Your carry on luggage is your traveler’s survival kit. It’s the only piece of luggage you never lose sight of and it holds all the important and valuable possessions, documents, and gadgets you can’t trust the baggage handlers with. Some people have packing their carry on luggage down to a science, but if you’re a last-minute packer, you probably need a little help. Pack the ten things listed below, put your bag by the door before you go to bed, and you’ll be just fine.
Toiletries: You will have to check the rules for international flights, but domestic flights allow you to carry a 1 liter zipped closure baggie of travel size toiletries in your carry on, which means you can save space in your checked baggage while keeping some personal hygiene items with you in case your luggage gets lost or there are delays with connecting flights. Include moisturizer and lip balm for dry-air flights, a mini-pack of baby wipes or kleenex for any sticky-finger moments, some dry shampoo in case you don’t get time to shower, deodorant, and eye drops, so you’ll feel fresh even if you get stuck on the runway for hours.
Personal Devices: You’ll probably keep your smartphone and iPod in your purse, and your laptop bag may be at your side for the entire flight, but don’t forget that a camera can be just as valuable – and fragile – so don’t risk putting it in your checked luggage.
A Personal Organizer: A personal organizer like the ones at Filofax is a traveler’s dream! You can enter a ton of stuff into your smartphone, but nothing beats hard copy when you’re trying to store reservation numbers, hotel addresses, important contact info and flight info. Try to get one with a button or zipper closure so things have less chance of falling out when you pull yours out at the ticket counter in the airport.
Device Chargers: Collect up the chargers for your smartphone and tablet as well as any cables you need for charging your digital devices. You can also pack wireless adapters and your Bluetooth devices, again, to save space in your checked baggage. A booster battery pack is a godsend when all the charging sockets in the airport are taken.
Cosmetics: Ladies, you may have to put some of your liquid and gel makeup in your checked baggage, but you can still stash a few odds and ends in your carry on in case you have to freshen up before grabbing a rent-a-car or checking in at your accommodation. Try to pack yourself eyeshadow, brow pencil, kohl liner, a compact with powder, and a small tube of mascara. Medicated lip balm like EOS is also a necessity since it will help you stay comfortable should you get stuck at the airport.
A Pair of Portable Flats: If you’re one of many people who like to dress nice when they travel, you may be wearing heels, or if you’re a man, leather shoes. Since you don’t know how long you could be standing around waiting for your flight to board or running around after your luggage, you can save your feet and still look good by packing a pair of comfy shoes or a pair of portable flats. You’ll love prying off your pumps and replacing them with a pair of Dr. Scholl’s Fast Flats, which take up almost no space and still look good.
A Spare Change of Clothes: Depending on your destination, you may want to pack a spare change of clothing. This means socks, underwear, a top, and a light pair of pants or a light sundress like this one from Roxy. If you’re going somewhere warm, your clothing won’t weigh much and you will have something to wear if your luggage gets lost or taken to the wrong place.
Jewelry: Your jewelry (or watch) is fairly important, right? That’s why you should have a little pouch for all of your precious pieces in your carry on. A good motto to live by is “Don’t pack anything in your checked luggage you’d cry if you lost”
A Stash of Cash: It’s really important to have a little extra coinage and a few bills tucked away in your carry on. Try an affordable coin purse like this cute little number from Forever 21. Guys aren’t exempt, and your wallet could get lost, so try out a canvas man-clutch like a zipped closure one from Aseismanos. You can also tuck away an emergency credit card and some local currency for convenience.
Snacks: If you’re stuck on the runway you’ll want to have something decent to nibble on, so add some nuts and a good dark chocolate to your carry on. Sugary snacks – like dates or candy – are good if you need a quick energy boost (like if you have a meeting right after landing, or are struggling with staying awake due to jetlag) but should be avoided before a long flight and in the evening, as they’ll keep you up long past bedtime.