Travel hack – How to pack Ryanair (aka tiny) hand luggage only

In the interests of a challenge I packed a Ryanair carry on bag for a three day break according to the new 45cm x 25cm x 20cm regulations.  And I am here to tell you – it can be done.

So yep, there is a little bit of compromising and a lot of smart thinking to be done but you know what?  I had everything I needed in that tiny bag.  So first up, let’s take a look at what went in…

  • 1 x wrap blouse – this works alone with jeans or shorts but equally well layered over a dress for a different look
  • 1 x midi dress – this could be worn day or night
  • 2 x swimwear – perhaps one is enough but I like to have variety for the tan line variation at least
  • 2 x tank/vest tops – to work with shorts or jeans
  • 1 x shorts – easy to pull on during the day
  • 1 x jeans – just in case it turns out cooler in the evenings than you hoped
  • 1 x maxi dress – ideally choose a dress that works by the pool but also in the evening
  • 1 x pair flat sandals – make sure these are neutral and, most importantly, comfy
  • 3 x undies – if you follow my Five Star Holidaying on a Budget tips you should have no need for pyjamas as all good hotels provide robes and slippers

And then to travel you want something super comfy but that can easily double as one of your looks during the trip.  I opted for…

  • 1 x jacket – I have been living in this cropped denim number* all summer and it goes with everything
  • 1 x scarf – I always ALWAYS wear a big, lightweight scarf because they have sooo many uses (keep you comfy and cosy on the flight, act as an extra layer in the evening, can be a cover up in the sun, even a towel on the beach – just take one)
  • 1 x jumpsuit – this loose tan number is an old time fav of mine but they have re-released it this season* again in a new fabric
  • 1 x sneakers OR wedges – chances are you have a fair idea before you travel which of these will be more useful to you but sadly both take up precious real estate in the packing dept. so just wear them



  • 1 x makeup bag
  • 1 x toiletries bag – this 100ml all day long suncream* was a new discovery for me
  • 1 x mini bag – filled with passport, purse, phone plus charger and neutral to match your palette for evenings
  • 1 x book – call me old fashioned but I like a real paperback for round the pool
  • 1 x pair of sunglasses
  • 1 x beach bag – a string or canvas option is your best bet here because they take up next to no space but hold everything
  • 1 x hairbrush
  • 1 x pair straighteners – if, like me, you must
  • 1 x plug adapter – although worth checking if your hotel offer these in the rooms



As far as jewellery goes I wear it all for travel; not only does this save any of it getting knotted or damaged, it saves on space.  The lady in the plane seat next to me commented how much she loved all my layered pieces…  she then went on to tell me that her daughter usually refers to her as Mr T so I guess she also falls into the ‘more is more’ camp.

The key thing to bear in mind when selecting your options is versatility.  I like to opt for a neutral colour palette of black, white and tan but you might be just as happy in a rainbow of clashing colours – as long as you can wear each piece more than one way then you will not be stuck I assure you.

When it comes to packing you want to start with the bulky items like shoes, straighteners, the book and beach bag and then follow up with the clothes.  Now it is time to rock and ROLL.  Seriously, roll.  Roll like your life depends on it.  You will be amazed at how much space this saves. And finally finish the top layer with all the things you might need during travel – the mini bag filled with the purse and phone, the sunglasses and the toiletries prepped for security because, trust me, nobody wants to be that guy whose clear bag full of liquids lurks somewhere in the depths of their precision packed case.

I almost feel like I should add a disclaimer here because, in truth, Carrie and I wound up booking a carry on case to share, largely due to her fear of me packing no pyjamas.  This allowed me to bring along the aforementioned and apparently crucial pyjamas, this entirely space hungry fringed raffia evening bag* (obsessed), plus an extra outfit which, you guessed it, did not get worn…

*Denotes affiliate links



  1. Gaylesbury
    4 Jul / 7:15 am

    Definitely going to try the rolling thing!

  2. 23 Jul / 5:34 pm

    I always have a huge problem to pack in such small luggage 😀

  3. Louisa
    16 May / 11:17 pm

    Hey! What bag did you use and was it the new size limit of 40 x 25 x 20?

    • Thankfifi
      25 Jul / 10:35 am

      Hi Louisa – sorry to take so long to get back to you. YES it is the new size limit but the bag is old I’m afraid.

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