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.
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!