Packing is arguably the most demanding aspect of the whole trip preparation. But while packing the main luggage can be a no-brainer if you stick to a routine packing list and know the basics of international baggage allowance, when it comes to packing hand luggage for Australia there are many things that you need to be aware of.
Firstly you need to make sure that all your valuables and travel essentials fit in your hand luggage, not only to survive the long-haul flight but also to be self-sufficient for a couple of days. Secondly your cabin bag must comply with the hand baggage allowance of all countries, including (lay-overs) international airports and Australian airports as well.
Baggage allowance regulations for Australia
As airport luggage regulations may differ from country to country and also by airline company. Not only with regards to prohibited items in hand luggage but also with weight allowance, liquid allowance, dimension allowance and more. That's why you need to get all this information before travelling to Australia.
Tip 1: When booking flights to Australia make sure you check baggage weight limit for the international flight to Australia and all domestic flights within Australia.
Usually 23 kg is what most airline companies allow for international flights to Australia, but if you fly Emirates you will be allowed up to 30 kg for checked baggage in economy class. While Qantas and Virgin allow 23 kg on all economy Australian domestic flights, the low-coast airline Jet-Star allows 20 kg and Tiger-air allows 15 kg for standard checked baggage in economy class. You see that with all there variations it makes sense to have your checked bags aligned on all airlines baggage regulations.
Tip 2: When booking domestic flights for Australia, check all airline baggage allowance restrictions and make sure your checked bag complies with all airlines rules you will be flying with.
Ideally you should try not to exceed 15 kg to 20 kg per checked baggage, so that you have peace of mind and will not have to pay extra money for excess weight baggage allowance.
Australia Baggage weight limit
Australia is a peculiar country with regards to hand baggage rules. While most international airlines companies have aligned on the main standard baggage allowances, Australia has added their own.
Australia has lately added a strict rule as far as hand luggage restrictions is concerned. I was made aware last year on a lay-over flight in Dubai when my bottled water was confiscated while boarding on a transfer-flight (i.e. after security check).
On this blog post I show you what you need to consider before starting to pack flight hand luggage for Australia, this will save you lots of time and hassle at airports, thus complying with the hand luggage limits and have peace of mind when flying to and within Australia.
Hand Luggage Restrictions for Australia
Before you start packing your hand baggage for Australia you shall know that:
- Hand luggage weight allowance on domestic flights in Australia is 7 kg on most Australian airlines. While they usually don't check the weight, the luggage size is important and if this exceeds the standard allowed dimensions you may have to check the bag in. You can only have 1 piece as cabin bag, with an additional small item like a small personal bag or a waste pack that you can take with you into the flight cabin. My Tip: try to pack all flight hand luggage with 7 kg max so as to comply with all domestic airlines hand luggage regulations. At the check in / drop off bag counter there is a scale where you can check the weight. If this exceeds the weight allowance you may have to unpack or pay for extra weight, so I would definitely check first at home and unpack accordingly.
- Hand luggage dimensions This is probably the biggest issue coupled with weight allowance. I have seen people approaching the check in counter with a huge hand luggage nearly as the same size of the checked bag. There are standard hand luggage size which are 55x35x25 cm including wheels. These dimensions apply to all type of hand luggage, such as, carry-on bags on wheels, travel backpacks, or hand bags. There are proper containers (next to check in counters) to check if the hand luggage fits in, if it fits it goes, if it doesn't you will have to re-pack or check in your bag.
Liquid allowance regulation for Australia
- Hand luggage liquid allowance. While years ago on all Australian domestic flights you were not asked to pack liquids into a transparent plastic bag, as we are used to in Europe, UK and US, a few years ago Australia introduced this regulation on all domestic flights too. So be prepared to put all your liquids in there (with max 100 ml per bottle) and with a maximum of 1 liter altogether. Another important thing you must know on transfer flights you are not allowed to take bottled water or any bottled drinks nor your liquid duty-free purchases (+100 ml) into the cabin. Even if you have purchased the bottled water after the security check you are not allowed to take into the plane. As far as I know Australia is the only country that has this strict liquid allowance rule. I personally experienced this twice and had to give up on my bottled water as it was confiscated.
Food Quarantine regulations for Australia
- Medications and special needs. If you have a medical condition like diabetes, asthma, DVT, etc., and need to take medicines into the cabin or have injections or use spray device in the cabin, you need to carry a medical certificate to prove your conditions on all Australian airlines.
- Australian Quarantine In Australia you are not all to take into the country any type of food, especially fruit & veggies, seeds, herbs, dairy products and any meat products. You are allowed to take food supplements tablets or chocolate though. Make sure you either place any rest food into disposal bins at customs after landing and/or declare it (ask questions if you are unsure).
- Lap Top and electronics You need to pack your laptop into your hand luggage, you are usually not allowed to have a separate bag for it. But lately I have noticed that some low-coast airlines start accepting a separate bag for your laptop.
Hand Luggage Bags – How to choose the right one
So when it comes to choosing the type of hand luggage cabin bags for your trip to Australia there are again many factors that influences your choice. You shall first make a choice whether you prefer carry it on you as a shoulder bag or a backpack or prefer pulling it on wheels. Either choice be sure you pick a lightweight hand luggage that does not exceed 1.5 kg of weight.
In 2014 I came across a Samsonite duffel bag on wheels and since then I have been using it as my main luggage. As hand luggage last year I tried out the 25 l Pacsafe Anti-Theft Backpack which was the best discovery ever, it's super lightweight (500 gr) and very spacious, it allows me to pack all the necessary items I need for the flight. Moreover I love the extra security features. It's so handy and light to carry around, I like using it in everyday life.
Here you can read about my review of the Pacsafe Venturesafe 25l. The third time is a hip-pack from Pacsafe, actually this was the first Pacsafe item that I've tried out in 2014 and fell in love with it. Here is my Pacsafe hip-pack review.
Here are crucial things to consider when packing your hand luggage bag for the flight to Australia:
- Carry on versus soft bag or daypack
- Lightweight – how to save space and weight –
- Travel essential items + electronics to fit into the hand luggage
- Personal toiletries items and travel wear
- Packing habits and same criteria for international and domestic flights
What can you take in hand luggage?
This list of things are allowed into your hand luggage. There are 3 main categories of items for packing all travel accessories you need for Australia:
- Travel Essentials for the long-haul flight
I pack a small bag with earplugs, eye mask, a warm fleece ear band, a silk scarf, personal toiletries items: toothpaste, toothbrush, air brush, facial cream and facial wipes, lavender oil, lip balm and eye drops.
- Electronics and Valuables shall strictly belong to your hand baggage. I pack my Mac Pro, my camera, my iPhone 6 plus and all charger cables into my Pacsafe daypack 25 l. Plus I take pencils, pens, a spiral book and
- Food for the flight
I do pack some food, like fruit bars, crackers, herbal tea, travel sickness tablets, food supplements and an empty water bottle to refill on the plane. Dry food is usually white-listed, but if in doubt just ask the security officers.
Please note that for Australia you need to eat all your raw food including fruits, on the plane, or place it in disposal bins, in the security zone, after landing, due to Australia's strict food quarantine regulations.
I hope you find this post gives you a baggage allowance overview for your Australian Flights.
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Now over to you: What's your experience with baggage allowance in Australia? Feel free to share your tips by leaving a useful comment here below. Thanks!