Airplane Survival Guide: What To Bring In Your Carry-On

It’s been a while since I flew internationally without the airplane having USB ports, charging outlets, and personal entertainment devices at every seat, but it just happened to me on a flight from London to Orlando. It reminded me of my traveling days when preparing to entertain yourself for ten or more hours was a grueling task.

I would open as many news articles or Reddit threads on my laptop as I could on my 30 minutes of free airport Wi-Fi so that I’d have something to read on the plane. Can’t be wasting any phone battery or else how could I listen to my music? iPhone games drained the battery and books were too bulky for me to bring when backpacking. Balancing entertainment with rationing your electronic usage was a task. Luckily, it’s (almost) a thing of the past, but perfecting what to bring in your carry-on is still an art form. I’ve got it down to a science, but everyone’s got their own style and needs! Here’s what’s in my carry-on.

Laptop and Laptop Charger – If you bring your laptop with you on vacation, definitely bring it on your carry-on. A laptop is one of the last things you’d like to lose if an airline loses your checked bag. I bring mine everywhere, and get a lot of blogging done on the plane! Laptops are a great way to pass the time.

External Phone Battery – some planes have outlets or USB ports to charge your electronics, but you shouldn’t risk it. An external phone battery is crucial for traveling anyway if you plan on being gone for long periods of time. If your phone dies, it could mean trouble if you are in a new city with no way to contact anyone.

iPhone charger – Pretty self-explanatory.

Another phone – I personally never sell my old phones, so I’ve got some lying around. I usually bring an extra to take pictures with if my other phone dies, and it can come in handy. Losing your phone in another country sucks, so it never hurts to have a backup, even if it can just connect to Wi-Fi.

Deodorant – You’re going to smell after a long flight. Just bring it. For everyone’s sake.

Water Bottle – If you’re not keen on waiting for the stewardesses to bring beverages, bring your own water bottle. Empty it before security and fill it up before getting on the plane to avoid paying $5 for a water bottle in the airport.

Pen and Paper – Having a pen in your carry-on is always useful. Another good way to pass the time is to just jot things down that you want to do, or useful information that you might want to keep in mind. Also there’s nothing more upsetting than going to fill out those crosswords and Sudoku puzzles in the airplane magazines and not having a pen.

Folder with all my travel paperwork – I’m not a very organized person, so having a folder has really helped me out. I have a folder with all my flight and hotel details, my passport, and any other important documents.

Snacks – always bring snacks!

Sleep Mask – I normally don’t need one to pass out, but it does help.

Toothbrush and toothpaste – self-explanatory. Keep those teeth clean and your breath minty fresh.

Facial Wipes – You’re not going to be able to shower for a long time, but facial wipes are the next best thing. Someone suggested this to me and it’s actually very refreshing.

A Hoodie – It can get cold on a plane, so it doesn’t hurt to bring a comfortable sweater or hoodie to throw on. It could also double as a pillow or a blanket.

Melatonin – I sometimes bring a few tablets of melatonin to take if I know I need to sleep. It works wonders.

Ibuprofen – I usually don’t sleep well on planes, and have a headache the next morning or even on the plane. A few pills can come in handy.

All of this fits pretty comfortably in my backpack, and each play a role in making sure a long flight goes a lot smoother. What do you like to bring in your carry-on?

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