Travelling with only a hand luggage item can be a great way to save money on excess airline fees and help you speed through the airport, with no need to visit the bag drop or hang around at the baggage belt on arrival at your destination. However, with hand luggage comes an array of restrictions including a limit on the size and amount of liquid items you can take, as well as airline-specific weight and size rules.
While there are plenty of hand luggage hacks recommended by flight attendants which can help you to fit more into your cabin bag, they fail to get around the strict liquid restrictions in place at airports around the world.
Luckily, Boots has come to the rescue with a special airport collection service which means that not only can you take as many toiletries as you need for your travels, but can also help you get around weight and size restrictions.
The collection service has been described as a “game changer” hack by commenters on TikTok, so I put it to the test to see just how helpful it really is. If you’re looking for more hand luggage packing tricks and are flying with a specific airline, check out our best easyJet packing tips, the best Ryanair hand luggage hacks and our favourite Jet2 luggage packing tricks.
Boots hand luggage travel hack review
Before jetting off on a seven-day long-haul trip, a good chunk of my packing list was reserved for toiletries such as sun creams, moisturiser, after-sun lotion, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner and more. But, instead of doing the last-minute dash to my local Boots store to buy travel-sized miniatures, I put Boots airside click and collect service to the test.
The service works just like any online order you might do from the health and beauty retailer. Simply head to the Boots website, add the items you need for your trip to your basket, and select the airport pick-up point of your choice. One thing to note is that, depending on your departure airport, there could be several options. Make sure to select the correct terminal and “after security departures”, otherwise you might find you can’t get your haul through security.
Once the order is paid for, you will get a confirmation email with your order number – you’ll need to hold on to this for collection at the airport.
Now, all you need to do is pack for the rest of your trip and head to the airport! Check-in and head through security as usual, before finding the Boots location where your order has been delivered to.
For me, this was the Boots at Heathrow Airport Terminal 4 after security departures. On arrival, I simply showed the staff my order number, who headed into the pack to pick up my parcel. As my order was rather large, it had arrived in a cardboard box which I didn’t think was feasible for me to carry onto the plane.
I did have to pay an additional £1.20 for a tote bag to carry all of my items in, but it was well worth it as this meant I didn’t have to try and re-pack my cabin bag to fit the extra items in.
As my airline allowed one hand luggage item, plus a “reasonable” amount of duty-free or airport-purchased items, I was able to carry on my toiletries in a second bag. The hack really was a game changer for my travel experience, and I was happy to discover it doesn’t cost any more than it would to purchase your holiday essentials at your local Boots store. Staff were quick to collect my order and I was pleasantly surprised by how smooth the process was.
However, if you do plan on bringing any leftover products home with you, you’ll likely need to pack these into your hold luggage if they do not abide by the airport security rules of your destination country.
Try the Boots airport click-and-collect service for yourself via the Boots website.
What was in my Boots travel order?
Garnier Ambre Solaire SPF 30 Invisible Protect Mist Spray 200ml
£7.00 View Deal
This SPF 30 sunscreen is so easy to apply thanks to the fact it comes in spray form. Simply spritz and go, safe in the knowledge your skin is protected. Bonus: It smells great!
La Roche-Posay Anthelios UVMUNE 400 Invisible Fluid SPF50 50ML
£19.90 View Deal
This La-Roche-Posay SPF50 sunscreen was perfect for protecting my face, wasn’t sticky and didn’t leave a shine. Small enough to pop into my bag, it was one of my travel must-haves.
Boots SPF+ Vitamin C Moisturising Lotion SPF50 50ml
£7.00 View Deal
Boots has recently launched its own SPF skincare line, including this SPF50 face moisturiser. I found it soaked into the skin quickly and didn’t leave much of a shine, keeping my skin soft and protected.
Soltan Soothe & Cool Aftersun Mist 200ml
£5.00 View Deal
Just in case you’ve caught a little too much sun, this cooling aftersun mist can be sprayed on to relieve burns.
Nip+Fab Hyaluronic Fix Extreme4 Hydration Jelly Eye Patches x 20 Pairs
£19.95 View Deal
Jet lag can catch up with your eye bags when flying long-haul, but these hydrating eye patches were great for soothing my tired eyes and helping me look a little fresher in time for dinner.
Sensodyne Pronamel Intensive Enamel Repair Whitening Toothpaste 75ml
£5.50 View Deal
Most hotels don’t provide toothpaste, so it’s important to remember to pack enough for your trip. Opting for a full-size toothpaste means you’ll have enough to last your entire stay and can share it with your travel companions.
Maui Moisture Nourish & Moisture Coconut Milk Shampoo 385ml
£4.49 View Deal
I chose the Maui Nourish and Moisture shampoo for dry hair to keep my hair feeling soft after days swimming in the pool or splashing in the sea. The coconut milk scent is perfect for a summer escape.
Maui Moisture Nourish & Moisture Coconut Milk Conditioner 385ml
£4.49 View Deal
Conditioner is an essential for extra smooth, easy-to-brush hair. The Maui Nourish and Moisture conditioner is created with dry hair in mind, and the coconut milk scent is ideal for summer.
Jungle Formula Maximum Roll-on Insect Repellent 50ml
£6.60 View Deal
Bug spray is essential if you’re heading to a destination with mosquitos. This roll-on bug spray was easy to apply and kept critters away when I was dining outdoors.
Boots Hybrid Travel Pillow
£10.00 View Deal
This memory foam travel pillow comes in two colours and was a lifesaver for me on my 12-hour flight – plus it only costs £10.
How does the hack help with hand luggage restrictions?
Hand luggage restrictions vary between airlines, though one thing most UK airports have in common is the 100ml liquid rule. Though there are plans to scrap the 100ml liquid limit by 2024, with the installation of high-tech scanners at UK airports, for now travellers are restricted to a limited number of liquid items in their hand luggage.
Under the current rules at most airports, passengers may only carry liquids which are in containers of 100ml or less, and all of these items must fit into a transparent, resealable plastic bag no larger than 20cm x 20cm.
However, passengers are able to purchase a reasonable amount of liquids once through security, and there is no limit on how big the containers of these items may be. So whether you’re after a large bottle of water or a new perfume from duty-free, as long as it’s been purchased after security, it’s fine to be carried onboard.
Given that the Boots click-and-collect pick-up points in the departure lounge are after security, passengers can order and collect full-size toiletries such as sun cream or make-up, without being held to the 100ml container rule.
The hack can even help you get around your airline’s hand luggage weight and size restrictions. While the majority of airlines set out a specific size and weight allowance for your hand luggage, many allow passengers to bring onboard a bag of items purchased from the departure lounge or duty-free.
As long as you do not go overboard with your pre-flight shopping, you’ll be able to carry on an extra item filled with toiletries and other essentials as part of your Boots order.
How does the Boots click and collect service work?
The Boots Click and Collect service aims at making travelling a little bit easier, by having all of your toiletries and holiday essentials ready for collection in the airport departure lounge.
- Log onto Boots.com to begin your holiday shop. Most items are available, but if any are unavailable the website will notify you in advance.
- At checkout, choose ‘Click & Collect’ and select your store of choice and a collection date.
- If you are choosing an airport, remember to select the airport store located after security.
- You can order your items online any time in the two weeks before you jet off, though ideally it’s best to select a delivery date at least five days before your flight. If the parcel arrives at the store early, the location can keep a hold of it until your collection date.
- Boots will send you an order confirmation to your email address once your order’s been confirmed, and a text message to your phone when it is ready to select.
- Once you have gone through security, visit Boots and a team member will retrieve your parcel.
The click-and-collect service can also be used at Boots locations in train stations and at local stores.
Which airports can I use Boots click and collect service?
Boots offer collection after security in 15 UK airports:
- East Midlands
- Gatwick North and South
- Heathrow (terminal 2, 3, 4 and 5)
- Leeds Bradford
- London City
- Manchester (terminal 1, 2 and 3)
What are the liquid rules for travelling from the UK?
At the time of writing, most UK airports maintain strict liquid rules for hand luggage. This means there are restrictions on the amount of liquid you can take in your hand luggage.
If you do take liquids in your hand luggage, containers must be no more than 100ml and all containers must be carried in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag. This bag can hold no more than one litre of liquid and must measure 20cm x 20cm.
Contents must fit comfortably in the bag so it can be sealed, and bags which are knotted or tied at the top will not be accepted.
Passengers are limited to one plastic bag per person and this must be shown at the airport security point.
Gov.uk specifies that liquids include:
- all drinks, including water
- liquid or semi-liquid foods, for example, soup, jam, honey and syrups
- cosmetics and toiletries, including creams, lotions, oils, perfumes, mascara and lip gloss
- sprays, including shaving foam, hairspray and spray deodorants
- pastes, including toothpaste
- gels, including hair and shower gel
- contact lens solution
- any other solutions and items of similar consistency
What are hand luggage weight and size restrictions are there for flights?
Most airlines set out specific hand luggage weight and size restrictions, although these vary depending on the airline you are travelling with. We have a series of guides to some popular UK airline luggage rules, as well as some handy hacks to help you make the most of your allowance.
- Ryanair baggage rules and top hacks to help you save money
- Jet2 baggage rules and best hacks
- easyJet baggage rules and ‘cheapest’ hacks to save up to £40
Alternatively, all airlines will include a full breakdown of their hand and hold luggage restrictions on their website. Click on the following links to find out the luggage rules for your chosen airline:
- British Airways luggage restrictions
- easyJet luggage restrictions
- Jet2 luggage restrictions
- TUI luggage restrictions
- Virgin Atlantic luggage restrictions
- Emirates luggage restrictions
- United Airlines luggage restrictions
- Qatar Airways luggage restrictions
- Ryanair luggage restrictions
- American Airlines luggage restrictions
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