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What to Pack in a Carry On For a Long Flight

by Venus Sanders


Traveling can be one of the best things to do—whether it’s a girl’s trip or a solo trip. One of our readers shared their bucket list, “There’s so much I want to do! I’d love to do a road trip in an RV with friends to California. I may do this to attend the ESS Fest next year. I’d also love to go to Italy where I can go shopping in Milan. Next, go to England to visit some friends and family. Other places on my list include Iceland for the hot springs, Australia, Dubai and of course, the Grand Canyon.” – Melissa Ryder, 26, NYC.

When it comes to packing, things can get a bit hectic with travelers finding themselves unsure of what to bring. Before packing it is wise to follow the 3-1-1- liquids rule—3.4 ounces or less per container, 1-quart size, clear, plastic, zip-top bag and 1 bag per passenger.

Related articles: Travel Wardrobe

In your bag you can add the Mouthwash Tablets Kit, (Retail: $15.95). These mouthwash tablets are a great low-waste, plastic-free alternative to traditional mouthwash. The kit comes in a 100% compostable recyclable cardboard box.

Before you get a chance to bring your carry-on luggage aboard the aircraft you will have to go through the TSA airport security checkpoint. You will need to show a valid ID and your boarding pass. Going through TSA is not hard at all, however, depending on where you are traveling sometimes anxiety can get the best of us.

If you’re traveling a long distance, consider the following as per the Co-founder of The Travel Deck, Jaqueline, “Long flights are often tiring and even boring. Even more so when we just realize that a bunch of important things is packed away in our checked luggage. The best thing to do is to think what are the most common things that we couldn’t get by without on a regular day—think of gadgets…”

*shameless plug(s)* The SoundOff Sleep Noise Masking Earbuds V.3 (Retail: $179.95) masks snoring and other noises with a soothing pink noise. OpenRock Pro True Wireless Open Earbuds, (Retail: $99.99) enables you to adjust the ear hook to suit the shape of the ear and disperse the gravity to make you more comfortable and enhance adhesion of the earphone.

Each airline has its own set of rules when it comes to carry-on luggage, check it out below to make sure you’re on track:

  • American Airlines – All passengers get one piece of carry-on luggage. Bag dimensions should be no longer than 22” x 14” x 9”

  • Delta Airlines – The same can be said, they require the same measurements for traveling 22’ x 14” x 9” and to total length of the height should not exceed 45 inches

  • JetBlue (my favorite airline) – Carry-on dimensions are the same as both Delta and AA while personal items must be no more than 17” x 13” x 9”. The Treadmill Blanket (Retail: $34.99) can work well here too and is available for purchase on Amazon. It’s large enough to keep you cozy but small enough to meet the requirements for a carry-on—even in JetBlue’s case.

  • Southwest Airlines – Carry-ons can go up to 24” x 16” x 10”, which does give you a little bit more extra room. Personal items should be no larger than 18.5” x 8.5” x 13.5”

  • United Airlines – Maximum carry-on dimensions are 22” x 14” x 9” and personal items are limited to 17” x 10” x 9”

Given this information, it’s good to first contact the airline ahead of time to get the proper information on how large your carry-on luggage can be before arriving at the airport. In your carry-on you want to avoid packing any of the below items:

  • Makeup over 3.4 ounces.

  • Medicine and Medical Equipment.

  • Sharp Objects.

  • Food.

  • Weapons, Firearms, or Self-Defense Items.

  • Sporting and Camping Equipment.

  • Alcohol.

  • Household Items and Tools.

  • Flammables.

It is good to consider packing some of your clothes in your carry-on and even a laptop so you can watch shows on YouTube or Netflix. One thing I never forget is the Manta Sleep Mask (Retail: $35.00). Some pros about this mask that make it a wonderful addition to your carry-on—especially on a long flight—are that it is 100% blackout for a deeper sleep, it is made from soft, breathable, durable materials and put zero pressure on eyelids or lashes.

Women Traveling Together

If you’re sharing the trip with a group of trustworthy friends and there are some things you just cannot fit in your carry-on then feel free to ask one of your friends to place it in theirs. Long flights require that you have the things that will aid in your overall comfort. Most times than not you will have a layover, during this time you can stack up on some new things or discard things you do not need.

Traveling with a group is a memorable experience in and of it itself. The stories that come out around a campfire aren’t the same stories that are shared sitting at a bar or on someone’s sofa. Make sure you trust the people you are with and think of this journey as a sisterhood.

Finding yourself in the company of other like-minded women means there’s a good chance you all have a lot in common. Help one another to not get caught up in TSA and lose valuable items because they were not stored and packed correctly. Lastly, be kind to yourself and don’t overthink the process.


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