Last week, I went over how to pack a backpack for extended travel. Today, we’re going over how to pack my favourite bag – the carry on!
Packing Guide Part 2: The Carry On
The carry on is your lifesaver – especially if you will be in transit for a long time. International flights, missed connections, and a few layovers later, you’ll be tired and cranky, and in need of some creature comforts – all of which you can bring along in your carry on.
I recommend putting all the things you can’t live without (within reason) in your carry on. If your checked baggage goes missing or arrives late, you’ll have the basics to survive without it until it’s either found or replaced.
Here’s what I like to pack:
- Reading material
- This one’s pretty obvious for a book lover like me, but whether you pack an e-reader, book, or magazine, you won’t regret having something to read on long flights and train rides (or long waits in airports or train stations!).
- I always pack magazines because not only are magazines great reading material that will last, but they are also super useful for flat-packing and protecting any souvenirs you’ll be bringing home in your checked baggage (I always bring back artwork!)
- Extra socks
- It gets chilly on airplanes! It’s always good to have an extra pair along
- *Tip: if you’re paranoid like me, throw in an extra pair of undies so that you’re golden in the event that your luggage doesn’t arrive
- A scarf
- Whether you wear it or keep it in your carry on, a scarf doubles as a blanket for those chilly flights – I never go on a trip without one, even if I’m going in the summer or visiting somewhere tropical.
- Quantities depend on where you’re going and how long you’re going for, but generally: bring the maximum amount you’ll need for your trip so that you’re good to go, no matter what.
- Tip: try to keep medication in packaging with an official prescription label so that pills don’t look suspicious!
- When I travel, I bring a personal pharmacy – you never know what might happen (future hilarious stories coming your way!). Bring painkillers for headaches, antihistamines for allergies (even if you don’t have any – more on that in a future blog post), Immodium for unhappy bellies, and anything else you think you’ll need.
- While it is true that you can always stop and replenish at a pharmacy on your travels, sometimes you won’t be able to find a medication you’re familiar with and comfortable taking, and that can be troublesome
- I love noise-cancelling headphones – you don’t realize how noisy airplanes are until you have a pair of these! Trust me, they’re worth it.
- I always bring an iPod/mp3 player so that I can listen to music (also useful for long train rides with no televisions. I watched all three LOTR movies on trains in Europe last summer – great way to pass the time!).
- Camera – whether you’re bringing a fancy DSLR, a tiny point and shoot, or you’re simply taking pictures on your phone/iPod, keep this on you.
- Like medicines and medications, bring your must-haves (remember, you have to fit all of your liquids into a plastic bag a certain size, and each item has to be 100mL or under). I bring all my essentials, including makeup
- Lotion and lip balm = a must. Flying is dehydrating and you’ll want this with you.
- Important info
- This is more of a no-brainer – keep your Passport and important travel docs on you at all times, as well as your money. I have a money belt, and while I only wear it for my first flight and then take it off and shove it deep in my bag because, let’s face it, it’s ugly and uncomfortable, it is worth it to have a safe place to keep your important things.
That’s pretty much it! Of course, it varies depending on where I’m going and how long I’m going for, but this is the basic list. If you’re looking for more tips on what to pack in your carry on bag, I love the blog “Chelsea Tells Stories” – a fellow Canadian bookworm, storyteller, and traveller, she provides great tips and tricks for what to wear on your flights, and how and what to pack (the image above is straight from her blog – her advice is spot on!).
Next week, I’ll let you know what’s on my must-haves list!