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5 things you should always have in your carry on

29th May, 2019

When it comes to travelling, one of the first challenges is figuring out what to pack.

Not all airlines are kind enough to include a checked bag or two with the purchase of a ticket, leaving many passengers trying to restrict their luggage to solely carry-on for short trips.

To make things even more challenging, weight restrictions for carry-on luggage seem to only be getting stricter every year.

If you’re looking to avoid having to check bags for short trips or wondering what essential items should make the cut for your next carry-on packing list, take a look at our top 5 things you should always pack in your carry-on bag.


The chance of your checked luggage being lost or misplaced may be extremely low,  but you don’t want to risk your health by packing your essential medications in your checked luggage.

Prescription medications and over the counter drugs weigh next to nothing and take up very little space, but they can end up literally saving your life or at least providing much needed comfort during your travels if you become sick.

You should always pack more medication than you will need, since instances of travel delays or natural disasters can prevent you from returning home on time. Note that written prescriptions may not be accepted in all foreign chemists and simple OTC medications like cold and flu tablets or anti-diarrhoea medicine may not be readily available in your holiday destination.

Be sure to also bring an extra pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses if you require them. It is important to discuss with your doctor if your prescription medications and any OTC drugs you plan on taking with you are allowed in the country you are travelling to.

You also want to make sure you disclose any pre-existing medical conditions with your travel insurer.

Hand Sanitiser

Hand sanitiser or sanitising wipes

According to numerous scientific findings, the dirtiest areas of a plane 2 are found right where you sit.

Your headrest, seat pocket, tray table, and seat belt are the worst offenders when it comes to harbouring germs and bacteria. Some estimates say you may be 100 times more likely to catch a cold 3 or other virus on a plane as opposed to ground transportation.

The last thing you want is to get sick before your trip even starts. Protect yourself from many types of bacteria, fungus, and some viruses by carrying and using hand sanitiser frequently during your flight. This is especially important before eating plane meals. Sanitiser wipes are great for wiping down your tray table, seat belt, and arm rests.

Airplane bathrooms don’t exactly make it easy to thoroughly and effectively wash your hands either. It’s also not certain that everyone does indeed wash their hands before exiting the bathrooms, meaning using the door latch as you exit can sadly reinfect your hands.

Pack your valuables

Valuables and fragile items

The only true way to protect yourself from items being stolen from your checked bags is to pack them in your carry-on instead. Avoid placing expensive jewellery, electronics, and camera equipment in your checked bags no matter what airline or airport you use.

Airports are fast paced businesses and there just isn’t always the time to provide the necessary care and attention that your bags deserve.

Spare Change of Clothes

A spare change of clothes

If your checked bag happens to be one of the unfortunate ones to go missing, it pays to have a spare change of clothes in your carry-on at your disposal.

Most bags that don’t end up on the luggage carousel are usually recovered within 24-48 hours and will often be delivered directly to your hotel when they arrive at your holiday destination.

Having a spare set of clothes or two will allow you to make it through this period without having to go shopping. Keep in mind that clothing stores may not always be open or available, especially during special holiday periods.

There are many ways your bags can go missing including not making the flight with you when there is a quick connecting flight, being mislabelled and sent to the wrong airport, or general theft.

The main thing to do is not panic if your bags go missing. There are many things you can do to help recover your bags and having travel insurance may be able to help you to recover reasonable costs associated with buying essential items if your bags go missing for more than 24 hours.

It is also a good idea to have smaller children pack a spare change of clothes in their carry-on in case they happen to have an accident during the flight and require a change of clothes.



While most international flights are equipped with personal in-flight entertainment screens, they aren’t always guaranteed to work.

Bringing along a phone or iPad can be a lifesaver during long international flights or shorter domestic flights that don’t offer entertainment. Noise-cancelling headphones can drown out noisy passengers and engine noise, allowing you to get lost in a good movie or find sleep.

Free up weight and space in your carry-on by replacing actual books with digital ones. Downloading music takes up no extra physical space and can help you relax if you have a fear of flying.

Small children may find it difficult to use or reach their in-flight entertainment system. Bringing along a device they are used to, with games or videos they enjoy, can make the flight much more enjoyable for both them and you.

Final Tips

Final tips

When considering what type of carry-on bag to use, note that wheeled bags may provide more convenience but are often much heavier and offer less storage space than a backpack or duffel.

But, before you even begin to pull your bag out to pack, consider buying travel insurance. Travel insurance for your trip may prove to be the most important thing you take with you during your travels and it literally won’t take up any space.