Are you packing for a holiday? You might be starting to organise your suitcase as you prepare for your next trip.

When travelling abroad, you’ll need to be aware of the things you can and can’t take in your hand luggage and with the usual long tick list of everything else to remember, it’s understandable if you need a refresh of the rules.

New technology is being operated in some UK airports while others are still waiting for it. 

It means that liquids don't have to be taken out of your hand luggage as you go through security. Instead, it can stay in your bag and go through the scanner in the tray with your other belongings. 

Let’s take a look at the hand luggage rules and restrictions.

Hand luggage rules and restrictions to be aware of

The government website explains that passengers will need to check the size and quantity of bags that the airline they are flying with allows.

Airlines may have different rules so it's worth checking with your airline if you're unsure of what is and isn't allowed in your hand luggage.

Epping Forest Guardian: It's important to check what items can and can't be packed in your hand luggage before you set offIt's important to check what items can and can't be packed in your hand luggage before you set off (Image: Canva)

Can you pack makeup or aerosols in hand luggage?

Restrictions are in place for how much liquid you can take in your hand luggage and passengers are encouraged to pack liquids in their hold luggage (checked-in luggage) if possible.

Liquids include all drinks, cosmetics and toiletries, and sprays including deodorants, hairspray and shaving foam, to name a few.

A full list of liquids included can be found on the government website.

If liquids are packed in your hand luggage, the containers should hold a maximum of 100 ml and they must be in one transparent, resealable plastic bag that can hold no more than a litre and that measures approximately 20cm by 20cm.

The bag must be sealed and cannot be tied or knotted at the top.

Each person can only have one plastic bag and it must be shown at the airport security point.

There are some exemptions for liquids in containers of more than 100 ml, these can be found via the government website.


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Can you pack a lighter in your hand luggage?

Only one lighter per person is allowed to be taken on board and it should be put in a bag like the ones used for liquids.

It must stay on the passenger throughout the flight and can’t be put in hold luggage or hand luggage after screening.

E-cigarettes can be packed in your hand luggage but not your hold luggage.

Can you pack razors in your hand luggage?

Disposable razors and electric shavers can be packed in your hand luggage and hold luggage.

Can you pack medication in your hand luggage?

Essential medicines that are more than 100 ml including “liquid dietary foodstuffs and inhalers” can be packed in your hand luggage.

If medical equipment is essential for your journey, it can be packed in your hand luggage.

If your medication is both in liquid form and in a container bigger than 100 ml, you will need to carry proof that it is prescribed to you.

Proof can be a letter from your doctor or a copy of your prescription.

Epping Forest Guardian: Some medication will need proof that it was prescribed to the ownerSome medication will need proof that it was prescribed to the owner (Image: Canva)

If your medicine is either in tablet form or a liquid that is in a container that’s 100 ml or less, you don’t need to show proof.

Different rules apply if your medicine contains a controlled drug.

Staff at the airport will need to open the containers to screen liquids when you get to the security point and medical equipment will be screened separately.

What items cannot be packed in hand luggage?

Items not allowed to be packed in hand luggage include:

  • Frozen breast milk
  • Corkscrew
  • Knife (with a sharp or pointed blade and/or blade longer than 6cm)
  • Large scissors (with blades longer than 6cm)
  • Non-safety matches
  • Fireworks, flares and other pyrotechnics, including party poppers and toy caps
  • Cigarette lighter (can be in a plastic liquids bag and kept on your person)
  • Heavy bats and sticks (including baseball, softball and cricket bats)
  • Golf clubs
  • Darts
  • Walking/hiking poles
  • Catapult
  • Firearms (including replica firearms)
  • Harpoon or spear gun
  • Crossbow
  • Martial arts equipment (including knuckledusters, clubs, coshes, rice, flails and nunchuks)

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Work tools such as drills and drill bits, screwdrivers, hammers and pliers can’t be packed in hand luggage – to see the full list, you can visit the government website.

A variety of chemicals, toxic substances and ammunition are also not allowed to be packed in hand luggage.

If you’re unsure if some things can be packed in your hand luggage or hold luggage, you can check with your airline.