Don’t Forget to Pack These Carry-On Essentials

By Jessica Russo

Packing is hard enough as it is. What if it rains? How many pairs of shoes should I bring? Are 3 pairs of jeans enough? Which jacket should I bring? Hey, you – take a breather. You’ll always find a way to make your clothing work. Worst case scenario? You forget something and buy yourself a necessary souvenir! What you really need to worry about are your important, must-pack, can’t-travel-without items – basically, everything in your carry-on.

Once you wave goodbye to your luggage at check-in, your carry-on will become your new BFF. Until you reach the baggage claim at your destination, it's just you two. So, to be sure you'll pack it with all of your essential travel items, here's our handy-dandy carry-on checklist that we live by.
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"Why can't I just pack my chargers in my luggage?" Well, sure you can - but you might want to use your phone, camera, and tablet on the plane. The last thing you want is to arrive in a new country with your phone on 3% battery!

  • Phone Charger
    • Tip: consider purchasing a portable charger. Who wants to worry about their phone or camera running out of battery in the middle of a new city or natural wonder? Don't waste time going back to your room or finding an outlet in a cafe - just bring a portable charger.
  • Camera charger
  • Tablet/laptop charger


"Can't I just use my phone?" Sure, in this day and age, many people download their flight info onto their phones. But, what happens if your phone runs out of battery or loses internet service? When traveling to another country, it's always a good idea to keep a hard copy on your person, just in case. Trust us, a few pieces of paper won't put your bag over the weight limit.

  • Flight itinerary
  • Boarding pass
  • Passport
    • Tip: make copies of your passport and put them in various safe places (in the safe of your hotel, in your suitcase, in your purse). In the rare event that your passport is lost or stolen, having a copy handy makes the process much easier.
  • Addresses of where you’re staying
    • Tip: this is important, especially when traveling to a country in which you do not speak the native language. What if you need to converse with a cab driver or ask a local for directions? Simply point to the address and smile. It usually works.
  • Any transportation/accommodation plans

A Change of Clothes

  • Always make sure you pack at least one extra shirt and pair of underwear in your carry-on. In the rare case in which your luggage gets lost or delayed, you'll be happy you did.
  • If you're bringing a piece of clothing you'd absolutely HATE to lose, make room for it in your carry-on.


"Why would I need to use any toiletries before I get to the hotel?" After you take a 6+ hour flight, you'll know why. There's no better feeling than freshening up before landing!

  • Facial wipes
    • These are great for hassle-free face cleansing! No soap or water needed - just instant rejuvenation.
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
    • Trust us, you won't be the only one brushing those pearly whites in the bathroom. More times than not, you'll fall asleep during a flight - and just like when you wake up at home - you'll want to brush your teeth.
  • Moisturizer
    • Planes are dehydrating! Drink tons of water and apply lots of moisturizer to prevent any drying - you need glowing skin for amazing photos!

Make sure that all liquids are sized in compliance with TSA standards.


  • Phone
  • Tablet/laptop
  • Headphones
    • Yes, most airlines give out free headphones at the beginning of flights, but some do not - especially smaller, shuttle airlines. Pack up some earbuds just in case.


Don't let anything you love out of your sight. When traveling, keep all of your precious possessions on your person at all times!

  • Jewelry
  • Watches
  • Your beloved good luck charm

Daily Medications

  • Ibuprofen/acetaminophen
  • Motion sickness medicine
  • Melatonin (a natural sleep supplement)
  • Any up-to-date prescription drugs
  • Vitamin C/Immune-boosting supplements
  • Allergy medication

Extra Comforts

  • Gum
  • Earplugs - what's worse than a crying baby on an overnight flight? We don't know, either. Pack some earplugs to ease the pain!
  • Eyemask
  • Glasses/contact solution
  • Disinfecting wipes - before you eat, give those fold-down trays a quick wipe.
  • Chapstick
  • A good book

Have a great flight!

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