My hand luggage essentials

I love and hate packing for a holiday in equal amounts. I love it because I’m one pedicured toe closer to sun, sea and sangria. I hate it because the luggage allowance is so damn small and Dem enforces a bikini packing limit.

I’ve previously worked around this limit by wearing three bikinis on the plane and hiding the rest in his shoes). Where there’s a will there’s a way…

I’ve spoken briefly about beach holiday essentials and as my holiday is pending I thought I’d pop together a post on my hand luggage essentials for your perusal.

Holiday packing gaston luga

Hand luggage essentials – the bag

Previously I struggled with finding a suitable travelling companion, soz Dem. Obviously I’m talking baggage here and no, not emotional baggage. You want something big but not bulky, pretty but functional and something that keeps all your belongings safe. Personally I’m not a fan of using a beach bag as your carry on, as most of the time they don’t seal and I just don’t trust wandering hands.

My backpack answers all of the above and it has pockets. Which is about the best thing a bag can offer. The one featured here is the Pärlan backpack from Gaston Luga. Not only is it lightweight and water-resistant but it has numerous inside pockets for your iPad, phone and snacks. As well as front pockets to house a deck of cards, hair ties, plans for world domination etc.

Hand luggage essentials – stay hydrated

Saving the planet, tick. Staying hydrated, tick. Also avoiding the horrendously inflated airport prices (yes WHSmith I’m looking at you with your £3 bottles of water) – tick. I always carry water with me when travelling because I’m a thirsty b*tch and you can never be too hydrated, especially when combating altitude and pre-flight proseccos.

This bottle was a present from my bestie and comes in a selection of colours and patterns- it doesn’t totally escape me that this bottle matches my phone case perfectly, how incredibly extra. Most airports have water stations where you can fill up and flight attendants will fill up your bottle if you ask.

Hand luggage essentials

Hand luggage essentials – saying no to cold feet

I’m giving it to you straight here, I’m not putting together a boujee list – I’m putting together the things you’ll actually need. Planes are cold, socks are always a necessity for any flight, the more ridiculous and colourful, the better in my humble opinion.

Play on player

I’m not a player…I just shuffle a lot. Much to Dem’s annoyance, in my eyes there is nothing better than a pre-flight game of cards. No sooner than my butt has hit the aeroplane seat, I’m ready to get into a fierce Go Fish tournament, second only to snacks or a film! I literally never go on a trip without a deck of cards!

Hand luggage essentials Gaston Luga


Well yeah duh. But more importantly, something cute to carry your passport in. I’ve always wanted matching luggage, I feel like matching luggage is an indicator of how well you’re nailing adulthood. This beaut from Gaston Luga almost distracts from my horrendous passport photo (2009 – I was all thin eyebrows, gladiator sandals, big necklaces and box bleached hair) any distraction is welcome.

Headphones, iPad and charger

Oh great, there’s a two-year-old practising how to use his lungs in the seat behind. Is it me or is this always the damn way? We always make sure we have a few films downloaded, even if the flight is only an hour – there’s always enough time to get stuck into Bridesmaids or She’s the Man (both classics). The iPad also doubles up as a notepad for any blogging ideas that surface or a game of angry birds, yes I still play it.

Gaston Luga

Hand luggage essentials – Toiletry bag

Can we have a moment for my reusable Ärlig toiletry bag that matches both my passport holder and my backpack. If only the rest of my life was so darn synchronized…
Typically I bring my own hair-care on holibobs (Redken) as I have stenny’s and have to use a non-moisturising shampoo. I also always pack some moisturiser and a lip balm with SPF in my carry on because there is something about being on a plane that literally whips the moisture straight out of your skin.

Currently, Gaston Luga is gifting this cute little toiletry bag when you buy any of their backpacks which is the perfect size for all those travel minis and makeup essentials. Plus it’s cute AF and allows you to avoid the awkward shuffle of liquids into those ugly plastic bags pre-passport control.

Eye mask

This was a jokey Christmas prezzie from Dem because I adore my sleep! But I swear if I lost my eyemask now I’d have to sleep with a scarf tied around my eyes. Daylight when I’m trying to nap? No thank you very much. Pack the eye mask, when do you ever regret having more sleep?

Hand luggage essentials Gaston Luga

Camera lenses & tripod

I’m planning on vlogging our Cyprus trip – because, well why not. I considered it for our last city break to Bath but chickened out. But we enjoyed watching our travelling vlogs back recently and I thought why not give it another go, plus as we’ve been to Cyprus before I won’t get the fear of missing out on things! So packed in my hand luggage is my Pen-9 and three lenses, plus my tripod of course. Videos incoming…

A good book

And by good, I mean absolutely rubbish. Something whimsical about shopping, shoes or scandal – I’m a scaredy flier so anything that takes my mind off being thousands of miles in the air is ideal. Normally I grab an overpriced book or two and some sweets from the airport en route to check-in, it’s become somewhat of a tradition!

If you want to shop my luggage you can scoop 15% off all items at Gaston Luga with my discount code: 15HAN plus they also offer free delivery and returns on everything!

Is there any hand luggage essentials you couldn’t travel without? xo

*[AD-Gifted] The luggage featured in this post was been sent to me by Gaston Luga to include in a review, but all opinions are my own


  1. Kelly September 2, 2019 / 7:10 pm

    I’m so glad I’ve found someone else that enjoys eyemasks! My one has eyes on it like Matilda’s Mum haha

    • misshldolan
      September 2, 2019 / 7:31 pm

      OMG hahaa amazing! I can’t get through life without mine now I’m even considering buying a back up in case mine gets lost 😂😂 xx

  2. The Girl in Flat 26 September 2, 2019 / 7:41 pm

    I love the way this is written! Really made me smile/chuckle as I was reading. So true about the headphones, they’ve saved me from noisy children/babies on sooo many flights!

    • misshldolan
      September 2, 2019 / 7:53 pm

      Aww thanks lovely!! Haha headphones are a life saver 😂😂

  3. Alex September 3, 2019 / 12:17 am

    I love playing cards! Also this is written so nicely, such an easy read ☺️

    • misshldolan
      September 3, 2019 / 6:48 am

      Aww thank you! & there is nothing better than cards ☺️☺️☺️

    • misshldolan
      September 4, 2019 / 10:23 pm

      Thanks babe. Oh me too! Was an airport purchase too 🙊 xo

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