Essential Carry On Bag Items You Should Never Forget

Important carry on bag items you shouldn’t leave at home
(or pack in your checked luggage)

Carry on items

Packing your carry on bag is an important part of your travel experience. Whether your flight is only 45 minutes long or you have 3 layovers; pack your carry on bag smart.  Make sure you giveyourself enough time to plan without making last minute decisions. The first thing you should do is make a list at least a week ahead of time. I always do this first so that I can buy anything I still need. Here is a short list of what I keep in my carry on bag:


My Journal

Not only do I journal about my day to day life, but I also write down any life goals or ideas that pop into my head I don’t want to forget. Sometimes I have blog post ideas randomly jump out at me and I have to write them down or I will completely forget. Keeping my journal with me also assures that it won’t be lost in transit.

My passport, wallet, ID, and cell phone/iPad

Do not put these thing in your checked bag. Luggage is lost in the airport every single day, not to mention you won’t make it through security without proper identification. Keep your cell phone on you, even if you don’t think you will need it right away. Plus, a lot of flights offer free wifi for at least an hour of the flight so you can check your social media. Bring your iPad on the plane with you and you can stream movies and play games on your apps.

A Magazine

I know Skymall magazine has some interesting things in it, but bring a few magazines from home. I love antiques so I usually pick up a copy of Flea Market Magazine if I’m feeling creative or Travel + Leisure any other time.

Activity Book

You can pick up a book with 100 word searches, sudoku puzzles, or crossword puzzles. Bring a pen and keep yourself occupied for a few hours. You can find them at dollar stores or a drug store like Walgreens.

A real Book

Pick up a book at an airport kiosk. Some airports offer a rental service so you can read  the book on the plane and drop it off at a kiosk in the airport at your destination. You can also pick up a book from barnes and noble or download an ebook from amazon to your nook or kindle.

A toothbrush and tooth paste

I always carry my toothbrush and toothpaste in my carry on bag. On long trips with multiple lay overs you can start to feel pretty gross without a shower. Brushing my teeth makes me feel fresh, plus I can brush my teeth after I wake up from my 5 hour nap.

Deodorant and a change of clothes

I always bring deodorant and a change of clothes. Be sure to dress in layers when you are traveling. Planes vary in temperature and if you are near the exit you’ll probably freeze your toes off in flip flops. Sometimes it is super hot and muggy though, and you will want to reapply your deodorant. If anything, bring a change of underwear if you will be traveling over 24 hours. It’s worth it.

My Camera

I always bring my GoPro on board the plane with me. It’s easy to get through security and you never know when you might want to document something. There could be a celebrity on your flight or maybe you have a really funny flight attendant who is doing stand up comedy. You just never know what you’ll see.

neck pillow & head phones

If you don’t already have one, invest in a neck pillow. You can get super cheap ones at a dollar store, but you get what you pay for. Check out Brookstone‘s collection of neck pillows and travel accessories. You can wear it around your neck in the airport if it doesn’t fit in your bag. Make sure to bring head phones so you can listen to your iTunes as well. Some flights try to charge you for head phones to watch the in flight movies, but bring your own and the movie is free!


The last item I always add to my carry on bag is a snack (or three!). I always tend to stop and grab a bag of something salty and something sweet for the plane. I just never know what I’m going to crave once I’m up in the air. I have been on flights where they ran out of the available snacks. ( I know, I was devastated.) That’s why I always grab a large bottle of water and a couple snacks in the terminal incase of a “snack emergency”.


Have something you can’t get on a plane without? Comment below!
Traveling with pets? Check out my article on Tips for traveling with your fur-baby.