what to pack in your carry on

When it comes to packing, I’ve found no matter what, it’s never fun. Like, never ever fun! However, through the years, I’ve come to accept this and make the most out of it. One thing I’ve gotten into the habit of doing is making sure to be prepared before I even start packing. It makes the whole experience go a little faster and smoother. A few months ago, I shared my ultimate packing guide, did you check it out?! Lists like these always help keep me sane. In the same vein, I wanted to share some tips on what to pack in your carry on bag!

* Note, this is what I pack in the bag I keep with me at all times on the plane (and put under the seat in front of me) – whether or not I’m checking a bigger bag. I HATE standing up in the middle of a flight to get something from the overhead bin, so I always pretend I’m checking a bag when packing my carry on! It helps me feel like going into my bigger bag during the flight isn’t even an option.

what to pack in your carry on

While these lists are a bit different for everyone, the foundation is still the same. Entertainment, food, extra clothes, toiletries / cosmetics, and trip essentials are all items that should be easily accessible during your flight. Inside each of these categories, I’ve laid out the items I always make sure to have with me.


  • Phone + charger + headphones
  • 2 books – the book I’m currently reading and the next one on my list
  • Journal + pen

food and drinks

  • Sandwich – so I don’t have to eat airport food (Not going to lie, I get pretty grossed out by airport food!)
  • Snacks – I don’t like spending the extra money buying snacks at the airport, especially when I have things at home that will go bad while I’m out of town! I usually bring something healthy (like fruit) and also some fun things (pretzels, candy, etc.)
  • One thing I do wait to buy at the airport is a big water bottle to bring on the flight with me. I know many people bring an empty water bottle to fill up once they get to the airport, so that’s an option too!

extra clothes

  • Sweater – I’m always cold on planes!
  • Socks – Like I said, ALWAYS cold!
  • Underwear – just in case my bag is lost!!

toiletries / cosmetics bag

  • Advil, gas-x (being bloated on a plane is miserable!), Benadryl, prescriptions
  • Basic make up – powder, blush
  • Aquaphor – good for dry lips, hands, elbows, and just about anything else!
  • Hairbands


  • ID, necessary credit cards, cash
  • Destination information – travel details, hotel information, etc.


In addition to this list, I’ve also found a few other guides helpful.

With all of this talk about packing, I’m so excited for my next trip! Luckily, I’m heading to New Orleans this weekend for a bachelorette party! Woohoo!!! 🙂 What items do you always include in your carry on?

Lots of love – ked

never miss a post!

I promise, no spam!

28 thoughts to “what to pack in your carry on”

  1. Extra clothes are key for me! I forgot a sweater on our last trip and was freezing the whole time. It was terrible! I always have books! I can’t sleep on planes so I read a lot!

    1. Carly – I’ve totally forgotten a sweater before also – it’s miserable! I bet you won’t forget one again!! 🙂

  2. I am NOT a traveller. In fact, I generally get sick when I spend time away from home. I kid you not! But my girls all travel for school and with cadets. My oldest is a real pro at packing for flights, especially after seven years of flying in uniform. She’d very much approve of your carry-on packing list. I think you have pretty much the same things she travels with 🙂

    1. Kyla – Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry to hear traveling makes you sick! That’s no fun at all! But, your girls sound like they’ve got the art of packing down. That’s always a win!!

    1. Lorna – Yes, yesssss!!! Pens are one of those random things that never make it from my day-to-day purse to my traveling purse!

    1. Courtney – Thank you!!! I’m an absolute mess when I don’t have lists like this for packing! Have a GREAT rest of your week!!

    1. Jasmine – I hope you enjoy your flight! And mostly, I hope you have a great vacation!

  3. I totally agree with all of the extra clothes! I’m always cold on planes (or burning hot – never in between!) and I’m always worried that my bag will be lost and I’ll be stuck wearing dirty underwear.


    1. Tori – You would think someone would have figured out how to make planes a comfortable temp by now?! Haha! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  4. I love this list! We did a lot of flying this summer and I made sure to pack a good amount of food in our carry on and all of our chargers. Food at the airport is just so expensive.

    1. Anna – Yes, food at airports adds up so fast! Packing snacks is something I never forget – ha!!

  5. Some great ideas! I always pack a bathing suit and extra outfit in my carry-on when travelling on planes – just incase my luggage goes missing! Other than that I always bring the important stuff (wallet/id/credit card/etc) in my carry on incase my luggage goes missing or gets lost because the rest is replaceable! 🙂

    1. Brooke – Missing luggage is the worst!! I totally agree that packing the important things in your carry on is the smartest thing to do!

    1. Caitlin – I’d be a hot mess if I didn’t at least attempt to start things off prepared haha!!!

Comments are closed.