Last time we covered how to pack most effectively for a comfortable travel experience. This week we cover the same issue in your carry-on bag. In addition to making you most comfortable for the duration of the flight what you bring in your carry-on matters in case your luggage is lost or delayed. You may not want all these items (some are specific to international travel) but consider this list an open buffet to choose from:
- Boarding pass
- Passport and/or ID
- Copy of complete flight itinerary
- Copy of any transportation or accommodation plans
- Physical address of where you are staying: You will need this to complete immigration forms and it may be helpful to share with cab drivers as well so they can easily look up directions.
- Visa confirmations
- Hand lotion
- Contact solution
- Toothbrush and mini-toothpaste
- Bath wipes to help you freshen up
- Face wipes or mini bottle of face wash and wash cloth
- Ear plugs
- Eye mask
- Long flights: oral sleep aid, your own pillow and blanket
* Make sure any liquids are in a bag meeting carry-on size requirements
- Nut butter sandwich (unless you’re allergic, of course)
- Fruit – apple or dried fruit travel well
- Granola/muesli bars or protein bars.
- Water bottle: Buy one after passing through security, or if you can wait, bring an empty bottle from home (you can bring this through security) and fill up on the plane.
- iPod (or your music player of choice)
- Kindle (or similar) to read books without weighing down your bag
- Music, books, movies
- 1-2 shirts (change of clothes)
- Your favorite “I would HATE to lose this” article of clothing
- Wallet with essential credit cards and other important cards (leave extras at home)
- Camera equipment
- Phone and car keys
- Travel guides – be careful not to overdo this category. Pick your favorite one and leave the rest at home.
- Something to write with – in case you have a brainstorm
- Medication or supplements
What NOT to Bring
…on the plane or in your luggage
- That stack of books you haven’t gotten to in the past 6 months. Heard of that cool thing called a Kindle?
- Multiple shoes for every occasion. If planned activities demand a variety (probably not a good idea to wear running shoes to the cocktail party) limit yourself to 1 sport, 1 dress, 1 casual. Wear your bulkiest shoes while in transit.
- Too tight clothes
- Too fancy formals
- Dashing outfits don’t have the courage to wear at home
These are the basics of what to bring on board for a long trip. Again, pick and choose what is important to you. Some experts advise to bring the bare minimum and buy what you need when you arrive. It all depends on how willing you are to experience discomfort. Traveling with children can be approached in the same way; bring only the basics to save yourself from unnecessary physical stress. Just remember that whatever you bring, you’ll have to schlep it and account for it at every juncture.
What items have you found most useful to bring along on trips? Most useless?