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Carry on essentials – top 5

What are your top 5 carry on essentials?

Airline traffic is about to get crazy again!  If your luggage got, let’s say …re-routed….what do you consider essential?

We all know that feeling – watching as the bags unload onto the carousel at the airport, waiting to see your bag drop down and wind its way over to where you are standing!  Earlier this year, on a cycling vacation to Mallorca, we watched as everyone took their bags and proceeded out of the airport.  One by one, travellers left until we were the only ones left.  That dreaded feeling – can you feel it?  Right in the pit of your stomach….No bags!!!

The saga continued as we went to the lost luggage counter.  It has been a while since I have used my Spanish and needless to say, it was very rusty.  To add to the challenges, we finally left the airport rather late Sunday afternoon and the shops were all closed.  We couldn’t buy anything – no toothpaste, contact lens solution or sunscreen (we got solid sunburns in the first couple of days – oops!)  All up, after countless phone calls with less than ideal Spanish skills, it was 4 days before all our bags made an appearance!

Check out our new matching cycling kit – waiting for our luggage to arrive. San Salvador, Mallorca.

Thankfully, we were renting our bikes, so all was not lost.  Turns out it is a little more challenging to buy women’s cycling clothing in Mallorca – which leads me to an important question – what do you consider to be essential to your travel?  If you had to live only with your carry on, what would you pack?

1.  Toiletries- while there are extensive limits on what liquids can now be carried on, drug stores and other shops have risen to the challenge – there are few essentials out there that can be a challenge to find in sample sizes, but they are coming out more and more.  For me, contact solution, toothpaste and a small sunscreen top the list.  A little hotel shampoo also comes in handy and can stand in for soap if desperate.

2.  Holiday specific outfit – beach holiday – you will find a bathing suit and sarong in my purse; cycling holiday – I will be carrying one complete outfit in my bag (including pedals, shoes and helmet) from now on!

3.  Camera and cables including battery charger and power converter – theses gadgets need their regular power feed.  I love taking photos – I usually have my DSLR as well as a waterproof point and shoot in my bag.

4.  Computer bag with laptop and iPad.  The iPad is great for reading and music, but I still prefer the laptop for more computer flexibility and fun for the zillions of photos that will no doubt be taken.  Luckily, they they are both pretty small – combined they are the same size as my old laptop!

5.  Needless to say – travel wallet full of your most important belongings – passport, wallet and travel documents.

Should your luggage be “misplaced” by the airlines, lodge a claim straight away.  Travel conventions suggest that international travellers are entitled to an emergency convenience kit.  We were not offered this, but would have greatly appreciated the toothpaste/toothbrush combination.  Make sure to ask for it if you don’t pack it in your carry on.  Keep your receipts – you are entitled to a limited number of replacement items.  Inspite of the fact that we had no clean clothes or other essential items for 4 days, the airlines reimbursed us for very little, adding quite a bit of cost to our trip.

What are the ‘can’t live without’ items for you?  From now on, I plan on making sure I travel with my carry on essentials.

Related link: Airline passengers get new bill of rights


About Anita Mac

The bucket list just keeps growing! The more I cross off - the more exciting new destinations and activities I find! I have been fortunate enough to travel a considerable distance over the years. My love of many things, including travel, cycling, kayaking and photography fit together like hand and glove. I have to keep asking myself....where to next? I am happy to share my travels and photography through my blogs: http://traveldestinationbucketlist.com and http://anitamacphotos.wordpress.com Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! On to the next adventure!


18 thoughts on “Carry on essentials – top 5

  1. Having the experience of landing at the destination while luggage continued on to a different location my must have carry on’s: sanitizer wipes, iPod, headphones, gps, computer, camera(s), chargers for all electronics, one change of clothes / shoes, toiletries packaged in TSA approved sizes.
    Just one of the joys of travel. 🙂

    Posted by PC PHOTO | December 21, 2011, 10:16 am
  2. I carry on 1) prescription drugs, 2) camera, 3) cell phone, 4) change of clothes or at least underwear and 5) basic tolieteries like deodorant, sunscreen, toothbrush and paste. Thanks for sharing!

    Posted by cravesadventure | December 21, 2011, 12:46 pm
    • I usually add my cell phone for travel in North America – sadly (or happily since it is tied to work) my phone doesn’t work in Europe! Nice to be out of touch, but as the world is more tech savy, a cell phone for Europe would be nice! Thinking of buying one in Spain next spring!

      Posted by Anita Mac | December 21, 2011, 3:53 pm
  3. I often travel with only a carry-on and two checked bikes. So I’ve become skilled at packing light – one pair of pants in my carry-on, a couple of long-sleeve shirts, two or three t-shirts, food, my ebook reader, Macbook Air, and my bicycle helmet. Everything else is crammed into my bike boxes – I divide up my clothing, shoes and tools so that if only one bike arrives I’m able to train, race and build my bike.

    Posted by vickith | December 21, 2011, 3:30 pm
    • Ah – the joy of traveling with bikes! We usually rent excellent quality bikes in Mallorca, so that is never a concern. Helmut, pedals, shorts, jersey, shoes, saddle….now all in a happy spot in carry on! My helmut goes in the helmut pod, so usually I pack the pedals in there – makes more sense to security when I pass the pedals through the scanners! The security in Europe usually understand what I am doing – the Canadian security often look at me funny!

      Posted by Anita Mac | December 21, 2011, 3:56 pm
  4. I only ever have things for the flight – it never ever occured to me to pack in case of missing luggage. Next time, husband’s carrying all my esssentials in his rucksack! Thanks for a great post and highlighting a possible problem! Oh, and congrats on the 10000+ views!

    Posted by Persephone | December 21, 2011, 3:48 pm
  5. I travel almost exclusively within Canada, at least right now. My carry-ons include any prescription meds, my laptop and accessories, my camera (26 lbs, but don’t tell the airline people), and my cell phone (which doubles as my mp3 player). Thanks for reminding me that for any travel outside of Canada I should follow the lead you and your readers have given and keep a change of clothes and toothbrush/paste in my carry-on as well. Cheers!!

    Posted by Steve | December 22, 2011, 12:28 am
  6. Great tips – I have never flown internationally and it scares me!

    Posted by readytochangenow | December 22, 2011, 9:12 pm
    • Don’t let it scare you….there is so much amazing out there for you to see and experience! Just start small – try a tour with a reputable company … before long, you will forget about anything having scared you!

      Posted by Anita Mac | May 1, 2013, 8:32 am
  7. Always my camera. I forgot only once and got sick from missing it – never again! I also bring sunblock, bug-spray, floss, my wallet – important documents, book or mind-puzzles, a snack, and clean underwear – no matter what.

    Posted by thejessicaness | December 25, 2011, 6:15 pm
  8. Only take a carry on, period.

    Posted by Cassie | April 30, 2013, 9:02 pm
    • Love it! More and more people are going carry on only these days! For me, it really depends on what, where, when and how….beach holiday is carry on only, but cycling tips, I usually have too much gear. Carry on is a challenge.

      Posted by Anita Mac | May 1, 2013, 8:33 am


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