What to Pack in your Carry-on?

What to pack in your carry-on? You know about keeping the basics with you: your passport, itinerary, the address where you’re staying, additional travel documents, medications, jewelry, electronics and other valuables.

But you may not remember all those other important items that will help you be more comfortable, entertain you, and keep you healthier in flight. Here’s the ultimate list of what to pack in your carry-on that will help you have a better trip there and back.

Water bottle

It’s important to stay hydrated in flight. Water helps combat the cabin’s dry air. It also helps fight the drying effect of alcohol you may consume, as well as potentially salty meals. And it may also reduce the impact of jet lag.

Of course, you can’t bring a full bottle through security. But you can bring an empty one. Fill it at a fountain or other source before you board or ask a flight attendant.


Since travel dehydrates you, you’ll want to also tend to your dry skin. Bring along a small container of your favorite moisturizer and apply liberally throughout the flight. NOTE: Due to allergies and the confined space of an aircraft we recommend a scent-free lotion.


Many airlines don’t provide snacks in flight, especially on shorter trips. Even if they do, pretzels and cookies may not be to your liking.

Best to pack your own snack. Pick something that travels well and has protein, fiber or both. Good choices include trail mix, your favorite nuts, dried fruit, a hard cheese, and snack bars.

Hand Sanitizer

Crowded public areas like airports – and enclosed spaces like airplanes – are breeding grounds for germs. So you’re more likely to catch an illness at the worst possible time: when you’re just starting your trip.

You don’t know who’s touched the same surfaces you’re touching. Hand sanitizer is a great defense against those germs and a must for your carry-on packing list. It’s also more convenient than finding a bathroom to wash your hands. Bring along a bottle that’s under 3.4 ounces, and make sure it’s at least 60 percent alcohol.

Antibacterial wipes

Antibacterial wipes are the companion to hand sanitizer. They work particularly well for disinfecting your surroundings. To help prevent illness, wipe down everything you’ll touch. That could include your seatbelt and seatback tray on the plane. Once you get to your destination, you can clean your room phone, remote controls, light switches and bathroom fixtures.


Those small tissue packs come in handy in several ways. Besides their intended use, you can employ them as napkins, paper towels, coasters or a wrapper for food or small objects in a pinch.

Painkillers / Stomach Medication/ Antihistamines 

You never know what will strike when travelling, so bring along painkillers, antihistamines, stomach medication and jet lag remedies.

Mints or chewing gum

You need every tool at your disposal to feel fresh during a long flight. Mints and chewing gum help when you can’t get to a sink to brush your teeth. They’ll also help unplug your ears during altitude changes.


It’s almost a law of travel. You’ll get a blister from all that walking or cut your hand. And there won’t be a drugstore in sight. Even if there is, they may charge a sky-high fee for bandages. Slip a few in your wallet so they’re there when you need them.

Something to keep you warm

Planes can be notoriously chilly. And the thin blankets airlines provide may not be enough to keep you comfortable.

Bring along layers like a sweater or jacket. Or a travel blanket. Women may want to carry on a large scarf, shawl or pashmina that can double as a blanket.

Compression socks

Compression socks increase blood flow by putting pressure on the legs, ankles and feet. That pressure causes more blood to return to the heart and not pool in the feet. When blood pools, it can cause fatigue and cramps. Or more serious circulatory problems like deep vein thrombosis, phlebitis and edema.

When you’re sitting for so long on a plane, you’re especially prone to those issues. Make compression socks a fixture of your personal carry-on packing list. Another benefit: they’ll help keep your feet warm no matter how frigid the cabin gets.

Travel pillow

Three types of travel pillows have their fans: the horseshoe-shaped neck supports, the roll-up foam versions and the compact inflatable pillows. As you need every advantage on a plane to rest, bring along whichever suits you the best.

Eye mask and ear plugs

It’s hard to sleep on a plane, particularly if you’re not enjoying a lie-flat bed. A sleep mask can help you relax by blocking out light. It’s also helpful if your hotel room doesn’t have blackout drapes. Although airlines sometimes hand these out, for a small investment you’ll enjoy a higher-quality mask that stays in place better over your eyes.

Ear plugs muffle the continuous hum of the plane (as well as the hum from other passengers). Later, they’ll be handy if the neighbors in your hotel are louder than you’d like, or street noise keeps you up. And both the mask and plugs take up very little space to pack in your carry-on.

Noise-canceling headphones

It’s worth investing in a good set of noise-canceling headphones or earbuds. They’ll help you mute the noises from the plane and keep you focused on your music, TV show or movie.

USB cable

Use a USB cable to run your devices and prevent the disaster of draining your battery power. Many planes today have USB plugs at every seat.

Device charger

You can’t count on having an outlet handy during your travels. Competition for spots at airport charging stations, for example, can be intense. A back-up battery pack is an essential tool for your carry-on packing list to keep your devices running in flight or while you’re traveling.

Now that you have look at what to pack in your carry-on, click here to read our best packing tips for checked luggage.