Carry-On Essentials

I need the hot weather, the breeze in my hair and sand in my toes.  And the fruity drinks with those cute little umbrellas don’t hurt either lol.  I’m off on a Caribbean cruise, so it’s time to pack my carry-on essentials once again and get ready for take-off.

Carry-on essentials include travel documents, change of clothes, valuables, medication, and electronics
What essentials should be packed in carry-on luggage?

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I always begin with packing my carry-on, as that’s where I keep all of my essential items that I can’t travel (live) without.  Since I am typically an adventure traveller, I use a backpack as my carry-on.  This cuts down on space and I will have my backpack with me for hiking or carrying my towel, book, etc. when I go to the beach.

Read Next: Essentials for Day Hiking

Keep your passport, boarding pass and essential travel documents in your carry-on
ALWAYS keep your passport, boarding passes, credit cards and all other legal documents with you.

What to Pack in a Carry-On that You Can’t Live Without

Photo by Dominika Roseclay on

Essential Documents

Obviously, travel documents are the most essential things that you need to pack….your Visa/Passport, boarding pass, all reservation confirmations and your insurance confirmation.  Did I mention your passport?  Without this, you will be going nowhere.  Guard these documents with your life!


It is always a good idea to pack a change of clothes in your carry-on, just in case your suitcase gets lost or finds its way to your destination at a later date.  Your carry-on essentials for a warm weather destination should include:

  • a pair of shorts or sundress
  • long pants
  • a couple of tops
  • p.j.’s
  • bathing suit
  • beach cover-up
  • hat
  • undies
  • flip flops

If travelling to a cooler or winter destination, the following essentials should be packed in your carry-on:

  • long pants
  • base layer (long johns, undershirt, etc.)
  • 2 pairs of warm socks (not sport socks)
  • sweater and/or hoodie
  • extra pair of mittens
  • winter hat, if you aren’t wearing one
  • p.j.’s
always have a change of clothes in your carry-on
Always pack a change of clothes and bathing suit in your carry-on, just in case your baggage is lost


My first recommendation would be to leave ALL valuables at home.  If this isn’t possible, keep them in your carry-on so that you have them with you at all times. Once arriving at your destinations, all valuables, including your passport should be kept in a locked safe at all times.

When travelling, leave all of your valuables at home
Leave all of your valuables at home


Keep all of your electronics, including camera and chargers, with you in your carry-on, as you will need your iPad or laptop to access the movies and your airline’s app.  You will also want your ear buds or headphones close at hand, as most airlines now charge for these. When arriving at your destination these items should also be kept in a locked safe.

Read Next: Avoid Airport Chaos

Pack electronics and chargers in your carry-on luggage.
Pack all of your electronics in your carry-on

Safety Tip: Charge your phone prior to boarding the plane to ensure that it is fully (or mostly) charged when arriving at your destination. This is especially essential if travelling solo.


Always, always, always keep all medication with you and clearly identified as to what the medicine is and that it belongs to you, in order to avoid any issues with customs.

Miscellaneous Items

Last but not least, pack up all of the smaller, not so obvious items, that you may find essential during your flight.  Pens, books, glasses, etc.  These are the items that I would always forget, or throw in my bag at the last-minute, and when it came time to complete the customs form……me…rummaging through my bag for that last minute pen I threw in my bag.  The poor guy sitting beside me would get at least one elbow to his ribs (am I the only one this happens to?).  I finally figured out a solution so that I wouldn’t be elbowing the poor guy sitting next to me.  I put all of these smaller items into a separate pouch in my bag, and keep them there ready to go for future flights.  Voila, no more elbows to your neighbor and nothing is forgotten.

Take it from someone who loses everything, take the time to separate items into various pouches. This is a life savor and will help to reduce frustration when you are trying to find those small items.

Please let me know what some of your life-saving packing tips are so that you don’t forget any of your travel essentials.  I am always looking for ideas that will make travel easier and more relaxing.


Kelly xoxo

Travel Solo Like a Pro!


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7 thoughts on “Carry-On Essentials

  1. Janis Garel-Martel

    Great read Kelly. I bring all those things to in my carry on. I have a Lug bag for my carry on. It’s amazing, lots of different pouches, fits under the seat in front of me. I’m a nervous flyer so this helps keep me calm when I know where everything is! Have a wonderful cruise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just One Passport

      Thanks you. I’m always loosing things (especially when it comes to finding a pen for customs form), so I now separate everything into little pouches. I also store my bag under the seat in front of me.


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