A No-Nonsense Guide to What to Pack in Your Carry-On Bag

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Traveling today is much different than years gone by, with added restrictions and security. However, that’s no reason to skimp on packing the items you’ll actually need during flight or on your trip.

Let’s face it: how many times have you been mid-flight and it dawns on you that you forgot one really important thing? Or maybe the very item you need is packed away in your checked luggage. Although regulation size for a carry-on bag is 9x14x22 inches, if you pack smart, it’s ample space for all of your necessities.

Read on for a list of all of the essential items that savvy women like you should always carry in their carry-on luggage.

Essential Information

Perhaps the most important items to pack are travel documents—including flight information and accommodation information for the hotel or destination where you’ll be staying. Of course, your identification and wallet with credit cards and money are always necessary, too. Without these things, you won’t get very far.

Necessary Toiletries

Being crammed next to a slew of other folks for hours at a time can make for a sweaty situation to say the least. So be sure to pack deodorant, a travel-sized perfume or body spray, as well as a toothbrush and travel-sized tube of toothpaste so that you can freshen up upon landing at your destination airport.

Further, flying can dry out the skin. A travel-sized bottle of Evian facial spray can provide the hydration needed to keep skin supple throughout a flight. Throw in a tube of mascara, your favorite face powder and lip balm, and you’re good to go!


While you certainly can’t fit too many outfits into a carry-on bag, you should bring at least one functional ensemble in the event that your checked luggage gets lost. If you are traveling on business, a pair of slacks and a blouse are a safe bet. If you are going on a tropical getaway, a sundress and a bathing suit are smart to toss in (because if your luggage is lost, an umbrella drink poolside will always make you feel better!). You may also want to pack an extra set of undergarments. Further, always bring a light sweater—flights can get chilly and blankets aren’t always offered.


Anything of value, like expensive watches or other jewelry, should always remain with you in your carry-on bag, and not in a checked bag. Obviously, if your luggage gets lost, then so will these items. And, as unfortunate as it is, these items could get stolen somewhere along the way. TSA-approved locks can help deter theft.


If you have any prescription medications that you need to take regularly, these should absolutely go with you in your carry on; otherwise you may find yourself in health trouble. Furthermore, if you have to pack medication that is in liquid form, it is wise to get a note from your doctor to avoid any hiccups at security.


Last but certainly not least, you’ll want to pack the most obvious (and necessary) item—your smartphone. If you have one of the recalled Samsung Galaxy Note7s, be sure you swap it out with a safe one before you head out. With in-flight Wi-Fi, you may want to stay connected (or, say, live tweet any entertaining details of your flight). Additionally, your laptop or tablet can help pass the time, allowing you to get some work done in the air or simply surf the net, online shop or watch a movie or TV show of your choice. Don’t forget your chargers and earbuds!


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