A Life Engaged

Packing a Carry On – Keep It Simple


carry on backpackWhen flying internationally there is always potential for very long travel days including flights and layovers. We recently had a 32-hour travel period from departure to destination. When dealing with these long travel periods, what’s in your carry-on becomes extremely important.

In this post we will discuss what is useful to have in your carry-on, and possibly more important, what you can leave behind. First, everything in your carry-on should be able fit into your normal pack (or suitcase). Minimizing the amount of luggage you need to carry is essential to a positive travel experience.


On long flights feeling fresh can make all the difference in the world. While you may not be able to take a shower and curl your hair, these items will help you feel refreshed until you arrive at your destination.

  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Disposable face towelettes
  • Contact case & solution (if applicable)
  • Deodorant 

Clothing & Accessories

WEAR COMFY CLOTHES. Be comfortable. If you’re checking a bag (which should be avoided if possible), it’s always smart to put an extra set of clothes in your carry-on in case your luggage gets lost (another case in point for not checking your luggage). Leave behind your travel pillow and your blanket unless you can’t live without it…they’ll give you both on the plane (in sealed bags for all you germophobes out there!)

  • T-shirt
  • Scarf
  • Socks
  • Hair tie for girls and a hat for guys
  • Eye mask
  • Earplugs (for those crying babies in the seat behind you)


If you’re bringing a laptop/tablet, etc. exclusively for in-flight entertainment, you can leave it behind. On our recent trek halfway across the world, we didn’t use any of our electronics until the last 2 hours of our last flight (work related). We were able to keep ourselves occupied with the countless movies, TV shows, and music provided on the interactive screen provided on the back of each seat.

  • Laptop (only really needed for work purposes)
  • Kindle (only if you’re an avid reader)
  • Chargers for all electronics
  • Headphones (leave the Beats at home, the smaller the better)


By sticking with this small list of items you can make sure you are comfortable without carrying extra weight. What do you find essential to bring in your carry-on for long flights? Please post your comments and suggestions below. We are always looking for new ways to improve travel.