Want to know what you need to pack in your carry-on?
Why wait until you’ve had a bad experience to figure out what really needs to go in your carry-on? I’ve been travelling for years and have my carry-on set up perfectly suited to my travel style. Not only does it ensure I have a great trip, it saves me money having to buy last minute items at the airport!
Your carry-on is an extension of your handbag, and having your most important things close by will make it easy for you to settle in quickly on arrival. Here’s what I recommend you have in your carry-on bag.
The Things to Keep You Comfortable
Travel Pillow – It’s very rare I travel without some sort of pillow. I always have a sore neck and this offers additional support so I can avoid that. Who wants to start a vacation off with a stiff neck?
Eye Mask – This is especially important for long-haul flights. Sleeping on airplanes is hard enough with all the screaming babies and jet engines around you. I find cutting the light helps slow the body down so you can rest.
Blanket Scarf – If you’re travelling in the winter you’ll definitely want a scarf with you, so you might as well bring a nice big one that doubles as a blanket for when you inevitably get cold on the plane.
Snacks – Airplane food is usually yucky, and I hate paying a small fortune for something I don’t even want. Desperate times! I always bring snacks with me, often purchased at the grocery store to get the best deal, and eat them throughout the journey.
Water Bottle – Water is nearly as expensive as a fizzy drink these days, but you’ll need to be drinking quite a bit of it to stay hydrated on the journey. The easiest way to do this is to bring an empty bottle with you and fill it up at a fountain in the airport. It’s also great for the environment!
Chewing Gum and Wine Gums – Good for keeping the ears unplugged! And I love Wine Gums anyway.
The Things to Keep You Entertained
Kindle – I’m a new Kindle mom, and I now bring it with me on all my flights. I still love the feeling of a book in hand, but a Kindle is small and light, so perfect for my heavy bag!
Magazine – I like to throw a magazine in my bag for those uncomfortable moments when I might want a distraction (like during turbulence) but can’t focus on something like a book. I’m not a huge fan of flying, despite all my travelling.
Laptop – I like to do a bit of writing while I’m on longer flights, but even for quick trips you should never put electronics or valuables in your checked luggage.
Electronic Cables – Keep all the cables with you! Can you imagine having all your gear but all the batteries are dead and your luggage is in the wrong country? This also helps when you’re in the airport longer than planned because your flight is delayed. Hours of fun to be had!
Portable Battery Pack – Most smaller aircraft don’t have plugs, so you always want to be ready with a bit of backup phone juice!
Headphones – Whether you’re an earbud person or a massive over-the-ear-block-everyone-out person, make sure you have a set that can plug in to the seats. You don’t want to be using crappy airplane earbuds to watch movies.
Notebook & Pens – Sometimes you need to be stuck on a flight to get that stroke of genius. When it comes, you’ll want to be ready to write it down! Also, you might need to fill out a customs form, and there’s nothing worse than try to do it in the line.
The Onboard Essentials
Baby wipes – I once sat down next to a lady on a flight to London who was wiping down her seat and apologising for being crazy. I told her she was anything but crazy, and have been thinking about wiping down airplane tray tables ever since! Did you know the most germy place on the airplane is your tray table? Yuck.
Face wipes – It’s always good to refresh your skin if you’re on a long journey. Anything to keep the air conditioning from sucking the life out of it!
Tinted moisturiser – This is my trick to getting off a flight looking more refreshed than I feel. A quick face wipe cleanse followed by a moisture kick and a bit of coverage. Bingo!
Dry shampoo – My hair is very fine and gets flat and knotted quite quickly. A bit of dry shampoo brings it back to life.
Hand sanitiser – I can’t leave the house without this stuff, so naturally it’s in my carry-on at all times. I love the Bath & Body Works collection which smell a little bit better than the standard alcohol scent.
Tissues – Surprisingly useful! From traditional use to cleaning up something that’s spilled in your bag, having a few tissues to hand is always a good idea.
Hand cream – I’ll go weeks without using hand cream, then get on an airplane and decide now is the time to moisturise. Ah well, always good to have it if it fits in your liquids bag!
Nail file – I’ve tried to leave a nail file behind a few times and have always regretted it. Whether I have my nails painted or not, I’ll always find a way to painfully break a nail on a trip. A file is a must!
Elastics – I like to keep a few hair ties in my bag (the ones that double as wristbands). You never know when that will come in handy.
Advil – If much of the above fails you, you can take a couple ibuprofen to reduce the pain.
Glasses – I always wear contact lenses, but they get dry when I shut my eyes for more than 30 minutes. I always bring my glasses in case I want to nap.
Contact Lenses – It’s always good to have a spare pair with you. If I’m flying somewhere that’s sunny I’ll usually wear my glasses (so I can nap) on the plane, then pop my contact lenses in at baggage claim so I can wear my sunglasses.
And of course, anything valuable should stay with you in your carry-on. For me that includes things like my camera and any jewellery.
What’s something you can’t live without when you travel?
Need to write this all down? Here’s a checklist: