I was on a flight once that boarded and then we sat for almost four hours before we even took off. Even though my bag was stuffed full, all I really had to help pass the time was a bag of M&M's and a magazine. As we sat there, I saw another guy that had a carry-on bag that didn't look that full but it seemed like he had everything he needed.

Over the hours I watched him pull out things including food, drink, book and computer. He even pulled out a battery to charge his phone. Obviously he was a professional traveler who knew how to pack, unlike me. It left me wondering how much trial and error he went through to get where he was.

I saw a news article today where people had to sit on the plane for 12 hours before they even took off and it reminded me of my flight.

What tips to pack a carry-on like a pro?

  • 2
    I don't see an actual question, here. The broad request for tips seems to fall under the "every answer is equally valid" category of questions to avoid. Stack Exchange is designed for questions where there's a single, well-defined correct answer. Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 9:25
  • You should try to reduce the scope of the question because, at it stands, it is somewhat unanswerable per TSE rules.
    – JoErNanO
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 13:36
  • 1
    Thanks all. I did read the questions to avoid but hoped this would fall under the "Some subjective questions are allowed" part and thought it might provide some valuable ideas. The answers below were actually helpful to me. Finally, thanks pnuts for pointing out the other broad questions.
    – Tim T
    Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 0:21
  • Take 3 pens. Have one mini one that fits in place you put your passport | ALWAYS have a light jacket. ALWAYS. You can find yourself separated from all non-carried gear fora day+ [Do not risk trying to survive even only Sydney International airport over-night in winter in shirt sleeves].(Ask me how I know :-).) Roasted peanuts are not the most marvellous fare BUT are very high calories per mass & volume. Drink needed. | OTT light collapsible water container - fill from plane's washroom tap. Saves multi drink trips if service tardy. (Doesn't solve toilet trip issue :-).) Books are good. Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 1:42

2 Answers 2


Go check out this webpage. It has everything you need, or at least give you a really good start on what you're looking for. It has a good checklist for the carry on bag that prepares you for layovers, delays and lost checked in luggage. It also has suggestions for how to pack the bag so you can easily find what you're looking for. http://travelhintsandtips.com/hints_tips_and_checklist_for_the_carry_on_bag_1.php

  • 1
    Thanks Keith. That page is really detailed and I'll be making use of some of the ideas.
    – Tim T
    Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 0:23
  • The page at this link is now gone. Can anyone recreate the suggestions? Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 21:44
  • Always bring a pen (a cheap one is fine). This is useful for immigration forms and other stuff.
  • Headphones.
  • Load some favorite podcasts (BeyondPod), videos (YouTube: Watch Later), etc. on your phone. Maybe a two-player game.
  • Kindle if you like to read.
  • Salty snacks to keep your thirst up (dehydration is a problem on long flights).
  • A sense of humor.
  • USB charger with adapters for US, UK, and Euro outlets (I prefer to carry one or two simple plug adapters, no need for whiz-bang "world travel adapters").
  • Earplugs and eye mask. If you fly often you should train yourself to fall asleep early and often. This is a huge time saver! I learned to sleep 60 minutes on an 80 minute flight, even in the afternoon.
  • A very light jacket or second shirt, in case it's cold. This is mostly to help with sleeping.
  • 1
    Thanks John. I can't believe how many times I forgot a pen and needed one. I need to make a packing list.
    – Tim T
    Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 0:24

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