My sister flew from Edmonton to Vancouver a couple of weeks ago but her suitcase went to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico! If you’ve ever had a suitcase go astray, you know how important the contents of your carry-on can be.
I once carried a kabocha in my carry-on but I’m usually a little more sensible than that! Our suitcases have failed to keep up with us three times over the years but each time, we’ve been fortunate to be on our way home. Last year, however, we were stranded overnight in Houston with only our carry-on baggage but fortunately we were prepared.
So what are the essentials that should go into your carry-on luggage?
- Passports and travel documents, of course. These should be stowed in a safe but easy to access location.
- A change of clothes or at least fresh undergarments. You can probably get away with wearing the same pair of jeans for several days but underwear, no!
- Something that you can sleep in comfortably (unless you prefer to sleep in the nude).
- If you’re on your way to a tropical destination, I’d suggest a swimsuit. It doesn’t take up much space and who wants to hang out on the beach in their travel clothes while they wait for a suitcase to be delivered? Of course, this could be just the excuse you need to buy a new one!
- Medications; at least enough to last for a few days.
- Basic toiletry items. Don’t forget that airline safety regulations restrict liquids, gels and aerosols in carry-on baggage to a maximum of 100 mL each and that all such items must be carried in a clear, resealable plastic bag that is no larger than one litre. There’s also limit of one bag per person. I always add my toothbrush to this bag.
- Something to keep you occupied during a long flight or lengthy airport layover. This might be a book, magazine or e-reader or if there are two of you, a deck of cards.
- Any valuables that couldn’t easily be replaced if your suitcase went missing permanently.
What else do you pack in your carry-on?
Most airlines allow two pieces of carry-on baggage per person; one larger than the other. A small purse can be carried on-board as well but a larger one will usually count as one of the allotted carry-ons. Mine is neither small nor overly large but I’m not interested in trying to keep track of three items anyway.
Our most interesting and innovative piece of luggage is the two piece Mountain Equipment Coop backpack that Richard received from his school staff as a retirement gift. Attached together, the two multi-pocketed bags are big enough that they have to fly as checked baggage but when separated, the larger wheeled pack and the smaller detachable day pack can travel as carry-ons. The wheels are great for traversing airports like the ones in Vancouver and Shanghai where we’ll change planes on the way to Dalian and the combo will be perfect for weekend or overnight trips while we’re living there.