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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 January 2006, 14:00 GMT
What can you fit in hand luggage?
The Magazine answers...

Could get expensive

Ryanair is slapping a 5 penalty on bags checked into the aircraft hold. There will be no charge for hand luggage. So what can you fit into one small bag?

Ryanair has announced that it is to charge passengers for checking in their baggage.

The budget airline says travellers who register their luggage online will be charged 2.50 and those who wait till the airport will pay 5. Those carrying just hand luggage will not have to pay any fee. The message is clear: carry it on if you can. It could be the start of a trend among other airlines. So what can you fit into hand luggage?

For most people the pleasure of holidays is easily matched by the pain of preparation and after the packing is done the task of shutting a suitcase often defeats many. The phrase "capsule wardrobe" is often used by fashion experts, but not in practice.

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Around 40% of women holidaymakers are guilty of over-packing when they take off for their holidays, according to research undertaken for Marks & Spencer Financial Services.

So what is the secret of travelling light? Getting the basics right is the first important step, according to experts. These include good trousers, tops and shoes. It is easy to build outfits from these basic items.

"Even if you are going to a location where you'll spend time on the beach as well as sightseeing and also going out in the evening, you should still be able to get everything you need into your hand luggage," says Susan Bull, chief fashion adviser at John Lewis's Oxford Street branch in London.

Her holiday wardrobe tips include:

  • The clothes you travel in constitute a third of your holiday wardrobe, so be tactical. Don't travel in a heavy pair of jeans, sloppy sweater or clumpy boots that you won't wear until your return journey.

  • If you are going somewhere hot, you will probably be able to fit in lots of flimsy slip dresses, or trousers for men, and tops that can be fitted into a corner of your case.

  • Wear tops more than once and wear them first for a night out and then for a day on the beach so they look different, even though they're not.

  • Your holiday wardrobe should be based around one core colour. For a summer holiday it could be cream, white or caramel.

  • Don't take too much underwear because you will probably wear swimwear much of the time. Pick underwear that is easily washed and rinsed.

  • For women, accessories don't take up much room but can transform an outfit.

  • If you are travelling straight from the office in a suit, make sure the trousers or skirt will work with the other items you take on the trip.

When it comes to quantity, if a woman has got it right, the only things she should take more than one of include: underwear, shoes (three pair maximum), skirts (two maximum) and - if going on holiday - swimwear (two maximum). The same rules apply for men, substituting trousers for skirts.

When it comes to getting it all in hand luggage the secret is to roll the clothes. Don't fold them, as rolling makes them take up less space and avoids creases.

Pack heavy items at the bottom, then knitwear and other squashy items on top. Fill the gaps with loose items such as adaptor plugs and as many little accessories as you can fit in.

Finally, put beauty products into small-sized bottles or buy travel- sized products.

Sounds so simple.

What is going to happen inside the plane with everyone bringing on hand luggage upto the maximum size available. Its bad enough on business flights with laptop bags filling the overhead lockers. There will not be enough room in the cabin if everyone has cases which can be carried on board.
Jonathan, London

The problem with charging passengers to put their luggage in the hold is that they take huge bags as hand luggage. This usually means that the last passengers to board (after the usual Ryanair scrumdown) have nowhere to put there luggage! I've already experienced this on a couple of flights. Also, why do American flights seem to have so much larger luggage allowances? Passengers on flights in and out of the US carry enormous suitcases into the cabin and often have more than 1 enormous suitcase in the hold!
Mark Wareham, London

Ryanair have to make money some way or another, and charging for luggage is some way. However, the travel light tips above are virtually useless to me as my partner and I use ryanair to travel to Denmark and this is often 2 weeks in the autumn or winter. Needless to say we never bring swimwear or flimsy slip dresses. Furthermore, we have a baby and she has no luggage allowance at all, though still needs stuff bringing. Therefore, there's absolutely no way the wardrobe we need for our mid-winter excursions to Scandinavia can be fitted into a measly piece of hand luggage.
J Andresen, Leicestershire

Easier said than done, I always end up packing way too much! Even if I only go away for a couple of days I look as though I have packed fr two weeks! I suffer with the 'but what if' syndrome!
Ellen, Manchester

When I went to Australia for a four-week trip I managed with a single antique leather case - not much bigger than a traditional briefcase - and a little Nike rucksack, both of which were small enough to take onboard as hand luggage. As I was travelling as a courier I dressed smartly and even wore a tie through check in. It was January though, so I had to wear warm clothes to the airport and have someone take them back home for me.
Stephen Dale, London

Great idea but if we all take hand luggage on to the plane where will we put it as there is not the room in the overhead lockers for the items we take on now. Is this just a con to make us buy a second seat for our luggage
Margaret, London

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