Carry This: Most Essential Items to Keep in Your Carry-On Luggage

Packing is usually one of the least pleasant parts of trip planning. Use our guide of what carry-on items to pack so you'll be prepared for a great trip.
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Packing is often the least enjoyable aspect of trip planning, but an essential one. Most airlines permit one carry-on suitcase and a small bag to be carried onboard. The trick is maximizing this allowance, and it all starts with strategic planning.

Remember, the golden rule of packing is to refrain from over packing. Airlines levy exorbitant fees for overweight or oversized luggage. Avoid drama at the check-in or boarding gate by adhering to the airline’s rules and regulations. Double-check their website if you aren’t sure, thereby avoiding disappointment — or breaking the bank before takeoff.

Trust us, the effort you put into packing light is worth it, and you’ll appreciate it throughout the journey.

Pack Smart Carry-On Items to Avoid Extra Fees

Airlines now typically charge for checked luggage instead of providing the option for free. As a result, for many travelers, carrying on items has become the norm. Whether or not you are a carry-on connoisseur (congrats if you are!), certain items should always accompany you on your flight. Here are the top five to keep in your carry-on.

5. A Change of Clothes

clothing in a suitcase

Luggage often gets lost- a frustrating experience that can leave you wearing the same thing for days. But you can save the day by packing smart- throw in extra shirts and a clean pair of pants, or stash fresh socks and underwear in your carry-on even if you don’t have the room for a full outfit. Lost luggage or flight delays could leave you grateful for that spare change of clothes!

You’re still looking for the right travel backpack or suitcase that will fit into the overhead locker without causing you to break a sweat before that 10-hour overseas flight has even started?

 

4. A Small Toiletry Kit

How to travel with a carry-on

To make a long flight comfortable, packing essential hygiene items can make a world of difference. After 10 or 15 hours, you’ll feel refreshed being able to brush your teeth, wash your face or freshen up. Keeping a small bag of essentials with you is a smart move.

Tip: Face wipes are a real treat on those long flights. They allow you to freshen up whenever and wherever you need to.

Pack whatever toiletries you need in a toiletry bag to get through an overnight stay. If you like to wear makeup, bring some of those items if you’d like to be ready to go out on the town as soon as you arrive at your new destination.

A number of female travel products make your life on vacation so much easier. Menstrual cups, for example, are a real game changer for menstruating people who fly frequently. These cups will allow you to get comfy in your seat without having to worry about leaks or smuggling tampons to the loo.

3. Medications

what to pack in your carry on

Include all medication, whether prescribed or over-the-counter, in your carry-on luggage.. This will safeguard you against loss or delay of your valuable prescriptions. Vitamins and medication are typically hard to obtain at your chosen destination, thus making these essential travel items. Checked-in suitcases can be subjected to harsh temperature variations, which can damage or render medication less effective.

Tip: When you travel by air, carefully consider the benefits of a carry-on vs. checked bag and explore all of your options for the best travel experience. While some things like medications need to be in with your carry-on items, you may find that a checked bag suits your needs for many of your other items.

 

2. Documents

bring important documents in your carry-on bag

This one sounds obvious, but there are people out there who have inadvertently packed their passport or ID in their checked luggage. Your ID, passport, driver’s license, credit cards, insurance cards and so on should always be right with you, ideally in a travel purse. If you need a convenient way to store them, consider a passport holder (as recommended by travel experts).

If you’re required to have a visa for your destination of choice, keep a printed version of it in your hand luggage with all your other important documents, and be ready to present it upon arrival.

Any physical tickets — not just for flights, but also for events or venues you’ll be visiting on your trip — and reservation documentation for hotels, tours, as well as your travel insurance documentation, should also be essential carry-on items.

Tip: Travel insurance is a necessity to make sure expensive emergency bills or other sudden expenses did not n’t ruin your trip. We’ve uncovered why investing in good travel insurance is the smart thing to do.

 

1. Valuables

How to pack a carry-on

Valuable items like laptops, cell phones, and jewelry are frequently lost to theft at airports every year, which is a shocking revelation since they are not being mugged but rather stolen.. Shockingly, it’s not a result of being mugged but rather these items being carelessly packed away in checked luggage. Among the many honest airport employees are those who engage in thievery, and unfortunately, such theft from checked baggage is still a rampant issue at airports all across the United States.

Even suitcase locks can’t serve as a sufficient obstacle, since the TSA has the legal right to remove even “TSA approved” padlocks! Is your suitcase properly secured?

Word to the wise: safeguard your valuables by keeping them with you. Money, electronics (such as phones, laptops, mp3 players, and cameras), watches, jewelry, and similar articles ought to be within your reach. If it appears to have a high resale value, it’s better not to pack it in your checked baggage. Moreover, be especially vigilant of your carry-on items during security screenings. Unfortunately, there have been instances of items disappearing at these checkpoints.

Minimize the Number of Valuables You Bring

When traveling, it’s important to consider which valuable items to pack in your carry-on. While you may not want to be without your camera or phone, ask yourself if you really need to bring your tablet, laptop, or most expensive watch. When it comes to jewelry, only wear what you can’t bear to lose, like a wedding ring.

If you do bring valuables, consider investing in travel insurance that covers lost or stolen property. Most airlines don’t cover expensive electronics or other valuables, but some travel insurance policies do. Shipping gifts to your destination by certified and insured mail may also be a safer option.

When packing, be strategic to protect yourself from heartache. These tips will help ensure your travel experience is great.