Travel Essentials List: What to Pack for Carry On Luggage Like A Boss

We all have that moment when we don’t know or are confused about what to pack on our carry on luggage. Here are the various travel essentials and accessories that I truly recommend that you must have in your carry on suitcase.

It was a trial and error process, believe it or not, I was one of those travellers who can’t pack light at all. Over the years of travelling, I have managed to refine my travel packing checklist on what to bring and what not to pack in my carry-on bag.

Determining the size of your carry on bag is also essential to make sure you can fit all the things that you have to pack for your flight. Here are the lists of our recommended cabin size carry on suitcases or travel backpacks for your travel.

Curating your ultimate packing list for your travel is very important to make sure that you have all the necessary items that you will need. Moreover, this will also guarantee that you will be saving all the precious space and weight that suits your airline allowance.

I also want to encourage you to read this article that I wrote about what are the things you can bring/take on a flight.

How to pack a backpack or suitcase for your carry-on luggage:

One of my travel packing tips and tricks is to use travel packing cubes. This will make your carry-on luggage organise and make you through easily during airport security inspections.

If you travel light or travel with your hand luggage only, of course, you want to save precious space. Roll your clothes and use a travel vacuum sack.  This method will remove all the air and keep everything snug.

Here’s the list of my recommended travel essentials and accessories to pack for your carry-on luggage:

1. Travel document holder/wallet

travel wallet

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My travel wallet completely changed how I organise my valuables on my carry-on luggage.  This is where I keep my passports,  boarding pass, cards, luggage keys, hotel reservation confirmations and other valuable documents and trinkets that I need.  This will save you from a lot of hassle rummaging inside your bag looking for a piece of paper or luggage keys.

2. Clear plastic ziplock bag

Clear Ziplock bag

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All liquids should be kept inside the clear plastic zip lock bag. The recommended size is 20 cm x 20 cm. You can only bring 100ml liquids in each container that must fit comfortably inside the clear zip lock bag.

All UK airports have a designated area to sort out your liquids and put them in the clear plastic zip lock bag. I personally have a few extra zip lock bags in my hand luggage. They come in handy for wet clothes, soap and just in case your ziplock bag gets ripped.

3. Travel kit hand lotion

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream

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Hand lotion is a must in my carry-on hand luggage. My hands easily get tired in a cold climate or just after I wash them.  So it’s always handy to have one on your carry-on suitcase.

4. Travel size hand sanitiser

Travel size hand sanitizer

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Cleanliness is paramount especially when you are travelling. I always have a pocket hand sanitiser in my carry-on luggage as a safety and hygiene measure before I have my meal or snacks while travelling.

5. Travel wet wipes

Travel Wet Wipes

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Since I’m more particular when it comes to hygiene when travelling, I always make sure that I have travel wet wipes on my carry-on luggage. It’s handy for refreshing up during long flights or just for any reason (even for doing your business!).

6. Power bank

Travel Power Bank

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I do have a few gadgets with me when I travel, as a blogger having a good power bank is vital especially for long-haul flights or layovers.

7. USB cable

Multi-purpose USB Cable

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Like the power bank, USB cables are also a mainstay in my carry-on luggage. Just bring one or two USB cables in your hand luggage so you can have a hard time untangling them all. A handy USB cable travel case is a must to sort these cables out well in your bag.

8. Universal travel adapter

Universal Travel Adapter

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Universal Travel Adapter is essential when you are travelling with a few gadgets. It is handy to have one in your carry-on luggage. Just check prior to your departure on what type of travel adapter you need for your destination.  Alternatively, get a universal travel adapter.

I wrote this article in the blog, 15 World Travel Adapter Guide, wherein I discussed the different types of travel adapters in each country. I encourage you to read before you go on your next trip.

9. TSA-approved lock

TSA Approved travel lock

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Safety of your belonging is important even if you are travelling with your carry-on suitcase.  I always have a TSA (Transportation Security Administration) approved lock.

10. Eye mask

Eye Mask for Travelling

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If I’m going on a long-haul flight I always use an eye mask to help me sleep through the flight. Eye masks will help your body to reset and avoid jet lag by blocking the surrounding lights. Hence, it will give your body a chance to reboot and get a restful sleep.

11. Kindle

Kindle Waterproof

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I love reading. I always bring my kindle when I go travelling.  This helps me to kill time in the airport and during the flight if we don’t have any in-flight entertainment.

12. Travel pillow

Trtl Travel Pillow

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A travel pillow will save your neck from a lot of pain and help you to have a comfortable flight most especially on a long-haul one.  You can check our guide in choosing the best travel pillow for your next trip. 

13. Medicine bag

Travel Medicine Bag

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I always bring a little medicine bag in my carry-on luggage.  This consist of just the basic pain killers like paracetamol, diarrhoea tablets, Antacid tablets and ibuprofen.  I always make sure that I have this handy in case I suddenly feel unwell. It can sometimes be challenging or expensive to buy this abroad, so I always take some with me. 

14. Camera Kit

Olympus OMD Travel Kit Camera

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I always have my camera and lenses in my carry-on luggage.  I can’t even imagine putting them on my checked-in luggage! You can read more of our guide to the best travel cameras.

15. Small packing cubes

Travel Packing cubes

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Saving me the grief of having messy carry-on luggage, I always make sure that my stuff is organised in a small packing cube.   You can check out the guide that I made in choosing the right travel packing cube for your travel.

16. Earphones

Travel Earphones

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I also love listening to my audiobooks whenever I travel. So I always make sure that I have my earphones with me in my carry-on luggage.

17. Comfortable cardigan

Travel Cardigan

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 I always have a cardigan on my carry-on packing list.  This is very handy especially during the flight or during an evening transit at the airport.

18. Large Scarf

Travel Large Scarf

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Another must-have on my carry-on packing list is a big scarf! It is super helpful most especially for ladies just for a quick cover-up or just to keep you warm.  It will also come in handy in case you will travel or visit a religious and conservative destination or site.

19. Travel leg compression socks

Travel Compression socks

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Save yourself from the nasty Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) due to the limited movement for a long period of time, most especially on a long-haul flight.  It is always great to wear one of these during your long-haul flight.

20. Basic travel cosmetics

travel make up kit

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Having a basic travel cosmetic kit on my carry-on suitcase helps me to stay fresh. Travelling can be stressful. My basic travel cosmetics are pressed powder, oil control film, lipstick and an eyebrow kit. You can read some other great travel cosmetics that I normally use.

21. Stick Deodorant

Stick Deodorant for travel

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I always use a stick deodorant when I’m travelling.  This is more convenient than using a spray one.  It will save you a lot of hassle in the airport security.

22. Shampoo bar

travel shampoo bars

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I also use and bring a shampoo bar just in case there’s none in the hotel or accommodation where I’ll be staying.  It is also environmentally friendly!  Less plastic bottles will go to waste.

That’s it! I hope that helped you as well in finalising your ultimate carry-on travel packing list.

If you have other great suggestions based on your travel packing experience,
let me know in the comment box below.

Travel Essentials Carry On Packing List


Ryazan Tristram EverythingZany Author Bio

Ryazan Tristram

Travel Writer & Photographer

Ryazan has a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism and Hotel Management. She also has more than 10 years of work experience gained from working in the hotel and travel sectors in Asia and Europe. Her work has been featured and published on Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Discovery Channel, World Travel Guide, MSN, CNBC, GMA, Daily Mail UK, Lonely Planet and many more. She is currently living in the UK as a dual citizen (British – Filipina). Join her in travelling around the UK and beyond with a mission to promote sustainable tourism and share travel guides, travel tips, foodies, history and culture.

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