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Airplane Carry-on Packing List

One of the best ways to ruin your travel experience right off the bat is screw up your airplane carry-on luggage packing list. For one, lost luggage via air travel does occur. Losing the bag with your flip-flops, toothbrush and sunscreen can be hugely disappointing but also forgiving since you can purchase these items at your destination. But some items are irreplaceable.

Carry-on bagHere are the top items you should add to your airplane carry-on list:

ID. Passports, drivers licenses and other official documentation should be with you at all times. For one thing, you can’t board a plane without proving who you are.

All forms of money. Please tell me you’re not one of these people who pack their travelers checks and Visa in their luggage — because these people are out there. Be smart and keep all of your cash, credit cards and travelers checks close to you.

Eye wear. It’s hard to enjoy your vacation if you can’t see. Since contacts do fall down drains, remember to pack in your carry-on your back-up contacts, holders, a 3-oz or less sized solution and any spare glasses.

Itinerary information. I have seen passengers in the baggage claim area confused and disoriented because their bag didn’t make the flight (aka: lost luggage) and they didn’t know what hotel they were staying at because the papers were in the bag. Don’t make this mistake. Pack every detail about your trip in your carry-on: air travel, hotel, rental car, shuttle service, confirmation numbers or any other information that relates to your travels such as neighbor’s phone numbers. Also, be sure to back up your information in you email account so you can access it from the internet in case you lose your PDA, spill tomato juice on your papers or leave your travel folder in the airport bathroom.

Keys. You would not believe how many people have checked their luggage on return trips with their car and house keys inside only to have their luggage get lost or miss the connecting flight. The poor passengers have to stand around and wait for their luggage to arrive or call a friend to pick them up — or even worse — stay at a hotel on their own dime since they live too far from the airport and can’t get in their house anyway. Even if you’re leaving for vacation keep your keys with you.

Prescription medication and information. If you rely on daily medication, this is one of the most important travel tips. Always carry your medication with you — even if you already took your daily dose. This includes keeping a list of medications handy in case you are in a medical emergency. When I was a flight attendant, I was working a flight once where are diabetic passenger forgot to take his medication due to the rush of the morning and his prescription medication was in his checked luggage. (Unfortunately, there is no secret passage way from the cabin into the plane belly — yes, I’ve been asked.) Halfway through the flight the man severely needed his medication. He ended up on my galley floor close to passing out. An on-board doctor asked him what medications he was on — neither the man nor his wife could remember.

Electronics. Let’s face it, luggage falls, get’s smashed and thrown heartlessly, and while electronics aren’t a life or death issue, it’s best if you never pack your electronics in your checked luggage, especially laptop computers and high-quality cameras — you don’t want to lose all of those precious vacation memories do you?

Chargers. I’m assuming you’re already bringing your cell phone on board with you, but don’t forget the charger or any other chargers you may be toting. Airports have increased their number of outlets for passengers which comes in really handy during delayed flights or if you forget to charge your phone the night before.

Common sense is the name of the game when it comes to writing out your airplane carry-on packing list, so think it over and pack well. You’ll end up getting your vacation off to a great start!

15 Responses to “Airplane Carry-on Packing List”

  1. 1
    Debbie Ferm says:

    I used to commit all of the crimes above, before I figured out that checked luggage doesn’t always follow you!

    Of course, no one else in the family wants to carry anything, so I walk around with power cords, and scrunched up, tomato juice stained stuff hanging out all sides of my bag.

    I’ve also been known to leave my laptop laying all over the airport, and end up backtracking or getting paged to pick it up. Somehow it always makes it back to me though:)

  2. 2

    I had a friend lose her luggage once and that was all the prompt I needed to carry all essentials with me!

  3. 3
    Family Travel Links for 2.12.10 « SixSuitcaseTravel says:

    [...] Airplane Carry-on Packing List - The Vacation Gals [...]

  4. 4
    Travel Around the Web – Week of February 21, 2010 | |: Nomadic Souls :|: Travel Via Words :| says:

    [...] ladies over at The Vacation Gals posted a list of things that should always be in your carry-on luggage when you fly [...]

  5. 5
    jessiev says:

    great list. don’t forget snacks!

  6. 6
    Droid Eris says:

    I have had my droid since december but had to get a alternative as a result of the software ruined my telephone when it up to date itself. So evidently having troubles & discovered this glorious site lol i do have a questio tho…my ram storage is gettin smaller & smaller..is there nethin i can do to assist get sum back?

  7. 7
    Sue Todd says:

    what should one pack when one only has carry on luggage?

    • 7.1
      Connie says:

      Pack a checked bag. I hate traveling with people who try to carry a weeks’ worth of clothes and goods, plus electronics, plus gifts, plus food, plus jackets, etc. in a carry-on!! Why?? That’s misery on the plane (for you and others) and a pain in the airport too… trying to carry a pile of stuff through security, while waiting at the gate, in the restrooms, whatever. Use the cargo hold.. that’s what it’s for!

      Just check a small duffle bag, carry a light bag on board (like the list above suggests) and do not make your fellow passengers hate you for being so selfish. I travel internationally regularly, and while I know luggage can get lost or damaged, I’ve only had mine delayed twice in about 30 years of air travel, and most often, by the time you walk through the airport and get to baggage claim, your flight is offloaded and arriving at the belt.

    • 7.2
      Steve says:

      lots of excellent advice and recommendations.

  8. 8
    Kathy E says:

    An absolute must: change of underwear in a small ziploc bag! And a thin t-shirt (squeezed into another ziploc bag) in case you have an unexpected layover and you can take a nap out of your travel clothes in an airport hotel. Raw almonds stave off hunger at any time. When you only have carry-on, remember a change of shoes even tho’ they take up room. (Wear the bulkier ones!) I’ve clocked hundreds of thousands of air miles, and the advice in this article is terrific. (But you’ve got to have the spare undies, which most forget!)

  9. 9
    J.M. Davis says:

    These days we find often the airline seizes your carry-on at the plane off the skyway. They claim there is no room on the plane as they let earlier boarders carry on 2 bags and use your space. What a bonanza for the theives. I would much rather just have to pick through carry-on bags in the plane’s cargo hold, as they contain those “valuables” the airline is never responsible for.

    • 9.1
      Connie says:

      Airlines should enforce size and other limits for all passengers on all flights. Passengers need to learn what the on board restrictions are and be forced to adhere to them… every flight! Each airline website has this information, and when you get your itin, you can look online and see exactly what is allowed on board each aircraft that you are scheduled to fly on, and pack accordingly. People break the carry-on limit rules all the time, because the airlines allow them to do so.

  10. 10
    joelle esther benyqyer says:

    lugages like in amsterdam airport the kilos in france as not expensif and holland strangely watch out what is in it

  11. 11

    [...] documents forms of money, and car/house keys in your carry-on luggage . People place all of the above in their checked luggage on a daily basis, but when they encounter [...]

  12. 12

    […] Beth Blair from TheVacationGals.com shares the top items on her airplane carry-on packing list. […]

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