Get deals delivered straight to your inbox

Simply Holiday Deals Blog

How to Pack the Ultimate Carry-On

Posted by Maria Inês Pinto on 05/09/2014

Packing for a family holiday can be a challenge in itself and all the more so when airlines impose all sorts of size and weight restrictions on luggage allowance. But if you learn to pack everything on your carry-on, you can save loads on your holiday by avoiding luggage fees. And if you learn to pack your carry-on effectively, you can buy yourself a lot of time and stress! None of your luggage will go missing, you’ll have everything you need right there with you on the plane and you won’t have to wait around at the luggage belt when you land.


But how can you make sure you pack everything you need in a small carry-on? Especially if you’re travelling with young children, fitting everything into a few carry-ons can seem like an impossible task but we’re going to break it down for you in a number of useful tips so that you can enjoy the peace of mind of knowing you have everything you need right there with you next time you travel.


First, it’s important to review the kinds of things you can bring along with you and the items that won’t make it past airport security. To begin with, every ticketed passenger is entitled to one piece of carry-on luggage. Size and weight limits for this type of luggage will vary according to different airline companies so it’s always best to check this information before starting to pack. In addition to this, infant carriers, car seats and strollers can be brought through security but it’s ultimately up to you whether or not you prefer to gate check these items.


Not everything you bring along with you on a carry-on though. Liquids must be stored in a clear ziploc bag and cannot exceed 100 ml. Some liquids are an exception to the rule however. If you’re travelling with small children, formula, breast milk and baby food are an exception to this rule. For more details and a clear guideline on which items can and can’t go past security in a carry-on, check out the Heathrow Airport Website.


With these restrictions in mind and besides the basic clothes and toiletries you’ll need during your holiday, there are specific items that different family members will need to pack on their carry-on luggage which depend on their differnet needs. So, if you’re travelling with babies, toddlers, school-aged children or teens on your next holiday check out this brief list of items to pack in their luggage:


- Babies: Pack the standard diaper bag you would pack for a day out. Make sure to include two changes of clothes, double the amount of diapers and a few of your baby’s favourite toys. Consider bringing along some medication as well especially infant pain and fever reducers, and teething and gas relief as it’s hard to predict how your baby’s body will adapt to the altitude and airplane temperature.

- Toddlers: Toddlers can already be responsible for their own carry-on backpack so pack it wisely and lightly. Make sure to include some toys, an extra change of clothes, snacks, and their lovey or something similar to ensure they are comfortable during the flight.

- School-aged children: Older children can definitely carry their own backpack and carry-on luggage. As at this age, kids can wander out of your sight more often, make sure to put your name and mobile number somewhere visible on their luggage in case you become separated. The carry-on should be packed with some toys, portable game consoles, an extra sweater in case it gets cold on the airplane, snacks, and gum to avoid ear pain from the pressure changes. A small first-aid kit with relevant medication and a pair of bandages can also come in handy.

- Teens: Teens will probably prefer to pack their own luggage but it’s important to make sure they’ve included some essentials. These include their passport and ticket, a wallet with cash, and any prescribed medicine.


Finally, you yourself need to make sure your carry-on is packed with the essentials: IDs, passports, tickets, credit cards, your wallet, insurance information, books, glasses, charger. An extra change of clothes can come in handy if you’re travelling with young children.


If you’re travelling as a big family, security can be overwhelming to manage if everyone has their own piece of carry-on luggage. But here are some tips to make the trip through security go more smoothly:

- Dress your children to avoid queuing at security. This means avoiding belts, wearing easy slip-on shoes, and avoiding jewelry (or taking it off ahead of time).

- Have each child be responsible for their own piece of carry-on luggage and backpack.

- Have all family members empty their pockets of everything from wallets, to keys, portable game consoles, cell phones, and loose change while waiting in line at security. Place these items in one of the luggage pieces and collect them after you’ve passed security.


As fun as it may be to travel as a family, it can also be a little stressful (and a bit more expensive). Hopefully these little tips and tricks will help to at least make your time at the airport go more smoothly!