9 things to pack in your carry-on when you travel

Regardless of whether you’re packing for a long-haul international trip or just an overnight, you should be prepared with the essentials. Over the years, I learned from my own mistakes and created a short list of items that regardless of whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure, you should always bring with you.

Travel documents

Although you may have most of your travel information on your phone, I highly suggest you print out your flight and hotel reservations and have them on you. Your passport, wallet with identifications are essential as well. If you’re travelling internationally, make sure to have the full address of where you’re staying as it will be asked in the immigration forms and can delay or even cause denial into country.


Always have at least your phone charger with you regardless of how great your battery life is. Any extended flight delay or a simple device signal seeking will drain your battery. This can be a real inconvenience if you have to call someone when you land to meet up for a rendezvous or if you ignored my previous recommendation and all your travel information is in your email. Don’t forget to bring the chargers for any other electronics you take on your trip. Lastly, if you’re traveling overseas, you may also want to verify if you will need power adaptor.


Be totally independent on when and what you eat. Don’t expect more than a small bag of pretzels and a drink to be served on your flight. There’s nothing worse than staring down the aisle waiting for the flight attendants to offer in-flight service. Bring your own favorite snack or even lunch if it’s a long flight.

Change of clothes

Anything can happen to your checked bag, so bring a change of clothes in your carry-on. At a minimum take a pair of socks and underwear.


Giving a good impression when you arrive is always a good thing and carrying your toiletry bag is not a big deal especially if your checked bag doesn’t arrive at your destination. At a minimum, bring your toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant.


Most of us are used to paying with our bank debit card or a credit card. However, when you travel it is always a good idea to bring cash just in case there is an inconvenience with your preferred card. Remember to notify your bank and/or credit card company that you will be travelling and give them your destination and dates. If you don’t, you may find yourself having to call them if/when they block your card for fraud protection purposes.


Most airplanes now have entertainment systems at each seat but if you’re a frequent traveler you will go thru those movies fairly quickly so bring your own. A laptop, e-reader, book or magazine are common items but feel free to bring what best fits your interests. If you bring your own movie or music, please be kind and bring your headset.


A simple but essential item. Most countries require you complete an entry form. Sure, you can attempt to borrow one but why worry about it.  It’s just easier to have a pen with you (blue or black ink).

Business material

If you traveling for business, make sure to bring the documents or material you will need to have a successful meeting, presentation or conference. Not being prepared reflects poorly on you regardless if it’s the cause of a delayed checked bag.

Over the years, this carry-on packing list has been adjusted to best suit my needs. Feel free to adjust it to fit your lifestyle and don’t let it interfere with you having fun on your trip. Bon voyage!





1 Comment

  1. Emmary

    I always leave the snacks and the pen.maybe I should write the checklist. (-:

    Good luck!


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