Planning for a trip involves a variety of moving pieces, and packing your luggage is one of them. Packing just using a carry-on is one of the more convenient ways to travel – you don’t have to worry about checked bag fees, and you won’t be bogged down by a ton of heavy luggage. Plus, you won’t have to worry about the airline losing your luggage. Whether you go the carry-on bag only route or opt for the checked baggage as well, here are some items you should pack in your carry-on.

Identification, documentation, and money

While it may seem obvious to keep your ID, documents, and wallet in your carry-on, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Also, keep these items in your carry-on. Even if you are flying internationally and using your passport, still keep your ID on you. If you pack it in your checked bag and the airline loses your luggage, the process of recovering it or getting a new one is a process you don’t want to have to worry about on your trip. The same thing goes for any documents or tickets you have for an event, an invitation with an address, or any item without a digital counterpart.


If you pack medications in your checked bag, not only do you run the risk of it being stolen, but it is almost impossible to get medications refilled when far away from home if your luggage gets lost. Save yourself the stress and pack your prescription meds and any over-the-counter medications you may need during your tip in your carry-on. If you have medicine that is liquid or need to carry needles, get a letter from your doctor to help you avoid any issues taking restricted items on the plane.


Even though airlines are being proactive in combatting luggage theft, incidents still happen. That being said, keep any valuables, like jewelry, laptop, camera, or other expensive items in your carry-on. This also goes for items that you’ve splurged on, like clothes. If you spent good money on it, it belongs in your carry-on.

A change of clothes

Not only will it feel great to change into a clean pair of clothes after a flight, but you will also want to have appropriate clothing for your destination. If you’re leaving home in the winter and heading towards a location with hot, sunny weather, you won’t want to be bundled up in your snow gear. Additionally, having an extra pair of clothes will come in handy if you checked bag gets lost.