The Few Essential Items to Keep in Your Carry-On When Flying Internationally

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We’ve all been there. Maybe you’ve just gotten off your flight and are waiting at Brussels luggage storage for your bags to come off the line, or maybe you haven’t even gotten off the ground yet. Either way, you realize you’ve made a mistake: something you really need right now is stuck in check-in baggage you can’t even access.

The best way to avoid this? Make sure you pack everything important in your carry-on, a.k.a. hand baggage! It’ll save you a lot of trouble in the long run.


Among the most important things, you can have on you when travelling is your important documents. You’ll often be asked to produce them for various purposes, which makes it important to have them in your carry-on.

It’s also much less likely that your documents will get lost or stolen if you have them on you. It’s a sad fact that sometimes luggage gets misplaced, and while most other things can be sorted out without too much trouble – if with an uncomfortable amount of money – losing your passport, driver’s license or other documentation can be devastating.

Food and Water

People often underestimate how long international flights can be, or think that food and drinks will be taken care of by the airline. To an extent this is true, but it’s always more convenient to bring your own.

Typically, you’ll be charged for food and drinks on the flight, and you’ll end up paying a lot more than you would just bring your own.

As well, it ensures you have extras for when you’re going about your day after you arrive!


Most of your clothes will be packed in your main luggage, of course, but it never hurts to keep at least one change of clothes on you, for multiple reasons. The big one is that if your luggage gets lost or delayed, at least you’ll have one change of clothes to keep yourself comfortable.

It’s also a good idea to keep different kinds of clothes in your carry-on, just in case. Things like your bathing suit or maybe even a different pair of shoes, so you can wear your comfiest ones on the plane.


Chances are the first thing you’ll want to do after getting off your flight is to go to your hotel and freshen up before crashing.

Instead of having to dig through your luggage to find all your most important things, just pack your toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, and so on in your carry-on so you always know where it is and can easily access it.

This also goes for stuff like wet wipes and other things to use on the plane. It’s awful to get something sticky on your fingers and then be stuck with it for a while.


If you have regular meds you need to take, on a long flight there’s a strong chance you’ll either need to take them mid-flight or soon after landing. Having them available and at hand is critical, especially with the chances of your luggage being lost, delayed, or in the worst cases stolen on arrival.

Refilling your prescriptions abroad can be a challenge, or even impossible. Make sure you bring everything you need and keep a close eye on it.

While you’re at it, make sure to pack some general-use medications as well like a headache reliever or maybe medicine for an upset stomach. These things don’t take up too much space and could save you a lot of discomfort on a long flight.

Comfort Items

This is a catch-all term for anything that makes your flight more bearable. Aeroplanes aren’t the most uncomfortable setting in the world, but they come with a lot of small annoyances that stack up over time.

These annoyances can make it difficult to do something important: sleep.

Pack a face mask to block out the light, and earplugs for the inevitable crying child or loud conversation. If you can spare the room, a small pillow or neck cushion can go a long way toward making you feel more at home.


Some people are unwilling (or unable) to sleep on a plane. In that case, you’d better have something to keep you occupied on a long trip.

Bring a good book, or electronics that don’t necessarily need to be connected to the internet for you to use, like an e-reader. Maybe bring along a handheld game console to get in some gaming you wouldn’t otherwise have time for.

Whatever it is, make sure it’s fully charged and ready to go. You’ll also want to consider allocating more and more space to this category the longer your flight gets. Nobody wants to finish their book and realize they still have hours to go before they land.


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