I tend to pack light. Although, if I’m driving I totally break that rule. Ha! Learning to pack in only carry on luggage is a feat in itself. After all, who wants to pay to check their bag? I don’t! No matter where I am going and for how long, there are certain items that I tend to always place in my hand luggage. So, I thought I would share my carry on packing list with you.
Whether you are gathering travel essentials for long haul flights or merely have a short jaunt, it’s a good idea to pack necessary items that stay with you on your flight. I know that there is always a chance that my suitcase may get lost, and I always enjoy having a few comfort items with me.
Check your carry on luggage size
This is so important! I have been in line to get on a flight, only to see someone get stopped because their bag is too large. TSA does NOT check this for you when you check-in, so you need to accept responsibility for your carry on luggage size being compliant as you board the plane.
The bags need to fit in the overhead compartment or under your seat. Airline regulations vary slightly, and there is a handy list here of the various sizes. Having a smaller bag ensures that you won’t stress if there isn’t room in the bins above the seats.
Don’ts for what to pack in carry on bag for flights
This is super important, and of course, you can’t take guns and explosives. I’m not going to cover the obvious stuff, but there are a lot of things that people simply don’t know about. Take a peek at the list below of things that won’t pass through a TSA check.
- Liquid-filled bottles. This includes water bottles, soda, coffee…etc. Once you pass through TSA, you can purchase and carry these things.
- More than a quart-sized bag of liquids. This is taken directly from the TSA website. “You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item.”
- Sharp objects. That includes scissors, knives, loose razor blades. You CAN take nail clippers, tweezers, and knitting needles.
For a full, complete list of what you can and can not bring in your carry on luggage, just click here. The list also tells you what items are not allowed in checked luggage. It’s really handy and answers all the questions!
My Carry On Packing List
Refillable Water Bottle
It needs to be empty as you pass through TSA, but feel free to fill it up once you go through. What an eco-friendly thing to have on any trip beyond just your carry on luggage!
Any necessary medication should always be with you. If it gets lost in checked luggage – yikes! I dare say that prescription medicine is one of the most important things for your health, so keep it with you at all times.
Change of Clothes
This includes undies, an outfit, and possibly PJs if they will fit in the bag. In case your checked bags don’t make it through, you will want to have an opportunity to freshen up.
For me, this includes my camera, phone, and laptop. I don’t want these items getting lost, broken, or stolen, so they go with me as do their corresponding chargers. I also may want to do a bit of work at the airport, so having my laptop close is important.
I like to take mine on the plane, which includes a toothbrush and toothpaste. I want to be 100% sure to have my toiletries with me in case my suitcase isn’t at my final destination. This also includes makeup, depending on what my itinerary is upon arrival.
I normally take a lip moisturizer and face cream with me. Flights can be very dehydrating, so I want to set myself up for success and look refreshed when I land.
Something to Do
Yes, there are lots of movies on flights, so take headphones (although many flights offer disposable ones, and the new iPhone plug won’t work). I like to take a book on really lengthy flights.
Consider taking a notebook and pen if you want to jot a few things down or journal. Some hobbies are great for on the go like knitting or drawing, so it’s all in what you like to do.
My carry on packing list for long flights isn’t complete without a few creature comforts. I like to sleep, so my comforts are a small scarf/blanket, sleeping mask, and neck supporter.
I may look crazy, but I’ll be rested once I get there! To be fair, this is something that hooks to my carry on luggage, so I don’t normally set it inside.
What is on your carry on packing list?
What is on your carry on packing list for long flights or short trips? I’m always tweaking my list and wondering what to pack in carry on bag for flights. I’d love to hear any ideas you may have in the comments below!
photos are by Holly Ann Photography