Packing for travel can certainly be daunting when it comes to ensuring we aren’t packing the kitchen sink, but not forgetting anything. I find carry-on to be the worst in thinking what to pack. Let’s chat about What You Really Need In a Carry-On. You want things that are accessible, but you don’t want to be lugging a lot through the airport.
What You Really Need In a Carry-On
I’m going to give you ideas of what you really need in a carry-on suitcase and also what to pack in your personal item. I like to use a tote for my personal item. This way I have plenty of room. These lists are for those who are checking baggage and not packing their trip into just a carry-on. Here are my carry-on packing lists.
- Empty Water Bottle with Filter – Why spend the money on bottled water? Pack an empty water bottle with a filter that you can easily snag for filling up at a fountain after going through security.
- Clothing for Arrival – Check the weather of your arrival city and pack an appropriate outfit. This way you can easily change into something comfortable at your hotel and not go digging for an outfit in your checked baggage. This is especially essential if your resort/hotel offers checked luggage pick-up and delivery to your room. You won’t see that luggage for a couple of hours after arrival.
- Toothbrush/Toothpaste – Pack your toothbrush and travel-sized toothpaste in your carry-on. All of that recycled air can really dry out your mouth. You can run to the restroom at the airport, or at least have it on hand when you reach your hotel.
- Valuables – I always pack my valuables in my carry-on. Camera, jewelry, etc. I never want them to be lost or damaged.
- Medications – Make sure you have your personal medications on-hand.
- Personal Items – Things like deodorant, feminine products, travel sized lotions. Keep those on hand for freshening up.
- Makeup – If you wear makeup, pack this in your carry-on. Checked baggage gets bumped around a lot. Nothing worse than a broken compact upon arriving. Okay, there are worse things, but you get me. Ensure any liquid items are within TSA regulations.
- Swimsuit – Again, if your resort/hotel does baggage claim pick-up, you might want to pack your swimsuit. This way you can start the fun right away.
What to Pack in Your Carry-On Tote/Personal Item
- Travel Documents/Passport/ID – Keep these as accessible as possible. You will need them through security, checking-in and double checking gate number, boarding time, etc.
- Wallet/Debit Card/Credit Card/Cash – Make sure you have the cash for tipping your transportation upon arrival, a barista at coffee shops, etc.
- Laptop/Tablet – You might want to pull out your laptop/tablet for work or entertainment while waiting to board or on-flight. Most airlines have WiFi capabilities now, so keep it close at hand.
- Phone Charger/USB External Charger – Some airlines do offer USB chargers in their seating. Just in case though, pack an external charger for charging up your phone. Especially if you use it to surf the web.
- ChapStick – Again, the plane can get very “dry” with recycled air.
- Tissue – For the sniffles, of course.
- Book/Magazine – If you’re a reader on trips, be sure to pack a couple of your favorites. Don’t bring a library, but maybe one magazine and one book you enjoy.
- Key to Your Lock – If you have used a TSA approved lock for your checked luggage, make sure the key is safely in your carry-on. Maybe drop it into a zippered pocket in your tote for safe keeping.
- Headphones – Great for listening to entertainment devices.
- Earplugs/Sleep Mask – If you plan to get some rest on the plane, these are essential for undisturbed sleep.
- Busy Bag for Kids – If traveling with kids, I recommend my busy bag for kids to bring on the plane for entertainment.
*** Don’t forget to snag a sweatshirt or light jacket. These are bulky to pack, so don’t pack them. Carry them on. You will be allowed to do this.
If you are heading to a conference, be sure to check out my tips on What to Pack for a Conference. You can also find some Disney packing tips and printable in my Simple Packing List for Walt Disney World post.
I wish you happy packing and safe travels with what you really need in a carry-on. Remember that these lists are to inspire you. Pack what is comfortable, pack what you need. Most of all, enjoy your trip.