travel

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10 Items To Include In Your Carry-On Luggage

Tom Malone/Adventure Tribune
Only taking a piece of carry-on luggage on your next airplane trip? Don’t forget these items.


Checking luggage at the airport is a hassle. It costs too much money. You don’t have access to anything during the flight. There’s always a possibility that your luggage doesn’t make it on the plane. And, if it does, you have to wait for far too long to retrieve it.

Thus, more and more people are bringing nothing but a carry-on bag with them to their air travel destinations.

With a mid-sized backpack, you can even store the pack underneath the seat for easy access without sacrificing too much leg room. You can pack plenty of gear inside the pack, while still utilize the items inside for the long airplane ride ahead.

If you’re a believer in only bringing carry-on luggage, here are ten items you need to add to your usual packing list.

1. iPad
Most airplanes offer WiFi with partial access for free. You can watch a selection of movies, a few television channels, and utilize whatever offline apps you have. Listen to music, watch movies you’ve downloaded, write something, etc. Plus, the iPad features a quality camera that you can use when you’re strolling around your target destination. When you get to your hotel, you can use it as your daily newspaper and keep up-to-date on worldly events, or events in the town you just arrived in.

2. Book
Nothing beats an actual, paper copy of a book. The battery won’t die in the middle of the chapter. No one wants to steal it. And, if you lose it, oh well. Bring a paperback book with you on your next trip (they’re lighter than hardcovers). Utilize your down time to catch up on your reading.

3. Journal/Notebook
A journal or a notebook will allow you to record any fun happenings during your travels. You can also use the pages to jot down important directions, hotel names, flight changes, etc. It always helps to have a notebook with you.

4. Pen
This could be the most underutilized item on the list. Bring a pen to play crosswords or Sudoku puzzle in the airplane magazines. Use it write in your journal, write a phone number or an address. They take up zero room and you’ll always need one for something.

5. Water Bottle
Save money by bringing your own sturdy (empty) water bottle. Instead of buying two ten-dollar water bottles at the airport, fill up at a water fountain and always stay hydrated. This will save you money throughout the duration of your stay, as well.

6. Snacks
Most planes haven’t served free food in a long time (aside from the occasional bag with four peanuts). Bring some snacks to hold yourself over until you reach your destination, where you can have a real meal. Having pre-purchased snacks throughout the day at your destination will keep your cost low, too.

7. Deck of Cards
A deck of cards can squash any downtime and add a bit of friendly competition with your travel buddies. Whether you’re stuck at the airport, on the plane, or in your hotel, a deck of cards will always add a new element to the experience.

8. Toiletries
Even if you check your bags, bring some necessary toiletries with you in your carry-on. You never know what you’ll need at a moment’s notice. If you get stranded during a connection flight, it helps to have your toothbrush.

9. Sunglasses in Hard Case
You never know what the weather will do in your new destination. You might walk into a bright, sunny city without your shades. Bring a pair in a compact hard case to avoid your glasses getting smashed during travel.

10. Flip-Flops
This might seem like a strange item to bring, especially if you’re flying to a cold place. But, they come in useful on every trip. They don’t take up much space in your bag. You can wear them around your hotel. And, if the only footwear you have is on your feet while you fly, flip-flops add another option for your wardrobe. If your hotel or hostel has a pool, you’ll be thankful you at least have these.

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Tom Malone is the Editor-In-Chief of The Adventure Tribune and author of adventure novels, like Across Americana. He is based in Denver, Colorado, where he adventures through the Rocky Mountains while not traveling abroad.
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