If you’re travelling for any length of time, chances are you’ll catch a plane at some point during your trip. There are a lot of ways to make a plane trip more enjoyable (especially if it is a long one) and one of these ways is to pack your carry-on bag carefully. The airlines will tell you what NOT to take (scissors, flammables … the list keeps getting longer, actually) but we’d like to help you think about what you should put in that bag.

To listen, hit play below or find episode 140 in iTunes, Stitcher or Soundcloud:


  • Passport
  • Tickets
  • Wallet
  • Pen


  • Book
  • Puzzle
  • Games
  • iPod
  • Diary


  • Light jumper
  • Undies
  • Clothes for destination
We travel carry-on size only these days, so everything has to fit in!
We travel carry-on size only these days, so everything has to fit in!


  • Water bottle
  • Snack

Toiletry items

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Brush or comb
  • Medication
  • Contact lenses and solution
  • Painkillers, sleeping pills
  • Moisturiser
  • Lip balm

Comfort items

  • Sleep mask and earplugs
  • Sleep phones
  • Sweets


  • Computer and other electronics
  • Anything you can’t afford to lose

This list can be adapted for bus and train trips as well — or any trip where you will be separated from your main bag for any length of time. You won’t need all of these items — just pick and choose the ones that are most relevant to you. So, what do you put in your carry-on?

To listen, hit play above or check in iTunes, Stitcher or Soundcloud.

Your thoughts on "Carry on luggage packing list podcast"

  • Noise reduction headphones are a must on my list. They filter out the jet and cabin noise better then normal ones. The difference is remarkable. You arrive less fatigued from your flight. After all, why else do you arrive tired after sitting for several hours?

    on February 1, 2010 at 1:41 am Reply
  • Sound cancelling headphones are definitly the way to go if you just want to eliminate sound. The downside is that they are very costly, and you can't sleep with them on. They also become irritating after a while because they clamp so tightly on the ears. If you haven't tried the Dreamhelmet yet, it is the first patented sleep mask with noise reduction capability. The Dreamhelmet promotes sleep by tri-sensory input reduction: pillows the head, blocks light, and muffles sound. A soft chin strap prevents the pillow-mask from sliding out of position. There is no irritation because the pillow and mask are designed to be worn loosely and only 100% cotton touches the skin. There are no straps around the back of the head to get tangled in the hair, and only the pillow and mask come in contact with the head. This multi-use travel product comes with soft earplugs in secret pockets and converts to an attachable or simple pillow. It also morphs into a muff. Professional travelers use them. They're not sold in stores - only online.

    on February 1, 2010 at 4:24 pm Reply
  • I agree, although if I know in advance my airline(s) will have them (normally provided to first & business class and sometimes also elite frequent flyers in economy class) then I don't need to bring my own. I don't bring games or puzzles. I am easily amused and always have lots to think about or do. I do bring some note paper. For books I bring some with me and give them away en route, either swapping for another book or getting some second hand ones to replace. The book(s) also doubles as emergency extra space. If needed I'd much rather lose the book to make room for something more important.

    on February 1, 2010 at 8:24 am Reply
  • Two things conspicuously missing (in my opinion) were 1. a head lamp, or other small light; and 2. diarrhea pills. The head lamp is the essential easy-access item. If you can find your headlamp, you can find anything else. (That's why I sleep with mine wrapped around my wrist in a youth hostel. And sometimes you need something in the dark just off the plane. (Eg., The directions to my CouchSurfer's flat, in Hindi, to show to the Mumbai taxi driver at 2300 India time.) The diarrhea pills are likewise essential; you can take time to find your constipation pills, but you may not have that luxury in reverse. I pack both on the top, outside pocket of my carry-on.

    on February 8, 2010 at 5:28 am Reply
    • Hey Jay, you might be right on the tablets! We normally keep some in our first aid kit in our hold luggage. But "Where is the toilet?" is one of the first questions we learn to ask in any language! A headlamp is a good idea, but we tend to use the displays on our iPods rather than a real torch. Lots of people swear by a headlamp, but we've still never bought one.

      on February 8, 2010 at 8:56 pm Reply
  • I sleep like a baby almost anywhere, but after the last hostel experiences I will seriously consider those noise reduction headphones...

    on March 26, 2010 at 7:54 am Reply
  • this really helped. thanks.

    on October 25, 2011 at 9:33 am Reply
    • Glad to hear it Lisa. Where are you off to?

      on October 25, 2011 at 9:58 am Reply
  • Hi I am travelling on a 12 hour flight and I will be with my 4 year old brother (and I am ten) and I was wondering if u had any tips for packing ideas for kids because I am hopeless at packing. My mum thinks I should be able to pack by myself. thanks

    on September 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm Reply
    • Hi Isabella, good to hear from you. Will you be packing all your clothes in carry-on as well, or will you have a suitcase for your clothes and toiletries?

      on September 25, 2012 at 10:23 am Reply
      • I will also have a normal sized non carry on bag for clothes and things. My carry on will be just a jacket and things to entertain me.

        on September 28, 2012 at 2:14 am

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