Many airlines offer ‘hand luggage only’ tickets for those that are looking to travel lighter. The tickets, usually called Economy Light or Basic Fare, are lower in price but often exclude the ability to reserve a seat or check-in hold luggage.
Travelling with only hand luggage is ideal if you are venturing on a city break, travelling to visit family or only planning to be away for a couple of days, however there are certain restrictions you should be aware of to make sure you are not caught out at security or border control.
How much liquid can I take in hand luggage?
A well-known restriction is the amount of liquid you can carry in your hand luggage; all airlines state liquids must be no more than 100ml each and packed in one clear, sealed plastic bag (zip-lock food bags work well). If you are caught with more than 100ml of liquids, security is within their rights to confiscate the item and depending on the severity, issue a fine. It is worth noting, many airports no longer provide clear plastic bags so you will need to make sure you have your own.
There are a few items which are allowed to be over 100ml; essential medication (accompanied by a Doctor’s letter), baby food or milk (if the child is less than 48 months), and if you have special dietary requirements. All will need to be discussed with the airline at the time of booking so they are able to make exceptions. It is good to note, you can pre-order baby food or milk to be delivered to the airport – Boots offers this service – and as this can be collected once you have passed through security and passport control, it doesn’t count towards the luggage weight
As mentioned, if you are carrying medication you should always carry a copy of your prescription or Doctor’s note and have this to hand when passing through customs. Some medications that are available in the UK may be banned in other countries so always check with the Embassy or Consulate before travelling. More information on carrying prescription medication abroad can be found here.
If possible split your medication between luggage, that way if one case was to go missing you would still have some medication to get you by until you are able to obtain a replacement prescription. Carrying gadgets in hand luggage
Nowadays the majority of us take our gadgets abroad which doesn’t usually cause a problem, however if you are travelling to the UK from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt or Saudi Arabia restrictions will apply. If any gadgets (including; phones, laptops, tablets and e-readers) are larger than 16cm in length, 9.3cm in thickness and 1.5cm in depth they will need to put into hold luggage so bear this in mind when booking your flights.
You should also make sure your gadgets are correctly covered under your travel insurance. There are a few travel insurers that will offer to cover gadgets as standard, and most will offer an ‘add on’ for an additional premium but be sure to check the single article limit is high enough to cover the cost of the gadget. More information on this can be found here.
Top tip: Take all valuables out of your hand luggage and store then in the front pocket of your seat, this will help prevent theft or damage whilst in the cabin hold. Just remember to pick them up again when leaving the aircraft.
Also worth noting, before boarding the flight, security may request to see your gadgets and if they do not switch on you will not be allowed to take them onto the aircraft so make sure they are fully charged.
Hand luggage restrictions for personal possessions
There is a limited number of restrictions when it comes to personal possessions, for example; items including knives, large scissors and non-safety matches must not, under any circumstances, be carried in hand luggage (a full list of prohibited items can be found here).
Airlines will each have individual rules when it comes to how much hand luggage you can carry on board but generally speaking weight restrictions are usually between 10 to 15kg – be sure to check this though as the airline will charge if the luggage is over the required weight. The size of the case if also important with most airlines stating hand luggage should be a maximum of 55cm x 40cm x 20m, again this will vary so double check.
Although ‘smart luggage’ is on the rise, some airlines will not allow them into the cabin unless their batteries can be removed due to them being a fire hazard – particularly if they operate on a lithium battery – so, make sure you check the restrictions before heading to the airport.
Some airlines, although advertised as hand luggage only, may ask to put your case in the hold for no extra charge. If this does happen be sure to remove all valuables, including your passport and travel documents, before checking it in.
Top tip – make sure your personal possession limit on your travel insurance is suitable to cover your items. Although the overall cover may sound suitable, many policies will have a single item limit so be sure to check this before buying your travel insurance.