How To Pack The Perfect Carry On

However long your flight may be, your carry on bag is an essential sidekick for your journey and so easily forgotten about as other packing dilemmas take over…. but seriously, will these 5 pairs of shoes be enough?!

Not sure what else you’d really need apart from your passport and purse? My guide on how to pack the perfect carry on bag lists all the essential items to ensure you have a comfortable journey, whether your flight is 45 minutes or 14 hours!


What you choose to wear on board will obviously depend on your destination, however the most important consideration for any flight outfit is comfort. For me, this means jeans or tight fitting clothes are a big no-no, especially as our bodies can swell at altitude (Yes, you ankles!)

These items are great at keeping you comfortable and looking your best:


Great for long journeys not only because they’re easy to whip on and off but also because they can be used as scarves or blankets if you need an extra layer!



Ideal to wear for your journey, or just to change into when you’re on board. Elasticated waistbands and ample leg movement


Compression Socks 

Not only keep your feet warm but also help the circulation in your legs. Very important on long flights where risks of Deep Vein Thrombosis – dubbed “economy class syndrome” which can cause blood clots are much higher.



 Fold up flats


Comfy and easy to slip on and off shoes are a must on your flight – especially long haul. Fold up flats are great to either wear on board or just packed in your carry-on  


On most airline carriers, your carry on bag cannot weight more than 10kg and must fit into the dimensions of  56 x 45 x 25cm. These are my airline approved carry-on bag recommendations



Tote bags are the perfect carry on bag because they are lightweight and very roomy. The Longchamp totes are particularly handy because they can fold up to the size of a large wallet!

  Clear pouch for liquids

Remember that to take liquids on board (including lipsticks and moisturisers) you will need to keep them in a clear, sealable bag. You can either use a clear make-up/cosmetics bag or if you’re on a really tight budget a sealable food bag. Many airports now give out clear sealable wallets however I prefer to have everything organised beforehand!




Hopefully you will have some good in flight movies to watch, but if not – have no fear! These are my ways of banishing boredom on any flight:



Make sure your phone is fully charged as most airlines I’ve flown with don’t have charge points. Also remember to turn your phone’s flight mode on and select ‘no data roaming’ under your Mobile options to avoid roaming fees. I like to have games and apps downloaded to keep my entertained while I fly!



As with your phone, make sure your tablet/laptop/E-reader are completely charged and with everything you need already downloaded. As much as I love an actual book (the feel, the smell, the cover art…ahhh) Kindles are great for travelling as you can store all your books on it, providing a constant stream of entertainment without the bulkiness or risk of pages falling out after the binding melts in the sun! Did you know that you can download copies of your favourite magazines directly to your iPad or tablet? They have interactive features too which are fun!




Although airlines provide headphones for their in-flight entertainment, they are usually double prong and if you want to listen to your own music – some great noise cancelling headphones are a must! I’m loving these styles:



On long haul flights this is an especially important consideration and your carry on bag can hold the key to your sleepy happiness… and your sanity!

I make sure to always have the following items with me:

 Eye mask and neck pillow


Sleeping doesn’t come easy to me unless i’m laying flat on my face, like i’m climbing a mountain in a cosy bed in a dark and quiet room. I have tried to get into this position in my seat before and it definitely doesn’t work, but I do find having an eye mask really helpful in allowing me to get some shut eye mid-flight.

Neck pillows are also great for keeping you comfortable and I find using the designated airplane pillow as a prop for my back and my carry on bag as a foot rest, a good way of getting comfy for a little snooze.

Ear Plugs


A god send on a night flight with howling children, you will thank yourself for packing a pair of ear plugs for your flight!


The low humidity and conditioned, circulated air on board planes means that not only your skin will dry out when you’re in the air. It’s so important to stay hydrated and drink lots of water while you’re flying – but never accept water from the tap of a plane, only drink bottled water! (read why here, on my long haul flights survival guide)


 Water Bottle


I always buy the largest bottle of water I can from the airport (after security of course) to take on board with me. When this runs out I ask for bottled water from the flight attendants and rarely drink alcohol (although it’s so tempting when it’s free!) Alcohol has a more potent effect at altitude and also dehydrates you further.




A good moisturiser is wonderful on a flight. Not only does it help yo hydrate your skin, it also leaves you looking brighter and fresher. I love Vitamin E moisturisers for my skin type! Tinted moisturisers are also great at giving you a brighter, fresher complexion whilst nourishing your skin.


 Lip Balm


My favourite at the moment is the Nivea lip butter in rasberry rose – it tastes sooo yummy and is super hydrating for my lips.


Freshen Up

Flights can leave you feeling icky and with limited washing facilities, I find having these items essential for feeling fresh and clean:


Cleansing wipes


These have a multitude of uses and can come in a handy travel size, making them the perfect carry on essential for freshening up.

Hand Sanitiser


If you should bring one freshening up item for your flight then it is hands down, hand sanitiser! With so many different and new people in such a confined space, planes are a hotbed for germs. Use your hand sanitiser regularly!

A Fresh Pair


Especially on long flights, a spare pair of underwear can really make all the difference. Another good travel tip is to use panty-liners on board long flights – eliminating the need for you to make an awkward change in the bathroom but still feeling fresh!



It’s best to keep the bulk of your make up in your hold bag, as limitations on liquids are so strict on flights. I do think having a little travel sized mascara is great to have on board with you. I never wear make-up for a flight, but a sweep of mascara before you land can brighten eyes and make you look and feel a little bit fresher!



I’m a girl who loves my food. I organise my day around meals and I like every one of those meals to be delicious. Unfortunately, plane food rarely is and often leaves me with indigestion! Here are some healthy snack ideas to take on board with you that won’t drive you into a sugar spin or stink out the entire plane:


One Almond contains around 7 calories, making a bag of 15 the perfect snack on board your flight. Almonds are also high in Vitamin E, Vitamin B and Zinc as well as being the ‘good kind’ of fat – keeping you feeling satisfied!


Berries are great to snack on if you fancy something sweet as they don’t impact your sugar levels as hard as other fruits and are high in fibre as well as low in calories. Read more about the benefits of eating berries here.

Kale Chips

If you’re craving crisps then these Kale chips are a great alternative! Containing all the goodness of Kale and in a variety of flavours such as cheesy, thai and nuts – Kale chips are great for long haul flights and every day snacking.



Don’t Forget!

The most important items that you must check and double check you’ve packed are:

Passport/ Airline Tickets

Keep your passport and airline tickets together in a travel wallet and if you have multiple tickets and want to be extra organised; in the order you’ll need them! Place them in a zip compartment of your carry-on bag that you can easily reach so they are always accessible. If you plan to buy anything in Duty Free you’ll usually need to present your airline ticket at the point of purchase – just don’t leave it at the till!


Credit cards, cash and currency cards – keep them all safe and make sure you have some currency in cash for your destination before you depart.

Travel Adaptors

Check the voltage and electric point for your destination. Universal travel adaptors are very helpful if you don’t know!

Travel Insurance

I can’t stress the important of having travel insurance enough! After breaking my pelvis in a skiing accident in France and not having travel insurance, I know first hand how stressful and expensive it can be so double check you have travel insurance and don’t leave it to chance!

Electronics Chargers

God forbid you forget your phone charger.

I hope you found this list helpful and have a wonderful holiday, wherever you are flying to!

What are your carry on bag essentials?