13 Things You Must Bring On Your Carry-On

I honestly can’t count all the times my friends have texted me: “Natalie what should I bring on my carry-on”? Well, first and foremost, a huge thanks to all my friends for having inspired this column! And it’s because for some reason, people never know what they must bring on their carry-on. So here’s my list, and God forbid you leave one of these at home.  Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

So, you are finally taking your much needed vacation.  Let’s say for example Hawaii, or somewhere in Canada, or hey, let’s just go to Europe! Congratulations! Now, that you’ve made it past those fellas in security and you are ready for your in-flight entertainment, what do you do next? You keep your carry on with you!  I don’t care if they are checking in bags for free, you don’t let this baby out of your sight.  Here you have your most priced possessions!

Airlines nowadays are crazy trying to convince people to check in their carry-ons while boarding the plane.  I suggest you don’t do this, especially if you will be carrying everything on this list. Having said this, start with a:

Water Resistant Backpack

Why you may ask? Because a backpack is usually a reasonable size you can always argue fits under your front seat and therefore won’t be needing any overhead bin space –even if later on you do. Yes, you are welcome.

Why water resistant, or better yet, waterproof? Because you will be using it later during your travels and rain is unpredictable.  Believe me! I spent a week confined in the best beaches of Thailand in what should’ve been called a tropical storm.

Now, what’s inside this treasure of yours?


It’s a long flight.  It’s an airline that either you’ve never flown with before or have no idea if they’ll have chicken or pasta by the time they reach your seat.  No worries, you have a safety net.

Having snacks also helps you kill about 20 minutes of your flight. Another interesting fact, if traveling with children, the gum can save his/her discomfort of air pressure, helping their ears pop.

Pajamas and A Pair of Comfy Long Socks

May I ask you, do you watch movies at home wearing jeans, tennis shoes, and a fancy shirt?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Get comfortable! You will be here for the next few hours, and if you are anything like me, for the next 6-15 hours! Change clothes and get ready “for bed”. Take off your shoes and put some socks on.  Why do I love socks? Simple: if your feet stink from the previous shoes you were wearing, they will cover the smell; they are comfortable; they protect you from being cold; they are easier to wear if your feet get swollen during the flight… shall I continue?

Sleeping Aid

Unless you are like me – a bear that can hibernate for 8 months even while the world can fall apart and still manage to sleep – chances are you might need help falling asleep on the plane.  I at times need help, hence why I carry these.  I usually carry Zzz-Quil, which are expressly made for this in mind, so no need to take unnecessary medication.

Sleep Mask

I can’t promise you your next door neighbor won’t have his light on while reading Harry Potter, or even better yet, his bright TV on during this long haul.  In case he does, you have come prepared and have something to cover your eyes with.


Oh boy! This is one of my favorites! Not only for the obvious purpose while flying, but also during the before and after.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made it to a hotel or an Airbnb and they don’t have enough pillows for this delicate head of mine.  In those cases, I hold on to my favorite partner in crime and thank the heavens I have somewhere to lay my head on.

Same thing when your flight gets delayed time after time, or during a long layover.  Trust me, you’ll remember me.

Small Bathroom Kit

In case you have been living under a rock for the past, I don’t know, almost two decades, you can’t pass liquids or gels beyond 3oz through security.  Yes, it sucks, but it’s also not impossible and it actually helps you with being practical.  So what do I have on mine?

a.  Travel toothpaste and toothbrush – Go to the lavatory before landing (when you must change back to your decent human clothes) and brush your teeth. Also,

b.  Face wash – Good morning gorgeous/handsome! Throw some water on your face because you are about an hour from landing unto your destination! Are you excited yet? Brace yourself! It will be a long day!

c.  Perfume or Cologne – and with this I have to say two things. One: get a travel refillable perfume atomizer and fill it with your favorite scent; Two: be considerate and don’t bathe yourself in it. You might love your scent but the next person might not necessarily appreciate that 90s’ Cool Water smell. I also leave this part for when I get off the plane.  After all, consideration goes a long way.

d.  Deodorant – for obvious reasons.

Baby wipes

Assuming that you are not traveling First Class on an Emirates plane, chances are you don’t have a shower.  This, however should never be the reason to not feel your best while traveling.  Baby wipes is my little shower in the skies.  Those babies make me feel as clean as a person can feel, given the circumstances.  At the very least, it will tide you over until you make it to your Hotel/Airbnb.

Small Pen

You are close to landing and they give you the Customs sheet, but guess what? Although flight attendants do have pens, they will tell you they don’t. So do yourself a favor a have a mini pen and during the process, lend it to your whole entire row.  They will appreciate you for it.

External battery

This really amazes me, but chances are you don’t have an extra battery with you.  I still don’t understand this, but that’s why I’m here.  Do yourself a favor and bring an external battery.  Your phone battery sucks, and I know this because all cell phone batteries suck.  Do your phone and tablet and any other electronic you might have a favor and carry an external battery with you at all times.

Noise Cancelling Headphones / Ear Plugs

If you are a light sleeper, I truly hope you don’t sit next to someone like me since I fall asleep in about 2 seconds, and, drumroll, I snore! And chances are, the guy sitting behind or in front of you, does so as well. So may I insist on a good pair of noise cancelling headphones? You will be able to tune out everything and go to your very own Dream Land.

In the instance you are a better sleeper than most – high five – a pair of earbuds will do.

Technology Gadgets

I don’t know about you but I make myself believe I’m some sort of a famous online blogger. Therefore, I always carry my MacBook, Sony Mirrorless Camera, Lenses, GoPro, Tripods, Selfie Sticks, batteries, cords, and External Hard Drive with me.

Pair of Clothes

Out of all the flights I’ve taken I’ve only gotten my luggage lost once. Hello Chicago O’Hare! However, this is something that can happen anytime, and unless you are flying nearby, chances are your luggage will take some time to get to you.  Therefore, I always suggest carrying with you one outfit and clean underwear. Also, may I add, if you are going somewhere where there’s a beach, carry a bathing suit with you too! You might have lost your big suitcase but this doesn’t mean you have to postpone sipping your very much needed piña colada by the beach!

So there you have it, ladies and gents.  My always must-have-on-me at all times list during my flights. Get comfy, get excited, and most importantly, have fun!

Always wishing you a safe and fabulous trip,



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