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What To Put In A Carry-On Suitcase


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Philippine Platt



When it comes to traveling, whether it’s a short business trip or a long-awaited vacation, packing efficiently is essential. One of the key aspects of a smooth journey is having the right essentials and accessories in your carry-on suitcase. These items can make your travel experience more comfortable, convenient, and enjoyable.


Having the right clothing, toiletries, electronics, and entertainment items can ensure you’re prepared for any situation and help you stay organized throughout your trip. Additionally, having important documents and travel essentials easily accessible can save you time and stress at airports and hotels.


In this article, we will explore a comprehensive list of travel essentials and accessories for your carry-on suitcase. From clothing and toiletries to electronics and comfort items, we will cover everything you need to pack for a hassle-free trip.


So, whether you’re a frequent flyer or a new traveler, let’s dive into the essential items you should consider packing in your carry-on suitcase.


Clothing Essentials

When deciding what clothing to pack in your carry-on suitcase, it’s important to consider the weather at your destination, the duration of your trip, and any specific activities or events you’ll be participating in. Here are some key clothing essentials to include:

  • Comfortable and versatile outfits: Pack a few basic pieces that can be mixed and matched to create different looks. Opt for clothing made of lightweight and breathable materials.
  • Undergarments: Don’t forget to pack enough underwear and socks for the duration of your trip. Consider packing some moisture-wicking socks if you’ll be doing a lot of walking or hiking.
  • Appropriate footwear: Choose footwear based on your activities. For casual trips, a pair of comfortable walking shoes or sneakers should suffice. If you have formal events or dinners planned, pack a pair of dressier shoes.
  • Outerwear: Depending on the weather, pack a lightweight jacket, a sweater, or a cardigan to layer over your outfits.
  • Swimwear: If you’re heading to a destination with a beach or pool, don’t forget to pack your swimsuit.
  • Accessories: Remember to pack accessories such as sunglasses, a hat, and a scarf or shawl, which can add style to your outfits and also serve practical purposes.

It’s always a good idea to pack a few extra clothing items in case of unexpected weather changes or if your trip gets extended. Roll or fold your clothes compactly to save space in your carry-on suitcase and prevent wrinkles. If you have limited space, consider wearing your bulkier items, such as a jacket or sneakers, during the flight to free up space in your luggage.


Toiletries and Personal Care Items

When it comes to toiletries and personal care items, it’s important to pack travel-sized products to comply with airport regulations. Here are some essential items to include in your carry-on suitcase:

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste: Opt for a travel-sized toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste to keep your dental hygiene in check during your trip.
  • Shampoo and conditioner: Purchase travel-sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner or transfer your favorite products into smaller travel containers.
  • Body wash or soap: Choose a travel-sized body wash or soap that suits your preferences.
  • Deodorant: Pack a travel-sized deodorant or a small solid deodorant stick to stay fresh throughout your journey.
  • Skincare products: Bring along your essential skincare items such as facial cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen. Consider using travel-sized containers or purchasing mini versions of your preferred products.
  • Razor and shaving cream: If you need to shave during your trip, bring along a travel-sized razor and a small tube of shaving cream.
  • Haircare products: If you have specific haircare needs, pack travel-sized versions of your favorite products, including shampoo, conditioner, and styling products.
  • Makeup and cosmetics: Limit your makeup essentials to the basics. Pack travel-sized makeup items and brushes to save space.
  • Personal hygiene items: Don’t forget items like a comb, hairbrush, hair ties, and any other personal hygiene items you use daily.

Remember to consider any specific needs or preferences you may have when it comes to personal care items. If you have certain allergies or skin sensitivities, ensure to pack products that cater to those needs. Keep your toiletries in a clear, resealable bag to comply with airport security regulations.


It’s also a good idea to have some wet wipes or hand sanitizer in your bag for quick clean-ups or moments when handwashing facilities are not easily accessible.


Electronics and Gadgets

In today’s digital age, electronics and gadgets have become essential travel companions. Here are some key items to consider packing in your carry-on suitcase:

  • Mobile phone and charger: Your mobile phone is a must-have for staying connected, navigating, and capturing memories. Don’t forget to pack your charger or a portable power bank to keep your phone charged during your journey.
  • Laptop or tablet: If you plan to work or stream entertainment during your trip, consider bringing along a laptop or tablet. Ensure to pack the charger and any necessary adapters.
  • Earphones or headphones: Whether you want to listen to music, watch movies, or block out background noise, a pair of earphones or headphones is essential for a more enjoyable travel experience.
  • Camera: If you’re a photography enthusiast, don’t forget to pack your camera and any necessary accessories, such as extra batteries and memory cards.
  • E-book reader: If you enjoy reading, an e-book reader is a convenient way to carry multiple books without adding extra weight to your luggage.
  • Adapters and converters: If you’re traveling internationally, it’s crucial to pack the appropriate adapters and converters to ensure your electronic devices can be used in different power outlets.

Remember to pack your electronics in a protective case to prevent any damage during the journey. It’s a good idea to keep all your electronic gadgets in a separate compartment of your carry-on suitcase for easy access during security checks.


Keep in mind that electronic devices and their accessories can take up valuable space and add weight to your bag, so prioritize the items you cannot do without and leave behind any non-essential gadgets to save space and reduce the burden on your shoulders.


Important Documents and Travel Essentials

When traveling, it’s crucial to have your important documents and travel essentials well-organized and easily accessible. Here are some items you should include in your carry-on suitcase:

  • Passport and ID: One of the most essential items for international travel is your passport. Make sure to keep it in a secure and waterproof pouch to protect it from damage. Additionally, have a copy of your passport and another form of identification as a backup.
  • Travel tickets and itinerary: Keep your flight tickets, hotel reservations, and any other travel documents in a folder or a digital format on your device for easy reference.
  • Visas and travel permits: If you’re traveling to a country that requires a visa or other travel permits, ensure you have the necessary documents and keep them in a secure and easily accessible location.
  • Health insurance and medical information: It’s important to have a copy of your health insurance policy, as well as any specific medical information or prescriptions you may need during your trip.
  • Currency and payment methods: Depending on your destination, it’s advisable to carry some local currency in cash for immediate expenses. Additionally, bring along a debit or credit card that can be used internationally.
  • Travel adapter: If you’re traveling to a country with different electrical outlets, pack a travel adapter that will allow you to charge your devices.
  • Travel guidebooks and maps: Although you can find most information online, having a physical travel guidebook or maps can be helpful, especially if you don’t have internet access.
  • Emergency contact information: Keep a list of emergency contact numbers, both for your home country and for the destination you’re traveling to, in case you need assistance during your trip.

It’s wise to make multiple copies or digital scans of important documents and store them in separate locations such as your email, a cloud storage service, or with a trusted family member or friend. This ensures that you have backup copies in case the originals are lost or stolen.


Remember to secure all your important documents and travel essentials in a secure compartment of your carry-on suitcase to prevent any misplacement or theft.


Entertainment and Comfort Items

Long flights or train rides can sometimes be monotonous, so it’s important to pack entertainment and comfort items to keep yourself occupied and comfortable throughout the journey. Here are some items to consider including in your carry-on suitcase:

  • Books or e-books: Bring along your favorite book or load up your e-reader with novels, magazines, or non-fiction books to keep yourself entertained during the trip.
  • Travel games or puzzles: Pack a deck of cards, travel-sized board games, or puzzles that you can enjoy with your travel companions or on your own.
  • Headrest or neck pillow: A comfortable headrest or neck pillow can make a huge difference in your comfort level during a long journey, especially when trying to catch some sleep.
  • Blanket or shawl: Airlines can get chilly, so carrying a lightweight blanket or shawl can provide warmth and coziness during the flight.
  • Eye mask and earplugs: Block out light and noise with an eye mask and earplugs to create a more serene environment conducive to restful sleep or relaxation.
  • Portable music player: Load up your favorite tunes on a portable music player or create a playlist on your phone to enjoy during the journey.
  • Snuggly socks or slippers: Slip into comfortable and warm socks or slippers to keep your feet cozy during the flight.
  • Travel journal and pen: Document your experiences, thoughts, and memories in a travel journal to reflect upon later or share with friends and family.

Additionally, consider downloading movies, TV shows, or podcasts onto your electronic devices in case you prefer to watch or listen to entertainment content during your journey.


Having these entertainment and comfort items can help make your travel experience more enjoyable and relaxing, especially during long flights or layovers.


Snacks and Refreshments

Having snacks and refreshments on hand during your travels can prevent hunger pangs and keep you energized throughout the journey. Here are some snacks and refreshments to consider packing in your carry-on suitcase:

  • Granola bars or energy bars: These compact snacks can provide a quick boost of energy and satisfy your hunger when you’re on the go.
  • Nuts and dried fruits: These nutrient-dense snacks are easy to pack and offer a good source of protein and healthy fats.
  • Crackers or pretzels: Choose individual packets of crackers or pretzels for a crunchy snack option to munch on during the flight.
  • Snack packs: Consider preparing small snack packs with a variety of snacks like mixed nuts, cheese cubes, and sliced fruits for a balanced and convenient snack option.
  • Reusable water bottle: Staying hydrated is essential when traveling. Bring an empty water bottle to fill up after passing through security to avoid purchasing plastic water bottles at the airport.
  • Tea bags or instant coffee: If you’re a tea or coffee lover, bring your favorite tea bags or packets of instant coffee to enjoy a warm beverage during your journey.
  • Gum or mints: Keep your breath fresh and ease ear pressure during takeoff and landing by chewing gum or sucking on mints.
  • Chocolate or sweet treats: Pack a small indulgence like chocolate or your favorite sweet treat to satisfy your cravings during the trip.

It’s important to pack snacks that are non-perishable, especially for long flights or when you’re unsure of the availability of meal options. However, be mindful of any restrictions or regulations on bringing food items from one country to another.


Remember to check if the airline or transportation service provides complimentary snacks and meals, as this can help you plan accordingly and avoid overpacking.


Having a selection of snacks and refreshments not only keeps you fueled, but it can also save you money and provide a sense of comfort during your journey.



Traveling can be an exciting adventure, but it’s important to be prepared and have the right essentials and accessories in your carry-on suitcase. By packing the appropriate clothing, toiletries, electronics, and travel essentials, you can ensure a smoother and more enjoyable travel experience.


When it comes to clothing, pack versatile and comfortable outfits that can accommodate different weather conditions and activities. Don’t forget to include essential undergarments, footwear suitable for your travel plans, and accessories to complete your outfits.


Personal care items and toiletries are essential for maintaining cleanliness and hygiene during your trip. Remember to adhere to airport regulations by packing travel-sized versions of your favorite products and organizing them in a clear, resealable bag.


Electronics and gadgets can enhance your travel experience by providing entertainment and keeping you connected. From mobile phones to laptops and e-readers, don’t forget to pack the necessary chargers, adapters, and headphones to make the most of your journey.


Important documents, such as your passport, identification, travel tickets, and visas, should be kept organized and easily accessible. It’s also advisable to carry a copy of these documents in case of loss or theft.


Entertainment and comfort items can help make long journeys more enjoyable. Bring along books, games, neck pillows, and other comfort essentials to keep yourself entertained and relaxed throughout the trip.


Lastly, snacks and refreshments can keep hunger at bay and ensure you stay hydrated during your travels. Pack non-perishable snacks, a reusable water bottle, and any favorite beverages to have on hand.


By considering all of these essential items and packing them in your carry-on suitcase, you can travel with confidence and have a more comfortable, organized, and enjoyable journey. So, grab your suitcase and get ready to embark on your next adventure!