As I sit here planning out what to take on my next trip this coming week, I come to the dreaded question, “What should I pack in my carry-on?” After quite a few recent trips I’ve come to realize I might just be able to answer this really easily, while a lot of people are still out there struggling. So, below are my suggestions of the essentials to pack in your carry-on.
1. Phone charger.
2. Laptop & laptop charger (or iPad/Kindle/Tablet/etc). I’m not sure if there has been any trip I’ve taken where I haven’t needed this with me at some point, including when I’m just bored. This is awesome to have during your long layovers and flights. Be sure to pack it where you can easily remove it for security checkpoints.
3. Reading material. Whether this be an actual book, a magazine, or a Kindle, this is a must-have for me when traveling. If you’re going abroad, a book about the place you’re traveling to is awesome but my favorite is having travel magazines like Lonely Planet.
4. Extra set of clothes. Just in case a flight gets canceled or you’re stuck somewhere longer than expected, bring an extra set of clothes. I always tend to pack a t-shirt and my favorite shirt out of the ones I’m bringing, pants, socks, and underwear.
5. Toiletries (deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, medicine, glasses, makeup, etc). While you might not use these, you won’t regret having them if something happens and your flight is really delayed or canceled. Just make sure to have the liquids in Ziploc® bags ready to put in the bins at the security check and remember that they can’t be over 3.4 ounces.
7. Headphones. I add this because I see a lot of people using headphones for the majority of their flights. However, I’ve gotten by a couple times without them because longer flights provide them.
8. Wallet (including license, credit cards, cash, boarding pass, passport, if necessary, etc). Pack these things where you can get to them easily because these will be the most used items in your carry-on.
A couple extra things that I always have are:
- A notebook & a pencil. As a writer, I always tend to get inspired as I’m up 30,000 miles in the air. I’m also a list-maker, so something to write on is a must.
- Any homework I have. If you’re in college and taking a trip, homework or tests are still happening as your miss classes. I like to bring anything I can do on paper or on my laptop/iPad to save me from having any heavy books to lug around the airport. (*If you absolutely need your books for a class, you can always take a picture on your phone of the pages you need to have.)
- Snacks. I usually pack a couple small snacks for the airport and in case I can’t easily or quickly access food once I land. (Don’t forget gum!)