The Ultimate Carry On Checklist

Let’s face it, many of us have trouble packing our big suitcases never mind the little one that you carry with you on the plane. How do you pack everything that is necessary to your health and comfort for the next 10 hours in such a small bag? Easy. You follow this simple ‘Carry On’ checklist and you’ll be all set!

Let’s start with the bag.
I like traveling with a messenger bag because they have so many pockets and zippers and are so easy to carry. Plus, they count as a “personal bag” so if you want to take an extra carry-on with you that’s totally fine. But for the sake of this list, everything will be able to fit into your messenger bag.

The basic and most important item is:

  • Your Passport

Next, you should consider what clothes you will be traveling in.

As Shazzer from Bridget Jones’s Diary reminds her friend,

“Passport, Bridget. And pants.” If you don’t have these two essentials you might as well stay home.)

What to wear when traveling?
Travel in something light, and breathable, something you would wear to yoga class. Because chances are you’ll be bending into all sorts of positions trying to get comfortable in those chairs. You’ll need:

  • T-shirt
  • Bra
  • Hair tie
  • Sweatpants
  • Underwear
  • Zip up Sweater
  • Sandals

The rest
Ok – now here is the list of items you should pack into your messenger bag:

  • Comb
  • Contacts/Glasses
  • Cash
  • Tooth Brush
  • MP3 Player
  • Lotion
  • Journal
  • A Pair of Socks
  • Deodorant
  • Pen
  • Sleep Aid
  • Head Phones
  • Change of Underwear
  • Face Wash Wipes
  • Contact Solution
  • Wallet
  • Cell Phone
  • Tooth Paste
  • Gum
  • Sleepmask

You’ll want to avoid carrying more liquids than necessary so carry those dollar size items that big retailers and supermarkets love to sell. The socks are for your feet in case you get cold. The gum is to help with the cabin pressure. The lotion is for your face and hands since it gets very dry on a plane. For a sleep aid, try something natural like Sleepy Time Tea. About an hour before the plane lands you’ll want to grab your bag and take a few minutes in the bathroom to freshen yourself up. Brush your hair, brush your teeth, wash your face, etc.

And just in case your luggage gets delayed or lost you ALWAYS want to pack an extra change of clothes and some extra necessities.

  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Pants
  • Shampoo
  • Walking Shoes

Notice that you should have TWO extra pairs of underwear with you – one for the end of the flight and one in case your luggage gets lost. That’s it! Everything else goes into your big suitcase included larger bottles of shampoo, lotion, etc. Now if only there was a way to get that guy in 36B to stop snoring…


Arden Joy

Founder of Girls Who Travel. Penchant for travel, yoga, writing, kirtan, marketing, high heels and words like penchant.

1 thought on “The Ultimate Carry On Checklist”

  1. I usually carry a spare t-shirt onboard, and when possible, an actually full change of clothes just in case something happens to checked luggage (it could be delayed even if it’s gate checked). But I don’t always have the room. One should also put any and all medications into your personal item/bag.

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