9 Top Carry-On Essentials for Your Next Trip

When it’s time to head out on your next adventure, one important step will be to pack your carry-on bag! However, it’s not enough to just throw things in your bag and call it a day. To have the most stress and hassle-free experience during your travels, you’ll need to have all the essentials in your carry-on. Here’s a list of some of the most important items to get yourself started with packing your perfect travel carry-on!


No one wants to be caught without headphones in an airport or on a plane! They’re essential for listening to music, podcasts, or those in-flight movies. When you’re packing, don’t forget to throw your most comfortable headphones (preferably noise-canceling) into your bag. However, if you’re flying on a longer haul plane, with screens embedded in the backs of the seats, make sure you throw a pair of wired-headphones or a Bluetooth to wired converter as well. Your ears will thank you when you don’t have to accept the terrible, free headphones.

Tech Organizer

These days we all have more cords and chargers than we can keep track of, but shoving them all into your bag makes for a real mess. This is why a tech organizer is such a game-changer for your carry-on. Tech organizers are small pouches, with individual compartments for all your chargers and wires. They make it easy for you to find the charger you’re looking for and help you keep your bag more organized.

Hand Sanitizer

Airports are full of people, which means they are full of germs. Don’t be caught without a little bottle of hand sanitizer to keep the germs at bay! Make sure it’s under 3.4 ounces, so it can go through airport security without issue. Bonus points if you get one of the hand sanitizer keychains. Those keychains give you easy access to your hand-sanitizer, so you can use it whenever you need it, without fumbling around in your bag.

Reusable Water Bottle

One way to save money at the airport is to bring along a reusable water bottle! Instead of overpaying for water bottles at the airport, pack your own reusable water bottle to fill up at the water fountains instead. This is not only good for your wallet, but also for the environment. Remember that if you’re traveling internationally, the water isn’t always safe around the world. Make sure you consider whether the water in your location is safe and potable before filling up!

Jacket or Small Blanket

Though it can be tempting to dress for whatever weather you’re headed to, it’s smart to have options for staying warm. Flights are notoriously chilly, so don’t get caught in the cold! Plan in advance, by putting a light jacket or small blanket into your bag. You’ll be glad you thought to pack something beforehand when the AC system kicks in!

Travel-Sized Sleep-Aid

If you have an overnight flight ahead, one of the best things you can do is pack a sleep aid in your bag. Taking a sleep-aid on a long or overnight flight can help you get the most out of your flight time. For a natural sleep aid, look out for melatonin gummies, which come in travel-sized bags. If you’re looking for a chemical sleep aid, there are several options, including travel-sized liquids, pills, and tablets. Putting this on your list of carry-on essentials means you’ll be spending less money on incidentals at the airport.

Travel Pillow

This one pairs perfectly with your travel-sized sleep-aid! If you plan to sleep on your flight, bring along a travel pillow. There are lots of different travel pillows on the market with distinct attributes. Depending on what you prefer, you might want one of the pillows that you can blow up to full size to save space. If you are worried about space, pick up one of the full size pillows, which tend to be more comfortable. Whichever way you go, don’t plan on a long flight without a travel pillow. 

Basic Toiletries Kit & Change of Clothes

If you’re planning a longer trip, with multiple stops, consider packing a basic toiletries kit and change of clothes into your bag. Lip balm deserves a special mention along with the toiletries kit. Planes tend to have very dry air, so lip balm is an absolute must to combat discomfort. A change of clothes can also be helpful. Packing a change of clothes is kind of like an insurance policy, in case you have a flight cancellation or delay. If you have to spend longer than you planned in the airport or at a hotel, it’s really nice to have a fresh change of clothes to wear.


There is nothing worse than paying close to ten dollars for your favorite snacks at an airport convenience store. They overcharge for snacks because they can, but you don’t want to get caught in that nightmare. When you’re shopping for your trip, take a loop down the snack aisle and pick up some of your favorites. You’ll be excited when you open your bag and your top-picks are waiting for you!


Packing Top Carry-On Essentials

When you’re heading out on your next adventure, packing can be one of the fun, but stressful parts of travel. Take some of the guess-work out of the packing process, by reaching for these top carry-on travel essentials, along with anything you need to keep yourself entertained - perhaps a great book or video downloads. In addition to these carry-on essentials, don’t forget to put any valuables, prescription medications, or important travel and financial documents (like passports) in your carry-on as well. We hope this list makes your travel as easy as possible! Happy (and safe) travels!

May 03, 2024 by Jason Kieffer David