Whether you are heading out on a road trip, flying across the world, or something in between, packing the essentials is a must. Below you will find our carry-on packing guide for your next trip. Keep everything at an arms reach and it will make even the most hectic travel days simple and enjoyable. 

Tote Duffel

Packing the perfect carry-on starts with the right bag. This great tote duffel is spacious, has a zipper, and slips over the handle of your rolling luggage for easy carrying. With a variety of colors and patterns, this is a great bag for anyone.

Sleep Mask

From long haul flights to too bright hotel rooms, sleeping can pose a challenge when traveling. A good quality sleep mask will allow you to get the perfect rest no matter where it is happening.

Snack Container

Whether you have kids that you want to keep occupied with their favorite snacks, or you know you won’t have time to stop for food, these containers are great to slip in your carry-on before your next trip.

Water bottle

Even though you can’t bring liquids through security, you can bring an empty water bottle to fill before your flight. A Swell water bottle keeps drinks cold for 54 hours and hot for 26 hours. Whether its coffee on the road or a smoothie on the train, this is a great investment.


Catch up on your favorite show, listen to a podcast, or watch that Oscar winning movie you’ve been meaning to see. Noise cancelling headphones are a must for all travelers, even if its just to drown out the noise of the world around you.

Large scarf 

Staying comfortable allows for a much more peaceful way of travel. A blanket scarf that can be work or tucked into your carry-on is essential for cold airplanes, drafty buses, or to use as a pillow for a quick nap. 


A nice journal can keep you organized, spark creativity, and allow you to remember your favorite travel locations. Jot down a delicious meal at a restaurant, write down what you did while traveling to a new place, or even remember to send an email once you are back at the hotel.

Travel book

A great book is an excellent way to pass the time in the car or on the plane. Check out some travel-inspired reads that will get you vacation ready.

Sheet Mask 

There’s nothing worse than getting off of a plane feeling dehydrated, oily, and a mess. Rehydrate your skin before you touchdown by slipping a sheet mask in your carry on to do before landing.

Compression Socks

Sitting for long periods of time can be hard on the body. Prepare for a long flight or car ride with a pair of compression socks that will allow for good circulation and blood flow even when you can’t move around.

Bottom Line

Travel is an excellent way to destress and enjoy life. Let your vacation begin far before reaching your destination by preparing the perfect carry-on bag. From ways to rest and rejuvenate, to actives, and more, with this list of carry-on items you will feel like you are on vacation before you’ve even left home. 

Amber Zakem

Amber Zakem has worked in the travel industry since 2014. Although, her love of travel began far before that. Amber grew up visiting cousins stationed throughout Europe and worked as an Au Pair in Germany for a year between High School and College. She started working at a local travel agency in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, after graduating from Central Michigan University. Amber began working for MAST Travel Network in 2016 and is the Social Media Specialist. She runs the MAST Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat and she teaches twice monthly webinars to travel agents on using social media to promote travel. Amber has continued her passion for travel and social media by also teaching a course at Moraine Valley Community College in their Hospitality program.