How To Pack The Perfect Carry On Bag for Every Trip!

Welcome to my guide to Packing the Perfect Carry On for any flight – it’s my ultimate guide to packing a TSA approved sized bag which will get you to where you are going with everything you’ll need. With more and more airlines charging you to stow a bag in the hold, it has never been more important to learn how to pack the perfect carry on bag – and in doing so it not only saves you a little extra cash, but it also helps get you on your way at your destination as you step off the plane as you don’t need stand at the carousel to collect your bag. Winning! Scroll down for the perfect carry on packing list and we’ll have you packing like a pro in no time!

Carry On Packing List | Pack Like A Pro

How To Pack The Perfect Carry On Bag For Every Trip

In Flight Essential | Carry On Packing List | What to pack in your carry on

The Bag

I’m not going to lie to you – I am super sneaky when it comes to how much I physically take on the plane and I exploit the whole ‘one main bag and a handbag’ rule to the absolute maximum!

**My top tip – keep your Longchamp folded and in the wheelie case when you’re checking in. Thus complying with the 1+1 bag rule. Once you are through security, unfold the Longchamp and re-arrage your bag.  Take out the stuff you’re going to need on the actual flight – think laptop, headphones, kindle, compression socks, powerbank etc – and place them into the Longchamp. This means when you get on the plane, the wheelie case can go straight up top, and you’ve got everything you need at your feet. As you get to the gate, you can also pop your ‘handbag’ into the longchamp/or the case – whichever is easier – and it means you still comply with 1+1 rule. Genius!**




Yep, I know – everyone seems to have one of these – and being someone who doesn’t like to follow the crowd – I waited a very long time to get my own. But I LOVE it, and wish I had got one sooner. Its versatile, stylish, strong and packs down to nothing. It really is the perfect bag for any traveler!



I always like to have my Lumix FZ70 attached to my person at all times, but carrying it around my neck isn’t always practical. I love this bag because it doesn’t look like a camera bag, but has a layer of padding to protect my camera and is big enough (but not too big!) to also carry my phone, passport and purse.



The Tech


Pretty self-explanatory right?!



I adore my MacBook Air and I can’t/don’t/won’t leave home without it. Even before I needed it for work, I always traveled with it. We use it as a TV while we are traveling – and carry an external hard drive full of movies/tv shows for those times were we just need a little downtime. It’s also great for long haul flights on budget airlines that don’t offer in-flight entertainment (which is becoming more and more the norm!)


KINDLE – or a Good Book

I’m always torn between the Kindle and a real book. I mean, from an environmental perspective, less paper is better and the Kindle is a great space saver. But you know, sometimes, I just like how a book feels. It’s also something you can swap with other travelers along the way. This one is an entirely personal preference.



When space is at a premium, in-ear bud style headphones are a must! But if you do prefer over ear headphones – I recommend the Sennheiser PXC 550 – read my full review here.



If you’re flying on one of the premium airlines, in seat power is usually a given – however, budget airline are well, budget. Having your own little power bank means you’ll never run out of power (so you can keep playing candy crush for hours – or is that just something I do?!)


LUMIX FZ70 with Spare Memory Card(s)

I reckon I’ve mentioned this a few times, but I LOVE this camera – click to find out why it’s the Best Bridge Camera for Travel



The Accessories


Keeping your wires and cables organized has never been so easy!


Travel Document Wallet

Despite all the apps that are out there to keep your itineraries & tickets on your phone – I always travel with a paper copy too. Phones can break/get lost – having a back up copy for emergencies is a no-brainer for me. I also carry copies of our passports and insurance docs. Just to be on the safe side.


Passport Cover

‘Cause it’s cute. And the RFID blocking lining is pretty cool.



These are such an awesome accessory to have. Water is always expensive in airports – and sometimes not free on the plane(!) – this little beauty lets you through security with an empty bottle that can then be filled up at the water fountains which are airside. An empty water bottle does the same job – but the genius of this is the ability to fold it and save even more space in your bag. Perfect!



Never be caught short without a pen when traveling – filling in arrival and departure forms, customs declarations, you don’t have to be the person scrabbling around the desk or waiting your turn for the one pen that is tethered to the desk! Any pen with a lid or that is retractable (because you don’t want pen all over your stuff) will do.



The Comfort & Wellness

This section is all about the little things that we can do to minimize the effects of flying on our bodies. Airplane air is very dry, staying hydrated is key, but these little things can make a world of difference. From mosturisers, to lip balms and refresher wipes – these things cost a small amount each – you’d be silly not to have them with you on every flight. And the best bit – the cosmetic items all fit in the airline regulation translucent bag  listed below!



Look after your legs – especially on long haul flights.







RELATED: In need of a little travel inspo? Check out the 75 Best Travel Quotes of all time to get you feeling all wanderlust-y!



If you haven’t heard of the TRLT Travel Pillow, you are seriously missing out. I always struggle with traditional neck pillows as they don’t provide enough support for my giraffe like neck. Soft and Strong it is scientifically proven to provide incredible neck support and possibly be the best thing to ever happen to naps! Better still, if folds down to nothing and will take up way less space in your bag than the traditional neck wrap.





The. Best. Hairbrush. Ever.  I bought one of these almost 3 years ago now (mine’s leopard print but there you go!) and it goes everywhere with me. Compact and in its own protective case, it glides through my long hair with ease – and get rid of knots without ripping the hair from my head. I don’t know how I ever lived without one before.


EYE MASK + Ear Plugs

‘Cause sleep is good – especially on longer flights!





Taking a full bottle of perfume on a trip is often unnecessary – and the glass bottles that most fragrances come in add way too much weight to be justifyable. The perfect option is to grab an atomizer and decant a small amount of perfume into it. This way you have a spritz of your favorite scent on hand whenever you need it. And this is not just limited to travel either – throw this in your work bag for day to day use.


TSA Approved Clear Travel Toiletry Bag

I mentioned all the cosmetics listed above fit into this, right?!



The Style


I’m a big scarf fan in real life, so having one on the plane is a given for me. This infinity scarf is fleecy and great to snuggle up to. And the hidden pocket is great for keeping valuable on your person.



Layers are great on flights – and wearing it on the plane means it’s one less bulky item to pack!



I have 3 rules for my sunglasses – Oversized with Dark Lenses and Polarized. I’ve always thought people wearing this huge style sunglasses looks so glamorous – and I like to think I do too when I wear them!


Space Saver Bags

A bit of a tough one – I can’t really tell you what to pack when I don’t know where you’re headed, how long you are going for, or what you plan on doing when you get there! However, these are the best travel pants which should be on every packing list!)
But, regardless of what you pack- space saver bags are a great way to compress your clothes to get the most into your bag. These bags can be used with a vacuum cleaner for easy compression, and come with a handy travel pump in case where you’re going doesn’t have electricity/a vacuum (both of which are entirely probable!)


And that’s a wrap folks! I hope this post has helped you to Pack The Perfect Carry On Bag – and that we’ll have you packing like a pro in no time! And if you liked this, please pin, tweet and share – I’d really appreciate it.
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Carry On Packing List | Pack Like A Pro   Carry On Packing List | Pack Like A Pro

RELATED: If you liked this packing list, but need a little more info for longer trips or road trips check outL

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How To Pack The Perfect Carry On Bag for Every Trip! was last modified: by

18 thoughts on “How To Pack The Perfect Carry On Bag for Every Trip!

  1. Rashmi and Chalukya says:

    Sorting out the things which we use during the flight into another small bag helps a great deal. The leather handbag is a fab idea for a camera bag it looks pretty cool. The power banks have become crucial nowadays for traveling, we always end up exhausting our camera batteries when on road and power banks come out handy for a quick recharge.

  2. Ha says:

    Thank you for the típ about packing! I travel a lot and need to pack things often! Sometimes I don’t know which to bring and such. Save your post so I can use it later 🙂

  3. Ivy says:

    Great list! We swear by carry-on only, too. I still need to get myself a decent laptop so I can work on the go! If only Macbooks weren’t so darn expensive…

    • Vicki says:

      Thank you – and I know how you feel about Macs being expensive, but they are such a great investment, and older models are under $1000 – it’s totally worth it!

  4. Sonia says:

    I am going to keep thisnpost handy to help me pack the next time … it has almost everything that I need. I would just add some feminine hygiene products to the list ! Also, I carry some aspirin and antacid for the grief that some long haul flights can give. Thanks for the list.

  5. Cat says:

    I love your list of suggestions – pretty much sums up what I pack in my carryon! With all the different lenses I have now, I think I need to invest in a bigger camera bag. That foldable water bottle is super light and saves up so much space!

  6. Iza Abao says:

    I want the TRLT Travel Pillow. I have not found a really good neck pillow so I must try this one. I bring almost the same stuff on your list when I travel except a lot of makeup items. I just use the basic ones. Makeup products clog my pores. If the brand is not good, my face feels itchy. I have to get that space saver bags too.

  7. carlinn meyer says:

    Awesome tips! Its always my worst when I fly without checking in a main bag because that means I need to really pack very well and I suck at it mostly haha. I like the neck pillow you showed and I am definitely going to check it out.

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Carlinn – I hate not checking a bag too (it gives me so much more freedom) but travelling with just carry on is becoming more and more my norm!

  8. Bhushavali says:

    Awesome list. Its high time I buy that vaccum packing covers! I’ve been contemplating for quite some time now and I don’t know why!! I always do that 1+1 (+ hidden 1) bag as well! Lolz…

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Carol – The handbag is also small enough to fit in the wheelie case too when the airlines are being super strict. I’ve never been stopped with my wheelie case and handbag in 9 years of flying in Europe 🙂

  9. Myrna says:

    Love your ideas simple but very effective
    I will do that since I’m going out of the country soon
    Thanks for sharing

  10. Visia says:

    This was such a great post!! Probably one of the most in-depth packing lists i’ve found!! 🙂 Definitely going to have to come back to this when I am going traveling again!

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