13 Things You Should ALWAYS Put In Your Carry-On When You Travel

As if the first pastel blooms of spring weren't a gift enough, we are then blessed with the pardon of a spring break. A glorious week or so of no set alarms and sun — or snow — and top notch travel Instagrams. The only major responsibility that could be ailing you is what things you should always put in your carry-on instead of your checked bag when you travel. Don't let that stress you out for a minute. All it takes is a little organization to have everything you need for the plane fit under the seat in front of you.

Checked luggage means bidding adieu to most of your belongings, save for your carry-on luggage and personal item, for however many hours your flight is. Unfortunately, it also means possibly not seeing them again for who knows how long, because, as we all know, there are those baggage claim nightmares in which your duffel bag takes a different trip than the one you booked for it. Each time it's carted off into a tunnel of other similar looking bags, you're essentially taking a gamble. Most of the time, thankfully, the system works out, and upon reaching your destination, you see your bag not so carefully dropped onto your flight's baggage carousel and let out a sigh of relief. But for the cases that that doesn't happen, it's good to be prepared by keeping a few essential items in your carry-on.

But this is your vacation, don't let yourself experience the least bit of stress. Keep all the things that you possibly can closer to you than below the cabin.

Bathing Suit

If you're heading for the beach this spring — or even a mountain with a sweet pool — you're probably going to bee line from baggage claim to said pool. Don't bother digging around your checked luggage for a suit. Have one ready to go in your carry on.

Change Of Underwear

You can pack thousands of pairs of underwear in your checked luggage. But, have a clean pair in your carry-on. After a long flight, it'll be nice to slip into something clean, or if your luggage does end up getting lost.

3.Travel-Sized Bottles Of Sunscreen And Moisturizer

Wherever you're landing, the second your skin meets that fresh, new climate, you'll want to start taking care of it. Have a bottle of sunscreen and moisturizer closer than your checked luggage — aka, your carry-on. According to TSA rules, "You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item." Get that zip-lock bag stocked!

A Book

It's to keep you company on the plane and through the entire trip itself. Looking for your next novel to dive into? Check out the Belletrist library for inspiration.


I mean, it's one of Meghan Markle's top travel ~essentials~ so it's not a bad idea to adopt a scarf as one of your own. Whether the weather is frigid or tropical, there's a scarf for it. And on the plane, it doubles as a blanket that smells like home. Keep it close for comfort.

A Snack

Got a favorite travel nosh? Turn your carry-on into a pantry.


You might be tempted to snuggle your sunglasses into your checked luggage to make room for your passport and wallet and other travel documents in your carry-on. But, keep a pair in your carry-on anyway. Checking them won't make that much of a difference, and you can always wear them on the flight to substitute for an eye mask.

A Charger ... For Everything

Keep all those chords in your carry on. For the sake of battery life and your own sanity.

Lipstick, Lipgloss, Lip Balm

After a long flight it's easy to feel less than glam. You've been inhaling recycled air that has been shared with strangers — your lips dry out. Make sure you have something cosmetic to smear your lips with so you can start spring break off with "just landed" selfies.

Change Of Shoes

Where you're going is not where you're from. And that calls for a change in footwear. Slip your feet into something more comfortable for your new life, I mean, vacation.

Journal And Pen

A plane ride is a good time to think. When you're not snoozing or watching a movie, it doesn't hurt to write down some thoughts. Travel journals are souvenirs in their own right. You'll have the pictures to look back upon but a journal lets you remember the poetic details.

Eye Mask

The beauty of vacation is all the sleep you allow yourself to catch up on. Turn off all of your alarms and enjoy shutting out the light when you want to.


Don't go anywhere without your headphones. Crying babies on your flight? Rely on your headphones — not the ones you can buy for five dollars on the flight, but the ones that fit your ears perfectly. This will help tune out sneezes on the flight and make standing at baggage claim calmer. Hello, meditations.