Travel Bag Essentials | 8 Things To Always Pack

Carry-On Necessities For Day-Long Airport Trips

Outside of trips up and down the West Coast, the flights I take tend to be long hauls…and that’s any anything over 5 hours on the plane in my opinion. If you think about it, you’ve got the couple of hours before and after the flight, so the whole day is usually spent traveling.

I’ve found that the same list of essentials has been in my carry-on time and time again. This list of items has carried me not only through flights. I’ve been snowed out, rained in, and (of course) had to sleep in an airport or two overnight. Below you will find the bits that help me stay prepared for anything when I am traveling.

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Now first off, there are obvious items I’d like to get out of the way. These are usually in my purse every day, so they just get transferred over into my over-sized carry-on. Some sort of lip moisturizer is always on hand, and the same goes for a small travel-sized bottle of lotion. My wallet holds my ID’s, cash, and credit cards, but the passport is tossed in depending on where I am headed. I also keep a small cleaning kit for my braces in my purse, so until those come off, that’s in the bag too! Baby wipes always come in handy when you least expect it, so I usually pick up a fresh travel-sized pack before every trip.


  1. Chargers: This may seem like a given too, but I can’t even count the number of times we’ve gotten to our destination (or sometimes en route) and somebody is missing theirs, so it goes at the top of the list. Nowadays this should include tablet/laptop chargers, not just cell phone chargers.
  2. Headphones: When I fly I usually have two sets of headphones. I have a larger over-ear set that allows me to share sound, in case I have a friend traveling with me. They also just have better sound quality, and over loud plane noise, this is called for. I also carry the in-ear headphones as well. I find that these are a little easier to fall asleep with than the over-ear version.
  3. Blanket: I tend to be cold pretty much everywhere I go, but traveling the skies, it’s worse than usual. I always have a large scarf or a small travel blanket packed in my bag for long trips. That said, I usually pack a pair of socks, too.
  4. Pillow: I should also mention my travel pillow, I love that thing. I know most people prefer their neck pillows but I actually cannot get comfortable with those things. I just don’t feel properly supported and I generally wake up with neck pain, so instead I use a small pillow that I got on a flight once. Amazon has some options that I have found to be more substantial than the travel pillows you will find in the airport, too. 
  5. Water bottle: Maybe another obvious item to bring is a water bottle. I would kick myself if I had to purchase a $6 bottle of water at the airport. Bringing a bottle means I can fill it before and during the flight, and this way I don’t have to wait for the flight attendants to come around with a swig of water at a time.
  6. Food: I make sure to ALWAYS pack some sort of snacks that will last me through the whole trip. I base the food around the length of the flight, whether there is meal service, and what I feel like eating. I’ll grab a muffin for morning flights, or trail mix, a fruit cup, or crackers for any other times. I try not to grab anything too salty, since the altitudes sometimes do not mix well with that, but it really just varies with my mood. I’ll also bring a cup of instant oatmeal, tea bags, or hot chocolate packets for longer hauls. I’ve found that, for the most part, it’s not too difficult to find hot water and a spoon in an airport or on a plane. These types of piping hot foods can make travel just a little cozier.
  7. Books: I try not to carry too many books, but it’s nice to have at least one on hand. I tend to bring along something I am really enjoying for plane rides. When an author can really suck me in, the time just flies by. I also will often pack a coloring book and a small pack of colored pencils. This has gotten a few stares from other passengers, but I’ve also found that others like to share a page or two! There’s something very therapeutic about coloring, isn’t there?
  8. Sandwich baggie: Now this might be another weird one, but I picked this up from another traveling buddy years and years ago on our way to a college tour. He brought the baggie to hold his cords and things, but we ended up using it to prop up our iPod (yes, that long ago) to watch a movie! Now I make sure to have at least one baggie when I head out. I’ve had to use it to hold dirty clothing and soiled tissues before, you never know when a sandwich sized clear baggie will come in handy.CarryOnEssentials |

Final Tips

Those who are lighter sleepers might also want to pack an eye mask. Even when the mask isn’t required for sleep, it still lets everyone know that you are trying to catch a nap.


Since you generally know you have a longer flight ahead of time, it’s a smart idea to just choose your seats as early as possible. Everyone has their preferences  for seating (aisle, middle seat, or window seat) since each has their individual perks (i.e. slightly more legroom, more “privacy”, or easier access out) so this is just based on you. That said, though, if you cannot choose the seat when you purchase, check in as soon as possible and choose your seat. Make it easy on yourself as possible beforehand.


What does everyone else fly with? What sorts of things are on your list of musts? I would love to hear about any tips down in the comments, and others might too!


  1. January 7, 2018 / 4:11 am

    I absolutely agree. These eight things are a must when you travel. I always carry them along whenever I travel. However, in addition to this, I take a basic first aid box with me containing all my important medicines and a list of allergies along with the prescribed medicine (in case of an emergency).

    • January 7, 2018 / 8:08 am

      Good one! I never have any sort of reactions but lots of people do, so thanks for adding to the list.

  2. January 8, 2018 / 12:10 pm

    This is a great list! I also like to carry tissues/wet wipes for when the airplane bathroom runs out and my journal to scribble thoughts 🙂 Safe travels!

  3. January 10, 2018 / 4:02 pm

    Great list and tips! I pinned this post and I’m sending it to my mom who is flying to New Zealand in July.

    • January 10, 2018 / 6:48 pm

      Thanks Kristy, so glad you found it helpful!

      I hear New Zealand is beautiful, too.

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