Ultimate Carry On Packing List

The Ultimate Carry-On Packing List

Posted on Posted in Travel Tips

Woo hoo! You’ve booked your next trip. The burning question is…what to pack?! When I first started travelling, the idea of what to take and (god forbid!) what to leave behind would be on my mind for days. Even worse…what bag(s) was I going to take? Would it be the right one? Would it be too heavy? Would I be cold? What was the weather going to be like? The list of questions went on and on!

After many years of travel, I’m happy to report I finally have my packing list down pat. In fact, it’s more like a well-oiled machine (you can check out my list of 12 essential travel items here). So, if you’re looking for the ultimate carry-on packing list then you’ve come to the right place. When you’ve only got 7kg (15lb) of carry-on space you want to ensure you maximise your packing!


Packing for different climates always messes with my brain. It’s cold at home, but your going somewhere tropical? Arghhh…what to wear on the plane?! It’s so confusing! Regardless of the temperature at home or at your destination, the plane is guaranteed to be chilly. Rule number one of travelling… Take layers! I always take my hoodie (hooded jumper) and socks on the plane with me. That way you wont be too badly affected by the freezing cabin air. What’s the deal with the plane temperature anyway? Is it so everyone doesn’t get hot, sweaty and stinky around you?!


Yes, we know, the plane will give you some headphones. But let’s be honest, if you’re flying cattle they’re pretty cheap and nasty. Our advice, invest in some good quality headphones with a two-prong jack that will fit the plane’s entertainment system and you’ll be set. I picked up a pair of Bose Headphones and I love them as they’ve got a great sound, plus they pack up quite small so don’t take up too much space in my bag. They’re also great if you’re not so keen on talking to your neighbour or you need to block out screaming kids!


Time to fess up…I suffer from a disease known as ‘Hanger’. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a combination of ‘hungry’ + ‘angry’. The only remedy is to have snacks on hand at all times. Plus, as you probably know, plane food is usually pretty bad. Therefore, snacks are the best option. We even take super food meal-replacement shakes so I never have to suffer through freeze-dried eggs and that weird little chicken sausage thing for breakfast. Gross.

Neck Pillow

Definitely an essential travel item if you’re doing a long haul flights in cattle class. If you’re flying business don’t stress, they’ll provide you with a plush pillow or two in addition to your flat bed (OMG…so good!). I used to travel with one of the plush neck pillows, but I’ve since upgraded to an inflatable one. The plush pillows are all great when you’re on the plane, but I find them a pain to carry around when I’ve landed at my destination.

Lip Balm + Moisturising Cream

The air on the plane dries your skin and lips out majorly. Travelling with your favourite lip balm and moisturising cream will make your plane trip so much more comfortable. Well it does for me! You’re limited to 100mL per container so buy a handy travel size in your favourite brand. Alternatively at most travel stores you can buy empty 100mL squeezable containers that you can reuse.


Personally I like travelling with a pen in my carry on so I can complete all the inbound and outbound forms easily. Pedantic…perhaps! I even scored myself a handy little half-size pen that I conveniently picked up on a Virgin flight that fits perfectly in my Bose speakers case. Having a pen on the plane is also handy if you want to complete the Sudoku challenge in the inflight magazine. Winning!

iDevice (or alternative inferior technology of your choice)

iPhone, iPad, Macbook…I take them all. Yep, I don’t travel light! Good thing to note if you’re travelling with a laptop is that the majority of airlines wont include the laptop weight as part of your 7-kilo carry on allowance! Winning!

Hand Sanitiser

I’m not one of those crazy people who worries about germs, so you wont see me carrying a bottle of hand sanitizer everywhere I go. But the plane is a different story. Let’s face it airplanes are a serious germ fest. Just think about the sheer volume of people from around the world all trapped in a tiny confined space breathing in re-circulated air for hours. On one long-haul trip I did the plane ran out of water! There was no water for flushing the toilet or washing your hands…I was pretty chuffed that I packed the hand sanitiser that day! Take note.

Bonus: We use Thankyou hand sanitiser, it does the job without any of the chemical nasties!

Eye Mask

On short flights I’ll rock my sunnies if I want a nap but for long-haul flights a good comfy eye mask is a great addition to your carry on. If you’re flying economy most airlines wont provide these, so stop into any travel shop at the airport and pick one up.

Business Cards

You never know who you’ll meet on the plane, so business cards are a must. I’ve met A-List celebrities, musicians, future business partners, lifelong friends and travel buddies on my many plane journeys, so come prepared!

Power Adaptor

Don’t forget to pack your power adaptor! I love taking one in my carry on, as you never know when your next flight might get delayed. Just think, you’re waiting at the airport and have no charge in your iDevice… the horror!

Comfy Clothes

Want to start a heated debate between frequent flyers? Ask them how they dress on a plane. There are definitely two distinct camps on this. One half will tell you, dress to impress, especially if you’re trying to get an upgrade. Others will tell you to dress for comfort so you’re nice and relaxed for your flight. We definitely fall in the latter half. Our motto is to rock out in your comfy clothes and enjoy the experience. One Aussie airline (mentioning no names!) just implemented a smart casual dress regulation in their frequent flyer lounge; they’ve banned thongs (flip-flops) and singlets along with some other casual clothing items. Luckily for us, we don’t fly with them!

So there’s my ultimate carry-on packing list. One bonus suggestion for you guys…at the end of each trip I make sure the majority of these items stay in my carry on suitcase. That way, I’m always ready to go!

Want more? Check out our 12 Essential Travel Items list.

With a serious passion for travel, Elaina escaped from the senior management corporate world so she could spend more time doing what she loves…hanging out with friends, meeting awesome new people, travelling the globe, surfing and snowboarding.

Her greatest travel adventure to date was cycling her bicycle from China to Vietnam and into Cambodia…all with no clue on how to change a tyre! This cheeky Aussie loves to push boundaries and is a sucker for adrenalin sports.

She’s also pretty happy behind a camera and has snapped some pretty epic shots all over the world. Elaina grew up in Australia and has also lived in England and the USA where she was a snowboarding instructor.

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