What to pack in a carry-on for long flights or layovers

If you have the travel bug you may have already experienced this and if you have not yet experienced it you soon will...the grunge feel from traveling all day and the empty feeling of knowing all your freshening-up items are locked away in your checked baggage.

Don't let that happen again! Instead be prepared by reading my advice below on how to pack your carry-on bag for long flights or layovers.

Start by finding a great daypack with pockets, zippers, and clips---lots of clips (for attaching things and securing the bag to your body). My favorite daypacks to use are my Wandrd, Peak Designs, and a good old-fashion North Face.

Now fill it with the following:

  • Pen
  • Notebook
  • Passport
  • Wallet
  • Portable charger and cords
  • Laptop and charger/adapters
  • Phone charger
  • Noise-cancelling headphones
  • Headphone-jack splitter - to watch movies/listen to music with your travel buddy
  • Soft/puffy jacket/sweater to double as a pillow
  • Wide-mouth thermos
  • Oats + chocolate chips (read Packing guide for Winter in rural Mongolia to see what I do with them)
  • Tissues
  • Face Wipes (sensitive skin/moisturizing)

Toiletries pouch filled with:

  • Tweezers
  • Earplugs
  • Sleeping mask
  • Vitamins
  • Sleeping pills
  • Medicine
  • Dramamine
  • Advil
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Chapstick/Aquaphor

Travel-Sized Liquids in Zip-lock baggie:

  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Face Wash
  • Lotion
  • Eyedrops

That’s it! All the best necessities for your long travel days.


What do you add to your carry-on/layover pack?