Flying can be super stressful, whether you’re going home for spring break or embarking upon your semester abroad. Between TSA security checks, handling your luggage and trying not to lose your passport, it’s easy to get frustrated and disorganized.
The key to keeping your cool is your carry-on. Storing some select essentials in the bag you bring onboard the plane with you can alleviate your stress during and after your flight. Whether it’s an oversized tote bag or a small rolling duffel, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Here’s what to pack for your next trip.
An empty water bottle
Bring a reusable water bottle along and fill it up at a fountain once you get through the security check. You won’t have to spend money on a bottle of water from an airport vendor, and you won’t have to worry about flagging down a flight attendant if you need a drink.
A clean shirt
Or a back-up outfit, if you have space. This is especially important if you’re traveling somewhere unfamiliar. If your checked suitcase gets lost, you’ll be happy you have something clean to change into.
Speaking of cleanliness, you don’t know how long it will be until you can take a shower. And if you just got off of a 12-hour flight, you’ll probably want to freshen up. Even if you packed regular-sized shampoo and toothpaste in your checked luggage, stock up on some travel-sized versions to keep in your carry-on. We recommend make-up remover wipes, deodorant, toothpaste and hand sanitizer.
Airlines usually pass out a snack during flight time, but it’s a good idea to have something on hand. Who knows? You might have to travel an hour to your hotel once you reach your destination or need to stand in line to pass through customs. Pack a few granola bars, some dark chocolate, or a bag of trail mix. (Don’t bring fruit or vegetables if you’re flying to a different country. These items are restricted to bring across most borders.)
We think the reasons are obvious, but you’ll be happy you have a set of headphones when someone’s baby starts crying during takeoff. If you’re planning to nap, bring along a sleep mask as well. It takes up next to no space and you can use it throughout your trip.