Most airlines allow you to have 2 carry-on items such as a small bag and a purse or back pack. Make sure you check the size dimensions allowed and limitations on articles you can bring prior to flying. If you are flying with young children/strollers, there are often exceptions to how many items you can bring as well.
Here is our list of Top 10 Essential Items to Have in Your Carry On.
- Medications and legal pharmaceuticals (including gravol, tums, your travel sized first aid kit, Benadryl, epi-pen, etc…)
- All of your important papers such as passports, travel insurance, cash, flight information, consulate contact information, and final destination information. On the plane, you are often asked to fill out a form stating your final destination (address, phone number, etc… ) I always keep this information with my passport. I also have a photocopy of my fellow travelers’ passports, etc… in case they lose theirs. If you happen to know someone who speaks the language fluently, have their number so you can contact them if needed to help you out of any tricky situations. Double points if they’re actually a lawyer! I also leave a copy of this information with a trusted person (such as my mommy) back home.
- Extra change of clothes (bathing suit, flip flops (even I know that it is inappropriate to call them thongs now), shorts, underwear, pajamas and a dress shirt/dress). I actually have about a week’s worth of clothes shrunken down in an air compressed bag (I purchased mine at WalMart). If my luggage gets lost, I’m good. You can usually spot the poor people who had delayed or lost luggage. They are often wearing sweat pants in sweltering heat and have a slightly unwashed appearance. It’s like they just gave up on showering since they have no clean clothes to change into anyway.
- Food. Check your airline prior to flying. Sometimes your airline will offer you a complimentary bag of pretzels, but that will hardly hold you over for 5 hours. You can buy a sandwich or a piece of pizza for the price of your first born child if you wish, but I prefer to have a few granola bars on hand. You can also stop at the restaurant of your choice prior to boarding and take your meal/sandwich with you. All purchases need to be made with a credit card.
- Stay hydrated! Although you cannot pack bottles of water with you, you can buy them after you pass through security.
- You can either have your own headphones to watch movies, or you can buy them for around $10 from the airline if you forget.
- Blow up neck pillow for comfort (doesn’t take up space in your carry on)
- Gum. Helps pop your ears for take-off and landing. If you have small children, having them suck from their bottle during these times helps as well.
- Book/magazines to occupy your time if you don’t want to watch movies the whole flight (make sure you check your flight number to see if you need to download an app prior to takeoff. Some airlines do not have screens and you need their app to watch movies on your own device.)
- Electronic devices such as cell phone chargers, power adaptor, cameras. We always travel with a white noise machine as well that we can plug in at our hotel to drown out the sound of screaming kids and drunken adults. We also take our luggage weigh scale to make sure that our luggage is not overweight. You will often pay more for overweight luggage than you will for an extra bag.
My carry on is 15″ long, 11″ high and 10″ deep. I fit every thing mentioned above into my one carry on. Just for interest, I am showing you the clothes that I also fit into my compressed bag: 5 dresses, flip flops, a cardigan, bathing suit, 1 pair of shorts, 1 tank top, nightgown and underwear (which I chose not to put in the picture). Note that I keep my shoes in a ziploc bag inside of the bag. In case there is dog poop residue on the bottoms, I don’t want it touching my clothes! The amount of clothing/shoes that I can fit in my carry on will hold me quite comfortably if my equally tiny luggage under the plane gets delayed or lost.
What are your essential carry on items? Share them with us in the comments section. Also, feel free to share any interesting body cavity search experiences you have had. Airport/MileHigh Club stories only! – perverts…. 🙂 – The Dollies