10 Things to ALWAYS Pack in Your Carryon Bag

It can be difficult to decide what to pack in your carryon bag versus your checked luggage. There are some things that can’t be packed in your carryon bag, so that makes it a bit easier. But it can still be difficult to decide what to put in your carryon bag.

You don’t have much room in your carryon bag, so you need to make sure you pack things you will need. It isn’t a good use of space if you pack things that you won’t use is not efficient.

The following 10 items will help you make the most out of the space you have in your carryon bag as well as abide by airport security rules.

1. Camera

You should always pack your camera in your carryon bag. Your camera is delicate, and it has a chance of getting broken if you pack it in your checked luggage that is thrown around.

You should pack your camera in a protective case in your carryon luggage. This is an added safety precaution you can take to ensure you camera is safe.

2. Cellphone and/or Tablet

You should always put your cellphone and/or tablet in your carryon bag. This is another safety precaution, but you will probably use these devices while on the flight.

You will undoubtably use your cell phone before you board and will probably use it once you land at your destination. You can also use your cellphone and tablet to play games or listen to music while on the plane.

Many airlines now offer their in-flight entertainment via an app rather than through a tv screen in the seat back in front of you. This means you will have to download the app before you board and watch tv and movies on your cellphone or tablet.

You should make sure your phone is charged before you leave the plane. Nearly every plane has a USB charging station at every seat. You should plug your phone in before you land to ensure it is charged and ready to be used when you land. You will probably use your phone for directions to find your hotel, so you don’t want to run out of battery part way there!

3. A Book

I always bring a book with me on the plane. Actually, I normally bring 2-3 books, but I’m a bibliophile and plow through books on planes.

Bringing a book gives you another entertainment option while on the plane. It especially comes in handy when you’re on a short-haul flight where there isn’t enough time to watch a movie.

There are some budget airlines that don’t offer in-flight entertainment (like RyanAir), so books come in handy when using airlines like these.

Always be sure to research what entertainment options your airline offers and come prepared with the appropriate number of books.

Prague Cechia Czech Republic 10 Things to Always Pack in Your Carryon bag
Reading along the river in Prague

4. Headphones

You will need to bring headphones if you plan on using the in-flight entertainment system. You can often purchase headphones on your flight, but they are always cheap earbuds that you won’t want to reuse. Save your money and purchase a good pair of headphones that you can use over and over again.

This comes in especially handy on long-haul flights. Your ears will get sore if you are using cheap, airline earbuds for 8-12 hours on a long-haul flight.

5. Medication

You should always bring your medication in your carryon luggage. You are allowed to bring any prescription medication on the plane with you. If you have prescription medication that is over the 50ml liquid allowance, be sure to bring your prescription slip with you. You may not need it, but it is always something you should bring just in case.

6. Laptop

You must bring your laptop with you in your carryon bag. In fact, you can’t check it. You wouldn’t want to check your laptop anyways because there is a high probability of it getting broken.

Your laptop is easy to pack in a backpack and doesn’t take up much space, so it isn’t an inconvenience to bring it in your carryon bag. You should be sure to put it in a protective case to make sure it is safe. Laptops are expensive, so you need to take care of it!

7. Extra Underwear

There is always the possibility that your flight will be cancelled or delayed or your checked luggage could be lost. You should always pack an extra pair of underwear in your carryon bag. You can easily reuse the clothing you wear on the plane the next day, but you should have an extra pair of underwear.

Pyjamas are another item of clothing you may want to consider packing in your carryon bag. They will come in handy if you need to unexpectedly spend a night in a hotel without your checked luggage.

Copenhagen Denmark 10 Things to Always Pack in Your Carryon Bag

8. A Pen

You should be in the habit of packing a pen in your carryon bag. It is quite common for you to have to fill in a paper immigration form when you land in a country. It saves you a lot of time if you are able to fill out the form when you are on the plane rather than when you get off the plane. But you can’t fill out the immigration form without a pen.

You don’t want to be the person asking the people in your row who came prepared if you can visit their pen. That person is annoying- especially since they rarely give you your pen back.

A pen takes us no space, so throw one in your dedicated carryon bag and leave it there. You will never be without a pen if you keep one in your carryon bag and never remove it.

9. A Toothbrush and Toothpaste

Packing a toothbrush and toothpaste in your bag comes in handy after long-haul flights when you want to refresh your breath or if you unexpectedly have to spend a night in a hotel or your checked luggage gets lost.

There is even a such thing as a travel toothbrush you can pack. It is a single-use toothbrush that is tiny but also comes with toothpaste built in. All you have to do is add water, and you are good to brush your teeth. They are a truly incredible invention.

10. An Empty Water Bottle

It is expensive to purchase bottled water at the airport! You can bring an empty water bottle through security and fill it at a water fountain or in the bathroom (as long as it is safe to drink tap water wherever you are filling your water bottle).

This is a great airport hack! It is ecological and saves you money. Its a win-win situation! You can easily use the same water bottle for your entire trip and save a significant amount of money.

St. Paul's Cathedral London England 10 Things to Always Pack in Your Carryon Bag


It can sometimes be difficult to determine what to pack in your carryon bag, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. You need to make sure you have anything that you will need on the plane as well as anything you may need if you unexpectedly don’t have your checked luggage for a night.

You want to pack your carryon bag wisely in order to optimize the limited space you have. If you pack it wisely, you shouldn’t have any trouble making the most out of your carryon bag.

If you want more packing tips, be sure to check our my 10 Travel Essentials to Never Leave Home Without article!