Liquids in hand luggage

Liquids in hand luggage – how to pack them right!


BUAG Icon CAFHey, I’m Melanie. Since 10 years I travel the world and with Backpack up and go I want to be exactly the reliable support for you that I used to look for when I started my travel life 💜 Therefore you will find here everything not only about useful travel products, but also about personal travel recommendations & tips!

Do you remember your first plane ride? Or is it still ahead of you? Even if you haven’t flown yet, you may have heard that liquids in hand luggage are subject to special rules regarding their size. My hand luggage tip to you: If you want to take different liquids with you, then a robust, resealable toilet bag is the most important thing – so you are well equipped! Here here come some tips on how to pack liquids in hand luggage correctly.

Hand luggage is always with me. Whether for a short break, a longer trip, a business trip or a city trip with friends. In addition to my technical equipment and reading material there are also a few fresheners, which are essential for me especially on long-haul flights.

However, these fresheners, above all naturally liquid and gel-like things, are subject to a strict airport security rule. Namely the 1-litre rule.

I’ll tell you here what that means and how to pack liquids correctly in your hand luggage.

Liquids in hand luggage: That is allowed.

Of course you can take what you want with you with all the liquids. My mini culture bag for airplane trips therefore differs between short- and long-haul flights (since I simply have a different need for care on the latter) or whether I only travel with hand luggage, because it goes on a city trip, for example.

Generally I’m in:

  • Lipstick / Lip Care
  • Deocreme
  • Cream (for face and hands) – I prefer to use coconut oil, see below for more information;
  • Tiger-Balsam (for headaches or stuffy nose)
  • A few medications, mainly for nausea & headaches
  • Lozenges for sore throats (I can’t go anywhere without them)
  • manicure set

On a long distance flight I also have toothpaste, toothbrush, soap (to freshen up), brush/comb as well as mascara & mascara with me.

And on a city trip (without check-in luggage) shower gel, shampoo and the like must also be added.

There’s a lot of stuff coming together! So that you can take all these things into your hand luggage without any problems, you have to pack all liquids according to the safety regulations. Below I’ll tell you how.

Liquids in hand luggage: You have to stick to it.

The default for liquids in carry-on baggage is:

  • >The culture bag must be transparent and resealable.
  • It may only have a total volume of 1 litre.
  • Vials/containers may only hold a maximum of 100 millilitres.

That’s of course not much – especially if you want to take shampoo, shower gel, etc. with you in your hand luggage because you’re going on a city trip, for example.

I’ll tell you here how I pack my (few or many) liquids for short- and long-haul flights or for city trips.

Liquid to be packed correctly in hand luggage

In order to comply with the safety requirements for liquids, you must pay attention to the following:

The right culture bag

transparent, resealable, 1 litre volume: I use the stylish, transparent culture bag from Travando, which looks great as a small culture or cosmetics bag! It has a capacity of exactly 1 litre and is therefore your ideal companion on flights.

In the past, I used to put my stuff in these plastic zipper bags, but in my experience (even with careful, good care) they break quickly and end up in the trash. For the sake of the environment you should therefore use a robust, resistant transparent toilet bag.

I can warmly recommend Travando’s from my own experience!

Zipper bags are not very robust and therefore not a good solution in the long run…

The right amount: Transfer liquids

The advantage on a short or long haul flight or a city trip WITH check-in luggage is that you can check in liquids over 100 ml (such as toothpaste, shampoo, shower gel, creams, hairspray & co.) with your backpack. In your hand luggage you will only have the most important products for the trip with you.

If you don’t have check-in baggage or want to take special things like toothpaste, cream or shower gel with you in your hand luggage (keyword long distance flight or city trip WITHOUT check-in baggage), you have to refill these things into 100 ml containers.

Tip 1:

Of course you can buy these small mini travel packs from your favourite product in the drugstore. But they end up in the trash as soon as they are empty, because you can’t refill them most of the time. environmentally friendly you trade when you use reusable containers and cans. So save small cans of cream & co. instead of throwing them away!

Other of course this behaves if you need hair setting lotion and spray. You won’t be able to avoid these small travel sizes.

Tip 2:

No good experience I made with these standard travel container sets where the refillable bottles are made of relatively hard plastic. Since you always have to press these “solid” bottles to get shampoo & co., they will be stressed relatively hard at the pressure point and therefore brittle and cracked. Also these ended up in my garbage after only a few trips…

For shampoo, shower gel, cream and Co. I can recommend silicone bottles! These can be squeezed wonderfully because of their flexible material (which is great for dosing, but also for emptying completely!). They are also leak-proof, which is great not only in hand luggage, but also in check-in luggage!

I now use two such vials myself and am very enthusiastic!

Small things, such as some toothpaste, hand cream and the like, I fill into cans. I use empty cans of former cosmetics. If you don’t have something like this, the leak-proof cans from GoTubb are recommended. These are available in different sizes and are therefore great for some toothpaste, face cream, medication, etc.

Whether the bottle or jar you are pouring into is transparent or not, it doesn’t matter. As long as it does not exceed the 100 ml limit.

Save space: Use combination & alternative products

Especially if you are only travelling with hand luggage, the space in the transparent toiletry bag may quickly become too small for you.

My tip: Use combination products!

How about a shower gel for skin and hair? Or you can just use your shampoo on your body.

As an alternative to shower gel, I can recommend a piece of solid soap. Since soaps have a solid state, you don’t have to put them in the 1 liter bag and make room for other liquids!

Buy washing articles & co. on site

Since mascara, face cream, toothpaste, etc., as well as liquid from your first-aid kit also belong in the 1-litre bag, it is possible that the space will become really tight very quickly if you travel exclusively with hand luggage.

If combination and alternative products (such as solid soaps) don’t give you the space you need, then you should think about getting certain things on site first. No matter where you go, you’ll always find toothpaste, mosquito repellent, shower gel, shampoo, mouthwash, sun cream and more. So if you don’t need a special shampoo or use an allergy sun cream, you can definitely save space in your hand luggage and cosmetic bag.

If your first port of call is a hotel, you can usually even find shampoo and shower gel there. And if you travel with check-in luggage, the “everything has to go in the 1 litre bag” discussion is over anyway!

Example: How to pack liquids in hand luggage

To give you an idea of how I pack my liquids on air trips, I’ll list all the things that are in my hand luggage if necessary.

Lasts as is:

  • Lipstick / Lip Care: Put it into the toilet bag.
  • Tiger-Balsam (against headaches or stuffy nose)
  • Cover Stick & Mascara

Repot into a can/jar (e.g. from GoTubb) or a silicone bottle:

  • Deocreme: If there is enough space, the can simply moves into the culture bag as it is. If not, I simply pour a small amount into a mini can (advantage: You can take the can with you on day trips, overnight stays etc.).
  • Cream (for face and hands): As mentioned above, I only use high-quality coconut oil. I also fill it into a 100 ml jar accordingly.
  • Toothpaste only comes into my hand luggage on long-haul flights or city trips (without check-in luggage).
  • Shower gel or some liquid soap I would transfer into a silicone bottle on long-haul flights or city trips; but to save space I use a solid piece of soap for showering and freshening.
  • Shampoo I would only have in my hand luggage on a city trip and would also transfer into a silicone bottle. For some time now I have not been using conventional shampoo here, but wash my hair with rye flour and water (avoids microplastics, protects the environment and is chemical-free!). So I either have some rye flour with me (yep, it works!) or I use hair soaps (preferably Aleppo soap from olive oil) for convenience from time to time.

The following does not necessarily have to be in the culture bag, but for the sake of clarity (if it goes in) I always put it in:

  • Manicure-Set
  • Soap  (for freshening) – if necessary. only one mini-piece;
  • Brush/comb
  • Lozenges for sore throats (I can’t go anywhere without them)
  • A few medications, e.g. for nausea or severe headaches, I just pack loosely (i.e. without the big pack) in a small tin – saves space!

Little tip still:

Sharp, pointed, dangerous objects are of course not allowed in your hand luggage and may be taken away at the security check:

  • Razors: Plastic disposable razors are allowed within the EU. Shavers with removable blades may only be transported in check-in baggage!
  • Scissors/Files: Within the EU, only small nail scissors and files are permitted.

Do you have any questions about liquids in hand luggage or other packing tips? Then feel free to comment on this article – I am looking forward to it!


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Hey, I'm Melanie. Tuk Tuk enthusiasts 🚛, coffee lover ☕️, pretzel fan 🥨 and the face behind Backpack up and go.

For more than 10 years I have been travelling the world. I love to search for practical and innovative products and to take a closer look at them for you. And in the future I will focus on more sustainable and environmentally friendly products, services and accommodation - for a greener lifestyle 💚

Because with Backpack up and go I want to be exactly the reliable support for you that I used to look for when I started my travel life! 💜

Psst: Here you can read more about me!

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