The Hand Luggage Challenge

The Hand Luggage Challenge

Aeroplane picture

I’ve now been back from my blissful (loud, lairy and ridiculously fun) hen holiday for 2 and a half weeks and have been trying to write this blog post since then, sorry for the delay!

I don’t know if you all know, probably because I haven’t stopped going on about it, but I’ve just moved into a flat, hence my decision to do the above challenge!

When I booked my place on this hen do I couldn’t think of anything worse than 1 55cm x 40cm x 23cm 10KG suitcase. I’d obviously mentally planned the 4 pairs of sliders, 2 pairs of sandals, 16 bikinis and 8 pairs of sunglasses that I was going to pack, because that’s reasonable for 5 days….. right?

I soon realised that my cash flow isn’t great right now and buying extra luggage for a little trip away may send my dad into a huffing and grumbling fit (and wouldn’t help my bank balance) so I decided that I’m a strong independent female and I can do this (?!?!)

Back in the day Mum (Mand) and I always used to do the “handbag challenge” when we trundled off on our little jaunts to London. I would just take the biggest handbag I could find and jam it full until I could barely do the zip up, Mand’s however only had essentials in it to get her through the next few days. She usually ended up with my stuff in her bag as well. I must add that these trips were usually 2 nights and not 4!


One of the extremely organised hens (not me) did some research and found out that we can put 10 x 100ml bottles in hand luggage so I started there. When I say I started there I mean the mother, because packing a suitcase is just too stressful for me.

Liquids I took:

Liquids all 100ml or under:

2 Body Shop Body Butters (liquid apparently, so ended up having my suitcase emptied by customs and a slap on the wrist)

2 x conditioner – should have had a shampoo and conditioner, but I will forgive Mand as I should have done it myself if I wanted it done right

1 x body wash

1 x perfume

1 x factor 15 sun lotion

1 x factor 20 sun lotion

1 x foundation – didn’t use because my sassy freckles came out so it was bronzer all the way

1 x mascara


3 bikinis, 3 pairs of shorts, 6 tops, 4 dresses, 1 skirt, 2 beach cover ups, 1 pair of pyjamas, 1 beach bag, 1 pair of sliders and 1 pair of sandals (would have also taken my havianas, but left them at the flat by accident and nearly bought some delicious mint green Nike sliders at the airport and didn’t…. however I regretted that decision all holiday and I thought about them longingly whilst looking at my feet all day on the sun lounger)

I must add I didn’t take a towel (on purpose) because I just bought one for 6 euros when I got there.

All in all it was pretty successful and I felt so virtuous when I saw everyone arrive with all of their belongings and I was just dancing through Gatwick with my little red case. However I did miss the excitement of waiting at the conveyor belt for my luggage and that little bit of delight when it comes into view and you push through the crowds and struggle to get it off the belt and everyone just stands there and watches. Don’t worry there is always next time, because although I survived I’m pretty sure I won’t be taking on the challenge again any time soon.

Siam Park

Some of the gals…. they all took suitcases AND hand luggage


Things I’ve learnt:

If you blow dry and straighten/curl your hair, this challenge is not for you…. I’m a lover of going au naturel on holiday (and I’m lazy) so I can’t think of anything worse than standing in 30 degree heat drying and straightening my hair…… nuh uh sister

Mini shampoo and conditioner bottles look the same… check the bottles and don’t accidentally take 2 conditioners!

Be really nice to your friends – cue me at 7pm knocking on my new friend’s rooms rummaging through their toiletries and applying every face cream, hair product and make-up item I liked the look of (because I couldn’t quite fit in serum, leave in conditioner and eyeshadow into my pitifully small suitcase)

Once again you will need to ask your friends nicely if you can put your razor in the suitcase, because they can’t go in hand luggage. I know I said I like to go au naturel but random sprouting hairs is just not the one.

My liquids didn’t fit in one bag and the only reason I got them all through security is because one of the girls had all of her liquids in her hold luggage so they let me have another bag, YAY. Maybe buy some of your toiletries once you’ve passed the golden threshold of security.

If you are planning on taking a Sydney Swan, there is NO chance that it will fit in your hand luggage – so depending on how much you want to take a 4 man inflatable swan on holiday depends on whether this challenge is for you.


You don’t actually need 4 pairs of sliders, 2 pairs of sandals, 16 bikinis and 8 pairs of sunglasses to survive on holiday, YAY! I also came home with 3 unworn dresses, 1 pair of unworn shorts and some clean tops, life is good.

If this challenge is not for you take a look at my Hand Luggage Essentials to see you through your flight. Adios for now senoritas.

1 Comment

  1. Ian
    July 19, 2016 / 1:49 pm

    Well that was an education, I had to Google most of the things you packed as I really don’t understand girly-speak 🙂

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