Ask A Travel Expert: What’s In Your Carry-On?

By Allie E. Almario

Let’s be honest – long international flights don’t always go as planned.  Travel glitches are a reality, as anyone who has experienced unexpected delays, cancelled flights, or bad weather.  As a seasoned traveler to South America, I have my packing list down to a science. Even more fine-tuned is my list for what’s in my carry-on. My priorities are always essential items that will make time on the go easier and most efficient, especially when your travel plans are interrupted.



Your current and valid passport should be on top of your packing list. Have a copy of the photo page stored on your camera phone, just in case you lose your passport. A printed copy of your flight and land itinerary, with pertinent emergency contact info, is also good to have on hand.



Carry all your medications you’ll need for the length of your trip, plus at least one or two extra few days worth, in case you are delayed on your trip. Never pack your meds in checked luggage – always carry them with you. Smart travelers also document their prescriptions by taking cell phone photos of the original bottles they’re stored in so they can keep track of their dosage, medication names, drugstore contact information and physician’s office number.



Along with all your cell phone and other electronics, make sure you bring their charging cords, plus a long extension cord with extra plugs. I like to label each charging cord with a little tag so I can easily identify which device they connect with. The long extension cord is a bonus for hotel rooms and airport layovers when free outlets can be scarce.



If you are stranded overnight, most hotels can provide bare amenities like a comb, shampoo, soap, toothpaste or toothbrush, but it’s always smart to carry at least an extra set of clothes in your carry-on. I always carry a shawl with me for extra warmth at the airport or on the plane. It can roll up easily and take up no space at all.



Staying hydrated is so important, especially as you cross time zones. Since you can’t bring liquids into the secure areas of airports, having an empty water bottle on hand to fill up at water fountains before you board a plane is a lifesaver and can save you a bit of change as well. New versions of water bottles are now collapsible to save you even more space.


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