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Moving Abroad - Things You Can’t Pack In Your Hand Luggage

Published onMay 19, 2023
Moving Abroad - Things You Can’t Pack In Your Hand Luggage

Moving abroad is an exciting process, laborious though it may be. From the moment you decide on your new location, you’ll need to think about plane tickets, luggage requirements, passport expiration dates, work visas and much more. One of the last things you will need to do before leaving for the airport is to pack your hand luggage, and as you’re probably well aware, there are stringent rules regarding what you can and cannot take onboard an aircraft. Consider the following hand luggage restrictions to help you start your new life overseas stress-free.

Liquids, Gels and Pastes

If you’re expecting a lengthy journey, you’ll likely want to pack some toiletries, such as hand cream and hair products, so that you can stay fresh and hygienic. The restriction of liquids, gels and pastes is relatively common knowledge. Due to a failed terrorism attempt in 2006, hand luggage restrictions were implemented, stating that any liquids must be in containers no larger than 100ml and all sealed within a single transparent bag - this goes for makeup, toothpaste, drinks, perfume, lotions and more. Any liquids exceeding 100ml or 3.4 ounces can be packed into checked luggage or shipped directly to your new home.

Sharp Objects

Any item featuring a blade is understandably prohibited aboard an aircraft cabin, including razors, knives and large scissors. Keep in mind that you may have other seemingly innocuous items confiscated, such as corkscrews and cigar cutters. Furthermore, if you’ve decided to bring your knitting or crochet project on board to help pass the time on lengthy flights, you may have your knitting needles confiscated. However, this varies from airline to airline, so checking beforehand is advisable. 

Multiple Lighters

Smokers are permitted one lighter in their hand luggage; however, if you have a tendency to hoard lighters or you’ve purchased a multipack at the airport store, you may face some difficulties. The one lighter you do bring on board should be sealed in a transparent plastic bag, as is the same case with any liquids. Remember that certain types of lighters are also prohibited, such as arc lighters, e-lighters and plasma lighters. 


If you’re moving abroad, you’ll likely want to add a personal touch to your new home. Even the most luxurious Hong Kong property may need a few tweaks. However, keep in mind that the vast majority of tools, including drills, saws, screwdrivers and hammers, are not allowed in your hand luggage. Instead, you must pack any tools into your checked baggage to avoid trouble at security checkpoints. Regardless of your intentions, security staff have an obligation to confiscate any items they consider dangerous. 

Certain Medication

While you are generally permitted to carry essential medicines of more than 100ml within your hand luggage, your new location may have different rules and regulations regarding medication. It is always worth researching potential medication restrictions, which may vary depending on your chosen airline and the laws of your destination. To avoid landing in hot water once you arrive, carry medication items and medical equipment in their original packaging with clear, correct labels, along with a copy of your prescription. 


It may seem obvious, but all weapons and items that could be interpreted as weapons are strictly prohibited aboard an aircraft. While you’re probably not about to pack a firearm into your hand luggage, other items such as decorative swords, penknives and anything resembling a weapon (even a simple plastic water gun) might be confiscated at security. Play it safe, and don’t be tempted to bend the rules for the sake of a toy or keepsake - airport staff take these matters very seriously. 

Sports Items

It may seem overly cautious, but certain sports items such as cricket bats, golf clubs and darts cannot be packed into your hand luggage. Again, this is due to the fact that some of these items could be used as weapons, and airport security staff have a duty of care to eliminate hand luggage items that may cause harm. If you’re keen to continue with your favourite sporting hobby in your new location, it may be worth checking with your airline so you know what is and isn’t allowed in the flight cabin. 

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