I’m ready to travel again!
And I’ve got several international trips planned during the next six months. After only domestic travel during the past year and a half, I’m trying to refresh my memory on what to pack in my carryon bag.
You see, I would never travel internationally by air without a carryon big enough to pack at least three days of necessities. The unthinkable (delayed/lost luggage) has happened more than once, and I don’t need to be hammered over the head to learn an important lesson.
On an overseas flight, there are several items that can make the journey healthier and more comfortable. While everyone has a few pet items they can’t do without, here are things I consider necessary to pack in my carryon.
Compression socks. Even if you’ve never had a problem with blood clots in your legs, long socks with mild compression will help relieve any swelling or achiness. You can find cute and crazy socks (forget blah black and brown) in varying levels of compression to fit your needs. Just catching a glance of these wardrobe necessities will cheer you up.
Disinfecting wipes and spray. You know what that’s for—spray or wipe all surfaces you’ll be touching in public transportation, and keep your hands clean throughout the journey.
Eye mask. If you plan to catch a few winks on the flight, a darkening eye mask that fits snuggly to your face is a necessity. You can buy comfortable molded masks that fit away from your eyes so eyelashes don’t rub against it.
4. Noise-cancelling earphones or ear plugs, if you are sensitive to surrounding noises. I usually am okay without these, but you might want to include them.
Slippers are handy if you want to remove your shoes on a long flight. That’s one of the first things I do, as my feet tend to swell when we get high in the air. Slippers are comfy and will keep your feet and socks clean (Who wants to walk on dirty airplane floors?)
Hand lotion and lip balm or Vaseline will help your body stay moisturized even though airplane air is notoriously dry. If it’s scented with lavender or chamomile, you’ll enjoy the relaxing scents.
A notebook is one of my essentials. As a travel journalist, I’m forever writing notes about what’s happening and what is in my surroundings. You’ll be amazed when you return from a trip how much you might have forgotten if not for whatever is jotted in your notebook. It’s a place to consolidate activities, descriptions, people you meet, place names, and much more.
8. Don’t forget to bring in-flight reading material or movies that appeal to you. Yes, there will be movies, TV, and documentaries available on longer flights, and that’s another option if you don’t want to bother bringing your own. Traveling is my best time to catch up on magazines or books that I’ve put aside too long.
9. Many airlines now have chargers, but you might also want to include an adapter in your carryon. It’s small, and you might need it if you arrive at a hotel that doesn’t’ accept or can’t charge your electronics.
Of course, you’ll need your passport and any required visas handy. In addition, make copies of your passport that are stored in a different place from the actual thing. It’s also a good idea to carry an extra passport photo that could be used if you lost your passport and had to get and emergency one. Some countries may require a record of COVID vaccination or other health immunizations.
1 While most people take a change of clothes including underwear, I take at least three days worth in my carryon. Experience has shown that it can take that long for the airline to locate a lost bag and transport it to your destination. And if you are heading to a hot, sunny place, slip a tube of sunscreen in your carryon, too.Enough toiletries and medications for three to four days. If you have travel insurance, you may be able to replace these in a day or two, but the timing depends on how quickly your insurance company authorizes new purchases.
13. Travel insurance information. Be sure you can access the name of the company, number of your policy, and a phone number to call if you are unlucky enough to experience missed flights or lost luggage before arriving at your destination.
As long as airlines require passengers to wear face masks in terminals and on planes, be prepared. Take more than one in case the mask gets dirty or lost.
Images from free sources