Airplane Packing List: How To Pack For A Flight

Airplane Packing List: How To Pack For A Flight

This airplane packing list has all of my best tips on how to pack for a flight. Don’t leave home without these must-have air travel essentials!

Packing for a Flight

Packing for air travel can be overwhelming. You don’t want to bring an unmanageable amount, especially in a carry-on bag, but you don’t want to miss anything important. To make sure you’re prepared on the plane, bookmark this carry-on packing list with a list of our favorite products to help make your next flight a breeze.

Carry-On Packing Guide for Air Travel (How To Pack For A Flight)

Carry-On Bags

I travel with a lot of camera gear as well as a laptop, so my carry-on bag is packed full of electronics. This means I have to carefully consider every item that goes into the small top compartment of my backpack. I use the Lowepro Fastpack backpack, which has enough room for all of the items listed below as well as a Sony A7II camera body, 3 lenses, and a GoPro.

If you don’t carry around a lot of camera gear, then this bag is perfect for carry-on items, plus it doubles as a cute handbag for day trips once you are at your new destination.

Passports & Credit Cards

First, and most importantly, don’t forget your passport when traveling abroad (and any other important identification documents). You’ll need them to go through airport security checkpoints as well as in emergencies like missing belongings or canceled flight re-booking. 

It’s a good idea to make copies of your passport and credit cards and keep them separate from the originals in case they are lost or stolen.


If you have prescription medications or supplements, packing them in your carry-on bag is the safest way to ensure you’ll never miss a dose.

Bringing relief meds for headaches, allergies, or motion sickness will also give you the means to reduce such symptoms right away, and vitamins like Vitamin C and acidophilus can help protect you from germs.

Activated charcoal pills are a good idea for mild stomach bugs and allergies. I never leave home without them!


Are your cell-phone, laptop, or other electronics flying with you? Make sure they’re secured in your carry-on and don’t forget their chargers!

I always pack a portable charger (we use this one) for times when I don’t have access to outlets, such as on the plane itself or when exploring during a long layover. Finding outlets in some airports can be tricky and you don’t want to be stuck without power on your phone — especially if you are traveling solo.

Bring Clothes, Just in Case

Hopefully, you’ll never have to deal with lost luggage, but it never hurts to be prepared. A change of underwear, socks, and an extra shirt can help you stay fresh until your belongings are returned.

If you’re traveling to a tropical destination, consider bringing your swimsuit in your carry-on, too, so you won’t have to miss out on any water time.

A comfortable cardigan or light jacket can also double as a blanket during air-conditioned flights. I’ve found the perfect long cardigan for travel and it always comes on the plane with me. Don’t count on airlines carrying blankets for every passenger — even on overnight flights.


Toiletries are a must for long flights. Travel deodorant, gum or mints, and a travel folding toothbrush are standard items that I bring on all flights.

Stuck without a shower? Biodegradable Wipes keep you clean and smelling great with tea tree oil, peppermint, and ginseng.

Clean & Clear’s oil-absorbing sheets are one of my favorite things to pack in my carry-on because they keep my face oil-free and can even be used over makeup to restore a matte finish.

I also like to carry a travel-size package of antibacterial wipes to clean my arm rests and food tray on the plane. It’s a great ice breaker if you offer one to your neighbor as well.


You can easily bring your preferred lotions and other liquids from home by using your own travel-sized containers. I fill small contact cases with my favorite lotion for the plane.  If you have a few different creams, lotions, or liquids essential to your self-care, you can get a pack of 3 for under $7.

Comfort Basics

We all know how dry airplane air can be. Pack some chapstick and eye drops to keep you moisturized and comfortable.

Sleep Essentials

An eye mask and earplugs are essential for helping you get some sleep, whether you’re taking the red-eye or just catching a nap. I always pack a pair of comfortable, noise-isolating headphones to play white noise or music to help me sleep. Most airlines don’t offer headphones free of charge, so I use these to watch movies as well.

Stay Hydrated

Carry a reusable water bottle to fill up after security. This reusable water bottle is something I’ve recently added to my carry-on packing list. I don’t have much space in my carry-on backpack due to camera gear, but this one can be rolled up and crammed into small spaces.

Stave Off Hunger

Airplane snacks can be unhealthy, unfulfilling, and may not take food allergies into consideration. Packing your own snacks means you’ll have what you like and what you need to nourish your body, without paying extra for food.

For more packing lists, visit:

How to Pack for Carry-on Only

Road Trip Packing List: What to Bring on a Road Trip

The Best Carry-on Luggage (For Every Type of Traveler)

How to Stay Stylish While Traveling

Women’s Packing List for Europe

Alaska Packing List

Yellowstone National Park Packing Tips

Packing List for an Overnight Kayaking Trip

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  1. xTheRealOrdinaryTraveler says:

    “Ordinary Traveler”, yet has a professional camera and specializes in photography. That is NOT an ordinary traveler.

  2. Do you carry another bag besides your camera bag? I’m having a hard time figuring out how to pack my camera gear and the other stuff I need for a long flight and just keep it to a backpack.

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      I don’t. I end up shoving everything else in the top compartment and sometimes carry a small purse as well.

  3. NOMADasaurus says:

    Great tips and suggestions. We can back the tip on bring a spare set of clothing. We had a delay in LA and missed our connecting flight. We couldn’t access our bags so we wore the same dirty clothes to bed and on the next plane the following day. Now we always carry a spare set in our carry on. We take our own water bottle with us everywhere and make sure we fill it up before getting on the plane. The airlines never give you enough water.

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      Right?! I’m always like “Can I PLEASE have some more water??” Lol.

  4. Caitlin @ Candyfloss & Persie says:

    Great tips and compilation!!

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      Thank you!