It seems like airlines are constantly restricting how many bags you can bring on board and the size they can be. That means you have to be even more resourceful with what you bring in your carry on as a traveler. This is my tried and true carry on packing list for when I travel.
Check your airline first, but most will allow a small carry on item and a small personal item. These are the two I normally use.
Camera backpack – I need my laptop, camera, and all the gear that go with it on most trips, so I love my Case Logic backpack. It has a padded pocket to slip in my laptop, compartments for all my lenses and chargers, and a top compartment that makes it easy to just grab my camera when I’m out.
Camera purse – This purse functions as my carry on when I’m on a plane, but also converts to my day purse that fits my camera once I land and check in to my hotel.
Food and Drinks
Collapsible water bottle – Ever notice how dry your mouth feels halfway through your flight? It doesn’t help that you only get a small cup of water every so often on the plane. Bring this rolled up water bottle in your carry on and fill it up past security so you’ll have water throughout your flight.
Snacks – Airline food has improved some, but I wouldn’t say it’s the most nutritious. Bring a variety of protein bars, nuts, and dried fruit to fill you up throughout your flight. You can even buy your own meal to bring with before you get to the airport (as long as it’s not a liquid like soup).
Ginger – I started using this trick in India to cure an upset stomach and swear by it now. Get ginger candy that’s lightly sweetened so you don’t upset your stomach more with too much sugar.
Mints – It’s always good to freshen up your breath on long flights.
Hand sanitizer – There are a ton of germs on planes, so use this before you eat if you can’t get to the bathroom to wash your hands.
Lip balm – Both your mouth and lips get dry on planes, so use a moisturizing lip balm to prevent that feeling.
Deodorant – Even though you don’t move much on flights, you still feel gross afterward. Reapply your deodorant right before you land.
Face wipes – Use this on your face or anywhere else you might need it to feel fresh coming off the flight.
Mini first-aid kit – After experiencing a full body hives breakout in South America, I bring my own little set of antihistamine and aspirin everywhere just in case. I’ve learned to never assume you can buy it in the country you’re going to.
Eyedrops – I wear contacts, so my eyes get insanely dry on flights. I prefer to wear glasses for longer flights to let my eyes breathe, but eyedrops help when my contacts are in.
Wallet – Anything important should always come in your carry on with you, and that includes your wallet. I’ve been using this travel wallet for years because it fits cash, coins, credit cards, my passport, and even a pen in one place.
Boarding pass – Put it in a pocket or spot that’s easy to access in your bag.
Passport – You should always have this on you so you don’t have to worry about losing it, but also in case you need to prove your identity.
Pen – You always need a pen when you don’t have one, like when you have to fill out the customs form when landing in another country. I keep one both in my purse and camera bag.
Read more: Travel Gear You Need for Your Next Trip
Scarf – A scarf has so many functions – it’s fashionable, can be a small pillow, and covers you if you get cold. You can wear it on the plane to save room or tie it around your purse.
Eye mask – Get a good eye mask that conforms to your face so no light will be let in. It’ll help somewhat when you’re trying to sleep on that overnight flight.
Earplugs – Earplugs will also help when you’re trying to sleep or just want to drown out the sound of the crying baby next to you.
Laptop – I’m usually always on this on planes since I work online, but you can also try to connect to the wi-fi and entertain yourself.
Phone charger – Make sure your phone is fully charged when you land so you’re ready to explore the city.
Camera – I would never trust leaving my camera in my checked luggage, so it always comes on board with me.
Kindle – I don’t go anywhere without my Kindle because it provides hours of entertainment and forces me to read books more. Download a few before you leave on your trip so you’re all ready to go.
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