What to Pack in Carry-on For International Flight?


Jan 09
what to pack in carry on for international flight

Whether you’re planning to travel abroad for business or leisure, knowing what to pack in your carry on for international flight is one of the most important things you need to keep in mind. After all, your bag is going to have all the things you need to keep comfort even while you are on the road. But of course, what to put in your carry on depends on your own specific needs and your reason as to why you are traveling.


But first of all, what do I mean by a carry-on bag?

Well by definition, it’s a little piece of luggage that you could take with you on the plane overhead compartments or under the plane seat.


Most airlines allow every passenger to have a carry-on bag along with another personal item such as a briefcase, purse, camera bag, or laptop bag. In spite of the fact that your bag is going to get checked by the airport security staff with an x-ray machine, your airline is still the one to determine as to whether or not your bag meets the size requirement that was applied by their rules.

A carry-on bag may come in different forms. Here are different types of bags you can use as a carry-on:

Duffel Bag

This is a with a shoulder strap and is probably the most commonly used carry-on luggage. One of the best things about a duff​​el bag or a weekender bag is the fact that they are usually expandable and when they are not full, they can easily fit under the seat. 

duffel bag

Throughout the trip or before you head back home, you can easily get it to get anything you need as they are perfect for anything that is not fragile. You must remember, however, that duffel bags are usually made of soft materials like fabric or leather, so, putting delicate things in it is not always recommended.

Wheeled Bag

Another preferred carry-on bag by many is a compact wheeled bag. If you want to use luggage for its convenience, you have to make sure that the size of it is allowed by the airline you are flying with. The size of a carry-on bag allowed on board depends on the airline, but the standard is 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches.

rollong backpack

Many of today’s models come with 360° rotating wheels and a telescopic handle for extra convenience. There are two types of wheeled luggage: soft case and hard case. The hard case is perfect if you are planning to bring some breakable items like figurines or bottled goodies. Just make sure that you wrap them cautiously and securely with plastic bubble wraps, papers, or even just your own clothes to give them more protection from breaking.

On the other hand, soft care luggage is perfect if you are concerned that the bag itself will get dented or broken. Hard case bags are usually made with PVC materials that can get damaged if not handled with care, while soft case bags are usually made with thick fabric materials. 


A carry-on backpack is another good option if you need a carry-on bag to carry things that you need while on the flight. Most travel backpacks on the market are built with lightweight but durable materials specifically designed for traveling. 

girl backpack

Most of the models you will find have multiple pockets, dividers, and other organizers of some sort to help you find and get your belongings when you need them. This is probably the most popular carry-on bag.

Finding the best carry-on luggage perfect for you shouldn’t be difficult. They all come in different styles and colors to suit different needs and preference. Just make sure to consider the size you need to carry all your belongings securely.

The Contents of the Carry-On Bag

Now that you know the different options you have for choosing the right carry-on for your needs, let’s now talk about what to pack in a carry-on for an international flight.

luggage packing

First of all, you have to keep in mind that not having enough space for your belongings can be a great hassle to your overall travel experience. But one of the reasons for this is that a lot of travelers take their carry-on bag for granted or they don’t know how to maximize the use of them. Knowing what to and what not to bring can do trick.

But before you go ahead and toss everything in your bag, it is best to plan what you want to bring beforehand. On top of this, you have to keep in mind that there is a big chance you will need to have extra space for the things you want to take home with you from your trip. So, in case you happen to do a little shopping at your destination, you will have enough room for them.

What to Pack

To help you decide what to pack in your carry-on, I listed down some of my favorites, which I think are worth packing for any trip, especially the long-haul ones.

Health & Hygiene

- If you’re taking any forms of medication, then you surely have to carry them with you even while you’re traveling. When you’re going to fly with multiple flights or simply taking a very long one, you wouldn’t want to have to be stuck in the air without the medication you need, especially because you’re overseas and finding them abroad wouldn’t be as easy as it is back home.


- Another thing you don’t want to leave your home without is your toiletries​​​​. Pack in your shampoo, soap, facewash, comb, cotton, lotion, toothbrush, as well as your make up. Make sure to also have some portable toilet paper because… you never know when Mother Nature calls! 

- Of course, a very important one: Always make sure to pack a couple of clean pieces of clothes in your carry-on when you are traveling. A pair of sweatpants and a soft jacket always comes in handy. A pair of socks and a t-shirt would also be a smart idea. This is really useful if ever it gets really cold on the plane.

- Some clean underwear is also a must! You’ll never know, your flights may get delayed and you don’t want to wear the same underwear for a very long period of time. This would also be practical if you are traveling to meet your partner.

Personal Items


Your personal belongings like ID, passport, wallet and all your travel documents should always be in your carry-on bag. Or better, have a fanny pack with you that you always wear in your body at all times while you are on the road.

- Laptop
- Phone
- Chargers for your gadgets


This should depend on your preference. You can take a book with you or a portable gadget that will help you kill some time. If you are planning to bring a book, choose one that is not too heavy. Or better, Kindle or a tablet PC that contains eBooks.


What NOT to Pack

Most airports have the same line of requirements when it comes to the items you are not allowed to pack in your carry-on. So, make sure that you are fully aware of them before you fly.

- Illegal drugs and explosives

- Sharp items like screwdrivers, pen knives, nail clippers, and scissors

- Carry gels and liquids in 100ml bottles

- Sports equipment

- Flammable items like lighter and matches

- Meat, fruit, vegetables, and other agricultural goods

- Undeclared prescription medicines


This list of what not to pack in your carry-on bag isn’t all-inclusive. You have to keep in mind that regulations may change without prior notice, so, if you feel hesitant to bring something with you, thinking that it might be prohibited, the best thing to do is to check with your airlines as they are always updated with changes.

When you follow these crucial regulations set by the TSA, then expect to have a hassle-free airport experience. However, don’t forget to put labels on your luggage even if they are carry-on and you’re planning to have them with you the entire time. This is an extra security practice that will give you a little peace of mind.

I hope that this tips on what to pack in carry on for international flight have been helpful. If you do, then share this article with your friends to also keep them updated and informed. Lastly, always be realistic about what you think is the most important things to bring with you on your trip, be smart, and enjoy your trip!

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Alice Ross, a long-term traveler who left the corporate world to travel the world. I chose to live life on my own phase and live day by day while immersing myself in new experiences, new knowledge, and new people in a different walk of life I met along the way.

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