The Ultimate Guide to Hand-Luggage Essentials

08 May 2019 by Olga Brighton

Travel Information

Would you be ready for anything and pass the test for a trip-savvy, seasoned traveller?

As our holidays get closer, it’s worth remembering that hundreds of thousands of luggage items go missing in transit every year. Luckily, in most cases, the airline generally get it back to you within 48 hours. But what do you do in the meantime?

Read our ultimate guide and find out all you need to know about hand-luggage essentials. Be ‘ever-ready’ when you travel and pack smart when it comes to your hand-luggage. It will avoid no end of stress if your luggage decides to go on a trip of its own.

Here are our Top 12 Essentials to your carry-on Hand Luggage:

Travel documents

Travel documents

Obvious, but keep essentials in an easily accessible compartment, or folder. Include passport, visa, boarding pass, travel insurance, hotel and car hire. Always carry a printed copy of bookings, just in case your mobile device dies or goes missing! You won’t need the added stress of not having access to all your travel details.


Carry cash, cards and valuables with you (including glasses – and carry the prescription just in case). Minimise your valuables to avoid loss of precious items while away. Don’t keep all cash/cards in one place and ideally split it between you and any travel companion for added security.

Prescribed medication

Prescribed medication

Carry enough medication for at least 2 days in case your checked-in luggage is delayed. Carry the prescription too and keep medication in its original packaging to help comply with any security checks. Note that you’re allowed to carry essential medicines of more than 100ml in your hand luggage, as long as you have supporting documentation from your doctor, or a copy of the prescription.

First aid kit

Pain killers, indigestion tablets, anti-diarrhea, travel sickness tablets, allergy medication, anti-bacteria gel, plasters, bandage, small disinfectant cream etc. You can fit these into a small clear plastic travel/toiletry bag.



All the basics; travel toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, razor. Save space with travel-size items and keep within carrier regulations of liquids no more than 100ml. Add anything else that’s essential to you such as make-up that you can’t live without (you may not be able to buy your preferred brand locally, or it could cost you 5 times as much!).

A spare set of clothes

Trust me, this will save you no end of hassle if your luggage is delayed. Chose light, compact items. It’s amazing how small you can fold/roll cotton shorts/trousers and a tee-shirt. Include a shawl that you can tie to the outside of your hand luggage as it can double up as a blanket on the flight, or while travelling.



It pays to take some food in case of unexpected delays (which could happen once you’ve boarded) and it saves shelling-out top prices at the airport. This is critical if travelling with babies or young children who may have special requirements. Carry chewing gum as it helps with ear popping and is instant breath freshener.

Read also: Why Travel Makes You Healthy

Water bottle

You can buy a bottle once through security, or better still, carry a refillable travel water bottle. You can get a leakproof, silicone one that’s reinforced and folds up to save space when not in use. Refill it once you’re through airport security at the available water fountains.

Mobile phone / tablet

Mobile phone/tablet

Stay connected and occupied during the journey. Don’t forget earbuds/earphones.

Portable charger and adaptor

Chose a light, compact and powerful charger to avoid the stress and hassle of battery failure while on the move.

Pen & paper

Pen and paper

Yes its old-style, but they take up no room and are often overlooked in this digital age!

Travel insurance

We would say that wouldn’t we? Travel insurance is a must and comes into its own if your luggage is delayed. Most comprehensive travel insurance policies cover baggage delay, and Globelink is no exception. Your baggage is usually considered ‘delayed’ if you don’t have it after 12 hours. Baggage delay cover provides a monetary sum to purchase essential items until your luggage turns up, like clothing, medication, and toiletries. Always get confirmation of the delay from your carrier and keep receipts for purchases.

Read more: Travel Problems and How to Prevent Them

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