Must-Haves for a Carry On Bag

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Have you ever checked your bags at the airport only to have them get lost or delayed while on a trip? Even if it has only happened to you once, it’s something that you don’t quickly forget. Imagine that you have planned a trip for weeks, months, perhaps even years and the day finally arrives. You have carefully selected everything you’ll need for your time away. Toiletries…check. Swimsuit…check. That cute dress that you bought on sale…check. Vacation underwear…check, check and check.

But something happens between getting stuck in a middle seat between two excessive talkers, a tight connection in another busy airport and the baggage handlers that you hope are handling everyone’s bags with tender loving care. You wait and wait but your bag never arrives.  I certainly hope that this doesn’t ever happen to you. But, in case it does, here is what you need to pack in a carry on bag.

Carry On Bag


Travel size toiletries

Make use of product samples like cleansers, toothpaste, make up, perfume etc. Travel is a great time to put them to use. You can also find travel size toiletries from department stores for many of your favorite brands. Be sure to make sure that liquids are less than 3 ounces and in containers no larger than 3 ounces as well. If not, they will be confiscated and tossed into the trash.


If you are checking into a hotel on your vacation, housekeeping usually has complimentary toothbrushes for your convenience. But, the toothbrushes are pretty basic and  are not going to be the fancy kind that you use to at home. Of course, you should be able to drop by a convenience store and buy a toothbrush once you get to your location. But, depending on what time you arrive, the stores may or may not be open. So save yourself some hassle and pack the toothbrush in your carry on bag.

Water bottle

Dehydration is a consistent problem during travel. The air is really dry in the airplane and constant  stress or exertion during travel does more than it’s share to contribute to the problem. If you pack your own water bottle in your carry on, it’s easier to keep it filled up and you can skip the costly water at the hotel.


You really should pack 2-3 extra. Trust me on this. No one wants to be stuck without clean underwear.

Comfortable shoes

Pack a pair of slippers in your carry on bag. That way when you get to your hotel/destination, you can get comfortable and relax a bit.


Definitely pack a camera in your carry on. From the possibility of damage to theft, it’s just not worth the risk. Plus, you could miss out on capturing some beautiful memories.


This one needs no explanation. Just keep it with you.


Here’s the thing, keeping your phone, tablet, computer with you but putting the charger in checked luggage doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. If your checked bag ends up missing, then there will be no way to keep your devices juiced up. Got it? Good.

Prescription medicine

For your health, safety and the safety of others keep prescription medicine with you at all times. If it gets lost or stolen depending on the type of medication it is and where you are traveling to, you may not be able to get it filled until you return home.

Important documents

Legal documents like marriage licenses, passports and birth certificates are way to important to not be in your possession. Besides the passport, it’s really not a good idea to travel with these documents anyway. If you have to though, keep them with you.

Change of clothes

Limit the impact on your wallet and pack at least 1-2 outfits in your carry on if you can. When selecting which items to pack, think about your itinerary and plans that you have for the next day or two.


Heirloom and valuable pieces of jewelry should be packed in a carry on. Less costly and pieces of jewelry that can easily replaced can be packed in checked luggage for easier and lighter travel.

Baby wipes

Whether you are traveling with a baby or not, baby wipes are a must have for a well packed carry on. Use them to wipe dirty hands, make-up removal, to give your shoes a quick shine or remove stains from your clothes (even if you are not particularly messy, the passenger next to you probably is).

So are you ready for your next trip? Pin or print this list before you take off. You will be happy you did.

Linky Love

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