If you’re planning to fly soon, you’ll need to think carefully about what you’re going to pack in your carry-on bag. On budget airlines like Frontier, EasyJet, and RyanAir, your carry-on baggage might be limited to the small personal item that’s stored under the seat in front of you. So before you cram everything for your trip into your suitcase, you’ll need to think carefully about what will be nice to have with you on the plane- particularly if you’re going for a trip that’s farther than a 3-hour flight away from home. Comfortable wireless earbuds, a reusable water bottle, and your essential travel documents are just the start of what you might need while you’re in the air.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the essential items to pack in your carry-on bag to ensure you’re ready for your next trip. While flying can be a stressful experience this summer due to delays and staff shortages, there are several things you can do to increase the likelihood of a smooth travel experience- one of which is packing the right items.

Reusable Water Bottle

It’s all too easy to get dehydrated when you’re traveling by plane, particularly when your flight is a long one. The recycled air in the plane’s cabin is dry, so packing a water bottle or two is never a bad idea, particularly when those in-flight drinks come in such small portions. A collapsable water bottle and filter is another good option for travelers looking to save a bit of bag space. While you’ll need to empty your water bottle before entering the security line, most airports make it easy enough to fill up before boarding starts.

Comfortable Wireless Earbuds

Wireless earbuds are a must-have for any traveler, whether they’re flying in the economy seats or relaxing in the oversized armchairs they have in first-class. Comfortable earbuds that stay in your ears without falling out, suppress the sounds of other passengers, and can stay in your ears for several hours at a time can be a key component of a pleasant travel experience. Don’t forget to charge your earbuds before departure!

Your Essential Travel Documents

Your passport, itinerary, and other essential travel documents are something you’ll need to always have on your person. A plastic folder or waterproof case for these critical items might also be a good idea for travelers that have a water bottle or snack close by within their bag. If you have any physical tickets printed, it’s usually a good idea to bring these in your carry-on item as well, just in case something happens to your checked suitcase.

A Mask

While it might seem like covid is a thing of the past in specific regions and countries, the same might not be true for your destination. As of summer 2022, transmission rates are on the rise again. And while masking is technically optional in many places, there’s nothing that will spoil your travel experience quite like catching covid at the front end of your trip. Generally speaking, wearing your mask is more important when you’re in the airport, rather than on the actual plane. All modern Boeing and Airbus vehicles use advanced filtration systems that keep the air moving throughout the space, reducing the risk of infection.

Phone, Computer, and Tablet Charger

With all the delays, cancellations, and rerouted flights that travelers are experiencing this year, you never really know how long it will take to reach your final destination. As a result, it’s more important than ever to pack the charger for all your electronic devices so that you can access the internet while at the airport, stave off boredom on the plane, and successfully map out a route to your hotel or Airbnb upon landing.

An Easy to Pack Snack

Any snack that’s not primarily liquid is fair game for bringing on a plane. Power bars, trail mixes, and nuts are popular choices that will keep you on your feet and help you avoid the exorbitant price of food that hits once you pass through security.

Entertainment Options

Most airlines, except for JetBlue, charge flyers for wifi. However, this internet access usually isn’t fast enough for the likes of streaming movies or TV episodes, which means you’ll need to plan on bringing a few entertainment options in your carry bag or on your phone.

Extra Clothing Items

In the unlikely event that one of your baggage items goes missing, you’ll need a change of clothes packed in your carry-on bag. Just a few extra items can give you significant peace of mind in case something happens to your suitcase or other checked items. Make sure to pack items appropriate for your destination’s climate. You may also want to check the weather forecast for where you’re going before you choose which items to bring on the plane with you.

Cameras, Jewelry, and Other Expensive Items

While a range of policies and procedures can help prevent baggage theft, it’s still a problem occasionally. To ensure this has as little an effect as possible, it’s a good idea to bring all your valuables on the plane, including your camera, jewelry, and electronics. Most of the time, it’s a good idea to have these on the plane anyway, given how much your checked items will get tossed around by the baggage handlers.


If you have any daily medications, it’s a good idea to pack them with you on the plane. There are very few substances that TSA has an issue with, particularly if you have a formal prescription card with you. If you’re traveling to another country, you may find it significantly more challenging to get a refill of these essential items.

A Sweatshirt, Hoodie, or Cardigan

The air on the plane can get cold quickly, so you’ll want a sweater, cardigan, or hoodie with you. Luckily, you don’t actually have to pack this item- you can usually carry it with you on the side of your personal item or carry-on bag.