My essential carry-on packing list

Everyone has their own list of things that they always take with them – here is mine.

Some of the items are things are fairly standard that most people will take with them, some are luxuries and some are maybe a little more unusual. I always love reading other people’s packing lists because they might have a great idea that I hadn’t thought about or use a particular product that is worthwhile getting.


(1) Noise cancelling headphones 

Beats by Dr Dre – I got these because I was looking for a pair, and these had an offer of 1000 clubcard points when I bought them. They fold down and come in a hard case to protect them when in my bag. They are very comfortable and the sound quality is great – the noise cancelling function is phenomenal and they charge using a micro USB plug.

(2) Travel Wallet

I got this from Fossil a few years ago; it is not my everyday card holder wallet (I got a beautiful Mulberry one for a big birthday). This large wallet is perfect for holding all of the different loyalty cards and credit cards I only use abroad, has lots of separate pockets for multiple currencies and has a pen holder. It’s size makes it easy to find when rummaging in a bag.

(3) iPad 

This idea is stolen shamelessly from a guy I saw on a flight last month. He has clipped his iPad into the seat in front using the case over the table to create his own in flight entertainment. I tried it and it worked brilliantly with some catch up TV I’d downloaded before hand on the BBC iplayer. I also carry some books on the iBooks and Kindle app.

(4) AIRism underwear

It’s always good to carry spare clothes in case your bag gets lost. I really love the AIRism range from Uniqlo because they are so light and pack down really small. I use them as undershirts when travelling – if the worst comes to the worst I can wear a clean one and make an over shirt last two days.

(5) Laptop

I’ve tried travelling without it and just use a Bluetooth keyboard with the iPad, but this isn’t as good for editing posts and other work. I have a 12inch HP in a neoprene case which protects the computer but is easy to get out at security checkpoints.

(6) Anker power pack

I hate running low on battery especially as I am so reliant on tech; this Anker was a present and it is awesome. It charges via a micro USB (the same one that I use for my headphones) and will give two full iPhone charges or at least half an iPad charge. I’ve just bought one for MummyAirmiles, having seen her need for power first hand on our summer trip. The build quality is robust and I’d buy another one for myself – I like the small size as it can fit in a pocket, so I’m not sure if if get a bigger one with 2 USB outputs.

(7) Cables and chargers:

  • Laptop
  • iPhone / iPad
  • Headphones 
  • Plug adaptors (EU/US)

(8) Books

Always good to have a tech-free alternative for when the battery gives out or you’re tired of looking at a screen. I love reading, but don’t do enough so holidays are a time to catch up. I like to go for a mix of fiction and non-fiction (can you tell what I teach from the photo?!)

(9) Sunglasses

Prescription sunglasses are a necessity for me so I always pack them with a hard case, otherwise they are in danger of getting broken or scratched.

(10) Skypak Backpack

My normal carry-on bag is a backpack which takes of my essentials  listed above. However, as this is a longer trip, I wanted to be able to take a little more with me. In addition to the above, I will be taking a pair of shoes, a jacket, gym kit, comfy clothes for the plane and a hoodie in my carry-on, so I need more space. On the recommendation of several travellers on FlyerTalk, I bought a little Skypak hold all and the Skypak backpack which are for their lightweight strength and small size. The backpack will give me options when I am on holiday, like cycling across the Golden Gate Bridge, and as it is no bigger than a paperback book, it is hardly taking up loads of space.

So, those are my top ten items – what are your essential items?

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