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Just the Essentials? How to Pack Your Carry-On for Any Possibility

Most of us know too well what it's like at the airport these days. It's hard enough to just get through the security line with your sanity intact, never mind remembering to pack an all-contingency carry-on bag in advance of all the little (or big) travel hassles. If you've ever missed a flight or dealt with the loss of checked luggage at your destination, you probably already know the importance of choosing the right items for your carry-on. But what items are truly necessities as opposed to niceties? It's time to re-think your packing strategies. Here's how:

Strategies for That Unexpected Overnight Stay

Just got bumped from your flight? When a hotel stay isn't possible, you want to feel comfortable. Here are a few items you can consider packing in your carry-on, depending on its size:

  • Small inflatable pillow

  • Lightweight travel blanket

  • Eye mask and ear plugs

  • Travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste

  • Individually-packaged moist wipes

  • High-protein bars and nutritious snacks

  • Phone or tablet device with charging cords

  • Extra batteries for other devices

  • Small deck of playing cards

  • Journal

  • Colouring books and small (magnetic) games for the kids

  • A compelling book or a couple of magazines

  • Extra socks and underwear (stored in zipped plastic bags)

  • Spare cash to supplement credit cards

  • Empty water bottle that you can re-fill once you're past security

  • 1–2 outfits and supplemental accessories

  • Regulation-sized toiletries stored in a quart-sized, zip-top bag

Remember, even in a crowded airport, you can find ways to stay comfortable if you pack a few of these necessities. This is just a basic list of items that most regulation-sized carry-on will allow. Feel free to supplement with other items that help you to feel comfortable whenever your travel is delayed for some reason.

Smart Packing Tips

There's no need to sit on top of your carry-on bag while attempting to close it. Not if you follow a few savvy packing tips:

  • Wear your heavier clothing items (like boots and a wool coat, in winter) rather than trying to pack them.

  • Roll up all clothing items and secure them with rubber bands before packing—this helps you fit more in your luggage.

  • Take advantage of the extra space in your "personal" item (purse, laptop case, or briefcase) for storing smaller items.

  • Put shoes and bulkier items in first and fill in with your rolled clothing (lightest items go on top).

AirFlight Services knows you'll enjoy your ride to the airport even more when you feel prepared. Consider booking with us before your next trip—and bon voyage!


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