Must have carry on travel essentials

Always be prepared. This is more than just a scout’s motto, it can mean the difference between a dreadful and a smooth flight. There's nothing worse than getting on a long flight and realising that you'll have to listen to shrieking toddlers for hours on end because you forgot your earplugs or headphones. Prepare for anything with a well-packed carry-on and make your flight a pleasant one.


The art of carry-on packing is an essential skill for every travel enthusiast to master. Whether you’re on a quick hop or a daunting long haul, your carry-ons are the key to traveling comfortably. Here’s a roundup of the ultimate carry-on essentials to alleviate the burden that is packing and help you survive any flight, even if you’ve landed the worst seat in coach.

1 - Multi-purpose Travel Bag

The secret to packing your carry-ons starts with a great bag. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, you need a good carry-on bag that will fit everything your needs while giving you easy access to your travel essentials. When it comes to bags, you have plenty of handy carry on options, from backpacks and shoulder bags to suitcases and tote bags. The kind of carry-on bag you choose depends on your needs and preferences, but it’s highly recommended to go for a backpack.
 

Backpacks are much lighter and take less space than suitcases. They are also more durable and easier to carry around than tote and shoulder bags. Not only are backpacks a convenient and functional way to hold your carry-ons, but they are also useful for any day trips you take once you’re out of the airport.

Make sure that every single item in your bag has a purpose. Anything you don’t need is just unnecessary extra weight on your shoulder.

2 - Travel-friendly Wallet

Don’t you hate having to fish for your passport, ID, or money in your carry-on bag when you’re at the airport? A good way to keep your valuables at hand and eliminate rummaging through your bag is by choosing a practical and stylish travel wallet.

Because you’ll likely be bringing along more than your everyday documents, choose a travel wallet that can hold multiple kinds of currencies, tickets, credit cards, hotel key cards, and even your passport. It’s extremely important to choose one with multiple sections and pockets to keep your important documents organised and easily accessible.

Additional Tip: If bringing all your credit cards to your destination is necessary, don’t carry them all around with you at the same place in case of loss or theft. Consider bringing along at least one colored photocopy of your passport and a passport photo on the off-chance you lose it abroad.

3 - Headphones and Earplugs

With loud talkers, crying babies, and snoring passengers, having a good pair of headphones (preferably noise-canceling ones) and earplugs can preserve your sanity and make long flights more bearable. In addition to blocking out background noise, they can also provide entertainment by enabling you to listen to music and watch movies.

In case you’re sleeping or don’t necessarily want to be wearing your headphones, a set of soft comfortable earplugs is key to drowning out the ambient noise around you.
Never underestimate the joy of having a good set of earplugs and their ability to give you peace and protect your ears.

4 - Sleeping Eye Mask

In addition to earplugs, eye masks allow you to have a proper, restful, and uninterrupted sleep whenever you want. A good eye mask is one that’s soft, blocks out all light, and isn’t too tight around your head. Silk masks are a travel cult favorite for their smooth feel and their ability to help prevent wrinkles. If you’re sensitive to light or need complete darkness to sleep, an eye mask is a must. There’s even some evidence that eliminating exposure to light can help with jet lag.

5 - Travel Set of Toiletries/ Small First Aid Kit

Include a small travel pouch in your carry-on bag and keep it accessible wherever you are. The pouch should be a combination of both travel-size toiletries and first aid essentials such as:

  • Motion sickness relief medication

  • Any prescribed medication you require (along with your prescriptions)

  • Allergy medication

  • Eye drops

  • Over-the-counter sleep aids

  • Antibacterial sanitising wipes

  • Pain relief medication for headaches and migraines

  • Blister bandages

  • Band-aids

  • Lip balm

  • Moisturiser (with SPF for sun protection)

  • Roll-on deodorant

  • Hair ties & brush

  • Toothbrush & toothpaste

  • Travel-size perfume

Not only will these essentials make your flight more relaxing and help you freshen up after a flight, but they can also be lifesavers if you lose your luggage. The last thing you’ll want to do is spend money on all the tiny toiletries you’d need to have basic hygiene until you’re reunited with your belongings.

Additional Tip: Don’t forget the 3-1-1 rule when packing your liquid carry-ons (such as perfumes). Liquids must be around 3 ounces, fit in 1 quart-sized plastic bag and each passenger is allowed 1 bag.

 

6 - Portable Charger

You wouldn’t want to board a plane and realise that your batteries are running out. A reliable, portable, lightweight charger guarantees that you don’t run out of digital entertainment. Be sure to pack the appropriate cords for each of your carry-on devices.

7 - In-flight Entertainment

Flights can be grueling without something to pass the time, so be equipped with plenty of tools to entertain yourself. Having a number of movies, books, music, or games to keep you amused on long flights is a major game-changer. Besides your phone, the following are some of the carry-ons that can provide entertainment and help you steer clear of boredom.

  • Tablet: Allows you to enjoy books, podcasts, music, games, movies, and series onboard all in one compact device.

  • Laptop: Can also provide entertainment but is most useful if you have to catch up on some work when you travel. Be sure to carry it in a good protective case.

  • Books: There is nothing like the feel and smell of a printed book, if you don’t have an e-reader or tablet, a book can save you from a horrible travel experience.

  • Magazines: Can come in handy if you’re too tired to read a book.


8 - Snacks

Onboard meal service can be unappetizing and sporadic, so keep a couple of snacks on hand in case you get hungry. Always pack some travel-friendly snacks such as protein bars, fruits, or some raw almonds.

Bring a leak proof reusable water bottle and fill it up post-security. This way you’ll stay hydrated during your flight without having to continuously ask the flight attendant for water. Drinking enough water is proven to help with jet lag and fatigue. To avoid dehydration, drink one glass of water for every hour you travel.

Additional Tip: Look up the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approved snacks before you pack for your next flight and carry gum with you to relieve pressure in your ears, eliminate post-meal breath, and refresh after a nap.

Final Thoughts

Traveling is one of the great joys of life, packing, on the other hand, isn’t as exhilarating. Fine-tune your carry-on travel essentials by picking a few favourite products to travel with. The list above can give you ideas on how to pass time, stay comfortable, and upgrade your overall flight experience.

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