Three cabin bag packing hacks to make your holiday as easy as possible

Easter is on the horizon and if you’re taking advantage of the school holidays to squeeze in a getaway, we have some tips and tricks to also squeeze more into your hand luggage.

Whether you want to avoid excess baggage fees or you want to get through the airport as quickly as possible without a wait to collect bags, travelling with a smaller bag is not impossible. These are my go-to travel hacks to make the most of the space I have.

Check the dimensions and how many bags are allowed 

For the most part, you can bring one small bag on board for free as long as it fits within a size limit. Focusing on the two main airlines operating in Ireland, Aer Lingus allows a small personal item that must fit under the seat in front of you. The maximum size for this is 25x33x20cm. Ryanair allows a bag sized 40x20x25cm. Over on TikTok, you may see people buying ‘viral’ bags online that are exactly these dimensions but, for the most part, a regular backpack is around the right size and much more comfortable to transport. 

Practice some packing hacks 

While you may feel limited by the hand luggage restrictions for some trips, if you’re only travelling for a night or two you probably will not need to pack much. Channel your inner Marie Kondo and master the art of rolling your clothes. When I am travelling, I start with folded t-shirts, jeans and dresses that I simply roll into a small bundle. I rarely have issues with creases but most hotels and self-catering accommodations will provide ironing facilities anyway — I use my hair straightener to iron collars and creases.

If I am packing a second pair of shoes, I will squeeze socks and underwear inside each shoe to make the most of the empty space. On your return journey, pop a disposable hotel shower cap around the soles of your shoes if they’ve become dirty to protect your clothes. Similarly, if you’re packing a hat into your bag, stuff the inside with socks to keep its shape 

Remember what you are and are not allowed to bring on board 

Pre-2020 I would not have considered this a hack but common sense. However, I have flown a few times since the pandemic and I have been struck each time at the airport by how many people seem to have forgotten the most basic rules at security. I have seen delays when people don’t separate their liquids or do not remove their laptops from their cases. Some airports do not require you to separate liquids any more — but those are still in the minority. Double-check the rules at the airports you are travelling through and make sure you are prepared when you get the basket for your luggage. 

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