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Traveling With Hand Luggage: What is Allowed in the Suitcase

JalanJalanMen! - Are you already looking forward to your next trip, but don't feel like waiting in line at the airport for hours? Or do you want to travel as minimalist as possible this time and only take a small suitcase with you? Then traveling with a hand luggage suitcase is definitely a relaxed solution for you.

Traveling with hand luggage has its perks. You only have to go through the security check at the airport and then you can board the plane straight away. In addition, a carry-on suitcase is much easier to transport and makes it easier for you to choose your clothes. Since hand luggage is often only half the size of checked luggage, you also take less unnecessary ballast with you, but pack only the essentials.

Nevertheless, there are a few things to consider when traveling with hand luggage. At the latest at the airport, the suitcase is examined closely to see whether it complies with the regulations. We will explain to you what the regulations are, what you should consider when choosing hand luggage and the best way to pack your suitcase.

Traveling With Hand Luggage: What is Allowed in the Suitcase

What counts as hand luggage?

The most popular piece of hand luggage is a backpack or a small suitcase. But in general you can use any type of bag as hand luggage, for example a shoulder bag or larger handbags. However, keep in mind that your luggage can get shaken up quite a bit on the plane. When making your choice, make sure that the bag has no holes and is made of a thick, tear-resistant material.

Depending on the airline and ticket, you can take either one or two pieces of hand luggage on board. Now you're probably asking yourself: But what if I've only booked one piece of hand luggage and have a handbag with me in addition to my suitcase? Do I have to choose one of the two? The answer is: No, you can actually take both with you.

The term carry-on baggage only refers to the piece of baggage that you stow at the top of the overhead compartment. On the plane, however, you can also take one personal item with you, which can be stowed under the seat on the floor in front of you or worn on your body.

Personal items include:

  • Purse
  • small backpack
  • fanny pack
  • Laptop bag

There is an exception for babies and small children, in which case a baby carrier bag or a child seat may be carried in addition to the items of luggage mentioned above.

Simply put, the term carry-on baggage means: a bag that is stowed in the overhead compartment of the aircraft and a personal item. With two pieces of hand luggage, two bags are allowed for the overhead compartment in addition to your personal item.

Rules & Regulations


The allowed size of the carry-on bag varies depending on the airline. There are usually no size requirements for the personal item, but it is usually smaller than the bag for the overhead compartment. In any case, find out before your trip what dimensions apply to hand luggage and whether personal items are also limited. In addition, some airlines limit not only the size, but also the weight of hand luggage.

However, the average size on most flights is around 55 x 40 x 20 cm (length x width x height) and weight around 8 kg .


No containers with liquids over 100 ml are allowed in hand luggage. This means that you can only take small bottles or cans that you can't carry more than 100 ml in. This information therefore refers to the size of the pack and not to the content. For example, you cannot take a tube of shower gel that is intended for a total of 200 ml of liquid and is only half full, as more than 100 ml of liquid could be transported in the package.

In addition, only 1 liter of liquid is allowed per person. At 100 ml per bottle, that would be e.g. B. ten pieces of liquid shower gel. In addition, all containers with liquids must be placed in a clear plastic bag and presented at security. In order to avoid problems here as much as possible, you can, for example, buy travel-size hygiene articles or solid cosmetics. The latter have the advantage that you save yourself the plastic bag and you are guaranteed not to have any problems at the security check with solid products.

Exceptions to the transport of liquids apply to medicines and baby food. Containers with more than 100 ml may also be carried here, but for medication you must present a prescription or a doctor's certificate. All types of solid medicines such as tablets are generally not a problem.

You are welcome to take empty drinking bottles and thermos flasks with you in your hand luggage. And here's a little tip to avoid the high prices at the airports: You can usually get food through the security check without any problems, as long as it's solid food. So you can take a sandwich, an apple or snacks like nuts and chocolate with you from home. To be on the safe side, you can also put the food in a clear plastic bag or lunch box.

Sharp and dangerous objects

In general, no sharp or dangerous objects are allowed in hand luggage. These include, among other things:

  • Weapons or tranquilizer sprays, e.g. B. Pepper spray
  • Explosives or incendiary material, e.g. B. Fireworks
  • tools
  • Sports equipment, e.g. B. Baseball bats or hiking sticks (may only be carried in checked baggage)

Exceptions apply to the following items:

  • Lighter and matches (smokers are allowed to bring these with them, provided they are carried on the body, for example in a trouser pocket. In addition, only one per person is allowed)
  • Razors (only fixed blade razors allowed; no single razor blades or knives)
  • walking aids, e.g. B. Cane
  • Small, rollable umbrellas (large umbrellas with pointed ends only allowed in checked baggage)
  • Small musical instruments (large musical instruments are also only allowed in checked baggage)

Nail scissors & pocket knives are officially allowed in Germany up to a blade length of 6 cm, but this depends on the airline and the country of travel. Before you leave, find out which regulations apply to your flight.

Electronic equipment

All electronic devices that run on a lithium-ion battery must be carried in hand luggage. The risk of one of these devices breaking and catching fire in checked baggage is simply too high. Lithium batteries can also catch fire and sometimes even explode if they get too hot. Some airlines also limit the amount of lithium ion batteries you can carry.

Normal batteries for devices, e.g. B. for flashlights or medical devices are allowed in the carry-on suitcase without limit, provided they are not lithium batteries. Power banks are only permitted up to 100 Wh and limited to two per passenger.

Electronic devices include the following:

  • Handy bzw. Smartphone
  • Laptops
  • Tablet
  • game consoles
  • camera
  • Smartwatch
  • Electrical hygiene & styling products (hair dryer, shaver, toothbrush, …)
  • E-cigarettes
  • charging cable
  • Power bank
  • Possibly other battery-operated devices

Hand luggage packing list

Now that you know all the hand luggage regulations, you can start packing. If you are still worried about the liquids and the electronic devices, we have put together a small packing list below for a safe journey with your hand luggage.

Since a carry-on suitcase is usually smaller than a normal suitcase, you have less space for your belongings. However, this means that you are less likely to overpack. So limit yourself to the most important things in your personal packing list.

In general, it pays to keep everything you might need on your way to your destination in your personal item or carry it on your person. So you always have them to hand and don't have to rummage through all your clothes looking for your wallet.

In your personal item or on your body you should have the following things with you:

  • Flight ticket and travel information
  • Purse with all important cards
  • ID
  • passport
  • Possibly vaccination card
  • Light jacket (in case you should be cold on the plane)
  • Snacks
  • any electronic devices you intend to use during the flight
  • Possibly a book or magazine to read

When it comes to items for hand luggage, the main problems are electronic devices and liquid cosmetics. It's best to pack as few electronic devices as possible while experiencing the benefits of digital minimalism on your journey . It is also worth considering trying the solid alternatives instead of the liquid hygiene products. Solid soaps, deodorant creams and toothbrush tabs clean and care just as well as the liquid alternatives from the tube. The only difference is that they are not liquid but solid. You don't have to worry about something spilling and you at least save yourself the plastic bag for the security check.


As you can see, there are a few things to consider when traveling with a carry-on suitcase. But you will soon notice that a hand luggage case also gives you advantages: You take less unnecessary ballast with you and you are much faster at the airport because you do not have to queue for hours to hand in your luggage at the counter.

So, what are you waiting for? Pack your hand luggage and travel to your next travel destination more relaxed than ever before!

Rudolfus Kikkert
Rudolfus Kikkert Interest In City Tourism

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