The Ultimate Carry On Packing List

What to Carry On When you Travel

Flights can be long and uncomfortable…if you are unprepared! This list will help make your journey much more enjoyable.

Before we really get into this list, make sure you are prepared with a carry on bag that meets the regulations of your airline! Check your airline’s website for the dimensions and the weight you’re allowed.

Amazon has some great options that are regulation size for most airlines!

Shop this affordable option here!

Ok, so let’s dive in with a list of items I always have in my carry on bag!


Not just any headphones! You definitely want a pair that are comfortable.

Affordable bluetooth headphones available on amazon

Time goes by so much quicker when you can listen to music, a podcast, or, if you’re on a long haul flight, watch a film! I highly recommend this this pair from amazon.

I find ear buds really uncomfortable, and maybe I have odd shaped ears or something but they never stay in my ears!

These ones are so comfortable, come in several colours, and they block out other unwanted plane noises (crying babies, etc!). You can use them as bluetooth headphones/wireless, or you can plug them in (cord included). OH, and did I mention how affordable they are?! Niiiice 🙂

And PS, if you want some good podcast recommendations, check out my two favourites in my blog post here!

Reusable Water Bottle

Bottled water is very overpriced, but even more importantly, it’s bottled in plastic which is horrible for our planet. I won’t go into it now, but you should avoid single use plastics whenever you can!

A reusable water bottle is the easiest way to do this. You will save so much money in the long run! Especially as drinks on flights are INSANELY expensive. As soon as you are through security, you can fill up your water bottle and you’re good to go.

Flying can be very drying and dehydrating, so sip, sip baby!

I always carry my Nalgene bottle with me, whether I am travelling or just going out for the day. These things are incredibly sturdy!

They sell them here or at places like Target. They come in a million colours and the strap makes it really easy to clip to a backpack or carry on bag if you can’t fit it inside.

A Good Book

Sorry, is my inner English teacher showing?

But seriously, how often do you have time to just sit and read? Bring a book and really get into it. The time will fly by!

Hogwarts Express. If only we could travel this way!

Not sure what to read? Well, you can never go wrong with the Harry Potter series! If only we could disapparate…then there would be no need for this blog post at all. OR if we could take the Hogwarts Express! So unfair that I was led to believe all trains would be this awesome (nerd rant over!).

But if you are looking for some new book recommendations, check out my blog post with a list of inspiring and entertaining books for 20-somethings by clicking here.

Snacks…and More Snacks

Don’t rely on airport food or inflight snacks. They will be incredibly overpriced!

Here is a list of the kinds of snacks I always take with me while travelling:

  • Granola bars
  • Dried fruit/fruit leathers
  • Trail Mix
  • Fruit
  • Chocolate
  • Crackers

I try to choose snacks that are easy to transport, not too messy, and at least sort of healthy (chocolate is healthy for the soul, obviously). For example, I will bring an apple or banana, but I wouldn’t really bother bringing a big orange as they are very fragrant when you peel them, and can create a bit of a mess.

I also try to choose foods that are easy on my stomach as I have a rather sensitive tummy and travel can upset it – how tragic is that? A girl who loves to travel but gets travel sick?! Ha! Anyways, that’s why I always bring some simple foods, like crackers.

Also, always bring more than you think you need! You will likely eat more than you think and you won’t regret having anything left over as you can just save it for later. Plus, if you experience a delay and you run out of snacks…that’s when you can get seriously hangry!

However, be aware that if you are flying internationally, you are not typically allowed to bring your fruit into your destination country. Just eat it before you get there!

Medications and Basic Hygiene

This is not necessarily for your journey, but you need to be prepared for the worst! Airlines do lose luggage from time to time, so make sure you have anything you really need with you in your carry on!

In this category I would also include things like contact lenses, solution and case. I am BLIND (for real..cannot see a thing) without my contacts. Yes, I have glasses, and yes, I bring those in my carry on too. But, I am so much more comfortable with contacts so I want to have the right materials to wear them even if my luggage is lost. Make a list of your daily necessities and bring those along!

For me, this list of daily necessities looks like this:

  • Medications
  • Deodorant
  • Contacts + case + solution
  • Glasses + case
  • Toothbrush
  • Travel Toothpaste
  • Hair Ties

The rest, I can live without for at least a day or two while I wait for my luggage or get myself to a store. For example, I can deal without shampoo for a day if disaster strikes (oh hello, ponytail, my old friend), but I would feel seriously self conscious if I hadn’t brushed my teeth or if I was stinky and without deodorant.

Plus, most of these things I may use during the journey anyways to freshen up!

Reminder: Don’t forget to that you are typically only allowed liquids in portions of 100 ml per container. Either purchase travel bottles and put your products in them or travel sized items. Then, make sure you put all liquids into a plastic ziplock bag.

I always leave this plastic bag right at the top of my carry on as you will have to take it out at security. It will save you time at the airport if you come with everything ready.

A Change of Clothes

Again, if your luggage is lost, you want to make sure you are comfortable for a day or two until you can get your things back or go to a store.

Bring one or two other outfits and do NOT forget a pair of undies! Sounds obvious, but take it from me, it’s not a nice experience if you forget, ha!

The first time I travelled internationally, I packed loads of shoes in my carry on as I was trying to save the weight in my checked bag for as MANY CLOTHES AS POSSIBLE and was hoping they wouldn’t check my carry on for its weight (sneaky, I know). Thus, when my suitcase was lost for 5 days, all I had was a bunch of pairs of shoes and the burden of shame in my packing skills. Don’t worry, I have since learned how to pack smarter than this!

If you aren’t wearing a cozy sweater, cardigan or blanket scarf, I suggest packing one of these in your carry on, as well! Planes and airports can get really chilly and often the free blanket they give you on the flight just doesn’t cut it!

A Small Backpack

Once I get through security and am waiting at my gate, I always take out a small backpack from my carry on and stuff in the things I need during the flight: think snacks and entertainment.

That way, I don’t have to mess about once I get in the plane and dig things out of my bag while everyone else is trying to get to their seats, etc. I simply stow my wheely bag up in the overhead cabins, and put my tiny backpack under the seat in front of me.

No need to reach overhead during the flight either which is ideal!

RIGHT, so those are the essentials to pack in your carry on!

What you need in addition to this list is up to you, but I recommend travelling light as it makes your journey much less stressful! Happy travels!