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

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?

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?
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