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Complete Hand Luggage Guide – Restrictions & Tips

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Overview

1   Maximum Size & Weight

The first sobering news: unfortunately, there are no uniform rules for the size or weight of carry-on luggage. Each airline decides this individually. You can find the respective information when booking your flight and on airline websites. Most airlines allow a maximum size of 22 x 18 x 10 in (56 x 45 x 25 cm), and the weight varies between 11 and 26 pounds. A suitcase or backpack with a low empty weight is worth its weight in gold. Check out in our shop the best and lightest suitcases and backpacks.

2   Medication and Technics

We are only on a world trip with hand luggage, so we have various medications in larger quantities. We always have the package insert with us for all medicines.

We have never had any problems with our technology. We prefer to carry the laptops in our backpacks. The only thing we have to be careful about is the drone batteries. Tom always puts them in a LiPo battery bag.

3   Liquids

This means a half squeezed 6.76 oz / 200 ml toothpaste is not allowed because it is too big. All liquids must fit in a plastic bag from the airport. We have always traveled with special liquid bags, and there have never been any problems. 

Deodorant sticks and shampoo bars come in a fantastic selection. Toothpaste tabs are also a great alternative. We have our liquids in the absolute best silicone travel bottles because they hold 3.31 oz / 98 ml, all others only 3 oz / 89 ml. They are soft silicone and can't break. We have used ours for over 6 years, and they still look new.

4   Not Allowed

Have you ever looked closely at the containers or garbage cans at the security check? It's fascinating what some people have in their hand luggage: bread knives, hammers, pipe wrenches, miniature sewing machines, or baseball bats. Nail files and small scissors (2 inches / 5 cm) are boring in comparison, as they are allowed.

Also prohibited are any kind of weapons, sticks, clubs, tools, or liquid containers over 3.8 oz / 100 ml or more than 1 liter of liquid. As well as assault or gasoline lighters. 

5   Prohibited Item, What Happens?

Had to turn in your favorite bread knife? Don't worry; you won't be arrested for it. However, it's different when you're carrying items that violate the Weapons Act, Aviation Security Act, or Narcotics Act. We are talking about hunting ammunition, drugs, machetes, and the like. Then, in fact, the competent authority intervenes.

6   Item Surrendered; Get It Back?

Large items are usually locked up, and you are given a “pickup slip” and can pick up your item for a fee upon your return. For example, we're talking about a drone, which is not allowed in Cuba. Your favorite bread knife is and will be gone.  

7   Personal Item

Did you know that you can bring a personal item in addition to your carry-on bag? This can be a purse, backpack, day bag or laptop bag. This is usually not weighed and thus screams all your heavy items. Tom's favorite personal item is a breathable backpack, perfect for any hike or tour. My personal item is a business backpack, which has many practical compartments – we tried a few types of backpacks and found the perfect companions for us with these.

8   Tips and Tricks

When traveling with hand luggage only, the tare weight of the hand luggage is crucial. Some suitcases weigh as much as 3 kilograms empty. You can find the lightest and best suitcases and backpacks here.

Important and helpful packing tips:

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