Does preparing for air travel stress you out? Do you know what to pack in your carry-on? I’m not talking about your 20″ roller-board, I’m talking about the small bag you need to carry your essentials. You should never pack your essentials in your rolling suitcase, even if you plan to bring it on board. With the airlines charging for checked luggage more and more people are carrying on and that means more bags are being checked last minute.

The trick to stress free air travel is to be able to roll with the punches. The trick to being able to roll with the punches when flying is a well packed carry on! Pack your bag with these items and you will be prepared for any delays or inconveniences you may encounter:

  • A change of clothes, Something easy to roll that won’t take up too much space. A pair of yoga pants or light weight skirt for women, or light weight workout clothes for men. Remember this is in case of emergency not a fashion show.
  • Chewing gum for take-off and landing. Helps with the change in pressure.
  • Entertainment including things that don’t require batteries or have an off/on switch. You never know when you’ll be stuck on the ground without anywhere to plug your computer or smart phone in. Bring an old fashion book and/or crossword puzzles. (don’t forget a pen and the charger cords)
  • Ear plugs! I always recommend bringing enough for your unprepared neighbors too. Flying is public transportation and you never know when the baby will start screaming.
  • Snacks! Lots of things that don’t require refrigeration like nuts, granola bars, or trail mix. Skip the junk food, it will only deplete your energy and make you more tired and stressed.
  • An empty re-usable water bottle, such as Klean Kanteesn or Sigg. Fill it with water after you get through security at a water fountain. If you’re in a delay situation the flight attendants will probably pass out water, but not on your time table. I like to have my own.
  • A small blanket or sweater. Most airlines do not have blankets anymore. The temperature is never to everybody’s liking and I know when I’m working I prefer it on the cooler side. Germs fester in the warm air.
  • A list of any phone numbers or information you may need. Cell phone batteries run out sometimes and borrowing your neighbors phone won’t do any good if you don’t know the number!
  • Anti-bacterial hand wipes. They are great for cleaning your hands, but also for tray tables that are not washed in between flights.
  • A small first aid kit with band aids, aspirin, nasal spray, tissues and an anti-diarrhea medicine.
  • neck pillow and eye shades
  • lip balm and hand lotion. The air is extremely dry at 35,000 ft.
  • toothbrush and tooth paste. Nothing makes you feel better than brushing your teeth after a long flight!

Also, if you are on any medication or wear contact lenses don’t forget to add these in! Never check valuables always keep your money, credit and debit cards on you at all times.

Tip: When the flight attendants make their initial descent announcement, take that as an opportunity to gather any items you took out during the flight and re-pack your carry on. Not only will you be prepared for landing, which will make your crew happy, but you’ll be less likely to forget anything!

Any questions about air travel? Join me on Facebook/theflyingpintoblog or @theflyingpinto. Also check out my (Products and Discounts page) favorite travel things! I’ve scored great discounts exclusive for my readers! Shoes, luggage, hosiery, jewelry and more all 15-20% off!

Cheers and happy flying!

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  1. Great tips, but I am so over seeing that British slogan! It is all over London!!

  2. Jason Myers @ 2011-09-11 11:30

    has anyone seen this yet?? Vulgar but funny.

    UAL FA

  3. SJThespian @ 2011-09-13 11:56

    Not to sound like an advertisement, but we replaced the toothbrush/toothpaste with Dentiva ( a year or so ago. It takes up a fraction of the space and leaves your mouth feeling clean and your breath fresh.

    That’s a great list btw, even with all the flying I do there are a couple of things on there that I need to add to my regular kit. With the exception of the change of clothes, blanket/sweater and water bottle (which I stopped carrying since some security folks will take it even if it’s empty); I’m down to an old AA business class long-haul kit that’s roughly 7″x4″x3″ — and most of that is my iPod and chargers.

  4. Good list. Here is another thought. If there is one place you travel to often, see if there is someplace there you can store a few things. This is quite easy if it is a relative’s home, or a good friend’s home. I bought a small blow hair dryer and some bathing essentials and they are in a small box at my daughter’s house, several states away. That really reduces what I need to pack, even for a week’s stay, and I rarely need more than a carry-on for everything else. I found my grooming items took up enough room that if I could free myself from that I was set.

    I have also learned to layer my clothing, so that I can quickly adjust to temperature changes not only on airplanes, but in different locations. A sweater or jacket and a pair of warm socks usually do the trick. I love to take off my shoes and just wear the socks on longer flights. For women, if you get one of the longer sweaters (some have a belt), then you can use it as a blanket, too, if you take it off and wrap it around you from the front.

  5. One extra, since I have traveled with babies: bring two hand towels: one a little wet in a zip-lock bag and the other dry. For obvious reasons. And a couple of extra gallon zip-locks for used diapers.

  6. This is a great list! These items are very helpful while in the air. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Nitroxprt @ 2011-11-25 13:33

    I travel frequently for business (2-3 times a month) mostly on CRJ aircraft. The tip to pack anti-bacterial wipes is a good one. The CRJ flights are turned around quickly with inadequate time to clean it properly. I always clean the armrests,seatbelt buckle,and tray table, and am disgusted with the amount of grime that comes off these surfaces. Frequently the person sitting next to me will ask for a A/B wipe also.

  8. […] Carry-on Essentials for Air Travel The Flying Pinto | September 2011 “The trick to stress free air travel is to be able to roll […]

  9. Used diapers on a plane? I’m surprised the TSA wasn’t all over that: toxic! Lol, I have two boys & the zip-lock comment sounds like the most thoughtful item anyone could EVER carry on board. That, and a pacifier. ;o) Great tips, folks. I’m traveling for the first time on business & this definitely helped me cut down on my what-if novella of a pre-flight list I was making.