Tuesday 7 January 2014

12 Tips for Packing the Perfect #CarryOn #travel #traveltips

How to Pack the Perfect Carry-On 

I've been to Florida at least 25x times, London England 2x, California 3x, Italy 2x, Barbados 2x, Mexico 1x, Hawaii 1x, Holland 1x, ... OK you get the picture. I've taken at least 40 trips where my mode of transportation was flying, so I think I'm being conservative saying I've flown in at least 100 planes. With each flight I got better at figuring out what worked for me in regards to what to pack in and how to pack my carry-on. So I share this hoping to make your travel as stress-free as possible.

The Carry On Packing List:
  • Change of Clothes (in case checked luggage is lost or delayed) packed in an XL ziplock bag (with the air removed to make it as small as possible).
  • Travel Size Shampoo, Soap, Toothpaste, Toothbrush (in case checked luggage is delayed) Tip: if your luggage is delayed and you didn't pack these ask the airline for a toiletry bag - many of them have them but will only give to you if you ask!
  • Travel Pillow/Blanket Combo packed into an XL ziplock bag. Often these are no longer available from airlines free of charge, or are reused and that is GROSS Just saying.
  • Reusable Water Bottle and Clip that can be clipped it onto carry-on. Note: if you use a soft collapsible water bottle like PLATYPUS it can also used as an ice pack during your trip. I found this very valuable in Italy in the very hot weather. 
  • In-Flight Beverage Management: I always bring a Pop Can Lid  and ask for the whole can, so I don't have to babysit my drink. Tip: If you're travelling with kids bring along one of those cups, lids, & straws you get from restaurants to help avoid messy spills, plus they are great to have during the rest of the vacation as well.
  • Snacks packed in a ziplock bag or plastic storage container, include granola bars, gum, mints, hard candies (for during off), and single serve drink crystals. Leave your water bottle empty until after you've cleared security, then fill it at a water fountain, add your flavour crystals, to void the prices & lines of buying drinks at the airport. Tip: When I travel with kids, each had their own snack bag in their carry on. Timing is everything when it comes to travelling with kids, so I never want to have to depend or wait on flight attendants for snacks or beverages.
  • Electronics and Chargers are packed into a ziplock bag, so they can be easily located. This always includes a pair of noise cancelling headphones. Note: headphones are generally not available free of charge, and are generally not very good quality. Tip: make a earbud holder from a prescription bottle.
  • Magazine, Book, Sudoku Puzzle Book, Paper Clipboard, Pencil, Pen & Calculator all go into another Ziploc Bag so it can easily be slid in and out of the front of my carry on bag. 
  • 5 Boredom Busting Free Apps I have on my phone to help pass the time on flights and longer stop-overs: Sudoku, Three's 2048, Mahjong, and the Kobo app.
  • Emergency Items and Other Important Things: Wipes, Kleenex, Plastic Grocery Bag (to use for garbage rather than waiting for the flight attendant to come around) Gravol, Tylenol, Advil etc. all packed into a ziplock bag. 
  • Emergency Contact and ID Cards if travelling with kids are a great idea, and easy to make. 
  • Soft foldable bag (e.g. ENVIROSAX) and Carabinder Clip: For 2 reasons: First you can pull out the items you want from your carry on (book, water, headphones) put them into the bag and onto the pouch on the seat in front of you. By doing this at the beginning of the flight you avoid getting up and down for items from you carry on during the flight. At the end of the flight quickly put entire bag into carry on and off you go. Second in some very small planes you may be required to check your carry-on because many standard carry-on bags do not fit in the overhead compartments or under the seat space. You may not be informed of this until the flight boarding has begun. If your carry-on is checked it is returned at the end of the flight and there is no access to it during the flight. In a situation like this before I check my carry-on I take valuables such as my camera, phone etc., and anything I might want during the flight and put them into the envirosax, which will fit under the seat. Tip: When travelling with my kids, they each have their own bag! BTW these double as shopping bags and beach bags once you reach your destination.

Well that is it! All my tips and wisdom. 
Hope that there are a few tidbits that are helpful to you the next time you pack a carry on and venture out to see the world.
Bon Voyage!

Yep, just Cathy thinking out loud about travel.


  1. I travel a to all over the World and only bring one carry on for luggage and a backpack. That's it. Last year I was in Asia with my carry on and a backpack. It was so great to travel light and I did wash my clothes couple times during the trip.

  2. Forgot to say that I bring an xLarge Longchamp Le Pliage with me because I always come back with stuff that I buy on my trips :)

    1. I have the smaller Longchamps bag and have my eye on my Mom's large one LOL! Looks good and works even better!!! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment Helene!

  3. Great tips - LOVE the suggestion to bring a pop can lid! So smart!