Lightweight: how to pack your carry-on baggage so that everything fits?

If you want to fly cheap, learn to do with a minimum of things. Backpack or suitcase? What to take, what not to take and how to pack it all?

Together with the Harvest brand of bags and backpacks, we have prepared instructions for those who have not traveled without luggage, but want to learn!

We study the requirements of the airline

Low-cost airlines monitor the dimensions and weight of suitcases very carefully, so it is important to find out the rules before buying tickets and decide whether you need luggage or an additional piece of hand luggage. For example, at Ryanair, passengers can by default take on board one bag measuring 40 x 25 x 20 cm. To carry a backpack or a larger suitcase, you will have to pay Priority.

If during your trip you will use the services of several carriers, be guided by the most stringent requirements.


We select a backpack or suitcase

Many manufacturers produce suitcases that meet the requirements of popular airlines. Buy one or give preference to a backpack? Let’s see why each option is bad and good.

Pros of suitcases:

  • more likely to deliver fragile souvenirs and equipment intact;
  • you can roll along;
  • some models have built-in scales.

Cons of suitcases:

  • weigh at least 2.5 kg, which is important when the maximum weight of hand luggage is 7;
  • wheels often fly off at the most inopportune moment, you have to carry it in your hands;
  • good only for flat surfaces;
  • require some storage space.

Pros of backpacks:

  • weigh a little, you can take more things;
  • as a rule, they do not have hard protruding parts, so they easily enter the frame when checking. If you do not fill it to capacity, you can fly with a backpack that is a couple of centimeters higher than the norm;
  • there are external pockets for small items that you may need during the flight;
  • you can fasten outerwear that did not fit inside if you are flying “from winter to summer”;
  • compact, do not take up much space during storage.

Cons of backpacks:

  • only carry, which is not suitable for people with a sore back;
  • straps sometimes get stuck in luggage straps;
  • things wrinkle;
  • do not protect fragile contents if dropped;
  • getting what is at the bottom is problematic if there is no bottom entrance;
  • get wet, in the rain or snow, you need to use a cover-raynkaver.

Deciding what to take in hand luggage

Start by looking at the list of prohibited items on board – no need to explain to airport security.

Hygiene products (shampoo, toothpaste, etc.) must be purchased in mini versions or poured into containers up to 100 ml, and then folded into one resealable bag or transparent cosmetic bag. You can not take it and buy it on the spot, but this is additional costs and extra garbage (you cannot take the leftovers with you, you will have to throw it away).

Further steps depend on whether you have luggage or just carry-on luggage.

If there is luggage, most of the things go there. We leave in hand luggage:

  1. Tickets / boarding passes. Even if the airline allows the use of the electronic version, it is better to take a printout with you just in case.
  2. Documents: passports, insurance policies, birth certificates of children. If the child is traveling with one of the parents, do not forget the notarial permission from the other.
  3. Money: cash and cards. Notify the bank that you plan to use the card abroad and increase the limits if necessary.
  4. Technique: laptop, tablet, camera, etc.
  5. A first aid kit with first aid: drugs for headaches, diarrhea, patches. If you are constantly taking something, put a supply of medicines in your backpack for a few days (in case you lose your luggage). Are there any prescription drugs among them? Don’t forget the recipe and original packaging with instructions! We wrote here about how to equip a first-aid kit so as not to have problems at the border.
  6. Powerbank, chargers for phones and other gadgets.
  7. One set of clothes.
  8. Entertainment on the road: a book, a player with headphones, etc.
  9. Container for water. Carry it empty through security control, then collect water and go with it on board (many airports have drinking fountains). Pay attention to the folding travel bottles, which take up a minimum of space.
  10. Snack. Choose foods that do not give off strong odors or crumble. Keep in mind that yoghurts are liquids, so they should be in containers of no more than 100 ml.

If you’re only flying with carry-on luggage, every gram counts. We act like this:

  1. We study the weather forecast at the destination. Winter in Europe, for example, is much milder than in Ukraine – knitted sweaters and fleece leggings can be left at home.
  2. We take into account the conditions in which we will live. If you are traveling for a week, but the apartment has a washing machine with an option for drying clothes, you can get by with a minimum of clothes.
  3. Other things being equal, we choose things that do not wrinkle and take up less space.
  4. Volumetric – on yourself.

How to pack carry-on luggage

1. Put your documents where you can quickly get them without unpacking your suitcase or backpack. You can buy a belt bag for these purposes – it is convenient and safe (at the airport, cover it with clothes, otherwise it may be considered a separate piece of hand luggage).

2. Divide the money into several parts and hide it in different inner pockets so as not to lose everything at once.

3. Put the things you plan to take in front of you. Have a coffee, go back and check again – is all this necessary or is it possible to thin the stacks?


4. Think about whether you can replace something with a less voluminous analogue: instead of an umbrella, take a raincoat, and instead of a hairbrush – a comb, for example.

5. Pack the heaviest items: laptop, camera, etc. This will give you an idea of ​​how much space and weight is left for the rest.

6. Now begin to fold the clothes by rolling them into tubes. It can be used to overlay equipment in case the backpack falls or you catch something on it.

7. Pack underwear and socks in bags (later they will be useful for transporting dirty things) and fill the remaining gaps with them.

8. Fly with a backpack? Put on a raynkaver, even if rain is not yet expected: you will save it from dirt and thieves.

9. Measure and weigh what you get. Have you met the norm? Congratulations, you are handsome. Make sure to get your tickets and head out on your adventure!


# luggage # hand luggage