Why use a carry on packing list when traveling long haul?
Traveling long haul is exciting, but can be stressful. Personally, we never really feel too stressed about travel, except perhaps worrying that we have everything that we'll need once on the road. For some reason, this causes anxiety.
Without a list, I will continue to have anxiety after the bag is zipped up and for several days into the trip until I know that I have everything I need. I used to keep a travel packing list in my bullet journal and each year I would copy over my packing list to the new journal. However, I have moved away from this now, and instead have packing lists for different kinds of travel, with an actual PDF carry on checklist with little boxes that I can physically check off. I then keep the list in my luggage so that at the end of the trip, I can refer to my list again for the homeward bound trip.
This list includes all the items that you might need with you on the plane when you're flying long-haul. You will have checked-in your bigger luggage which includes all your clothes and shoes, etc. Checking-in a big bag and only having a small bag with your at the airport(s) and on the plane makes for a much more comfortable journey
We've also included this list as a downloadable and printable PDF list. It has extra space to add your own extra items and if some of the ones on there are not relevant for you, then simply cross them out. Consider printing a few of these lists and keep them near your travel luggage.
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For each item, we've included why we think packing this with you is important, what you can look for and we have also provided some possible products that we think are not only vegan but of high quality and functional.
Which bag do we recommend?
We like to keep all of our carry-on items in a backpack which will become a day pack during our travels. The Peak Design Everyday Backpack, available in 20 liters and 30 liters, is our absolute favorite. Note that only the black version is 100% vegan as the others have a small leather tag on the front (why!!). Seb has many Peak Design products and he researched like crazy before he purchasing this one. It is very good and highly versatile, especially if you are travelling with a laptop.
This really is a matter of personal preference. Seb really likes to keep all of his lounge cards, passport, his pen and any other papers together, whereas Brighde uses a secure pocket inside her backpack. We like this one because it has RFID safeguarding, a large outside pocket to put your phone and boarding passes and the large choice of colors.
I have used a cute passport cover for many years after my brother got his passport only slightly wet and the passport photo page smudged. This was unusual and was due to a faulty batch of passports, but since then, I have a passport cover just in case! This also makes my passport look more distinctive as well. This one is non-leather and waterproof, as well as having lots of different designs.
We like to do a ritual of emptying our wallet before we leave. For example, a trip to Thailand will not require you to carry your supermarket and Starbuck reward cards. However, it should include your driving licence, credit cards, etc. Just bring what you need!
Boarding pass / tickets
Do you need to have your e tickets and boarding cards printed out? If not, make sure they are easily accessible on your phone and that you can access them without the internet. We like to have them in our Dropbox and have the available offline or use an app like TripIt.
Medical and travel insurance information
If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel! Before you travel, make sure to have adequate coverage for what you need, the emergency numbers somewhere handy, and that everyone in your party knows where they are in case you are unable to access them. If you need to pay any money out for health care or emergency reasons no matter how small, contact your insurance company and get permission and keep that communication open.
Are you doing a lot of traveling? Changing hotels? Lots of train tickets? Make sure it is all printed out or accessible.
Credit / ATM Cards
Having a credit card is important and the most secure way to pay for most items. As a bonus, a higher-level/tier credit card will have extra insurances, warranties and protection in case of fraud. Consider having a couple of different ones of every type (ie Visa, MasterCard and Amex) to make sure you always have a card that's accepted.
Credit Card Company Information
Make sure you have your credit card information so that you can call your bank if you need get a card replaced, or if a hold has been placed on your card.
Nowadays it's completely possible to spend your entire trip paying things with a credit card, but it's still very much worth having a couple of hundred dollars stashed away just in case you lose your card or if your bank blocks it. This can sometimes happen when you go somewhere new even if you told your bank where you were going.
If you are traveling alone, keep a copy of next-of-kin information,
When arriving at your destination, how are you going to get to your accommodation? What’s the address of the hotel? Make sure you are able to access this without the internet just in case your data doesn’t start on arrival, or the airport's wifi is wonky.
If you need prescription medication, you should have your prescriptions just in case you need to show it at customs.
Your completed packing list
We like to keep a copy of the checked-off packing list in our luggage so that when you are coming home, you can check you have everything.
Of course, you can’t have full sized items in your carry-on. I like to place small amounts of items that I must have in a small toiletries bag that is specifically for the plane. When I am not flying, I keep it at the bottom of my bigger bag.
We all know that we need to have a transparent bag for our liquids, but we often forget until that critical moment when we actually arrive at security. Consider buying a toiletries bag that is TSA approved. We love this one. which comes with everything you should need. Just transfer from your full sized products to smaller sized bottles.
Don't forget this! We like to have a couple of toothbrushes just in case we forget one behind at a hotel. We like bamboo ones so we can throw them out and not feel guilty we're throwing out plastic. We like to keep a toothbrush in our travel toiletry pouch separate from our regular toothbrush if space allows. I usually take my electric toothbrush with me if the electricity voltage is compatible.
I like to have toothpaste tablets for travel. They are less likely to explode in your toiletry bag and you can easily pop a couple into a tiny tin or contact lens case in your travel toiletry pouch to save space.
If you have small bottles that you refill, then do that for the plane ride. Otherwise consider trying Ethique’s zero waste bars by using this sampler. You will probably want to transfer them to a tin and make sure they are fully dry before or they might go slimy.
You can’t shower on a plane, but you can make sure your pits are as fresh as they can be! We love the travel sized deodorant which comes with this full sized one. Pop the small one in your plane toiletry bag so it’s always there.
Most of us have some small hotel soaps floating around at home. Use this to keep it in. Available in a number of colors.
The air on a plane can be really dry, so keeping your lips moisturized is key. We love this vegan lip balm in a tin that slides open. You need to use a finger to apply, so make sure it is super clean before you do.
Just brushing your hair at the end of a flight makes you feel 30% better. This little brush doubles up as a mirror.
Medication and painkillers
Always carry any medication you need with you on the plane even if you don’t need to take it on the actually flight. If case you and your bags get separated, you will need to get to a doctor to get a new prescription which will at the very least put a dampener on the start of your holiday.
If you do need to shave on the flight you can bring a razor as long as the actual blade is encased in plastic. Anything else will be confiscated at security.
Who wants to go around random women or the flight attendant on the plane to see if they have a sanitary pad! Make sure you have supplies on-hand. We love the period cup, especially this one with the collapsible sterilizing cup.
Having some hand sanitizer is perfect to get everyone’s hands clean before eating without having to deal with the toilet queues.
Flannel and ziplock bag
I like to have a dry flannel that I keep in a ziplock bag. The ziplock bag is so that I can transport it once it is wet until I can hang it out to dry.
Contact lenses and solution
If you need these, then don’t forget them!
If you are sensitive to the cold then something to cover your arms and zipped-up to your neck can really keep you comfortable. I like this one as it is a little bit longer so you can wear leggings or low rise pants without worry.
Spare set of underwear
After 24 hours on a plane, a fresh pair of undies after a bird bath in the airport toilet makes a huge difference!
If you must travel with a laptop, then make sure it is compact and that you either have a protective sleeve or that there is a safe place in your bag to protect it from any knocks and drops. Buying a computer is a very personal thing. Everyone needs to do different types of tasks. Having said that, we're big fans of the Microsoft Surface line. As it's from windows, it's always updated, and having the nice screen with a kickstand in the plane is awesome. The flexibility to use it as a laptop with an addon keyboard is a huge bonus. The Surface Go is a great little travel computer as it's small and light. If you're into Apple, an iPad works great as well!
Cable management bags
While we rarely carry bulky books with us when we travel and no longer carry a big camera, it's all been replaces with a plethora of cables and memory cards. A dedicated tech bag is key, and once again Peak Design comes to the rescue with their awesome Tech Pouch. Again, only the black version is vegan due to the others having a small leather tag. We use a small tin to keep all the SD cards and SIM cards that we might need.
If you are an avid reader then an e-reader will probably be your best bet. However, a table can also do the job and let you watch those entire seasons of Netflix shows to get you through the flight.
Chance are you will need a battery bank. Do remember that when flying, you MUST put it on your carry-on luggage due to safety issues and there are some limits on very big battery banks so make sure that yours is ok and won't get confiscated at security.
These days hardly anyone forgets their phone. Just make sure your phone is unlocked if you wish to buy a local SIM card, or otherwise check with your mobile carrier on international rates. Coming home to an astronomical phone bill is NOT fun!
Did you remember to bring your chargers for your phone, camera, tablet etc? Make sure you don’t forget them!
This is a must-have if you are travelling overseas to destinations that have different plugs. While most planes these days have a plug by the seat that is universal, carrying your plug adaptor on the plane is a good idea just in case. Plus it will allow you to be sure you can charge your devices at the airport, which don't always have international outlets.
If you are bringing a camera with you, then as a valuable you won’t want to check that in.
If you are planning on taking a lot of pictures but are not carrying external hard drive or computer to transfer your treasured pics onto, the you’ll need a few memory cards.
Noise-cancellation headphones can really make a big difference to the quality of your flight. We cannot say enough good things about these over-the-ear headphones which we both fight over when we fly.
If you want to save space then in-ear earphones are super. These ones, which we also own, are the best in the business. They may allow you to sleep a bit better, but aren't as good at blocking that plane noise as the big ones.
Make sure you have a magazine, a paperback book or, if you are using a device, make sure you have all your digital books or audiobooks downloaded before you step on the plane.
Did you know that many Netflix shows can be downloaded on to the Netflix app on your phone or tablet? They often expire after some time, so make sure they are all downloaded before you lose wifi.
If you are usually have a big bulky wallet, then for your travels you might like a smaller one with space for some coins and a couple of cards.
Even if you think you can sleep anywhere, having complete darkness means you will be less likely to wake when the lights are turned on or if your neighbor wants to have their reading light on or open the window share. Enter the eye mask! We have tried many, many, MANY eye masks but we never found one we loved... until we stumbled on these Manta Sleep Masks. They are perfect, with very little pressure on the eyes and leaving no small crevice into which any light can come in. As we don't have blacked-out curtains in our condo, we even use these at home! Highly recommended!
If you have noise reduction headphones then you might not need these but if you don’t, then consider some really good ear plugs.
If you have ordered your vegan meal, then chances are you will have plenty to eat, but if you have some concerns, then it's a good idea to just bring your own.
Have a pen (not a pencil) to fill in any arrival forms.
House and car keys
You aren’t going to need your house and car keys while you are away of course. Make sure you remember where you put them!
Most airlines hand out water in plastic bottles, so do your part for the environment by bringing your own water bottle. Keep this empty until you get through security, then fill it up and make sure you stay hydrated on the plane.
Having a collapsible cup is great. You can avoid using multiple disposable glasses. This one also couples as an on-the-go coffee cup.
You might not need it, but just in case you are worried you might end up with lots of disposable plastic, you could bring this.
If you don’t need a neck pillow, then don’t bring it as they take up a lot of room. However, if you need them to sleep, then it's a good idea. Better be as rested as you can be when you finally arrive at your destination.
There you go, our carry-on packing list!
We'd love to hear from you! Do you have any questions? Ideas? What do you think of this guide? Did we forget any item? Let us know and we'll include it when we update the post.