10 Carry On Essentials Not to Leave Home Without

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. This helps support what we do and in no way costs you a thing.

10 Carry On Essentials Not to Leave Home Without? Whether you’re toting your carry on as your only piece of luggage or you have a larger bag in the hold there are ten items every carry on bag should have. These are the items you will wish you had either in transit or on your flight. Of course, your specific needs might vary but this is a great list to start with.

what to pack in your carry on bag for travel

Every carry-on bag needs to start with a great bag! You want something that’s large enough to hold your items but not so large you can’t fit it under your seat or end up with a sore shoulder toting around. Some people swear by backpacks while others prefer a messenger bag style. Whatever you end up selecting take some time to break it in before the big day.

10 Carry On Essentials Not to Leave Home Without

Your travel documents

Sure this one is a no brainer but the first thing you should slip into your carry-on is your travel documents. Have your boarding pass and itinerary printed ahead of time, along with any other reservations or confirmations. Sure you might have them all stored on your phone or iPad but what happens if the battery runs out? It’s always good to have a paper backup.

Lip Gloss or chap stick

Airplanes can dry out your lips and skin quickly. Carry some Chap Stick or lip gloss just in case.


How many times have you been on a plane and felt like your feet had turned into ice blocks? Toss in a pair of socks, and an extra pair if you’re already wearing them to make sure you stay comfortable for the length of the trip.

Reading Material

Whether you like magazines, newspapers, a paperback or eBooks, have something with to pass the time. Flying is a great time to indulge in some reading without feeling like you could be doing something else. Enjoy the solitude!

A pen

actually a few. There’s inevitably luggage tags to fill out, a landing card, or a quick note to jot down. Having a few pens handy ensures you’re never left waiting or searching to find a pen to borrow.

road trip bags of snack food and chips


Let’s face it airplane food was never very good. In today’s flying world fewer and fewer airlines are providing any type of snack to fliers for free. Airport food is overpriced and you may not have time to grab a sandwich during a tight connection. Avoid all the hassle and simply pack your own snacks. It’s cheaper, healthier, and you know you’ll have food on hand. Avoid things that have a strong scent or are liquid. Don’t forget some hard candies to suck on or gum to chew to avoid discomfort during takeoff and landing.

A light jacket, sweater, or small blanket

No matter what time of year you’re flying airplanes are chilly. Bring along something lightweight to wear if it becomes too cold. It can also double as a pillow or neck rest if you don’t need the warmth.

Headphones and something to listen to

Most phones have the ability to store music and podcasts. Download some of your favorites but don’t forget a good pair of headphones to listen with. Even on long flights that show TV or movies, headphones aren’t always provided free of charge. Skip the hassle and bring your own.

OTC and prescription medication you may need

It’s always a good idea to bring aboard any medications you think you might need. Prescription medications are a must – don’t trust that your luggage will make it to your destination with your medications inside. Carry them with you! You also may want to have some type of pain reliever, motion sickness medication, upset stomach medication (like Tums), and basic first aid items like band aids, just in case.

Chargers and Convertors

Don’t forget to toss in your phone charger, and any other chargers for electronic devices you plan to use. If you’re traveling abroad look into, and purchase and power converters you might need so that your electronics work everywhere.

What are some of the items you always include in your carry-on bag? Should there be more than 10 Carry On Essentials Not to Leave Home Without?

Other posts you may enjoy: