What to Pack in Your Carry-On Bag

Over the years, I've spent more than 250 hours on planes, and along the way I've picked up a thing or two about what to pack in your carry-on bag.
When I go on shorter trips, I always try to stick to only a carry-on to minimise the stuff I have to carry around and to quickly get in and out of the airport. But on longer trips, where it's necessary to bring a checked bag, make sure to check out the list below so you don't forget the essentials and can travel like a pro.

Be aware that the rules for weight, liquids, electronics, etc., in carry-on bags varies from airline to airline, so make sure to always double-check with the company you are flying with before departure. 

ID, Wallet, and Important Papers

This might seem obvious, but I often hear of people packing their ID, keys, or wallets in their checked bag, as they don't need them during the flight. Losing your luggage is never fun, but it does happen once in a while, and when it does, make sure you have all the important stuff with you on the plane.
Most airlines, hotels, and transport companies nowadays give you the option to use an electronic boarding pass or ticket. But if your phone is unreliable, be sure you also bring a printed copy.

Checklist:

  • ID
  • Wallet
  • Passport
  • Keys
  • Copy of flight itinerary, hotel reservations, visas, etc.

Fragile Items and Electronics

If you have ever seen how the staff handles your luggage at airports, you will know to pack fragile items and electronics in the carry-on. This gives you control over how your stuff is being handled and the ability to keep it safe for the entire trip.

A good rule is to always to pack your luggage like you won't see it again.

Checklist:

  • Laptop
  • Tablet
  • Camera

Clothes

Once you have lost your luggage once, you become very aware of how you pack your stuff.
The first time I lost a bag was when I moved home from Australia. I had packed all of my stuff in two big suitcases, one of them with all my clothes and the other with souvenirs, gifts, and toiletries.
The bag with all my clothes got lost somewhere in Switzerland and I didn't get it until almost a month later, which of course resulted in a few very annoying weeks where I had to buy an almost entirely new wardrobe (which sounds better than it was!).

Now, I always make sure to pack at least a few pairs of socks, some underwear, and a t-shirt or two, so I at least have something to wear while I shop for new clothes!

When I pack, I bring the basic stuff, so that I'm sure they can be used in whatever situation I end up in. 
If you are in doubt about what to get, go check out Organicbasics (sneak peek below).
Their products are a great choice for traveling because they go with everything, are soft and comfortable, and they take up very little space (perfect for your carry-on).
And the best part is, that all their products are sustainable and 100% eco-friendly, without compromising quality or look!

Another great tip is to check out the Silvertech line, which is produced in a way that kills 99.9% of the bacteria. When travelling on long flights or walking around cities all day, it is important to wear clothes that are comfortable and allows your skin to breath.
The silver is literally spun into these products, which makes them heat-regulating and able to stay fresh longer (another great quality for traveling).

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Checklist:

  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • T-shirts

Toiletries and Medicine

I always try to pack as many of my toiletries in my carry-on bag as possible. These are both nice to have onboard the flight so that you can freshen up, but they are also really annoying to replace if you end up losing your luggage. Just make sure you only bring small bottles and check the airport's rules for bringing liquids through security.
If you need any kind of medication, be sure to have enough for 3 days or so, just in case something happens.

Checklist:

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Chapstick
  • Hand lotion
  • Contact solution (if you need that)
  • Tissues
  • Wet wipes
  • Light makeup

Entertainment and Comfort

Flights can be both boring and uncomfortable, especially if you are flying long routes. So make sure to bring a good selection of movies, music, books, or podcasts to keep yourself entertained.

I always download everything to my iPad to save some space in the bag. This allows me to prioritise packing a warm hoodie or jumper and a neck pillow to make sure that I am comfortable. 

We all know that the food on planes is rarely amazing, so I always bring a light snack and water bottle, just in case they don't serve anything on the plane or I get hungry between meals. Just make sure that you check the airport's rules for bringing in food and don't fill up the water bottle until you've made it through security.

Checklist:

  • Download movies, music, audiobooks, or podcasts to your phone, tablet, or laptop
  • Neck pillow and a warm hoodie/jumper
  • Phone/laptop charger
  • Snacks and a water bottle 

Carry-on bags

Finding the right carry-on bag takes time and very much depends on your style and preference. I like hard cases because I feel like my stuff is better protected, but you might prefer soft cases instead.
I've listed a few nice ones below. Feel free to leave a comment if you know a good one I should add to the list!

Now that you are a packing pro, head over to my resource page to find the best websites and tools to make travel booking and planning a breeze.

"This post contains affiliate links which goes toward supporting the blog and lets me create more content. The links add no extra cost to you, I just earn a small commission if you make a purchase. Win-win!"

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WHAT TO PACK IN YOUR CARRY-ON BAG. Over the years, I've spent more than 250 hours on planes, and along the way I've picked up a thing or two about what to pack in your carry-on bag. Make sure to check out the list below so you don't forget the essentials and can travel like a pro.    WHAT TO PACK IN YOUR CARRY-ON BAG. Over the years, I've spent more than 250 hours on planes, and along the way I've picked up a thing or two about what to pack in your carry-on bag. Make sure to check out the list below so you don't forget the essentials and can travel like a pro.   

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12 Comments

  1. February 23, 2018 / 7:07 pm

    found your blog through #glt and just read your about me page; I’m originally from buffalo, new york!! hope all is well; keep traveling!

    • February 23, 2018 / 7:16 pm

      Oh that’s so cool 🙂 I have been there with my boyfriend two times. But only in the winter, so I was freezing the entire time

  2. Tresa
    February 23, 2018 / 10:21 pm

    Great tips…#gltlove

  3. February 23, 2018 / 10:43 pm

    I get really creative with my carry-on bags + have figured out how to pack about three weeks worth of travel into one…all because I don’t want to pay to check a bag! This checklist hits just about everything I pack on the regular + a few extras!

    • February 24, 2018 / 1:33 pm

      I love traveling only with a carry-on too. It’s so convenient :)!

  4. melodyvalene
    February 24, 2018 / 5:25 am

    Oh wow, waiting almost a month for your suitcase, what a nightmare! But things like this make us prepares. I travelled with a carry on for the first time a year ago and I would never go back, we don’t realize how much we can actually pack in it!

    Much love from a fellow #gltblogger

    Mel

    • February 24, 2018 / 1:39 pm

      It was terrible. I had all my stuff in that suitcase!
      Carry-ons are great!

  5. February 24, 2018 / 5:20 pm

    Great tips! Bookmarking for future reference.

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