The hotel is booked, your bags are packed, and the flight is leaving in a few hours. That’s it, right?
NO! That’s not it.
A seasoned traveller knows what to pack in a carry-on bag. Forget laptops and other work paraphernalia, diaper bags and slings, and anything containing crayons or dinky cars. We’re prepping a grown woman’s carry-on bag; the others are extras you, with the help of your partner — if he or she knows what’s good for him/her — bring along if necessary.
Your carry-on should serve as the nerve center for the trip and provide emergency back up should the unthinkable happen and your luggage end up in Juneau, Alaska when your destination is Nice, France.
What to Pack in a Carry-On
Personal ID and Snacks
Let’s begin with the basics: cash and credit cards, personal identification documents, tickets — either printed or electronic versions — and a granola bar or three. The importance of avoiding hangry traveller syndrome cannot be overstated. Five pretzels that were packed when The Who did their last reunion tour aren’t going to cut it when there are visions of juicy steaks dancing in your head.
Glasses and Gadgets
Keep items you can’t live without on you during travel. For most people this means glasses, sunglasses, contact lenses — if you wear them — lens solution, a camera (which should never be checked anyway), and of course our phones and chargers. Many airlines have plugs set into their in-seat entertainment systems, so you’ll be ready to call for a ride as soon as you land.
Never EVER leave home without a mini toiletry kit. The contents are flexible, but should include some way to clean your teeth, face, and other sweaty areas, while keeping your hands and lips crack-free and your head clear of fog. Airplane air dries out the skin and airplane food leaves a salty slick on your teeth you’ll want to wash away.
If you have a long flight, there’s hope for a few hours of sleep. Pass on the blankets that are handed out and unwind the gorgeous blanket scarf you couldn’t live without; it serves as a softer and cleaner blanket to ward off the chill. Slip on a sleep mask, inflate a pillow, and you may sleep all night long.
Books and Notepads
Bring a book in case you can’t sleep, and have a notepad and pen handy to jot down ideas, reminders, or a one-sided, witty dialog about your seatmate who insists on using you as a pillow.
Carry a spare pair of underwear; nobody wants to be caught on a 24-hour trip wearing the same old pair. And if your luggage does go missing, you’re not going commando until you locate a store.
Check with your airline for current size and weight restrictions for carry-on luggage, as well as any changes to items allowed onboard. Other than that, you’re all set to go.