What to pack in your carry-on luggage

Long haul flights can be a real nuisance. There’s no way around it, when you live in Australia, if you want to travel, you’re going to have to spend hours on a flight, locked in a confined space.

And with many airlines now limiting your carry-on luggage to just seven kilograms it’s important to optimise the items you take with you in the cabin.

There are some things that are non-negotiable, some things that will just be a nuisance and are better packed in your suitcase. There are some things you’ll need if you’re flying at night, and other things you’re more likely to need during the day.

So, what should you pack in your carry on?

We took a quick poll around the Two’s a Crowd office to come up with a list of things you really should have with you on the flight.

Medication – we can’t tell you how many times we have heard people have packed their medication in their luggage, that is in checked luggage. Please don’t. If you take away one thing from this post it’s this: pack your medication in your carry-on luggage.  I was once on a plane, held up on the tarmac while they removed a traveller’s checked bags so they could retrieve their medication. It’s not just important to have it with you on the plane, if your luggage is lost in transit, or delayed for some reason, you don’t want to be caught at your destination without it. We also recommend you take a letter from your doctor or your prescription, just in case you get stopped going through security.

Book – as an avid reader I don’t go anywhere without my kindle. Perfect for those times you don’t have a television on the flight (it still happens, trust me) or if there’s nothing of interest showing on your plane.

Valuables – camera, laptop, etc, you’ve seen the way bags are thrown around, don’t trust it to stay safe in your checked luggage, keep it close to you. And remember, all batteries must be carried onboard. If you intend to sleep on the plane and are nervous about leaving your valuables in an overhead locker, consider using a padlock. And while we’re on valuables, you might prefer to put your passport and money in a money belt on your person rather than leave it in the locker or at your feet while you’re sleeping or in the bathroom

Spare underwear, socks, t-shirt – You just never know when your luggage is going to go on an extra adventure. Airlines are not infallible; they do misplace luggage sometimes and you’ll feel much more comfortable if you have a change of clothes when you reach your destination.

Layers – Planes can run hot and cold and there is often a large variation between the temperature on the plane and in the various airports you might stop at along the way, be prepared for all climates with layers. Our office poll also revealed a scarf was one of the most popular items – in case it gets really cold, which let’s be honest, it often does. I also like to fold mine up and use it as an extra pillow.

Noise cancelling headset – This was also a popular item across the office. I admit, I’m a recent convert but I find having my own headset with me much better than using the airline supplied set, plus the noise cancelling really does help to drown out flight noises.

Water bottle – It will need to be empty when you pass through security, but most airports have water fountains in the waiting lounge. You might also want to ask the air hostess to fill up your bottle on the flight – much better than the small cups or bottles they’ll hand around.

Sleeping tablets – If you find it difficult to sleep, you might want to have sleeping tablets with you on the plane, other recommendations were lavender spray or I like a lavender oil roll on. It will have you sleeping in no time. (For more tips on sleeping on the plane check out this post.)

Hand sanitizer – This one was new to me, but I’m now a convert. Apparently, a recent study found the trays in security are rarely cleaned and they have “more germs than the airport toilets”.  You have been warned.

Ear compression plugs – To help ward off painful ears on take off and landing, similarly eucalyptus lozenges will help you feel more comfortable.

Foldable shopping bag –Just in case you “need” to buy something in transit, and let’s be honest who hasn’t found that perfect item at an airport somewhere?  I love this idea, instead of accepting another thick plastic bag, bring your own.

Looking for your next adventure? Find it here.

Find our tips for packing for your next trip here.

*Diane Squires is host with Two’s a Crowd.

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20 out of 10!

The trip was just great - I can't really think of any negatives. Diane will back me up when I say I usually give 10/10s - I gave her 20/10. Trish, Canada/Alaska

Excellent trip

I found the overall trip excellent. I believe Diane's professionalism, inclusive personality and ability to relate to all contributed to this. She worked to ensure the group was cohesive without individuals impinging on the personal space of others etc. a good skill to have and one she applied effectively. Kate, Canada/Alaska

Fantastic value for money

Fantastic value for money paid. Russell our guide is an asset to your company... he was fantastic! Overall the trip was magical from start to finish. Well done Two's a Crowd ... the best trip ever. Barbara, Canada/Alaska

Fantastic first solo trip

I had a fantastic trip. Absolutely loved Canada and Alaska. It's the first time I have travelled solo and was pleasantly surprised to find a bunch of people that all got on so well. Diane our host was great. She did a good job of getting us altogether for meals, excursions, shopping trips etc. I liked that she quietly got things done without being loud or "in-your-face". She was good at being one of us as well as our leader. Wendy, Canada/Alaska

Good balance of activities and spare time

Had a great time. Good mixture of organised activities and spare time. Diane was an excellent tour host. Russell the tour guide was great, very knowledgeable and personable with his insights into growing up and living in Canada. Sharon, Canada/Alaska

Well organised trip with an excellent host

The trip was well organised, with a good mix of activity and free time. The scenery was spectacular and fellow travellers were a great bunch. Diane is a excellent host - helpful, courteous and above all a pleasure to know. I found her bubbly personality a bonus and can only speak highly of her. Gary, Canada/Alaska

I had a fabulous time

I had a fabulous time. Lake Louise and the hotel were magnificent. The cruise was excellent. Diane made sure that she was available for group meals and sightseeing, and was alway in good humour and great fun. I would recommend your company to everyone and am very interested in the Scandinavia  tour at the end of 2017.

Cathy, Adelaide - Canada/Alaska May 2016

Great holiday

What a great trip! I experienced so much and participated in all that was offered. I had read and reviewed as much as time allowed me but was not prepared for what the trip gave me and that is a better understanding of the beautiful people of both countries. - Lesley on Vietnam/Cambodia

In good company

I thought the suggestions for optional things to do, in the "free" time were very good. So good, we really ended up with very little free time. So much to do! - Mary on Vietnam

Great time together

I found the trip interesting and eye opening with a great overview of both Vietnam and Cambodia. The other travellers on the trip were fabulous and we had a great time together. - Anonymous on Vietnam/Cambodia

Fantastic first experience!

Extremely well organised with fabulous guides throughout - especially in Vietnam! First holiday with your company and certainly not the last. - Glenys on Vietnam

Great group to travel with

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Can’t stop talking about my experience

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Absolutely enjoyable

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Best holiday I’ve been on!

One of the best holidays that I have been on - really well organised. I would never have travelled to Vietnam or Cambodia on my own. Bronwyn

Well organised

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Great time together

I found the trip interesting and eye opening with a great overview of both Vietnam and Cambodia. The other travellers on the trip were fabulous and we had a great time together.

Great value

Well done. No complaints. Very pleased with this trip. Great value for my hard earned dollars! Really enjoyed the [Vietnam/Cambodia] tour. 

Fabulous rapport filled with much humour!

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I couldn’t fault anything.

The (Uniworld River) cruise was great, I met up with some wonderful people who treated me like part of the family !
The ship & crew were fantastic & the excursions were very good, I couldn't fault anything. I'd recommend this cruise to anyone.  Peter

Informative and educational

The entire trip was one of the most enjoyable and exciting. Also so informative and educational. I was so pleased to make the trip. Wish I was over there in that magical place.  Marjorie


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Being my first tour and a senior member, I admit I was apprehensive but I need not have worried. It was great and I was very well looked after.  Can’t wait to go to Kenya with Two’s a Crowd.  Maureen

Smooth and seamless

A memorable trip of a lifetime, a wish fulfilled.  A fascinating cultural country steeped in history which I found totally enthralling.  Two’s a Crowd service was smooth and seamless.  Pam

A wonderful experience

It was a wonderful experience visiting Cambodia and Vietnam and gave me a better understanding of these countries. I had a great time with new friends, we had a good bunch and Leonie was the perfect host. Eric

Value for money

Value for money and outstanding co-operation from your staff and tour operators. Joan

Safe and secure and totally looked after

An awesome adventure for my first time overseas alone.  Leonie was excellent and both guides were also fantastic.  At all times I felt safe and secure and totally looked after.  Melinda

Well done Two’s a Crowd.

Leonie was an excellent host, the ideal person. I never felt any pressure to  be involved in every activity so I could explore alone during free time. Having 2 or 3 nights in most places was great – you could rest up or party. Well done Two’s a Crowd. Jenny

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