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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