7 Must Have Items In My Carry-On

Traveling is one of those things that many people in this world like to do. Some people like to fly and some prefer hitting the open road. My preference? That would be flying. Traveling through the airports isn’t always the easiest and most certainly isn’t the cleanest though. Whether I check a bag or not, the items I’m about to discuss are my must have items I make sure to have with me on the plane every time I fly.

I’ve traveled enough to learn what items I must have in my carry on. Everyone’s list of non-negotiables vary from person to person depending on their own individual interests and what they like to do to pass the time. However, I am going to give you a list of my 7 items that are packed first to ensure I don’t forget them.


1. Hand Sanitizer

Let me see a show of hands if you’ve ever been to an airport. My guess is that you have since you’re here reading this article. Now let me see a show of hands if you’ve ever sat back and just people watched. People watching is one of my favorite things to do when I’m surrounded by strangers whether it be at an event, airport amusement park, etc.

Watching people can be a great way of entertainment to pass the time. But have you ever noticed how often people touch their face, blow their nose, pick their nose, or don’t’ wash their hands after going to the bathroom and THEN proceed to touch stuff all over the airport? *YUCK* is all I can say to all of the above.

I do everything in my power to keep everything on my clean and sanitized to a certain extent. Even if I buy something at one of the little shops and have to hit one button on the pin pad for the credit card, I will sanitize my hands. I know it seems a little excessive but the germs are smothered on every single surface and while many of them are innocent, there are some that can run through you with a vengeance and have you knocked out cold with an illness for a week after going through the airport. It will either damper your vacation or have you miserable after.

must have item -headphones
A must have item in my carry on.

2. Headphones

Since music is my life, headphones are a must so I can listen to music on my flight. I also like to meditate at takeoff. Take off doesn’t bother me, but finding a place of zen at takeoff sets the mood and relaxation for the flight.

I generally carry a few pairs of headphones with me.

  1. Bluetooth headphones are a must so I’m not dealing with a cord.
  2. I take my headphones that plug into my phone to have as a backup in case my Bluetooth ones happen to die.
  3. Lastly, because I have an iPhone, the jack is different (thanks Apple) than the standard jack, so take a pair of headphones with an aux jack in case the airplane has entertainment in the seat-backs to watch.
pen and paper. Carry on must have
You never know when you’re gonna need to write something down!

3. Pen & Paper

It’s always a good idea to have a pen with you because you never know when you may need to write something down. You also never know when you might run into a celebrity in the airport. Ha! It’s a dream of mine to run into a celebrity or one of my favorite musicians in the airport. It’s not really why I carry pen and paper with me though.

And paper is a must have to go with my pen in case I get some sort of huge inspiration or idea for a project or something to write about. I sometimes use my phone, but pen and paper is always good to have handy. I am also not one to get out my laptop on a flight. Too cumbersome to me.


4. E-reader

My e-reader (Kindle) is a must have. Flying is such a good time to catch up on some reading. I can typically make some good headway in a book that seems to be taking forever to get through, only because I don’t generally have a lot of consecutive time otherwise to do so.

5. Clorox Wipes

I swear by this. It sounds like a lot but antibacterial wipes are my secret and why I saved the best for last. Once I sit down – before I even buckle up – I pull out a wipe. I then wipe down every surface I will be touching or may touch.

The surfaces include the seatback in front of me including the latch and front and back of the tray table. The window seat is my jam, so when I do sit by a window, I wipe down the window shade and the entire wall because I will generally try to take a nap. Lastly, I wipe down the headrests, arm rests and buckled.

In my head, I am apologizing the whole time I’m wiping for the strong smell of the wipe. In the end I don’t care because I am doing what I can do attempt to remain healthy. And also, go back to my piece about the germs in an airport. You have no idea who was sitting in the seat before you and if they were healthy or not.

6. Medical Masks

I have worn medical masks on a few flights and I feel absolutely ridiculous and I have gotten plenty of looks, but I was happy I did. I mean if people around you are hacking up a lung, would you rather risk getting sick or risk looking goofy in front of a bunch of strangers and protecting yourself? I’ll take look goofy for 1,000 Alex.

Have you thought about the air in an airplane? Such small quarters with air molecules filled with recycled germs. Gross.

If you still aren’t sold on the masks, here is my last bit of advice. I politely let the people I was sitting next to know that I wasn’t sick, I was just protecting myself from other illnesses. I’ve even been told it was a good idea from other passengers.

must have change of clothes
Always keep a change of clothes in case your luggage gets lost.

7. Change of clothes

This is my last must have item to have with me. It’s always a good idea to have a spare change of clothes in your carry on, especially if you’re checking a bag. I have known too many people that their luggage gets lost or delayed because it didn’t make the same flight as them.

If nothing else, packing clean underwear in your carry on is a must. The outfit I pack is dependent on whether or not I need a change of clothes for a work meeting or if I’m on vacation and am going to want to change into something for fitting for the climate.

There ya have it. My 7 must have items in my carry on. If you’ve taken away anything from this article is that you won’t regret it the next time you travel and have those Clorox wipes handy. And no, Clorox is not sponsoring this post. I am just generalizing antibacterial wipes as a “Clorox” wipe.

Stay humble and healthy,


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