5 Carry On Essentials

August 12, 2017

Packing for airplane travel is stressful. We all know it. Between making sure you pack everything you could need during your trip (and getting it to fit) and being careful to pack according to TSA rules and regulations, it’s no wonder people get anxious when it comes to airports and preparing for any airplane trip.

I love packing everything in just a carry on if I can help it, because then I never have to worry about the airport losing my luggage. However, with the limited space it is even more essential to pack as effectively as possible. Once I’ve taken care of the clothing essentials in my suitcase, it’s time to turn to my personal item.

Everyone has different preferences when it comes to what type of bag to use as a personal item, and the options are endless. Backpacks, small duffels, tote bags, etc. On all of the airplane trips I’ve taken so far, I’ve always brought along a small weekender bag. And even though each trip is usually taken with a different bag, I always look for the same features. Ample space, multiple pockets for storage, zippered closure, and a crossbody strap.

It’s important to keep in mind that anything you would want access to while on the plane should be placed in your personal item. That way, you don’t have to get up and open the overhead compartment to open your suitcase every time you need something. Apart from packing anything that doesn’t fit in my suitcase in my personal item (quart size liquids bag, non-liquid toiletries, phone cords, etc.), there are a handful of items that I always make sure to pack in my carry on personal item.

Here are my 5 carry on essentials:

Book (or something to do)

I always like to bring a book on the plane because it helps pass the time. Especially on shorter flights where the planes are smaller and don’t have screens on the seats. Whether it’s a magazine, iPad, crossword book, whatever floats your boat, be sure to bring something to do and keep you entertained on your flight.


I never usually go anywhere without some mint gum in my bag anyway, but if you’re not familiar with flying, your ears tend to pop or get plugged as you are up in the air and the pressure changes. Chewing some gum can help relieve any ear discomfort you may experience.

Lip Balm

Again, I never go anywhere without some, and technically this isn’t really specific to flying, but you don’t want to be in need of some lip balm and not have any accessible. So do yourself a favor and toss one in your bag! Just remember, if it’s not a solid lip balm (such as Chapstick or EOS), you’ll need to put it in your quart sized liquids bag to be able to pass through security.


Always make sure to toss some snacks into your carry on (non-liquid of course) to munch on while in the airport or on-flight. Being hangry while trying to navigate the airport or make it through a travel day isn’t going to help anyone. Pack some quick non-messy snacks such as pretzels, goldfish crackers, granola bars, etc. to keep your tummy content and your body energized until you have an opportunity to eat an actual meal.

Portable Charger

This is actually something new that I’ll be bringing on my upcoming trip to El Paso in a few days. I can’t believe I haven’t brought one of these sooner, because I know it’ll make things a little less stressful on my travel day. It’s important to have a charged phone on any travel day, but when you’re flying all day and passing time during layovers, it’s unlikely your phone will last all day on just one charge. And we all know how much of a pain it is to try and find and get a turn to plug your phone or device in at the airport. After lots of research, I ended up going with this Anker Astro E1 Portable Charger. It was under $20, had great reviews and is only the size of a candy bar so it doesn’t take up much space. I’ve used it a few times since ordering it and am so far very happy with it. I’m excited to see how much it comes in handy at the airport and on the plane.

What are some of your carry on essentials? Did I miss any biggies?

Have a great week!

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