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How to Pack Hand Luggage as a Hijabi
Packing for a hand luggage only trip can be a logistical nightmare.
Especially when you’re a chronic over packer!
Packing Hand Luggage as a Hijabi can be tricky.
I’ve travelled since I was 5 years old with my family Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God), so you could say I’m a seasoned traveller.
But since 2013 when we got married, my husband has challenged me to pack hand luggage only for short breaks.
And while I still over pack sometimes, I’m starting to get the hang of it!
On our recent trip to Rome, we only packed for hand luggage.
And whilst we were overweight on the way back, they still let us on the plane, because we were running late!
WHY SHOULD YOU GO HAND LUGGAGE ONLY?
Gone are the golden days when you could travel with hand luggage and checked luggage as part of your ticket.
With the advent of budget airlines, every little thing including the seat you choose including the luggage you carry incurs an extra cost.
With checked baggage costing at least £50 or so per bag, it can get expensive.
The other reason to travel hand luggage only is that it frees you up to travel by public transport.
When you have to drag yourself, your hand luggage and your suitcase, you’re more than likely to end up getting a taxi.
This would have cost us €70 extra rather than the €7 each for a train ticket to the main train station in Rome.
Quite a steep cost!
CHILDREN AND HAND LUGGAGE ONLY
Travelling hand luggage only works when you don’t have children.
As soon as you add children to the mix, their clothes, nappies, bottle warmers etc adds up.
Never mind the pram as an extra weight that will not fit into the hand luggage only situation!
The friends we travelled with opted for one hand luggage for a family of 4 including 2 adults and 2 young children and one checked baggage
They also had a pram for the youngest.
An airport transfer to and from the hotel made life easier for them whilst travelling.
HAND LUGGAGE SUITCASE
Most of us already have a hand luggage suitcase, but if you don’t have one, don’t buy cheap.
Get one with 4 wheels for easy navigation, and one that expands but fits into the airline regulations so you can fit more in.
Packing hand luggage as a Hijabi, I would suggest a hard shell suitcase is best, but I know that these can cost more than the soft, cloth ones.
Pick the right-hand luggage for your budget, and one that’s not too heavy even when empty.
WHAT TO PACK IN HAND LUGGAGE
In this post, we’ll discuss the essentials any traveller should have when taking a short break, especially when packing hand luggage as a Hijabi.
CLOTHES, SHOES & HANDBAGS
Are you like me and obsess on watching videos on how to pack hand luggage and still look stylish?
OK, just me then!
The first thing you need to figure out and the bulkiest things will be clothes, shoes and handbags.
DRESS FOR THE WEATHER
My best advice is to dress for the realistic weather rather than the YouTube weather.
One year we went to Amsterdam to see the Tulip Festival and I’d watched Nikkietutorials the day before and she said the weather was so warm in Amsterdam.
Well, friends, the weather was COLD!
I didn’t take a warm jacket, so ended up freezing on my holiday and had to buy a hoodie from the gift shop to stay warm!
On this trip to Rome, I meticulously checked the weather on my weather app for the days we were travelling and the forecast was sunny but with rain.
On the first 3 days the weather was between warm and cold and then it rained on our last day in Rome but thankfully we had raincoats to keep us warm and dry!
DRESS FOR THE ITINERARY
My second piece of advice is to dress for your itinerary.
Packing hand luggage as a Hijabi means that you shouldn’t pack a ball gown dress or dressy skirt when you’re going to be walking around a lot and sitting on questionable stones.
Those stains are so hard to get out!
When packing hand luggage as a Hijabi I packed 2 trousers and wore one on the flight, and then packed some lighter hareem pants for the warmer weather.
Knowing we would have 2 full days of walking, I bought some light comfortable shoes from Skechers and wore those.
I didn’t pack anything fancy because we were not planning to go out for dinner.
Make sure you check your airline’s policy on handbags as this changes from airline to airline.
Alitalia allowed you one piece of hand luggage and a handbag/small backpack.
I chose to keep my small, falling apart handbag because it had a closed pocket flap and we’d read there were a lot of pickpockets in Rome.
My bag had a strap so I could wear it cross-body to keep my belongings safe.
When you are travelling, you’re likely going to be wearing your hijab all day every day, so choose breathable fabrics and materials.
Packing hand luggage as a Hijabi, I chose to bring 4 hijabs, one for each day of the trip.
I chose the following:
All the fabrics were breathable and light which is what makes them ideal and perfect for Hand Luggage as a Hijabi.
AIRPORT SECURITY FOR HIJABIS
Travelling to the airport is not the time to try out some complicated Hijab style as you’ll inevitably set off the alarm at Airport Security with all the pins.
My tip is to wear your scarf loosely.
If you must have pins, choose a no-snag hijab pin you can take off and put in your bag before you go through the metal detectors.
I always make sure there is no metal at any point on my body until I get through airport security.
Trousers with no belt
No hijab pins
No boots as you’ll have to take these off before going through airport security.
I did get pulled aside in Rome, but they took me to another room to check under my hijab.
DON’T ARGUE WITH AIRPORT SECURITY ANYWHERE!
Please, Sisters, I implore you.
Do not argue with security when they politely ask you to take off your Hijab in another room.
It usually takes 2 minutes and you’re in and out and on your way to a pleasant trip In Shaa Allah.
Don’t make it harder for yourself or your travelling companions. And this is not the time to crack any jokes about airport security or “random checks”.
Hijab Pins, we love them and loathe them!
They keep our Hijabs secure but they can be a nightmare to keep in one place when travelling.
I had a little jewellery box which I keep my pins and rings in when travelling which my friend gifted me from Bangladesh at my wedding time.
Next time I’ll definitely think about taking these Pin Wallets from Sodis’ Gems.
Travel Adaptor Plugs were a godsend and we always have 2 in our hand luggage, one for me and one for my husband.
Our friends brought the wrong type of plug for Italy, so we lent them ours and it worked out Alhamdulillah.
Always check what kind of plugs you need when travelling.
We ended up going for these TRIPPED Travel Gear Compression Packing Cubes ones instead, and it worked out great as we had one for underwear, one for tops and one for Hijabs etc.
They kept everything tidy, and compressed items down which meant we could fit more in and made packing a breeze!
WASHABLE LAUNDRY BAG
We bought a washable laundry bag from Muji years ago, which is not only deodorising but is washable.
I can’t find it on their site anymore, but any kind of washable laundry bag would work and keeps your clean and dirty clothes separate.
Having not been out of the country for 2 years, we did bring WAY too many toiletries for a short trip. And remember all your liquid bottles must be under 100ml and fit into those 1L bags at airport security which means you can have more smaller bottles as long as the total doesn’t exceed 1L.
The hotel actually provided shower gel, soap and shampoo, so next time, you can save on that in your hand luggage and skimp on those toiletries.
You won’t use much product, so I would advise taking the least amount. If you run out, you can always buy some at your destination.
For moisturisers and gels, I decanted them into small, round containers and barely used any on my travels.
I honestly didn’t end up wearing that much makeup, and if your skin is good, skip the foundation and stick to concealer. Or go for mineral makeup which is more breathable but still gives you some coverage.
Remember any makeup will have to go into your liquids bag so be careful about how much you need.
Lipsticks surprisingly don’t count in the liquids category. Liquid lipsticks, concealers, gel eyeliners etc do. Be careful with making sure your liquids bag is not bursting at the seams either.
Choose your makeup according to your itinerary, the climate and how much space your liquids bag has because you’ll honestly not be thinking much about makeup when travelling.
DO take a setting spray as that really helped keep my makeup in place. I decanted my Urban Decay All Nighter into a smaller spray bottle.
You will only need a small number of makeup brushes, so I pared it down to a few and used my Real Techniques brushes for the trip.
I carried some Isopropyl Alcohol into a small spray bottle to clean my brushes after use.
We all know makeup wipes are bad for you, so on this trip, I only chose to take my Naturyl Glow exfoliating flannels to remove my makeup and refresh at the end of the day.
I took a few flannels and put them in a sandwich bag to keep them clean and avoid any spills, and they fit into my makeup bag, and worked a treat!
Packing hand luggage as a Hijabi, one thing we forget is that inevitably when we need to take our Hijabs off at the end of the day, we need to bring a comb or hairbrush!
You would not believe the number of times one forgets to bring this.
I chose to take my smaller Tangleteezer as it fits perfectly in my toiletries bag.
In your hand luggage as a Hijabi you can also take a decanted version of the Millionaire Hair Mist to help refresh your hair when you take your Hijab off.
I didn’t take the spray this time, but I wish I had!
Also, don’t forget to take hair bobbles/pins with you in your bag, just don’t wear the pins underneath your Hijab at the airport!
If you wear contacts, then don’t forget to pack these and note they count in your liquids as well.
I sometimes wear daily contacts but if you wear monthly ones, you’ll need to decant the solution into a smaller container for travel.
Travelling can be dusty and be tiring for the eyes, so we found these individual travel drops in Boots. You can take a few with you to keep your eyes hydrated on your trip.
This was a lifesaver for me as I suffer from dry eyes especially after taking my contacts out and when going around dusty places.
When travelling, keeping yourself clean can be a challenge.
We discovered Wudu Mate before we travelled to Umrah in 2015 and it’s become a firm favourite for us and our friends!
We even gave everyone a Wudu Mate after we came back from Umrah Alhamdulillah.
This little device folds down flat when not using, and expands to 1 litre of water when filled up.
PORTABLE PRAYER MATS
Portable prayer mats are a godsend, but what I will say is get those ones with the compass in them or carry a compass separately.
Yes, apps on your phone are great, but the old fashioned way is sometimes better.
Don’t forget to carry any medicines or vitamins you take on a daily basis as these will be essential when travelling.
Also, carry some diarrhoea tablets and anything else you might need in case the food doesn’t agree with you.
Plasters, paracetamol etc. are a must, especially when travelling with children!
Depending on how long you are going for you may want to carry some spare SD cards with you for your camera or device.
We have a Sony A5000 camera that is not only portable but capable of taking great photos and videos to capture your memories, and the main camera I use for blog photos.
I wish I’d carried a travel tripod, but my bag was already so full! I’ll definitely change the way I pack next trip In Shaa Allah.
If your liquids are over, then consider carrying a foot massager to give your tired feet a break instead of Deep Heat to soothe those tired feet after a day of walking.
My feet were killing me after the first day of sightseeing, but I couldn’t find a good foot massager till I came back home and found this on Amazon!
Carry one nightsuit for your travels, a matching set of tops and bottom is wonderful!
In your Hand Luggage as a Hijabi, you may need to carry some pads with you.
Also carry some nappy bags, as toilets and rooms are quite compact in Europe and the bin is usually outside.
You will need a way to stop the smell of your pads coming into the room.
Hand sanitiser would add to your liquid weight, but carrying travel wipes is an essential to clean your hands and any other parts, clothes on the go.
You will go through these like crazy!
You can decant your favourite perfume into a small atomiser that’s perfect for travel.
This is a great way to take your favourite scent with you.
I hope I’ve covered the essentials, and whilst I could go into way more detail, I’ll leave that up to the FREE checklist I’ve created.
I have a special bonus for you because let’s be honest, all this is just information overload, so I’ve created a special checklist for you to print out or save to your phone to help you pack as a hijabi.
Sign up to my mailing list to get access to the resource library where I’ve shared this and all my super secret resources just for subscribers.
Bon Voyage and stay tuned for the next part of the Travel series where I show you the amazing sights in Rome!
If you need some inspo on how to save money, plan for and make the most of your holiday in Rome, check out these posts:
- 3 Ways to Save Money For Your Holidays
- How to Plan Your Trip to Rome as a Muslim
- 48 Hours in Rome – What to See, Eat and Do as a Muslim
- Rome Life Hotel Review