Holiday Hand Luggage Only Packing Guide

Off on holiday? Don’t want to pay those baggage fees? Taking hand luggage only but not got enough room in your holiday hand luggage? Nonsense!

Exactly what do you need for a sunshine break? Access to water and some washing powder or liquid, that’s what! And our simple holiday hand luggage only packing guide.

Holiday hand luggage only checklist

So, let’s go through our checklist, with some handy hints and tips for your holiday hand luggage only.

Beach cover up – an essential holiday item. Choose wisely and your cover-up can double as a dress in the evening, like this cute little orange number from J by Jasper Conran @ Debenhams (£38).

holiday hand luggage only cover-up

Sunglasses are holiday essentials. Don’t forget these, at the very top of that holiday hand luggage packing!  We love this pair from JOY (£18)

holiday hand luggage only sunnies

Swimwear is a beach or pool holiday essential. Make sure you take enough, of whatever type you love. Bikinis and swimsuits are easy to pack and take up little space. Take half the amount for the time you are going to be there, we’d say. We love H&M’s tiny peacock feather print string bikini (top £12.99, bottoms £7.99), but we equally adore the retro-inspired striped bikini (top £26.50, bottoms £20) from Floozie by FrostFrench @ Debenhams. And we love this black pleated plunge swimsuit (£32), from Red Herring @ Debenhams.

holiday hand luggage swimwear

Shorts – a holiday hand luggage only essential. Make then denim – they work for the day and evening, and will go with whatever tops you have with you. We like this pair from H&M (£19.99)

holiday hand luggage only shorts

So, talking of tops – take a few. Wear one (obviously) to go, and then take just a few, plain and patterned, that work for day and night. A Bardot neck leopard print style (£14.99, New Look) is perfect. A plain white vest (or any colour you like), works brilliantly and you can roll these into nothing! This one’s just £3.99 from H&M. French Connection’s cute cami top is a sale bargain, down from £55 to £27.

holiday hand luggage only tops

How wonderful is this white lace sheer dress from New Look (£19.99). Perfectly packable for holiday hand luggage only packing, and great for day and night. Love it.

holiday hand luggage only dress

We love a playsuit. Perfect beach cover-up, perfect daytime outfit, and perfect evening outfit – just add heels. This one, from GAP is in the sale, just £12.99, and in comfortable jersey. Fabulous.

holiday hand luggage only playsuit

Undies are, of course, an essential. But don’t overload your luggage with them. Take just a few pairs of knickers, whatever style you love, these strings are £7.99 from H&M,  and don’t bother with an extra bra. Remember, you can wash it, and you most likely won’t be wearing one most days.

holiday hand luggage only undies

So, you might only have one bag for getting on the plane, but you will need a couple of bags when you get there. How cute is this beach bag/shopper from H&M (£12.99), and we love this Aztec inspired clutch from New Look (£22.99) for evenings.

holiday hand luggage only bags

Sandals are probably the only holiday footwear you need to take. Flat, like these gladiators from Schuh, £45, or wedge or heel, it’s your call. Buy flip-flops (along with a towel and a hat) when you’re there, and wear your walking shoes, or trainers to travel in. Most people take far too many shoes on holiday and there is no need!

holiday hand luggage only sandals

Cover ups to cover up

A bikini or a swimsuit are the beach and pool essentials, but cover ups come a close second. What are cover ups? Well, essentially something to wear to cover up when the sun gets too much, or when you head off to the bar for lunch or a cooling drink, or even something to wear to the beach or pool.

Cover ups doesn’t just mean kaftans or sarongs though – we’ve come a long way from those days. Sarongs are pretty useful, and, if you can master them, they can be the most versatile cover-up of all.

Louche’s pom pom trimmed sarong (£18, JOY) is cute, agreed? Black is chic, but not the most cooling colour to wear on the beach.

pom pom saraong JOYMaybe H&M’s floral print, yellow-trimmed sarong (£7.99) is more beach-ready?

H&M cover ups sarong


If a sarong isn’t for you, then maybe a kaftan is? We adore this Principles by Ben de Lisi full-length kaftan from Debenhams (£38). It’s so chic! Perfect for the poolside bar perhaps.

Debenhams long kaftan


White Stuff’s beach dress (£49.95) has a fab pineapple print. No shoulders, it’s not top of the list of cover ups for keeping the sun off. But it is a cute little dress for throwing on when you head for lunch, or wearing down to the beach.

Whte Stuff bech dress cover upsCute little pair of shorts for popping on top of your swimwear? Look no further than these from Floozie by FrostFrench @ Debenhams (£25).

Debenhams beach shorts cover upsOr maybe you want to go a bit longer, with these fantastic printed loose trousers from H&M (£14.99) – superb beachwear!

H&M beach trousers cover upsBHS have one of those classic tube sundresses (£12.60) that you can wear as a skirt as well, in all sorts of colours. So retro-cool. So 1970s. So comfy!

BHS purple beach dress cover upsFrench Connection’s black and pom pom trimmed kaftan (£60) is open at the front to show off just that hint of bikini or swimsuit. It’s uber-chic beachwear!

French Connection pom pom kaftanKimonos are perfect for beachwear; easy to throw on, easy to roll up and pop in your bag, and they look great. There are SO many of them in the shops at this time of year. We love this black and blue one from Red Herring @ Debenhams (£32).

Debenhams cover upsBut, we also really love this tie-dye kimono – the king of the cover ups – from New Look (£19.99).kaftan cover ups new lookWhat would top your cover ups list?

Please note that we always endeavour to feature items that are available in Ocean Terminal, however sometimes items featured may be out of stock, and prices may vary due to seasonal reduction