10 Things To Always Have In Your Carry On


The first time I was ever on a plane…I was a baby and therefore have no memories….but my parents have the horror stories to always remind me! I’ve been flying multiple times a year, my entire life, so going through airports and getting on planes is second nature to me. I’m that random totally zen person just meandering around with a coffee(always with a coffee) that you HATE to see when you’re having a travel day from hell. Sorry!! But I keep that way because I have a routine down and I know exactly what I need with me to make my trip stress-free. This post is all about the 10 things I ALWAYS have in my carry on when I get on a plane.

This post contains affiliate links which means if you purchase one of the products linked  I may receive monetary compensation at NO extra cost to you! That’s one of the ways Carefree & Coffee gets to continue so all of your support is GREATLY appreciated!

1. Snacks

This might not be super important if you’re the kind of person that can eat anything, but for us food allergies peeps having a snack is a MUST! You can have the perfect plan to get food after a flight but so many things can go wrong and next thing you know you’re sitting on the tarmac for 2 hours starving because all they have are pretzels and cheese. With dairy and gluten issues that’s a whole lot of terrible options. My favorite things to pack are small and sealed so I don’t have to worry about them in my bag. Nuts are always a good, protein packed choice. I recently found these Made Good granola bites and I’m completely obsessed!! I have a completely irrational amount of bags stashed in the pantry for all of my snacking needs.

2. Reusable Water Bottle

This kind of goes along with snacks but also I carry a water bottle with me literally everywhere, at all times. Staying hydrated is super important so you’ll always catch me with my water bottle. It’s just a pal at this point. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my S’well because it’s so insulated and keeps my hot drinks hot and my cold drinks cold for as long as I need it to! The great thing about having a reusable bottle with you at airports is you can simply empty it before security and then fill it back up once you’re through. A lot of airports even having water filling stations are now making it really easy! I know Sea-Tac (my home airport) has them all around! I can fill before a flight and not have to worry about rehydrating on the plane.

3. Chap stick

Planes can suck all the moisture out of you but having chapped lips is a misery easily escaped. I know most people tend to carry around chap stick with them regularly anyways so make sure to transfer that over to whatever bag you’re bringing with you on the trip. I’m very partial to Softlips. I have tubes in multiple purses and around my house. I highly recommend the vanilla flavor for something nourishing but also subtle.

4. Tissues

Tissues are just super handy to have around all the time but having a small travel pack on a plane is good for so many things! If you need to use them as tissues, perfect, but when your mom spills her drink on you halfway through a multiple hour flight(true story, still bitter.) they also will be awesome napkins to mop everything up!

5. Blanket Scarf

Alright this one is SO important that it literally has its own blog post. I’m always cold, and planes are always cold, so I need to be prepared. A blanket scarf is the best solution because I can wear it so I don’t have to figure out how to pack it. Then on the plane it can be a full blanket or even a super comfy pillow! Make sure to check out my previous post all about it!

6. Sudoku

Now we’re getting into the items I bring to keep myself entertained. I love puzzles and other various mind-challenging things. But Sudoku is definitely my favorite of them all! I always have a few books going so I toss in my lightest weight one for the plane. Now that you can use electronics the whole flight it’s not as important but when you couldn’t during take off and landing I’d always get at least a few puzzle done. I know that I won’t just want to do one thing the entire flight so I need options to keep me occupied!

7. Kindle

My family reads a lot and the invention of Kindles is one of the greatest things to ever happen for us. When I was younger and we’d be packing for family vacations there would literally be a suitcase with the sole purpose of packing books. It was tragic. And completely necessary. Now we each have our own kindle that can slide into a carry on with as many books as our hearts can desire. If you’re a reader, or going on a trip with a lot of down time, I cannot stress enough how life-saving this is!! Also I think my felt sleeve cover is the cutest ever.

8. Headphones

Being able to block out the noise of other passengers is very important to me. Plus I’m always listening to music anyways so as soon as I sit down on the plane my headphones pop out. Earbuds aren’t bad but I really recommend the full headphone route for planes, especially if you want to watch a movie! It can be hard to hear with all the plane noise and the more you can block out the better!

9. Technology

This one varies a bit depending on your needs but it’s a MUST that you’re high-tech items are on the plane with you. If your luggage is lost dealing with no clothes is one thing, but the worry about expensive things you need for work is terrifying. My laptop and camera are the two things I need in sight the whole time. A lot of times I even use my computer to get work done on the flight! It can suck because a lot of times these are the heaviest things in my bag but the peace of mind is worth the extra weight.

10. Portable Charger

This last one is maybe not as important as it use to be, now that planes have evolved and newer ones have chargers right in the seats. But if you find yourself on an old plane or stuck in an airport having a portable charger as a backup for your phone, or iPod, or anything else is a big help. We’re all permanently attached now anyways so no need to tempt the battery Gods and be left running around with your cord in your hand.

Which, a kind of unnecessary but also really nice to have item, is a mini charging cord for you phone. My regular cord is long which is nice for many situations but having a little baby short cord is wayy better when I’m charging my phone in my purse. If you have a phone with a USB-C connection definitely go with this option that has multiple colors and lengths to choose from.


I hope this gave you some new ideas and makes your next airplane trip a little more comfortable! Let me know in the comments if you try any of these items or if there’s something not on here that you can’t get on a plane without!



Make sure to follow me on social media so you don’t miss a thing!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Yazzi wrote:

    Yasss! I always carry those items, but If it’s a long haul flight I also have moisturizer too! 🙂

    Published 5.30.17
  2. Love, Love, LOVE this! I always forget the portable charger!

    Published 5.30.17
  3. SC Sister here! Great post. I take my S’well bottle with me everywhere too. It is the best, right?

    Published 6.6.17
    • Alison wrote:

      Yes! I’ve had mine for just about a year now and it’s traveled with me all over the country!

      Published 6.6.17
  4. Lauren wrote:

    Great post Alison! I recently picked up this water bottle! With my commute to work, it has definitely made my life a lot easier! For me, I can’t live without earplugs, an eyeshade, a toothbrush and toothpaste! Being able to brush your teeth is the next best thing to taking a shower! I’m a complete goner without earplugs, and an eye mask is AMAZING when you are exhausted and desperate for some shut eye!!

    Published 7.10.17
  5. I am travelling on saturday and was just thinking about what I should take in my carry on. I never thought about a portable charger.. I am going to add it to my list.

    Published 7.10.17
  6. Snacks and a portable charger are always in mine!

    Published 7.10.17
  7. Bruce wrote:

    10 great choices, and I couldn’t agree more that vital tech stay in your carry-on!!

    Published 7.10.17
  8. Amber wrote:

    Oh yrs! Sudoku is a must have while traveling! ☺

    Published 7.19.17
  9. Great list! Icarry pretty similar stuff. hand sanitizer too. def snacks and a refillable bottle.

    Published 7.19.17
  10. summer wrote:

    Headphones and a water bottle are HUGE musts! Love these essentials!

    Published 7.19.17
  11. Silvija wrote:

    I love have my chapstick with me! And water! Thanks for sharing ideas what not to forget!

    Published 7.26.17
  12. Alyssa wrote:

    Absolutely yes to all of these, especially the water and portable charger! I even keep a “freshen up” kit with face wipes, mouth wash, and a few other things for those really long haul flights that can leave you feeling icky. Thanks for posting!


    Published 10.30.17