbers (although most of the time we have these on our emails, it's handy to have printouts too), also make sure you have the app downloaded of the airline who you're traveling with - it should link to your email and your boarding passes will be saved electronically
  • Drivers' license - take a photograph on your phone of your passport & drivers’ license - in case the physical ID is lost or stolen. Your ID is essential in places like America, you can't buy medication, alcohol or do anything adult without it, don't lose it!
  • Mobile phone, charger, fully charged power bank & international adapter
  • Painkillers, daily vitamins and prescription medication go in this backpack, because if anything were to happen to my luggage I know I've still got the essentials
  • Plasters/band-aids, antiseptic cream (Savlon etc), children's nasal decongestant - very useful to help with ear pressure!
  • Hand sanitizer (one with added moisturiser as planes dry your skin out)
  • Baby wipes - flushable ones
  • Travel tissues
  • Dummy/pacifier if used
  • Prescription sunglasses, reading glasses, sunglasses & contact lenses
  • Preloaded iPad/tablet, Kindle, and headphones

Family Hand Luggage:

In addition to your own 'Essential Hand Luggage' which should now have all the absolute essentials inside it, you will obviously need an equally as important family sized hand luggage for the other bits and pieces you will need, mainly for onboard the flight. We use a roll on 'cabin' sized case:

  • Water bottles, snacks (lots of them), gum, baby supplies (baby bottle with pre-boiled cooled down water already inside, pre-measured formula containers, enough nappies for 24 hours, nappy bags, baby wipes (pack lots), fruit/meal pouches etc)
  • This is where your KeepEmQuiet entertainment packs should ideally go when they aren't on their backs (these also have the added benefit of having some snacks included!)

  • If you have a Plane Pal - the inflatable airplane bed for kids, it should go in here too (deflated it's pretty small and light)

  • Pyjamas, toothbrush, toothpaste and super important....a change of clothes! There's nothing quite like a child vomiting on themselves 30,000 feet in the air and having nothing to change them into. On that note, a couple of plastic bags to put the vomit drenched clothes into if such an occasion arises.
  • A compact warm fleece type jacket/blanket 
  • A pair of warm fleece type socks
  • Your child's preloaded tablet, kids headphones and something I came across recently, a headphone splitter - where both kids can use the same tablet and watch the same show with one tablet and their own headphones. Ideally, you would've pre-loaded your tablet with their favourite shows, movies, apps, games (sadly lots of these now require wifi to work to their full functionality)
  • Another fully charged power bank and charge cable
  • The very clever Mifold - the fold-able, portable car seat could also go in this bag - so it's easily accessible for taxi rides and hire cars. Although this could be put in your hold luggage, packed on top of your clothes and near the zipper so you can quickly reach for it when you've landed and are waiting for a taxi/hire car

  • Magazines, books
  • Kids neck travel pillow - there are loads of these on the market some better than others. We stock some character travel neck pillows that are reversible and turn into a plush toy so it acts as a toy and neck pillow - a double whammy!

And that's it! If you have any tips and tricks to packing then please feel free to leave it in the comments section so others can benefit from your experience and wisdom!

Happy travels :)


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