5 Carry-on Essentials for International Flights
Unless you own a private jet, no one expects international travel to be glamorous. But even if you aren’t traveling in style, you can at least fly comfortably. Nothing is more comforting then being organized, and that means having a detailed travel plan. Put your mind at ease by packing smart. These five carry-on essentials will help ensure your international flight goes smoothly.
There’s nothing sexy about carrying around a stack of paperwork. But, it might just save you from a lot of hassle. Even if you’re a minimalist when it comes to packing, copies of your passport, flight and lodging information should be mandatory. Anything less and you are just asking for trouble. Having your passport is a no-brainer, but it’s important to keep a printed copy also. If you lose your passport, these colored photocopies increase your chance of getting a replacement quickly. The return flight and hotel details are for overseas immigration. Many countries require proof that you have a place to stay and intend to eventually leave. Lastly, keep an ink pen handy. Upon arrival, you must fill out some type of landing card, and flight attendants rarely ever have enough spare pens to go around.
It’s near impossible to get relaxed during long flights. Yet, there are at least some items that make it a little more bearable. Airplanes are usually cold. Stay warm by including a hoodie, jacket, scarf or even extra socks into your carry on. Added bonus: these items often weigh the most so bringing them with you will make your checked bag lighter. Catching some z’s inevitably makes your flight seem much faster. Nothing works better than an old-fashioned travel pillow, eye mask and ear plugs.
If you can’t quite drift off to dreamland, then you’ll need to pass some time. A quality pair of noise-cancelling headphones can significantly cut down engine noise or nearby passengers. Consider buying another pair of cheap earbuds just in case the others break. Don’t even risk your electronics being smashed by the baggage crew—keep them with you. Make sure your devices are full of downloaded games, books or puzzles and charged before takeoff. Pack any chargers and cables with you in case you are forced into a long layover. A universal adapter ensures you’ll have power no matter where you’re traveling.
While it’s tempting to check everything, part of planning your carry-on luggage is preparing for the worst. If your luggage goes missing, it’s nice to have spare clothing and toiletries. Extra deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste and anti-bacterial wipes can help you feel fresh. Also, bring any medications that you can’t afford to go without if your bag’s lost. Just make sure all these cosmetic products meet the carry-on size regulations, or you’ll be throwing them out before you even board. At least one emergency set of clothes, underwear and socks is also a good idea.
Don’t expect a gourmet meal anytime soon. If there is food available, it will be for purchase at ridiculous mark-ups. Find foods that are filling, even in small amounts. Packing nuts, trail mix or granola bars will help you stay full longer. If you have a sweet tooth, indulge in some chocolate or candy bar. Just be courteous to your fellow flyers, and leave any smelly foods at home. Again, remember to find quantities that meet the airline’s size restrictions. Re-sealable plastic bags are worth bringing to make sure your opened containers don’t spill. Plus, whatever you don’t finish on the plane makes a great late-night snack while at the hotel to avoid the expensive in-room options.