Having trouble figuring out what you should pack in your carry-on bag? Here’s a list of the most essential items you should probably take with you onto the plane!

Traveling on a budget these days is much harder than ten years ago. The median fee for a checked bag is $25 for the first and $35 for the second. Packing light is all about being prepared. Packing a carry-on bag is part frugality and part art. Knowing how to pack and what to pack can allow you to skip checked bags altogether. Don’t start your trip off on the bad foot, start packing smarter. With this guide, you should have a strong foundation to start packing. Stop forgetting important items, and running out of outfits, and batteries. Start impressing your friends and family with your preparedness.

Carry-On Bag Essentials

Packing Carry On Bag - AssistAnt TravelWe begin our list with the smallest items and work our way down. Packing them first keeps them from jumping around your carry-on bag.


You should never pack medications in your checked luggage. It should be on you at all times, either in a backpack or purse. Medications should be sealed in a bag, clearly labeled, and documented. Always pack a little extra medication to account for spills, accidents, etc.

Chargers and Batteries

Phone charges, power banks, and batteries should be another item you don’t lose sight of. While on a trip, it’s easy to lose track of your battery life. As long as you have a backup battery and charger, you’re golden. There’s nothing worse than having to make an emergency purchase and paying 2-5x that you would online.

Travel Wallets and Documentation

Passports, visas, tickets, and travel documents should all be in one place. You can buy travel wallets to hold everything on you. These are oversized wallets with added protection. It’s a good idea to keep physical copies of your itinerary, in case there is an issue with the digital copies. Keep photocopies of your passport and credit cards, the addresses of where you’re staying, and receipts.

Expedite the Paperwork

Try to consolidate your paperwork by having a VIP airport service provider handle it. They can do all the check-ins for you ahead of time. That way you’re not stuck waiting in long lines or shuffling through your bag for paperwork.


You’re not going to find any healthy snacks at the airport for under $5. Meals will cost you $10-20, hot or cold. They know you’re coming, they know you’ll be hungry, so beat the system. Pack healthy snacks in your carry-on bag, like nuts, carrots, fruit, hummus, etc. Not only will you save ten bucks, but you’ll also feel a lot better and energized for your trip. You can also bring an empty water bottle with you to fill up after the screening. The rule is you can’t bring containers with liquid, not empty ones.

Secure Valuables

Next to your medication and important documents should be a bag with your jewelry, spending cash, and backup credit cards. The reason behind this is to never carry everything in one wallet. If you lose that wallet with all your cards and money, that’s going to hurt. For extra security, invest in travel-rated bags with tough locks that can’t be bypassed.

Flight Comfort

These things you’ll want to carry in hand while boarding. You’ll be surprised how much these simple items change your flying experience:

  • Earplugs/buds
  • Blanket
  • Neck pillow
  • Sweater
  • Inflatable cushion
  • Laptop stand
  • Hydrating mister

For long flights, bring a good book and a portable reading light. Kindles and iPads work, too, but there’s something therapeutic about turning pages.


Buy all your toiletries online in bulk, if you travel a lot. Toiletries are a ripoff in stores, let alone airports. Plus, using a brand of toothbrush, toothpaste, or deodorant that you like helps. Keep a good supply of wet wipes and hand sanitizer with you. These things are a lifesaver when traveling to big cities or countries in the South. Just memorize TSA’s liquid rules to avoid throwing away brand-new products.

No Bag? No Problem

The most ideal situation when traveling is being able to pack everything into a carry-on. This is perfectly feasible for most people to do, never say never. You have one small suitcase, plus a backpack or large purse. There are methods of rolling clothes, using vacuum bags, and smart placement that go a long way. For example, laying all your clothes folded flat, as most do, leaves more air. The edges of the suitcase comparatively go unused.


If you still have room in your carry-on, you should consider bringing some tools. Not the heavy kind, but stuff you can use in a pinch. Duct tape is going to be a clutch for outdoor adventures. Use it to patch a hole, fix a handle, reinforce a shoe, or finesse a walking stick. Add some twine, a multi-purpose tool, and emergency rations to the list. Bring your insect repellent, extra storage bags, and a flashlight. Don’t forget to use the pockets and straps for packing, if you’re bringing along a backpack.

Luxury Travel Options

Luxury Travel Carry On Bag - AssistAnt TravelIf you want to travel in style, use our carry-on bag guide and use travel service companies. The less you have to personally account for on your trip, the clearer you’ll think. Packing, planning, and moving on schedule take up a lot of time and energy. If you think you can’t afford all-inclusive travel accommodations, consider using our VIP services. We handle processing, shuttling, and expediting your passage through the airport. Never risk missing another flight again. We also offer everything you need on your next trip: transportation, concierge, and guided tours. If you’re interested in learning more about Global Airport VIP services, contact us today. Let us be your trusted AssistAnt.

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