Firstly, there is no one right way to pack your carry-on. I’m a twenty year old female, clearly not everyone is going to be in the same boat. But since I always have so many people vent their frustrations about their carry-on packing experiences, I thought I’d put my own personal routine out there for you all to see.
Keep in mind of course that, before even starting to pack, you need to check (and double check) with your airline to make sure you understand your size and weight limits, and also any rules as to what you can and can’t take on-board with you.
So if you were to look through my carry-on this is what you would find:
- One small bag stashed inside of one big bag
Most airlines generally allow you your carry-on + one smaller size bag (such as a laptop case or handbag). However, especially when I’m travelling alone, I find that lugging two bags (plus your suitcase) around the airport is both tiresome and cumbersome. But the problem with just one bag is that, once you’re on the plane, you’re fumbling around the overhead locker every time you need something. The compromise? I stash a smaller, flexible bag filled with my in-flight necessities, inside of the bigger one which can hold anything else that I want to bring on-board. That way, when I arrive to my seat, I simply slip out the smaller bag to deposit underneath the seat in front of me and I’m sorted for the next up-teen hour flight!
- Chargers and electronics
Okay so there are two main reasons for this. One, most airports, and even some planes, are now equipped with power plugs for charging: this means, so long as you have your chargers with you, you don’t have to worry about running out of juice (particularly important if heading through customs in the USA). Secondly, my worst fear is an airline losing my bag, therefore I find I travel easier if I know that I have all my expensive electronics (and their chargers) with me.
- Memory cards, a spare change of clothing, anything wickedly awesome that I’ve just bought.
Same reason as above – if an airline were to lose my bag I need to know my photos and any irreplaceable knick knacks are not lost (and that I have at least one day’s worth of clothing to keep me from smelling like I haven’t washed in hours). These I generally leave in the larger bag in the overhead locker.
- Passport, tickets and a pen
Keep these within easy reach while you’re flying. Not only do you want to keep them safe, but you won’t have to be doing acrobatics to find them when it comes time to fill our your arrival card (hence the pen).
While purchasing a new bottle of water every time that you’ve gone through security isn’t fun for you or your purse, I much prefer having my own supply of water on-board, so that I can stay hydrated without calling for the steward every half hour (not to sound like a mother, but keeping hydrated in the sky is super important if you want to avoid feeling hung-over on your arrival!).
- Something to freshen up with
I try to keep toiletries to a minimum while I’m flying, to save space and so that I have less to lug around. Personally, I find a good set of rehydrating make-up wipes does the job, paired with a good lip balm and a small amount of my facial moisturiser emptied into a travel container.
And aside from the obvious others (money, wallet and the other non-negotiables) that’s about me.
What do you all pack with you? I’d love to know any hints or tips you’ve acquired over your years of travel!