What To Pack In A Carry On Bag – 8 Tips To Pack Everything You Need

What To Pack In A Carry On Bag – 8 Tips To Pack Everything You Need

If you’ve ever wondered what to pack in a carry on bag, look no further, we’ve got a comprehensive list of all the things you should take with you on the plane. Of course here also applies to check with your airlines for their specific rules and regulations regarding what can and cannot be taken in your cabin luggage, as well as what size and weight limits apply.


Documents – Keep These Handy

Travel documents and valuables
Travel Documents

Put all of your important documents in your hand luggage to have them handy and to prevent them from ending up being lost or stolen. These include your passport and other ID, your tickets and boarding pass, itineraries, hotel bookings, directions, as well as copies of all your important documents.

Also, take your wallet with all your credit and other bank cards, as well as some cash in the currency of your destination.

Medications – Don’t Get Caught Out

Make sure to take all of your daily medications with you on the plane, you never know whether you might get stuck in transit and won’t have access to your checked luggage or even worse, your luggage might end up in a different place to you, and in the worst case scenario, your luggage might get lost.

It might be difficult to nearly impossible to fill a script overseas. Also, take over-the-counter medications with you that you might need on the plane, such as anti-nausea tablets, sleeping tablets or just something for a headache.

Valuables – Keep It Safe

Tablet, Camera, Sunglasses etc – keep your valuables safe

Things like your camera, jewelry, laptop or tablet, e-reader etc. all belong into your carry-on bag. Again the rule applies that you shouldn’t leave those things in your checked luggage, just in case it could get lost or broken into.

You don’t want to start your holiday or business trip by ringing your travel insurance to replace expensive items.

Of course you’d have your phone in your hand luggage as well, but also remember to take your phone charger, as it could come in handy and many airports offer power points next to seating areas.

Toiletries – Freshen Up

Some airlines provide you with a small tube of toothpaste and toothbrush on longer flights, but not all of them do so. To be on the safe and fresh side, take a travel sized tube of toothpaste and mouthwash plus a toothbrush and also some facial wipes to freshen up before you either continue onto your next flight or arrive at your destination. Also, take deodorant, some make-up and a comb or brush to tidy your hair.

Remember to check the Liquids Rule of your specific Airline. According to TSA, you are permitted to have a quart-sized bag containing liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes which you can take in your carry-on bag and through the security checkpoint. All of these are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item.

Travel size toothpaste

If you are a wearer of contact lenses, don’t forget your travel sized contact lens solution and container for lenses, as well as your prescription glasses and/or sunglasses.

Also of good use are some tissues in travel size and some sanitizer.

Change Of Clothes – Adapt To Climate

Bring spare clothes to change into when you get to your destination, especially if it is a different climate. Take a change of underwear to freshen up. Also, always take a jacket or jumper with you as it can get cold on a plane, but don’t pack it, you can just carry it over your arm or wrap it around your waist.

Maybe a scarf might be handy too to avoid getting a sore throat from the air conditioning on the plane.

I always take swimwear just in case. Some airports have pools you can use during a longer transit and it’s heaven to stretch and swim after a long flight.

Another item I always take, which doesn’t take much room, are flip-flops. They are handy when going to the bathroom while you’re in your comfortable socks on the flight, as well as easy to change into once you arrive at your warm destination.

Comfort – Make The Best Of Your Flight

Eye Mask
Eye mask – get some necessary shut-eye

To have a more comfortable experience during your flight, take an inflatable neck pillow to avoid neck stiffness and to keep from nodding off and ending up on your neighbour’s shoulder for support.

An eye mask will keep those annoying little reading lamps shut out and help you catch up on some sleep, or at the least aid in getting some rest. Your eyes will thank you, especially as the air conditioning can cause dry eyes.

Ear plugs will also help you to doze off and you won’t have to hear your neighbour snort over the latest funny movie.

Last but not least take a bottle of water, buy it after the security check. The water bottles on a plane are rather small and won’t keep you hydrated for long. Take a snack as well to get through the wait for the next complimentary meal or until your flight arrives at destination.

Entertainment – Don’t Get Bored

Entertainment on board
Books, tablet, Lonely Planet guides

To keep you from getting bored, take some magazines to keep you entertained until the inflight entertainment system is ready to go or until you can use your devices again.

Take your favourite book on your e-reader or listen to the audio book version, or maybe buy the latest book from one of the outlets at the airport; pocket version of course.

Games are a good idea to keep you and your family busy during the flight.

If you are on a business flight and have emails to answer or documents to read through, this is a great opportunity to get some work done.


Always check which items are allowed to be taken in your carry-on and which aren’t. Contact your airline for details.

You can also check out my post about what not to pack in a carry on bag. 

Write a packing list to remember all your important items. Lay out all of your items before packing and tick them off.

Safe and enjoyable travels!





10 Replies to “What To Pack In A Carry On Bag – 8 Tips To Pack Everything You Need”

  1. this is a great article on what to pack in a carry on bag. I agree with all of them and I can pretty much check them all off except I had not thought to bring a travel toothbrush with me, and mouthwash isn’t a bad idea. Airplanes are close quarters and after 20 hrs of flying, it can get pretty nasty! Thanks for that tip. We are leaving on April 22nd and headed to Thailand, so we are travelling for a total of 22 hrs I believe from start to finish, so I have made some notes from your post and will reference them when it is time to pack our bags, some would be shocked to read that I am 10 days from departure and I have not even thought about packing… soon!

    1. Hi Lyndsay,

      Yes, good idea, I might add mouthwash to the list as well. Yeah, 22 hrs travel time is a bit much, isn’t it? Have a look at my other post https://bagsandsuitcases.com/w… , it might help with getting organised and if you need help with a packing list, there is one here https://bagsandsuitcases.com/c…. I think you will find that packing can be done very quickly. It’s much easier if you have a list though and can check it off as you, so you won’t forget anything. Have fun in Thailand! 

  2. Oh that’s so great, I’ve been looking for something I could use to help me when packing so I won’t forget anything lol!

  3. I’ve always been reluctant to pack toiletries in my carry-on. TSA rules in NY seem to change by the minute, but after reading your article, I think I am going to packing some travel size items and see how it goes. Have you run into any issues going through airport security domestic or internationally?

    1. Hi James, yeah, it’s always a good idea to check the rules before you pack items you might not be able to take, especially when you know the rules are always changing where you are and might be a bit stricter than other places. I’ve never had any problems whatsoever, but maybe I’m just lucky? I’ve been able to take huge backpacks as carry-on before and wasn’t even approached about it.

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  4. I love that you even included games! We always bring cribbage when we vacation – I love to play while we wait and even on the plane. Thanks for the great list of forget me nots!

    1. Hi Heather, I must confess I don’t know the game cribbage. Have to look into that! Might be worth compiling a list of games to take on a long trip. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  5. I like your site because John and I had to do some research before flying across the country. We took a two week ocean tour to South America and didn’t know how to pack. Since the Airlines charges for extra baggage, we wanted to know the score. I was use to over packing for the “just in case” items, but that wasn’t going to work this time. John did most of the searching, which he is good at and It’s harder for me, so he just gave me the info. I like your site because it’s a one-stop-shop for getting your important travel bags together. Bless you! P. S. One piece you didn’t write is, “How to sneak booze onto the ship.” (silly video’s)

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