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  • Candace Ahlfinger

Packing Tips for Carry On Bags

Updated: Jun 19, 2023

Use a backpack or rolling bag or a backpack with rollers as your carry on. This will save your shoulders!

There are items I always put in my carry on even If we are checking luggage. (These ideas work when you're only using carry-on luggage, also.)

  • Medicines. I also take a copy of the labels and send myself a copy of medicines and their labels. If I need to take medicine during a flight, I package it separately to make it easier to access.

  • Contacts and/or glasses. I can do without a change of clothes, but I don’t want to see only a blurred outline of that world-famous attraction! I also take contact solution and eye drops. The air on the plane dries out everything.

  • I always carry my electronic devices and their chargers.

  • Makeup and face care. I don’t want to see myself without makeup so I can’t imagine how others would feel about seeing me au naturel!

Slides from trips are great souvenirs and conversation pieces
  • Jewelry. I travel light for jewelry because it can get heavy. Before I put my clothes in my suitcase, I set out jewelry for each outfit while reminding myself that I can wear the same jewelry with multiple pieces of clothing. I also carry a rigid metal necklace and a chain and put different slides on them depending on the outfit. I love the slides so much that I look for them as souvenirs when we travel. They also become good conversation starters. (I use plastic zippered bags for my jewelry, also. Snack-size bags hold slides and earrings. These go into a quart-size bag along with the rigid metal necklace.

  • A set of clothing just in case my suitcase doesn’t arrive.

  • If we are going to a beach, resort, or cruise, I pack a bathing suit, so I won’t miss a minute of water time.

  • An empty water bottle. I can refill this at many airports and hotels. (Check to make certain the water is safe to drink before refilling.)

  • A pen. Even in the age of electronics, you sometimes need a pen to fill out paperwork.

  • Antibacterial wipes. You never know…

  • Lotion or petroleum jelly. A small amount can be a lifesaver when your hands or lips are dry.

  • Something to read. (I load up my iPad before getting on a flight.)

  • Snacks. If you or someone in your group gets hungry.

  • Any other items that are an absolute must for you!

In a purse or on myself:

Some items are too important to put in a carry on. For me these include:

  • My passport

  • Wallet with credit cards. (We always make pdf copies of our passport and both sides of any credit cards, and vaccination cards, and send these documents to ourselves or store them on our phones in case they are lost or stolen.)

Most importantly, carry your sense of humor, adventure, and flexibility for a fun trip!


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