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What's In The Bag: Packing Your Carry-On

Updated: Jul 8, 2021

By: Stephanie Spellazza

Before I get into the nitty-gritty of what to pack in your carry-on bags, there are two things you will want to double-check. First of all, check the size of the carry-on. You know those small baskets in the airports that ask, ‘Does your bag fit in here?’...they aren’t for show! If your bag doesn’t fit in there, you will likely have to check it at the gate, which will cost you extra. Don’t get stuck with those unexpected fees. Compare the dimensions of your bags to the requirements that are stated by your airline. Speaking of additional fees, a second mistake people make is they assume carry-on luggage is free. Not all airlines offer this feature for free. In fact, a carry-on bag is more expensive than a checked bag on airlines like Frontier. You can work around this by squeezing as much as possible into your personal item. Just be sure it meets the size requirements still! Prepaying for your luggage will also save you money rather than paying for it at the airport.

Is your mind spinning yet? Don’t worry; your travel agent will help you figure all of the above out! Now let’s address the elephant in the room...what should you pack in your carry-on bag?

Let’s Get Packing!

Snacks - Don’t get stuck overpaying for snacks at the airport! Bring your favorites with you so you have a satisfying treat while soaring above the clouds. Having chewing gum handy is also a must. It helps with pressure build-up in your ears when you are ascending and descending. Don’t forget that you will be flying home as well, so pack a snack for your returning flight.

Entertainment - You will be spending quite a bit of time sitting, so bring something to entertain yourself! Download your favorite show or movie to your tablet (don’t forget headphones), read a new book or magazine, or grab a crossword puzzle.

A Change of Clothes - While it doesn’t happen frequently, luggage does get lost. Therefore, it’s best to pack destination appropriate clothing in your suitcase just in case. If this happens to you, you’ll feel less frantic if you know you at least have one clean outfit to change into when you arrive at your destination.

Medication - Another airport struggle is delays. You can’t plan for them, but you can be prepared for them. Do yourself a favor and pack your meds in your carry-on bag so you aren’t without your prescription medications.

Battery Pack - Have you ever seen anyone sitting on the airport floor charging their phone? It’s not the most comfortable place to be stuck. So a battery pack to recharge your device is a great idea. If you pack one of these, you won’t have to run around the airport looking for an open outlet.

Swimsuit - If you arrive at your hotel before check-in, you may want easy access to your swimsuit. The wonderful people working at the front desk of your hotel can keep your bags safe while you change into your swimsuit and make the best out of an early arrival. Don’t forget the sunscreen too!

A Sweater - If you get easily chilled, you may want to think about wearing a sweater on the plane (even if you are jet-setting to somewhere tropical). Airplanes can get rather chilly, and you’ll be more comfortable if you are dressed for that. Another option would be to wear a light jacket or a raincoat depending on where you are traveling to. Don’t pack this in your carry-on, as it takes up space. Instead, drape it over your arm or wear it in the airport.

Travel Documents - This one seems quite obvious, but you don’t want to forget to pack your travel documents such as tickets, license, passport (if needed), and travel itinerary.

Now, all that’s left to do is grab your bag, head to the airport, and begin your adventure!

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