Wednesday, 14 November 2018

How to travel in style only using hand luggage

I know what you’re thinking of the title, CIANDRA MANAGED TO PACK FOR A WEEKS TRIP WITH ONLY HAND LUGGAGE!! And yes, even I’m shocked I managed to do it, I must say it wasn’t easy but I am going to share a few tips that helped me achieve it. I didn’t just manage a boring work trip with hand luggage,  it was a week away of swanking it up in London going to interviews, after-parties, sight-seeing, visiting artists’ studios – the usual grind. That’s a lot to ask from one 56cm x 45cm x 25cm case (the official allowance for Easy Jet, but check your airline website because they all differ).

I’d like point out that, despite all my fears and expectations, I didn’t once feel I had a lack of clothes or essentials and I write as someone who routinely and tactically overpacks (think 3 suitcases for a couple of days away!). When I’m working away the unexpected event always crops up and you need to be prepared. Plus you need to pack the essentials to the job – laptops, keyboards, iPads, extra batteries.


This is where finding the right case is critical. Not all cabin cases are equal. I’ve tried many over the years, from designer to budget, but the ideal case is personal. I like Samsonite Neopulse 4 wheelspinner, which make it an effortless case to drive, either forwards or in reverse, and it’s very robust. They really don’t seem to die (they also come with a global 5 month warranty!).  Four-wheel cases are slightly heavier than two-wheelers, which is why I didn’t choose them. I’ve regretted it ever since.

The Samsonite cases are extremely well built and come in three sizes (I may have to buy them all) and lots of colours. I chose mine in Wine Red, I love this colour! The internal configuration is also one of the most intelligently thought-out of any brand’s. A zipped-in compartment on each side ensures nothing falls out when you have to open it for the umpteenth check, and your clothes can be evenly divided. A case that’s too deep guarantees a mountain of rags on arrival. You can purchase the cases on


As for actual packing I always roll my clothes not fold them. I start with items that don’t crease, or aren’t going to be seen in public, such as workout leggings and nightwear, so that by the time I get to a silk dress or tailored trousers, there’s a substantial roll to wrap them around. Do it right, ie, rolling items smoothly and neatly, without overfilling the case, and there should be minimal rumpling on arrival – nothing that can’t be sorted by hanging them in a steamy bathroom for 10 minutes. Turning jackets inside out will help avoid crushing them, but if space is limited, wear  your jacket while travelling. Stuff sleeves with underwear. Leave no vacuum unfilled. If you’re taking a spare clutch bag, fill it with adapter plugs, or a belt.

Bag-wise, on holiday I like a lightweight tote that can work well as a beach bag, I try to make sure the straps fit over your luggage handles when they’re extended and that it sits securely on the case when you’re wheeling it. Additionally I take a small cross-body bag – all you need it to fit is a phone, some money in a little purse, hand sanitiser, lip-balm and a sun protector stick (if you’re going abroad).

As for your clothes, make sure you pack lots of basic tops and dresses that can be worn over an over again, dressed up or down, and make life a hell of a lot easier.


Jewelry, a scarf big enough to wear as a cover up or sarong, and a belt or two will transform outfits. Limit what you take either to what you can wear whilst travelling, or to what you can securely fit in a travel jewelry case. If you do put luggage in the hold, at least your fine jewellery should be compact enough to take in your hand bag.


Shower gels and body cream? If you’re going to a good hotel they’ll more than likely provide have nice ones. If not, buy it over there or at the airport once through security, along with your SPF. I like No 7’s Protect and Perfect (factor 30 for the face, 15 for my legs) because it soaks in so quickly. If you’re buying more than 100ml, get them to seal it all in some plastic bags with the receipt so that if you’re on a transfer flight and have to pass through security again, they’ll wave it through. If you’re lucky, they’ll even let you bring any unopened bottles back, provided they're still in its sealed bag. Don't let your beauty necessities weigh you down (I have this problem!). Beauty travel packs are an effective way to get a brand’s key formula – although some contain tiny amounts of shampoo and conditioner that are hopeless if you’re going to be washing your hair every day or have hair extensions like me! Better to buy a kit that focuses on the face, and stock up on body products once you get to your destination. Neal’s Yard Dry Skincare kit has a lovely orange blossom cleanser, toner, moisturiser and oil, £15 from

Have you ever just packed with hand luggage, how did you find it?

Love Ciandra x



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