Five carry-on packing essentials

Whether you’re packing for a long-haul international flight or a short one, we think these five carry-on items are essential.

1. Documents

Even if you think an electronic version will suffice – such as accommodation booking confirmations, electronic visas, boarding passes and addresses – consider keeping a printout of such information, just in case your device loses its battery life or is not easily accessible.

It can be helpful and timesaving to place the documents in a sturdy folder or envelope – in the order you need them – and, over time, to discard the ones you no longer need to avoid carrying anything unnecessary.

2. Medicines and basic toiletries

The concern with packing medicines into your checked luggage is the potential delay to or even loss of your bag. Keeping your medicines with you means you don’t risk missing any doses.

Also, since cabin air is extremely drying, you may want to pack some basic toiletries, such as a moisturiser and lip balm. And if on a long-haul flight, you may find a toothbrush and travel-size toothpaste don’t go astray.

Just be sure to meet the TravelSECURE requirements for carrying medicines and liquids/gels/aerosols on fights.

3. Entertainment

To avoid flight boredom, make sure you pack your favourite form of onboard entertainment – such as pen and paper (for getting creative), your device (for music, reading and movies) or a good, old-fashioned book. Don’t forget to pack any accessories you might need either – e.g. headphones and chargers.

4. Clothing

Packing extra clothing in your hand luggage is a smart idea. Depending where you’re sitting on a plane, the cabin can get quite cool. So why not consider taking a shawl or light travel blanket to keep you warm?

Also, an extra set of clothing, including some underwear, can come in handy should your checked luggage not arrive at your destination when you do. And if you are at risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), it might be worth your while to pack a pair of compression socks.

5. Sleep aids

If you’re planning to catch some shut-eye, especially during a long-haul flight, sleep aids – such as earplugs (or noise-cancelling headphones), an eye mask, a neck pillow and, perhaps, sleeping pills – can make you feel well rested and ready to go upon arriving at your destination.

What do you think? If you could only pack five things in your hand luggage, what would you take?


Written by YourLifeChoices Writers

YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.

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