Air travel is awesome. Mind-numbing layovers, long flights and unforeseen delays are well, not so awesome. In your ongoing fight against all things boring, your carry-on can be the difference between relaxing, getting some much needed work done and being bored, to death. Not to mention staying fresh enough to spark up a conversation with the good-looking stranger a few seats over.
As a general rule, you want to avoid leaving anything that can, I don’t know, save your life, in checked baggage. All jokes aside, your important medication should be easily accessible in case of any type of emergency. You don’t want to be the reason the plane has to emergency land at the nearest airport. You also don’t want to ruin your hard earned vacation by dying, that’s a different type of vacation. Airlines place TSA restrictions on liquids, gels and aerosols. They should fit in a 30-ml. container and all containers should fit in a 945-gm. bag. Restrictions aren’t placed on prescription drugs, just have them screened with security if you’re carrying a larger than normal amount. I usually stick with lip balm, a stick of deodorant, travel-size toothpaste, toothbrush, face wipes and some hand cream. If you’re traveling with kids, throw in a few extras.
Books & Electronics:
Now some items, you’ll pack as automatically as you breathe or blink; laptop (I’m a MacBook guy), smartphone (iPhone for me), e-reader, mp3 player (does anyone on the planet not use an iPod?), tablet and any other portable electronic device you deem necessary. The tricky part is keeping all of these running until you get to wherever it is you’re headed. I’m a sucker for all things old school/vintage, so I usually have a book and a few magazines to go along with my gadgets (yes, books/magazines are now considered old school). A small perk of having books, magazines and e-readers is that they don’t have to be closed or turned off during takeoff or landing. Oh, and always keep your chargers in your carry-on. If you have several chargers, you may want to invest in a laptop size organizer. They come with neat elastic bands and compartments, perfect for keeping everything in one place and in place.
Like I mentioned earlier, layovers and long flights are no fun. They’re even less fun when you’re freezing or uncomfortable in some other way. What if your checked baggage gets sent to the wrong destination or arrives a lot later than you do? Make sure you pack an extra shirt or two, some spare underwear, some sweats and at least 1 outer layer in case things go south (and not the sunny kind of south). You may also want to bring an inflatable pillow, and a thin blanket along for the ride.
Food won’t be a deal breaker on a short flight. But on long flights, it’s a factor worth considering. Personally, I’m not a picky eater. If the food is at a good temperature and even mildly tasty, I won’t complain. But some people (you, yes you, the one with the face) can be a little more selective. It’s no secret that airplane food (even in business or first class) isn’t exactly the cream of the crop of fine dining. Try to bring a few snacks like fruits, snack bars and cold sandwiches. This not only saves you from the in-flight meal, it keeps a few extra dollars in your bank account and everyone likes that. Wins all around.
Important Travel Documents:
Most of the airports you’ll visit will have well-trained, efficient staff to make the airport process as quick and painless as possible. Some airports will however be short staffed, poorly trained and may even have a few language barriers. Keep valuables in your carry-on. Whether your devices, important documents like passports/permits and of course high value jewelry or larger amounts of cash, they should never be out of reach. Losing any of these can be the difference between an amazing trip and the worst trip of your life. Now if you’re like most people, you do almost everything online. Everything can be uploaded to your mobile device, and that’s awesome. But it doesn’t hurt to keep a hard copy in your carry on. You never know when you’ll spill coffee on your smartphone or other electronics. It’s always good to have a plan B (no pun intended)
Keep these must haves in mind and you’re golden!
Is there anything you absolutely can’t fly without? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section.