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Packing hand luggage correctly: tips and tricks on how to do it most efficiently on a short trip

Are you going on vacation this summer? We all know the dreaded rule that you’re only allowed one piece of carry-on luggage. Standing in line while you dig through your passport bag and then slamming it shut again is not a good way to start your trip. Instead, maximize the fun and reduce the stress with these helpful tips on how to pack your carry-on properly!

Packing carry-on luggage the right way – tips on how to do it best

No more than one piece of luggage

Make sure your handbag fits inside your carry-on suitcase

Many airlines are very strict about allowing only one carry-on bag on board the plane. If you are flying with one of these airlines, make sure your carry-on bag will fit in your carry-on suitcase.

Measure and weigh your carry-on luggage

Measure and weigh your luggage

Airline regulations vary. So find out exactly what you are allowed to take on the plane. If your luggage is no larger than 45 cm x 40 cm x 25 cm, you shouldn’t have any problems – and many airlines now offer handy apps that allow you to check the dimensions of your suitcase with your cell phone! Make sure you’re at your gate early, because if you arrive late, you can expect your luggage to be checked in the hold.

Keep your travel documents separate

Keep your travel documents separate. Put them in a small bag that you can easily take out of your carry-on. This way, you won’t have to search for your passport, tickets or money every time.

A toothbrush, a change of underwear, all your important information and anything else you might need on the first day after landing – put it in your carry-on! There is always a chance that your other suitcases (if you have any) will not make the same trip as you and will get lost or delayed along the way.

Pack your carry-on properly – Manage your liquids.

All liquids you carry must contain no more than 100 ml each and must fit into a clear 1-liter plastic bag. Pack them in their own plastic bag to avoid having to rummage through your bag to collect everything when you check it. If possible, swap out liquid cosmetics for solid counterparts. You can also use contact lens cases and other small containers for measured amounts of toothpaste, shampoo, creams, etc.

Save space – roll up your clothes

Pack carry-on luggage correctly - Roll up your clothes

If you only have one bag, you need to maximize space: Roll your clothes into cylinders instead of folding them. This will give you more room and prevent wrinkles! Fill bras, shoes, hats and gaps with rolls of socks and other smaller items. You’ll have more room and things won’t get dented as quickly!

Use packing cubes. These small bags will help you keep your stuff compact and your outfits organized.

Pack carry-on luggage properly – Make sure you have a clothes countdown

Pack your carry-on luggage correctly - Make sure you have a clothes countdown


Try the “5, 4, 3, 2, 1 rule” if you need a mantra to help you organize your clothes for a week-long trip: You only need five pairs of socks and underwear, four tops, three bottoms, two pairs of shoes and a hat. Of course, the list should be customized to your needs.

Divide your carry-on luggage into smaller bags

Divide your luggage into smaller bags and shoe bags

Organize your carry-on luggage by putting things in different small bags and shoe bags. You can just pull out the one you want when you need something on the go! If you have a small suitcase on wheels, make sure you put the heavy items as close to the wheels as possible so they roll easier.

Pack carry-on luggage properly – Dress in layers.

Reduce stress with these helpful tips on how to properly pack your carry-on luggage


If living in Germany has taught you anything, it’s to wear layers to be prepared for any weather. It tends to get quite chilly on the plane, so wear everything you can on you when boarding. Long pants, jackets, and socks are all fine! This will save you space when packing and prevent you from catching a cold just before your vacation. If you are taking more than one pair of shoes, weigh them all and wear the heaviest one!

If you’re flying for a short business trip and only have one clean shirt, wrap your belt around the inside of the collar to avoid unsightly wrinkles.

Comfort and fun on the plane

There are several things you can take with you to ensure your comfort on the plane, such as your own headphones, a charger for your phone, an e-reader or book, face wipes and snacks. A simple card game can provide hours of fun on a boring flight! Learn the blackjack rules again, fold up the small table and shuffle the cards!

How to compile a packing list and what is forbidden in hand luggage? Find out here !