There are certain things that are my “must have” carry on in flight essentials when I dig through my bag. My packing varies slightly depending if I’m on a short or long flight, but the items are pretty much universal. When I reach in my bag and find just what I want, I’m like, “OMG! I love myself!” Here are my personal favs…
What Is In My In Flight Carry On Essentials Bag?
Personal Health Items
- Hand Sanitizer – preferably in a small rubber holder that can attach to the outside of my bag for quick access
- Disinfecting Wipes – I always wipe my seat and surrounding area down thoroughly, especially anything I touch such as arm rests, movie screen, light, fan, and tray table.
- Facial Mask – It is a good idea to wear a mask to protect others from your germs, especially if you feel unwell. Some airlines require the use of a facial covering at all times. A mask may also help to protect you if someone around you is coughing or sneezing. See our news article on airline mask requirements for more information.
- Flip Flops or Disposable Slippers – Especially on a long flight, I like to remove my shoes. But, even if provided airline socks, I’d never go to the restroom without some type of shoe. I prefer something with a hard bottom that I can just slip on and go. I hate having to put my regular shoes back on mid flight. Airline restrooms are especially dirty, so something easily washed or disposable and slim for my bag is imperative. I love these flip flops because they are so comfortable and trendy I can also use them during my travel.
- Prescription Medication – It is important to have any medication that you regularly take, onboard, even if you think you will not need it. There can be delays, but besides this, prescriptions should always be in your direct possession.
- OTC Medications – Over the counter meds such as Tylenol, Benadryl, and Tums are always with me. You never know when you might get a headache, allergic, or indigestion. You will determine your own list of personal OTC medication needs, but I find these 3 products to be my goto necessities.
- Prescription/Reading Glasses or Contact Lenses – Be sure to pack a case and cleaner so that you can remove them if necessary.
PRO TIP: In order to meet most airport security restrictions, you are only allowed one quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. *Information pertaining to your specific flight can be obtained on the airline’s website or by contacting your airline directly.
Personal Comfort List for My Carry On In Flight Essentials Bag
- Hair bands – After a long flight, sometimes my hair just will not cooperate. I love to be able to throw it up on a whim if need be. These bright bands in a variety of colors are perfect and don’t pull my hair or leave ridges.
- Face Wipes Cruelty free
- Ear Plugs – Some of the eye masks come with these, but it’s good to have spares
- Lip Moisturizer – Cruelty Free and Vegan (need I say more:)
- A pillow that cradles your neck, has multiple uses, & that can easily be packed
- A wrap I like this one because it can double as a fashion statement & travel blanket
- Eye Mask – Covering your eyes with a super cute and comfortable mask like this one, can really help to sleep on a plane and can aid in minimizing jet lag. It is also just really fun to wear!
- Sunglasses – If you are arriving during daylight hours, your eyes may be tired and sensitive. Sunglasses will help protect your eyes from harmful rays and add an additional level of comfort. I like my Wayfarer Rayban Sunglasses because they offer 100% uv protection, are light weight, look stylish, and are affordable.
- See more tips in my article on minimizing and handling jet lag
Electronic Devices and Entertainment
- Mobile Phone & Charger – I love downloading shows and I usually load the equivalent hours of shows to flight time.
- Noise Canceling Headset – I love my Beats. They do take up slightly more space then smaller travel headphones, but the sound is clear and they are wireless & pair with my devices easily. Regardless what style you choose, be sure they are noise canceling, especially for in flight.
- Kindle & Charger – loaded with a choice of at least two books so I can choose based on my mood. I love my Kindle Paper White because it is a designated device for reading, therefore work and internet things do not distract from my relaxation. It has a function that adjusts the screen light to your reading conditions so it is just as easy to read on the beach, or in the dark. I also like that in one small device I can store enough reading for my whole trip, and if I run out, I can download more easily. Also, the battery lasts a really long time since it is for reading only.
- Kindle Cover – A cover not only protects your Kindle, but also for me, I love to be able to hold it like an old school book. I love that this one has a Paris travel design too!
- A Basic Wrist Watch – See Article on How To Minimize Jet Lag
Required Travel Documents And Financial Stuff
- Debit Cards
- Credit Cards
- Alternate Identification, such as a drivers license
- Proof of Vaccination Documents or Medical Records as Required
- Club Cards for Airlines, Lounges, Discounts, etc.
- A Copy of Your Itinerary
- Your Emergency Contact List – See Jenny In Wanderland List of Top Ten Numbers to Carry with You When Traveling
- A Pen (especially if needed for customs documents) – I love this pen because it offers 7 in one tools. I find when traveling, I end up needing things like a bottle opener or screwdriver. It is handy that it is all in one.
Additional Destination Dependent Carry On Items
There are some additional destination dependent items that are often part of my in flight carry on essentials list. These things may vary based on both the purpose of my travel, as well as the destination.
For example, if I plan to work while traveling, I will definitely want my laptop and charger plus a backup drive. If I have checked my luggage, I may put my bathing suit in my carry on in case of lost luggage, or in case my room is not ready. When I am meeting someone upon arrival, I may want a hairbrush or some makeup. If I’m traveling with a camera, lens, or photo card, it is always in my carry on.
PRO TIP: Anything that is fragile, electronic (such as a computer, tablet, e-reader, camera, or phone), medically necessary (prescription medications and inhalers), or irreplaceably personal (passport/visa, wallet, currency, credit/debit cards, drivers license/ID, should never be checked in luggage, or out of your direct possession.
My Carry On Luggage
A bag, as pictured above, is consistently one of my favorite carry ons. A reason I love this bag is its outer pockets on the sides and front. My system is to have my phone, sunglasses, charger, wallet, and passport readily available. So, these pockets are invaluable to me. This style also has inline skate wheels, which I have found to be very reliable in terms of durability.
Often, I travel with a larger piece of luggage in addition to my carry on bag. It contains my clothing, shoes, and toiletries. I love that my carry on bag has a back strap that fits over the telescopic pull handle of my clothing suitcase. This way, if I do not want to pull 2 bags at once, I have the option to attach it to the larger bag and sit it on top.
There are many necessities that need to fit into your carry on bag. This can be challenging to pack. One of the most important things to consider is, what carry on bag to use. Find out How To Choose Your Carry On Bag.
*Links are provided to highlight my favorites and as a convenient way for you to shop for upcoming travel. If you choose to purchase any of my favorite items linked within this post, Jenny In Wanderland may receive a small commission. However, this does not affect your cost in anyway. It does help to support the ongoing efforts of the Jenny In Wanderland site.