14 Carry On Essentials For International Travel

Besides your passport, ticket, and wallet here are 14 “must” items for your carry on for a long or international flight.

Sanitizing Wipes. Everyone know’s airplanes have cooties. Hundreds of passengers filter through a plane daily, bringing with them allergies, colds, sticky food fingers and poor hygiene. For a couple of bucks, you can wipe down your space and hands and take back some piece of mind.

Eye Mask and Ear Plugs. Let’s be real; most people don’t want to stay awake for an entire transcontinental or international flight, some don’t even want to be awake for a 2-hour flight. An eye mask and ear plugs will help ease you into dreamland. It’s also a good conversation deterrent should you not want to engage with your seatmates.

Headphones. As a courtesy, I am going to wear my headphones when I listen to music, play games or watch a movie. Afterall, you shouldn’t have to listen to my stuff (and I shouldn’t have to listen to yours). Additionally, just as the eye mask and ear plugs work to deter conversations, so do headphones. Headphones are awesome for guiding you to your happy place when flying causes you stress, or you just want to check out. Don’t forget to download your music or movies.

Oversized Scarf. An oversize scarf is multifunctional. It can double as a blanket or pillow on a long flight. At your destination, it can be used as a towel, sarong, beach cover up or head scarf. Never underestimate the power of an oversized scarf.

ToothbrushIf you need a little help feeling refreshed after a long flight, take a minute in the restroom to wash your face and brush your teeth. It will help wake you up and give you the confidence of fresh breath.

Comb/Brush. While you are in the restroom washing your face and brushing your teeth, you might as well brush or comb your hair. The combination of the dry air and the static of your head rubbing against the back of the seat for hours always gives passengers an exceptional kind of “airplane bedhead.”

Tissues. Nothing is worse than needing to blow your nose and have nothing to blow it with. Come prepared. A tiny packet of tissues will come in handy on a long flight. It also makes great emergency toilet paper if they’ve run out in the loo.

Pen & NotebookWhat? You’ve never had a thought on a plane you needed to write down? What if you and the guy next to you get along like a house on fire, don’t you want to be able to write down his contact details? Okay, maybe you’ll use your smartphone to exchange information but believe me, at some point you are going to wish you had a pen and small notebook.

Hydration Solutions: Water Bottle/Eye Drops/Lotion. Flying is drying. Take an empty water bottle through TSA and fill it before you get on the flight. Having a full water bottle means you are not at the mercy of the flight attendants. I also take eye drops. I have the air on over me most of the time as I am prone to motion sickness. The air dries out everything. Eye drops provide much-needed relief for dry, tired eyes. Don’t forget to crack out the lotion too for dry hands and faces.

Worldwide Travel AdaptorIf you want to charge your phone or laptop in a foreign country, you are going to need an adapter. These little guys tuck into your bag and make it easier to take advantage of outlets in airports on a layover. I take every opportunity to charge my phone and laptop when traveling.

Snacks. Sometimes a packet of peanuts doesn’t do the job. Maybe you’ll wake up midflight and feel peckish, or you’ll feel your blood sugar take a bit of a dip. In any case, if you carry a snack with you, you’ll be prepared for most events, including being caught out on the tarmac for hours or landing late at night after the food kiosks have closed. Ditch the junk food in favor of something with sustenance.

Power BankIf communication or social media are essential to you, then it’s best to carry a spare power bank. You don’t want to arrive at your destination with a dead battery. A power bank lets you recharge your phone even when you can’t find an immediate outlet.

Small FlashlightYou’d be surprised at how many times I have used a small flashlight on my travels. Whether it is to dig things out of my bag in the dark on an overnight flight, locate my wallet in my carry-on in a cab late at night or find my way out of a dark room in a hostel, my flashlight has been a lifesaver.

Tote / Foldaway BagThis bag packs down to nothing and is incredibly useful. It can be used as a daypack, a shopping bag, hold wet bathing suits or carry your suitcase overage. You will find dozens of uses for this handy little guy.

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What are your carry on essentials? Tell us in the comments below!

8 thoughts on “14 Carry On Essentials For International Travel

  1. All of this is essential. I also bring books and deodorant too! For flights 6 hours + I like to just freshen up where I can. Great list!


  2. I sometimes bring one of those little toys from Mc D’s to give to a child who may be crying on the flight. It’s a surprise to them and a Godsend to the parent.


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