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"Must Pack" in your carryon bag?

What are your "must have" items that you pack in your carryon bag for a long flight? I'm probably not using the correct term, not your carryon with clothing but your personal item you are also allowed to carryon. Ex.: ear plugs, socks, etc.

Any and all ideas are greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for sharing your packing lists.


Posted by
9110 posts

Medications, one stripped-down change of clothes, electronics, cameras, essential documents as defined by you, and whatever you want to fiddle with in flight. This assumes that your larger carryon will get gate-checked and lost for a few days.

Otherwise, nothing except passport, money, credit cards - - but these will fit in pockets or purse.

What you do is tier your loads neglecting unnecessary niceties.

Keep in mind that with a passport and some kind of money you can go anywhere in the world right now. These two things should be in your paws, or damn close - - they're Tier One. essential meds has to be included if you need them.

Tier Two is the stuff that would get you buy for the whole time if you had money. This batch never gets checked. It also contains the high-priced goods.

Tier Three can be checked, you don't care if you have it or not, but it'd make life a bit easier.

Posted by
2081 posts


if im allowed to bring my larger "carry on" then all that goes into the "hand baggage" is food, travel books, water, snacks, cameras, paper/pen.

if im not allowed to bring my "carry on" than i will put in a change of underware into my "hand baggage".

happy trails.

Posted by
991 posts

In my small bag that I keep with me to use on the flight, I have something to read, a snack, hand lotion, my money, phone, credit cards, insurance cards, and passport, and maybe a blow up neck pillow. If I was going to check my main luggage, I would add a change of clothing and anything I might have with me of value to my carry on.

Posted by
1221 posts

ID & money source, contact lens kit and eyeglasses (-14 myopia fortunately correctable) , phone, small laptop computer, DSL camera.

Posted by
1976 posts

In my personal item (combo of purse inside backpack until I get on the plane): passport and financials (credit card, cash, etc.), phone and charger, camera and charger, book, journal, granola bars, ear plugs and sleep mask, 1-liter water bottle for plane ride purchased in airport, hand sanitizer, kleenex, folder with all travel documents

Posted by
2768 posts

money/passport/train tickets
socks if I'm not wearing any onto the plane (sandal weather)
kindle loaded with books (guidebooks, language books, and fun reading)
printout of itinerary, confirmation numbers, and hotel info
a few snacks (granola bars or the like) in case we are stuck on the plane
basic toiletries I might need on the plane - contact lens solution, moisturizer for dry skin, that kind of thing

Then I have a bigger "carry on" that is my only suitcase with clothes, etc. Half that time that has to be put at the other end of the plane so I can't count on accessing it.

Posted by
792 posts

-ear plugs- I use the cheapo ear plugs from Walgreens that you are pliable and mold into your ear. It costs 7 dollars for about 20 of them
-the biggest bottle of water I can buy once through security (like Sarah mentioned). It is nice to not have to rely on flight attendants when I get thirsty
-today's newspaper (mainly for the crossword puzzle)
-battery back up for the Ipad (long flights only)
-An easily accessible stash of toiletries so I can freshen up before we land- usually a facial cleanser in the form of a wipe, toothbrush, deodorant
-small amount of ibuprofen in case I get a headache
-food-when in doubt, eat!

Posted by
2081 posts

@ Kristen,

" -the biggest bottle of water I can buy once through security (like Sarah mentioned). It is nice to not have to rely on flight attendants when I get thirsty"

I found on my international flights getting water from the FA wasnt an issue as long as they weren't in the middle of serving food/drinks or such. I would just go back to ask and get some water while stretching my legs. I would also spend some time chatting with them. i could use the call button, but i like to get up a lot and frequently to stretch my legs.

happy trails.

Posted by
12172 posts

I only carry on so for me it's everything I'm taking.

Generally, carry what you would absolutely have to have if your bag didn't meet you at the other end - medications, shave kit, change of underwear, reservation information (start there and add anything you personally can't live without).

Posted by
792 posts

@Ray- That is a good point and it is a nice excuse to stretch your legs. But sometimes I need to take a big swig of water. The teeny tiny airline cups drive me crazy!!!

Posted by
502 posts

I take meds that make me dehydrated, so the tiny cups don't work at all. The biggest bottle i could find too!!

Posted by
7379 posts
  1. Noise-cancelling headphones with a tiny i-pod shuffle of relaxing music - easier to sleep. The $50 Apple shuffle lasts for a long time, so I don't need to recharge it for a round-trip Europe flight.

  2. Mints & lip chap. Bottle of water or orange juice & a granola bar.

  3. Pen & a book w/ reading glasses. (Although I mostly watch the movies, listen to music & sleep.)

Everything but the book & bottle go into a zipper makeup case. The bottle & book get recycled at the end of the flight, so when I stand up, I can quickly place the makeup case back into my carry-on suitcase & go.

Posted by
1446 posts

One thing not mentioned that I always bring in my carry on bag: a pair of soft house slippers with rubber soles (so can walk into the bathroom). I put these on right when I get on the plane and find it much more comfortable during the flight.

Posted by
2788 posts

Are you talking about domestic flights or overseas flights? I see several folks have mentioned that they put their passports, credit cards, and money in their carry-on. For overseas flights (leaving in 46 hours) I put those things along with tickets and anything else that is small and very important, like itinerary , etc., into my money belt when I leave my home. I wear a neck pouch that is easily accessible for my passport at airline check-in. I put eye shades, ear phones, misc. over the counter pills (very small quantities), prescription drugs in original bottles with the prescription on it, snacks, hand wipes (for remotes, food trays, seat arms, etc), and
anything small and heavy that will fit to keep the weight down in my checked in luggage. Camera and charger, sunglasses with prescription. In flying to Europe every summer for 11 of the last 12 years, I have always relied upon the FAs to water and go and get it from them. I also wear leather shoes whenever I fly after reading too many stories about airplane crashes and their resulting fires. Leather shoes do not melt. I often take them off after reaching cruising altitude and put on some warm socks as my feet always seem to get cold in airplanes. Happy travels.

Posted by
5697 posts

Chewing gum -- to avoid earaches from takeoff/landing air pressure changes.

Posted by
114 posts

Small sized washcloth, dampened & placed over nose & mouth to avoid dryness.

Empty water bottles to fill after going through airport security.

Shawl to use as blanket.

Posted by
1446 posts

Yes, Patsy's idea of a wash cloth is a good one. We always take one for use each day because we discovered that many hotels/B&B's do not furnish them.

Posted by
3803 posts

I second Edgar's suggestion of Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. It was me who suggested them on the other thread. No joke; if you want to kill the germs from other people's trips to bathroom, and putting their unwashed hands all over your tray table, these do the trick. Thanks, Edgar, for reminding us. We Germ-o-phobes have to stick together!

Passport, money, credit cards, camera, print-out schedule of day-by-day journey plan, confirmation pages from the hotels where we're planning to stay, print-out of addresses and phone numbers of contact people back home and abroad needed for an emergency, and travel book/maps to read during the flight. Also any pre-paid tickets for trains or attractions. Snacks, bottled water and juice, extra underwear, socks, and nightgown. Two changes of clothes (2 nice T-shirts, 2 pair of pants or capris). Like Brad, this is the only bag I take.

Posted by
8799 posts

Gum, cough drops, or some butterscotch, Kleenex, nail clipper, twist ties, ear plugs, ear buds, coin purse with a folded euro or pound note leftover from a previous trip in order to buy some food or a cup of coffee at the airport when I deplane, a small golf course score card pencil and cheap crossword booklet, travel size tube of Alleve, some Air Borne packets, small bottle of hand sanitizer, ziplock bag with almonds, 2 tea bags, a disposable wash cloth, iPad mini loaded with books, songs and a movie, my reading glasses and my point and shoot camera. My passport, money and credit cards in the money belt and neck pouch. Also have a bandana tied to the bag.

Posted by
20 posts

An inflatable foot rest.

I find this especially beneficial, as I am not quite 5' 3".

In addition to 'compression socks', or 'support hose', a foot rest can help minimize the threat of blood clots.
Having sat on a plane as long as 15 1/2 hours, a foot rest and compression socks can literally save your life and make your flight more comfortable.

On any flight longer than 4-5 hours, I can think of nothing more important.

2 cents more-
Get up, walk, drink water.

After that, my must haves are simple- Credit Card, Passport, Meds., iPad, iPhone, iPod, charger stuff, all in my Baggallini bag.
(I make no apologies for being a tech junkie)

My 20" carry-on contains the rest of the 'necessities'.

Posted by
11507 posts

I always pack an inflatable neck cushion.. often two.. got them at dollar store about 5 years ago and they still work fine,, I like one in small of back ( underinflated) and one for neck.

Medicines. I always take a few otcs and a two prescriptions .. yes. I know you can get otcs in Europe.. but maybe not so easy at 2 am when you need them..

Gum or candies for ears..

book or Kobo.. this year only taking my tablet instead.

Water .. always buy a bottle.

And yes. the wet cloth does work.. I get very sore sinuses from the dry air on long flights.

money/passport/ etc of course.

Usually have some cheap earplugs left over from other flights.. and a cheap eye mask.

Always buy some cheap slippers for plane.. 2-3 bucks from a dollar store,, use them just for plane., must have rubber /plastic sole so I can walk in bathroom without other peoples pee soaking my socks.. gosh .. people are such pigs. MEN sit the heck down and stop peeing on floor, and ladies who hover .. get lower or use tp on seat to wipe up your mess , you are grossing me out.

Posted by
1 posts

@Mary, the foot rest is a great idea, I'm 5'1" and would love that, what kind and where did you find it??

Posted by
10325 posts

Someone suggested in the past that a beach ball can work well as a foot rest. They are inexpensive. Just inflate it as full as you want.

Posted by
119 posts

I just purchased an inflatable foot rest, even though I am not short --5'9"--, because my legs always ache on long flights! I surely hope it will help.