What Should You Bring in Your Carry-On Bag?

Packing your checked baggage is simple: usually, whatever you can stuff into it and still stay under the weight limit works fine. Packing your carry-on bag, however, can be a little more confusing. Exactly what should you have in your carry-on bag? These tips will help you know what to bring with you when you board.

Small Containers of Liquids

To avoid having them confiscated by security personnel, you should limit the amount of liquids you pack in your carry-on. Regulations dictate that all liquids must be 3.4 ounces, which is equal to 100 ml, or less to be allowed to travel with you on the plane. Only bring what you immediately need with you, packing the rest in your checked baggage.

ID and Money

Two absolute essentials to pack in your carry-on bag are your ID and money. You don’t want these to be lost or stolen, so keep them close to your person at all times, zipped in a secure pocket of your bag. The same goes for anything of high monetary value, such as credit cards or expensive jewelry.

All Medications

Always take any prescription or non-prescription medications that you frequently use in your carry-on bag. This is not something you want to be without in the case of an unexpected flight or luggage delay. Bring all of the medications that you will need for the entire trip, not just a few days worth. Also, if some medication comes in liquid form or uses a needle, get a written letter from your health care provider stating why you need it, so that there won’t be an issue with security.

Fragile Electronics

Realistically, baggage handlers aren’t always extremely delicate with your luggage. Things can really get thrown around in checked baggage, and this is not where you want your fragile electronics stored. Pack all of your electronic items in your carry-on baggage, like your phone, tablet, laptop, or camera to keep them from getting knocked around.


If you’ve already followed the advice to pack your electronics in your carry-on bag, you likely have enough entertainment with you to keep you busy. But, if you don’t have a lot of electronic items, or if you like to read paper books, draw on a sketch pad, color fun pictures, etc., bring those things with you too, to keep you occupied during the flight.

Extra Underwear

Although you might not think a change of underwear is something you need to take with you through the airports, accidents and delays do happen. It’s a good idea to take at least one pair of clean underwear along for the ride, just in case.

Snacks and Gum

Airline food isn’t always the tastiest thing in the world. Bringing along some snacks might save you from having to eat something you really don’t like when you’re feeling hungry. And, since you might not always get to brush your teeth on the plane, it’s smart to bring gum as well to keep your breath fresh.

Taking along these essential items in your carry-on bag can make things go a little smoother and give you some peace of mind. If you’re not completely sure about your airline’s regulations as to what you can and cannot take on board, check ahead of time to be sure. Happy traveling!

Do you have any tips?

13 Replies to “What Should You Bring in Your Carry-On Bag?”

  1. Good comments. Maybe add a empty water bottle to fill after you go through the TSA point to fill. Water on the plane may be questionable.

      1. Not at every airport. Some say that if it’s meltable, it’s liquid and you can’t bring it. I was actually not allowed to bring an ice cream through the security line. (It was a regional favorite. ) The TSA guy said if you can’t put it in your bag/purse without it becoming liquid at some point, you can’t take it. (I stood there enjoying every last bit making a big deal over how good it was. LOL)

  2. I carry disinfectant wipes to usr on the tray table, headrest and armrests of my seat. There’s no time between flights for the plane to be cleaned well.

  3. Package of tissue and paper face mask in the event someone contagious and coughing takes the seat next to you or ahead of or behind you. Ten minutes or five hours next to a person in this condition can ruin your trip . From experience I assure you this happens.

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