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Packing for a trip can sometimes feel like a long, tedious game of Tetris. Whether you are packing for a vacation or a short business trip, your time away will feel a lot smoother if you are prepared with the right items. In a world of “what if” thoughts and “just in case” items, here are a few essentials that should stay with you at all times in your carry-on luggage.

Travel Docs

Your travel documents. They are how you get to where you are going. It is imperative to keep them safe and close by at all time. Keep your passport, itineraries, boarding tickets and any other important papers well organized so that you can easily grab them when needed. Consider purchasing a travel wallet to ensure your docs are stored in a way that is both neat and tidy.


Take any necessary medications with you in your carry-on. We’ve all heard stories of lost luggage, and the last thing you want to worry about is waiting for your luggage to be found, or taking the chance that you’ll be able to find a pharmacy to replace missing medications.

It is also a good idea to carry a few simple first aid items with you like band-aids, allergy medicine, aspirin, etc. If you aren’t sure what types of prescriptions you can pack in your carry-on, this article provides a good overview.

Toiletry Bag

A small bag of toiletries can easily help improve your mood after long hours of traveling. Items to consider including are a toothbrush and toothpaste, face wipes, deodorant, and chapstick. If you have room to spare, consider a moisturizing face mask. Airplanes tend to have very dry air, so treating your skin to a little hydration is never a bad thing. If you need a reminder of the number of liquids you can pack, be sure to check out the TSA guidelines for what you can and cannot bring in a carry-on.


Electronics are likely the most valuable items you’ll be bringing on your trip, so make sure to keep them securely stored in your carry-on to prevent them from getting damaged. Electronics are a great way to pass the time. While many airlines now provide movies on long flights, it never hurts to download movies and books onto your tablet or laptop, just in case. Make sure to pack any needed chargers for your electronics, because there is nothing worse than a dead battery. Power banks offer a great solution to reviving your dead batteries, and they eliminate the need for multiple chargers.

Comfort Items

If your space allows for it, try to pack a few items to help keep you comfortable throughout your travels. Small blankets and a travel pillow are helpful relaxation aids. If you are going somewhere warm, a beach sarong can easily double as a blanket on a chilly airplane to save you some space. Other comfort items can include a few of your favorite snacks, gum, and a refillable water bottle. Lastly, you will forever thank yourself for packing at least one extra outfit. If your luggage gets lost or if there is an extreme temperature change, you will be happy that you thought of it ahead of time.