Fifteen handy items you’ll not regret putting in your carry-on bag

These 15 items are essential for your carry-on bag.

carry on

Long-haul flights can be challenging to even the most seasoned traveller – short haul flights can also be a chore.

The items you pack in your carry-on bag can provide entertainment in the air, sanity in the sky and even make economy feel as if it’s first class.

Now, I’m no expert, but I can assure you that the following list has saved my bacon on more than one occasion.

Trust me, you won’t regret packing any of these handy carry-on items the next time you fly.

1. Your passport, plus a copy of your passport
Your passport is obviously essential for an international flight, but it can also come in handy for a domestic sojourn. If you lose your wallet, you’ll have identification. If you lose your passport, you’ll have a back-up that will make it easier for you to get a replacement. If you get blind drunk and wake up a little bit foggy, it will help you remember who you are.

2. Eye mask and earplugs
Make daytime feel like night time and noisy planes feel like the inside of a church (without the pipe organ playing). If I don’t bring an eye mask, I’ll bring a beanie instead. Then I just pull it down over my eyes.

3. Antibacterial wipes
As soon as you sit down, wipe your seatbelt cover, tray table, and armrest. Then keep them close by for cleaning your hands after you go to the loo or touch anything on the plane.

4. Noise-cancelling earphones
The earbuds that came with your iPhone are okay when you’re in a relatively quiet space, but have you heard the ambient noise in a plane? Loud, right? Noise-cancelling earphones (or headphones) mean you don’t have to turn up your tunes super loud to drown out the ambient sound. If you can’t get noise-cancelling, go for noise-isolating ones instead.

5. Your smart device cable
No point having a universal adapter for the plane if you don’t have the cable with which to charge your phone or tablet.

6. Universal adapter
Your smartphone, camera or other electronic devices don’t discriminate – they’ll run out of battery and they’ll need to be charged. A universal adapter sorts out your power problems no matter where you are.

7. Spare undies, socks, a T-shirt and roll-on deodorant
You hear about the whole lost luggage thing but think it will never happen to you. Then it does and you don’t regret the extra room taken up by a spare pair of undies, socks, a T-shirt and your roll-on deodorant.

8. Sucky lollies
Sucking on a hard lolly is a sure-fire way to fix the unpleasant sensation that occurs when the air pressure in the cabin doesn’t quite match the pressure in your eardrums.

9. A plastic poncho
For those times when soup is on the menu … just kidding. A plastic poncho takes up very little space but can keep you dry for airport terminal transfers or when you get stuck without your luggage.

10. Zip lock bags
These are great for the stinky pair of socks you’ve swapped for your clean ones, or for storing any liquids in your carry-on. And an A4 harder plastic zip lock envelope is perfect for holding your paperwork, such as your passport copy, itinerary and receipts.

And here are five more that you'll find super handy!

11. Snacks
Just a muesli bar, trail mix, block of chocolate or packet of crisps can tide you over between meals, should you get the hunger bug.

12. Painkillers (or other pills)
Paracetamol and ibuprofen should do the trick, and if you have trouble sleeping on a plane, maybe take a couple of sleep aids along. If you need to take prescription medicines, make sure you pack some in your carry-on and not just in your luggage.

13. Tiny toothpaste and a toothbrush
Your teeth may need a touch up onboard or you may just want to wash away the taste of that hideous egg thing you ate for ‘breakfast’.

14. A book of some description (and a pen)
It’s great to watch inflight movies, but when you feel your eyes turning a little square, nothing beats a good book or magazine of your choice. If you’re not a big reader, you could pack a puzzle book instead. Or you could pull out a pen and start your travel journal or write an epic poem.

15. Your valuables
Don’t pack your good watch, jewellery, spare cash or electronic devices in your luggage. The only safe place for them is on your person.

Is there anything you always take in your carry-on? Why not share your tips with our members?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    11th Sep 2017
    With all that clobber, I'd need to book an extra set just to accommodate it. Trying to get at stuff in the overhead locker during a flight is awkward, to say the least, especially if someone has jammed a heavy bag in on top of my bag. And there is often insufficient room under the seat in front for my legs and feet, let alone the gear suggested in the article. A bit impractical, I think!
    11th Sep 2017
    You must have a bloody small carry on bag. I take all that plus.
    11th Sep 2017
    Perhaps it is a man thing. Most of that would go in my handbag under the seat, with only the bulky, not-needed-on-flight items packed in my carry-on in the overhead locker. You could invest in a messenger-style manbag. On the other hand it might just be negativity. Why not change your nom de plume from 'Disillusioned' to something more positive and see if it improves your outlook.
    11th Sep 2017
    I'm with you Eclair.
    Been using a PacSafe anti-theft messenger bag as a manbag for travelling since I retired.
    Just like my wifes handbag, it easily holds pretty well all the stuff suggested above, and goes under my seat during flight.
    In the overhead locker goes a larger bag each, containing a fresh set of clothes, plus wet/cold weather gear, and anything else we might need if we end up with no main luggage for a night or two. This also means we don't have to open the main luggage (except to get my pillow) until we get to the ship or main destination.
    11th Sep 2017
    If you want to do puzzles, a pencil & eraser may be a better suggestion than a pen, but keep both handy.

    Books take up so much space and are sometimes quite heavy. If you're taking your preferred electronic device, why don't you take a couple of books on them?
    11th Sep 2017
    I think those are great suggestions, especially the hint about antibacterial wipes, could also take mini bottle of antibacterial gel. Also take a pack of tissues and a lip balm as air conditioning can be quite drying. Books on a kindle is probably easier than actual books. Don't take fresh fruit - I had an apple in my handbag, ate it at the airport, when I went thru check-in the sniffer dog could smell the apple even though it was eaten and gone!
    11th Sep 2017
    What a sissy leon. Just kidding.
    Agree with a few of these but long haul flights com with meals on steroids these days and you can help yourself to sweets and bars in the galley at any time. I think your list is a bit top heavy. Oh, and one more thing NEVER leave your passport in your carryon. That is the most valuable item you have on your trip as no passport will get you back to Oz faster than Usain Bolt with diarrhea. ALWAYS use a body pouch!
    11th Sep 2017
    body pouch - now THAT'S effiminate
    11th Sep 2017
    15. Your valuables - "The only safe place for them is on your person."

    Yea, so you can imagine how I felt the entire awful flight all the way back from the U.S. to Australia with Qantas after I was forced to sit in front of a wall with no seat in front of me to put my carry bag under and no room under my own seat left and no room left in overhead cabin space above me so the the stewardess refused to let me put my carry bag at my feet and forcably wrenched my carry bag AND MY HANDBAG with all my valuables, money, bank cards, ID, passports and took off with them and put them in overhead cabin space all the way down the back of the plane where ANYONE could have taken anything out of my handbag and I had no idea where she put them. She just grabbed the bags off me as mean as you could get about it when I objected to her taking them and she marched away and when I saw her after I asked her what she did with my bags and she retorted that they were in the overhead cabin somewhere down the back of the plane. She didn't even tell me which seat number they were over so I could find them later and I had no way of protecting my valuables in my bag or carry bag. All I knew that they were somewhere up the back of the plane unsecured and anyone but me had access to them. This stewardess saw how upset I was about what she was doing but she was nasty and callous about it.

    I had just come from my father's funeral after his sudden unexpected death and that was just another crappy thing I had to endure, including Qantas refusing to assist with the price of the fare because I was not able to book ahead of time for my father's death so I was forced to pay over over $3K for the return flight, and the worry of what is happened to my valuables on the way back. The whole thing sucked.
    12th Sep 2017
    One other essential item is eye drops. The dry cabin air always dries out my eyes and I look like a zombie after a long flight. The drops help.

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