Carry-on essentials I cannot travel without

One of the hardest parts of travel can be the long-haul flights. That moment where you say goodbye to your packed-to-the-brim suitcase at the airline check-in desk and mentally prepare yourself for the long period of time you’re about to spend sitting very close to a lot of strangers. It is worth it though, of course, because when you arrive at your destination you get to have a whole lot of travel-loving fun!

So, what can you do to make your flight easier? What are the ‘must-pack’ items you should take with you on the plane? Today I share my essential carry-on items, the things I always take with me to make flying that little easier, and my in-flight tips and tricks!

Pack light 

I get really flustered when I’m going through the airport, especially through customs/border control and getting settled on the plane, trying to juggle too many heavy bags and things hanging off me. It’s much less stressful to keep it simple and easy, so pack as light as possible with your carry-on. You shouldn’t need to take that much with on the plane, all you’ll be doing is sitting there like a zombie for 14 hours, staring at the seat in front of you.

Choose the right carry-on 

I reviewed the Antler Juno Cabin Suitcase recently here, and I really love travelling with it. It’s so nice and light, wheels really easily and makes my life a lot easier when I’m buzzing around a big airport. I don’t carry a handbag with me on flights, instead I put my passport, travel documents and phone inside my wallet. Taking the weight and strain of a handbag off your body keeps from building up tension and stress in your shoulders before you board the plane.

I put my laptop in its own material zip-up pouch, which I carry in my hands as I go through airport security. It makes it easy for me to unzip it, grab it out to be scanned then zip it back up and put it in safely inside hard-shell Juno. The less stuff I have to carry on my body and lug around the airport, the better! If I didn’t have Juno, I would use a backpack to keep my hands free and distribute the bag weight evenly on my shoulders.

Luggage Direct have a great range of travel accessories and essentials, including the Antler Juno Cabin Suitcase, backpacks, travel wallets and tablet cases.  They’re an Australian-run business and offer free-shipping within Australia, which saves you a buck or two!

Zippy-bag kit 

I always, always pack my zippy-bag kit. It has become a travel essential for me and, usually, the first thing I pack. I keep it stocked at all times, so I don’t have to think about what to put in it before each trip. In it, I keep:

Beauty bag 

A plane is no place to abandon your usual hygiene standards, guys! I stick to the same routine on a place as I would at home. In my beauty bag, I keep:

  • Face wash – to wash my face before I go to sleep and when I wake up
  • Moisturiser – to keep my skin hydrated and feeling fresh
  • Face wipes – for a quick in-seat freshen up every now and again
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste – to brush my fangs before I sleep and when I wake up
  • Lip balm – to prevent chapped lips
  • Spare hair ties – in case old-faithful breaks and you have no way of restraining your birds nest hair-do
  • Deodorant – so you can smell fresh as a daisy
  • Mints – because for some reason, bad breath runs rampant on planes.

Backpack and camera

Fresh clothes 

Sitting on a plane makes you feel a little bit icky, so I always pack a fresh change of clothes to get into when I wake up or toward the end of the flight. We’re talking a full change here guys, not just a fresh shirt. Everything from your shirt and jeans to your undies and bra!

Water bottle 

Take an empty re-fillable BPA free water bottle on the plane with you and have it refilled regularly. Drink, drink, drink! You cannot drink enough water on a plane.

Scarf 

Pack an over-sized scarf with you, it’s great for added warmth if you need it and I use it to wrap around my head when I’m ready for a nap. I don’t like the feeling of an eye-mask pressed against my face and a scarf makes for a nice alternative. It also means nobody catches you snoozing with your mouth wide-open.

Entertainment 

I always pack a note-pad or art journal with me and pens, pencils etc. You’ve got a lot of time on your hands and a plane cane be a great place to reflect on things and go through stuff that has been in your mind for a while, chances are if you’re travelling you’ve got a fresh perspective on old situations.

Packing a good book is a good idea, especially if there’s one you’ve been dying to read for a while now. I don’t watch movies very often, so I usually use my plane time to catch up on all the movies I’ve wanted to see but never got around to. I’m not a big game player so an iPad or iPhone games-set-up isn’t something I worry about.

Pyjamas 

I have no shame when it comes to comfort and I will get changed into my pyjamas if I feel like it. If you can’t bring yourself to stoop to pyjama level, try wearing tights and a baggy t-shirt for sleepy-times.

Snacks! 

I don’t know about you, but I go a little loco when I’m hungry. The best way to avoid this is to pack a couple of snacks in your bag, nothing dramatic, just a few things you know you enjoy eating. Maybe a muesli-bar, a packet of chips or your favourite biscuits. I usually pack a bag of my favourite lollies, Allen’s red frogs, so I can get a quick sugar boost when I feel the hunger-dragon start to take over my body.


Phoebe Lee Travel Blogger Queensland AustraliaPhoebe Lee is a writer, award-winning blogger and travel lover sharing helpful travel tips, insight and reviews for regular people. Follow her adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and on InstagramFacebook and YouTube.

6 Comments on Carry-on essentials I cannot travel without

  1. A SCARF is definitely on my list. It can even be a neck pillow!!! Once i fell asleep with my scarf covering my unglam face and woke up with a ‘do not disturb’ sticker on it! Turns out the air stewardess couldn’t wake me up for dinner :’)

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  2. Great and useful tips!! I love your blog!! 🙂

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  3. This is amazing. Thanks so much!!

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  4. If I’m on a reeeeeally long flight, I take something that makes me sleepy so I can get on, sleep for 8 hours, wake up and eat something, and get off the plane!

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  5. I always take a fresh set of clothes and deodorant. Definitely must haves on a flight for me (and the person sitting next to me!).

    Lizzy from Nomad Notebook

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  6. Already loving your blog 🙂

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