Must-Have Carry-On Essentials

After traveling on hundreds of flights with only carry-on luggage we are experts on carry-on essentials. At first there were things that we forgot and had to suffer on a long haul flight, like not having any in-flight entertainment on a 9 hour flight that had no TV. By the end of that flight we were experts on giving the safety demonstration!

Each item on the list we have learned through personal experience, will come in handy at some point when you fly. You might find that maybe not every flight requires these items but then when you least expect it, you would wish you had them, so it's always best to be prepared.

Anti-Bacterial Wipes

Do you know how dirty planes are?

It's never a bad idea to carry wipes with you. There have been times when we have boarded a plane and discovered the seats were filthy from the last flight and even other people that have sat where someone had vomited. You should give every seat and tray table a wipe to make your journey more comfortable and clean.

You can even get some for your hands and face to keep you looking and feeling fresh on the journey. It might seem a bit over the top, but it's definitely an essential.

Portable Charger

We know that most planes these days will have a built in USB charger into the seats and most airports have charging stations but what if the charger in your seat doesn't work? Or the airport only has one station for charging and they are all taken? You may need your phone for emergencies at some point or have a bunch of movies/music downloaded to listen too. It's not worth taking the risk of going without.

We have both been there and sat on a plane where the seat electronics didn't work then arrived at an airport where there were literally no charging points or sockets. It was a huge inconvenience, especially as we had details of our journey at the other end and a library of Netflix movies downloaded.


Yes books are still popular. It's always worth carrying a book just in case your flight doesn't have in-flight entertainment, your equipment dies, or you want to give your eyes a rest from staring at a screen. Plus, you can always learn something new from a book. The airport will always have a bookstore for you to purchase one before your flight, they are about as reasonably priced as general bookstores. You could probably get one a bit cheaper online if you plan before you go though.

Document Carrier

This one is all about convenience and definitely deserves a place on the top carry-on essentials. You should have a small pouch or carrier where you can keep some of the following important documents:

- Passport

- Visa details

- Flight Itinerary

- Hotel Itinerary

- Spare Currency

- Contact Numbers

Anything else that you deem as important should be placed in here. Just think about if you were stranded in an airport with no one who speaks English, no internet, no phone access, what would you need? That should make up your list. It's better to have it all in one place for easy-access, rather than crumpled up in the pockets of your bag.

Foldable Water Bottle

Taking a foldable water bottle is essential for space, convenience, and cost efficiency. You don't want to end up paying $5 for a water in the airport or on the plane (yes some airlines won't give free water). You can take your foldable water bottle through security and fill up with one of the water stations in the departure lounge and you will be sorted!


There are some instances where you won't have a flight with food included, you won't like the meal choices, or you will be taking a short haul flight. With each of these circumstances, you are likely to get hungry on your flight. That's why it's always good to take a small snack with you in your carry-on. We have actually seen people bring fully prepared meals with them but that's a bit too far, unless you really love your food.

The ideal snacks to bring are nuts, chips, dried fruit, and other items that small but healthy and filling and the same time.

Comfortable Socks

Have you ever taken your shoes off on a flight? If you haven't then you are missing out, as it adds a whole new level of comfort. Granted, the floors on a plane are not exactly the cleanest so NEVER go barefoot like some people do and always put your shoes back on to walk around the plane. But having a comfortable pair of socks to put on makes all the difference and you can slip them on in your seat and relax in comfort.

Change of Underwear

There can be many reasons for needing a change of underwear and there's one reason in particular that we don't need to focus on, it happens to the best of us...

We have known people that have lost their luggage or have had their flights cancelled for 24 hours or more, while not being allowed to access their luggage. In this case, you don't know how much of a relief it is to have spare underwear. Incase the first scenario happens to you, then you will thank us even more, but let's hope it never comes to that.

Feminine Items

Similar to underwear, you never know when you will need feminine products. You should always carry a couple of spare items on you (if you don't already) just in case of emergencies.

Small Toothpaste & Toothbrush

Having the ability to brush your teeth when traveling is essential, not only for dental hygiene but to feel good too. You might think an 8 hour flight is nothing to worry about, but most people don't consider the 4 hours before at the airport, the 1-2 hours travelling to the airport, the traveling required at your destination, and if any delays occur. So it's best to always carry them with you to ensure you keep your teeth cleaned.

If you fly first-class, then don't worry, they provide that... We can only dream.

Electrolyte Powder

We won't get into the science behind electrolytes but taking a sachet to mix with your water on the plane is a great idea. Electrolyte powder will assist you in hydration at an increased rate than water. As most of you will be aware, being on a plane will dehydrate you and it's important you keep re-hydrated throughout the flight, not only to combat jet lag but to feel fresh when you land.

Travel Blanket

Everyone knows that planes are extremely cold, especially on overnight flights. Some long-haul airlines will provide you with a thin rag to keep warm but you would probably benefit more from bringing your own. You can purchase a travel blanket that is much thicker than the standard airline ones but is also compact and easy to travel with.


Time to fill out your landing card, but you don't have a pen, we have all been there. The funny thing is some people will refuse to let you use their pen, even the airline crew, as if we are going to steal the pen or something. It's essential to fill out your landing card and you will be made to return to the back of the line to fill it out if it's incomplete. We found this out after waiting in line for 2 hours and being sent to the back to fill out the card because 1 line of address was missing, power may have been getting to border securities heads, but don't take the risk.

Travel Pillow

The classic travel pillow that you see attached to the back of so many backpacks. There's a reason for that, and that reason is evident when it's 2am and you are trying to sleep but everytime you think you've dropped off, you headbut the seat infront, the window, or fall in the aisle!

The travel pillow will stop all of those things happening and will give you a comfortable place to rest your head when you want to get some rest on a long flight.

Lip Balm

The recirculated air on a plane is never good for your skin and it can become dry very quickly. This also applies to your lips. If you are someone that suffers from bad dry lips then you definitely need to bring this in your carry-on. Everyone should have one though just to keep your lips healthy and prevent cracking and bleeding.


Even though the whole list is carry-on essentials, you should have an essential pack made up for your carry-on. This would include anything you may need in desperate times and could include:

- Deodorant

- Cologne

- Poo-Pourri

- Your cat

Whatever the items are you will have to determine that list for yourself. Just think about the things you can't live a day without and you will be fine.

Do you think we have missed anything from the carry-on essentials list?

Let us know and we will add it!

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