As women, we sometimes overthink what we need to pack for a trip. We like to be prepared for extreme circumstances and pack something to remedy any situation, but the chances of anything going wrong are pretty low. We also like to make ourselves as comfortable as possible on plane journeys, though for the most part, no matter what little extra weight we add to our bags, the thought of getting off the plane into a real bathroom or bed is what really brings us the most comfort.
What we bring in our carry-on is everything we’ll need for a flight and our time waiting around airports, which could take hours or even days. In some cases, all you’ll bring is your carry-on, making every inch of your bag precious space. It’s so important not to overpack, or take anything you won’t actually need, because it’s no fun lugging around a crammed 40-pound backpack and trying to stuff it into the overhead bin.
In reality, you won’t use half the stuff those online packing lists tell you that you will. Sure, they may come in handy in some instances, but most of the time, you’re just going to want to get on the plane, whip out the sleep mask, and wake up at your destination.
25 Perfume- Though You'll Want Deodorant
Girls, spraying perfume in an enclosed space with recycled air is never a good idea. Because while you may want to smell your best when you have no access to a shower for 48 hours of travelling in one set of clothes, your seatmate probably doesn’t appreciate choking on the fumes of your body spritzer. Remember, some people are sensitive to the scents of synthetic body sprays.
Make for an easy journey and skip the perfume—just don’t forget your deodorant (stick, not spray, please). It will take away any unpleasant smells and keep your neighbours happy.
24 Moisturiser- You Don't Want To Be Rubbing Your Face With Plane Germs
This one seems like a necessity—with the dry plane air, your skin will feel like all its moisture is being slowly drained. The only solution, then, is to slather copious amounts of moisturiser all over your face and neck every hour to keep your complexion quenched.
But in doing so, you’re also coating your face in a layer of plane germs, and we all know how gross planes are. Even if you’re obsessively using hand sanitiser (a must-have), there are still bacteria and particles left on your hands. Do the best for your skin and put your moisturiser on before you get on the plane, and keep yourself hydrated in-flight with water.
23 Jewellery- Valuables Are A Bad Idea
Wearing jewellery onto a plane can be a pain for a few reasons. Getting through security is already a nightmare, don’t make it harder on yourself by setting the metal detectors off. If you take jewellery, keep it to a minimum or pack it in your luggage. On the plane, your layered necklaces are only going to be uncomfortable, and you’ll likely end up taking them off anyway.
Wearing flashy jewellery can attract the wrong kind of attention in certain parts of the world, so play it safe and pass on the chunky bangles and statement rings.
22 Makeup Wipes- Take Your Makeup Off Before You Get On The Plane
Some women swear by taking makeup wipes onto the plane—that they quickly remove makeup, dirt, and oil in one swipe, and you don’t have to worry about washing your face with water. Sounds like a good way to get all that grime off your skin.
However, makeup wipes can be extremely drying, and leave traces of product on your skin. You would want to moisturise after when you’ve boarded a plane, meaning you’ll need to carry another product. Before you get to the airport, make sure you’ve removed all makeup, washed, and moisturised for ease of travel.
21 Pillow- No, You Really Don't Need Your NASA-Approved Neck Roll
With all the propaganda out there telling us we need to support our necks on flights, you’d think you really do need one of those U-shaped foam pillows for upright sleeping or you wouldn’t be permitted to board. Every other shop in the airport seems to sell an innumerable amount of neck pillows, how are you supposed to choose the right one?
Turns out you don’t really need one, though they might help the worst in-flight insomniac. In most cases, unless you’re sleeping for hours on end, a rolled-up sweater or scarf will double as a pillow in seconds.
20 Blanket- Just Wear A Sweater Onto The Plane
Many people bring their own blankets on to planes, after hearing that planes are notorious for having sub-zero temperatures. Plane cabins can get quite cool, but the temperature fluctuates, so they can get as warm as they are cold.
Most airlines will provide a thin fleece blanket if you’re on an overnight flight, which can be nice to place over your lap if your legs get chilly, but they’ll leave the rest of you shivering. It’s best to layer up when on a flight so that you can adjust to temperature changes—wear a sweater over your shirt and bring a scarf to wrap around your shoulders.
19 Heels- Swollen Feet Won't Be So Happy To Be Jammed Into Stilettos
Whether for safety reasons or comfort, don’t wear heels on a plane. You don’t need to look like a celebrity jetting around the world on her private plane if it means sacrificing your ability to walk.
In the case of an emergency landing and the inflatable exit slide needs to be deployed, a sharp stiletto could burst the plastic, and you don't want an Airbus worth of angry passengers’ blame on you.
In terms of practicality, your feet swell with the elevation and pressure, and shoving your feet into narrow heels is only going to be painful. Save the nice pair of heels for the destination, not the journey.
18 Slippers- Just Another Bulky Item In Your Carry-On
Some people like to bring slippers on flights, especially if they’re long-haul and you know you’re going to want to sleep. They can provide a bit of fuzzy warmth you’d feel at home, and they’re infinitely more comfortable than wearing shoes on a 13-hour flight.
Slippers are one of those things that can make a flight feel more bearable, but factor in the bulk of most slippers, and it’s just not worth it. Wear a pair of fuzzy socks and comfortable shoes that you can unlace for more breathability, or flats that you can pop on and off easily when your toes need some air.
17 Makeup- Your Skin Is Going To Want A Break
Wearing makeup onto a plane or applying it on a plane is never a good idea. The recycled oxygen in the cabin is going to batter your skin, and makeup is only going to dry it out more.
It seems like putting a bit of concealer on to hide the dark circles under your eyes will help you look less groggy when you step off the plane, but it will only weigh your skin down. Of course, you want to look your best when arriving on holiday, and that doesn’t necessarily mean makeup is going to help, so pack your makeup bag in your checked luggage.
16 Umbrella- You Can Dig It Out From Your Checked Baggage If You Need To Bring One
No matter how compact your mini travel umbrella is, there’s no good reason to carry it around the airport with you. You’re unlikely to ever have to go outside uncovered in an airport, making it just impractical to take an umbrella with you.
Sometimes umbrellas are useful before you get to the airport or if you’re arriving at a particularly rainy destination, but you can just as easily pack it at the top or in a front pocket of your checked bag and take it out when you need it.
15 Books- There's No Need To Carry More Than One On The Plane
There's no denying that waiting around airports and planes is boring, and the first things many of us pack are things to keep up busy—laptops, journals, books. Books can become our closest friends in a blur of airport lounges and flight delays. They’re a cherished part of travelling, with some of us getting our best reading done while flying.
That’s not to say we don’t sometimes go overboard with the number of books we bring. A novel is perfect—it keeps you busy and engaged, but five is too many. Books are heavy, choose what you bring wisely.
14 Camera/Equipment- Amateur Photographers Should Suffice With A Good Phone Camera
We all want the perfect pictures of our trip, and the best ones might even add a little glamour to our social media profiles. However, you don’t always need the best DSLR camera to get that IG-worthy shot. Often, a good quality phone camera will capture the best photos.
That said, cameras are heavy and bulky, and if you have equipment like additional lenses, tripods, or batteries, they can take up a lot of space, or even require their own bag. Unless you’re a professional photographer, you may want to reconsider lugging a camera around the world.
13 Cash- It's Never A Good Idea To Carry Lots Of Cash
Carrying a large amount of cash, foreign or your own, can be a huge mistake. Even if you’re not going to a part of the world where pick-pocketing is common, it’s easy to lose cash, if only losing track of it in your luggage.
Some travellers like to preorder foreign currency, arriving prepared, but this can often only cause stress. It’s a good idea to have a little cash on you right away for incidentals, but you should only take your necessary debit and credit cards initially and use ATMs when you arrive. The fee is often worth not losing a large amount of money.
12 Shampoo/Conditioner- Where Are You Going To Wash Your Hair In An Airplane?
Carrying shampoo and conditioner with you on a plane can be smart if your primary luggage is a carry-on and you’re taking travel-sized bottles for a short trip. If you’ve got a checked suitcase, however, keep your liquids there, unless you know you’ll need them on the plane (hand sanitiser, for example).
Sometimes, while we’re packing, it can make sense to put a travel-sized bottle of every toiletry in our little plastic bag (just in case!), but really, where on the plane are you going to wash your hair? A little dry shampoo should do the trick until you can make it to a shower.
11 Hair Styling Tools/Products- Try A Style You Can Wear Straight Off The Plane
Hair styling tools are a major no-no when it comes to travelling internationally. How many times have you heard stories of hair straighteners blowing up when plugged into an adapter? And don’t bother with trying to plug them in on the plane itself.
Our hair can look like a total mess when we roll off the plane and try and collect our luggage. Sleeping upright and spending hours slouched in airport lounges can take a toll on even the silkiest of locks, but a quick plait or the timeless ponytail should hold you over.
10 Fruit- Not Unless You Buy It After Security
Seasoned travellers will know that trying to take produce through security will only cause headaches, even if you only forgot to eat that orange at the bottom of your purse. Security agents will collect your bags, stop you, question you, and confiscate your favourite snacks.
The good news is that you can still take fruit, vegetables, seeds, and nuts on most flights so long as you buy them after the security checkpoint. Some countries, however, won’t allow you to take them into the country, so make sure you eat it before you land.
9 Extra Clothes- One Extra Outfit Will Do You
What if the airline loses your luggage? What happens when the airline leaves you stranded without any clothes, or toothpaste? Though it seems like luggage losses are rampant, USA Today’s Travel Tips report that there is less than a one percent chance that your luggage will be lost, and even then, it’s usually recovered within a few days.
Packing seven sets of clothes in your carry-on isn’t practical, though you may want a change of clothes for landing. One spare outfit will usually suffice for most trips where you’ll be checking a suitcase.
8 Electronic Gadgets- Keep These To A Minimum
It's just as easy to overpack electronics as it is books, and sometimes we think we’ll use more than we do. Think about how often you’ll use your laptop, Kindle, tablet, etc. While on holiday, you’ll probably be out experiencing the local culture instead of scrolling through social media on your computer.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t bring any electronics with you—perhaps you’ll need a laptop if you work from home or you read from a tablet. Bring the devices you’ll use with you to keep you busy on the plane, but leave any others at home.
7 Toothbrush Sanitiser- Avoid Taking Your Toothbrush Out On A Plane At All
Now here is an all-around useless gadget: the toothbrush sanitiser. At first, it may seem like a good idea, considering the germs in airports and airplanes if you need to take your toothbrush out. But, it’s better to protect your toothbrush from picking up germs rather than try to get rid of them.
First, if you need to brush your teeth while traveling, use the airport bathroom as they are often cleaner than plane lavatories. Keep your toothbrush in a travel case to protect it from touching other things in your bag, and your teeth should be as happy as if you just sterilised your toothbrush.
6 Medicine Cabinet- Bring Only The Medications You'll Need
If you’re backpacking or camping, you might be inclined to take an emergency kit of medicine in case something happens, along with a fully stocked first aid kit. You’ve got a good thought, but don’t bring more than you need.
You may think you want immune boosting tablets or anti-nausea on the plane, and if you do get motion sickness, this could be a good idea. But, don’t take your entire medicine cabinet just in case something goes wrong—every pharmacy will have cough syrup and band-aids if you need them. And don’t forget to take any prescription medications you’ll need.
5 Extra Jacket- This Should Be Common Sense
Taking a jacket with you travelling despite what you think the weather is going to be like is smart, but taking two jackets (even if it will be cold) is not. Jackets are extremely bulky, even thin denim ones, and take up a lot of space in your bag.
The jacket you decide to take can be worn on the plane as part of a layered outfit, and used as a blanket when the plane gets cold. If you take another, it will have to be folded and stuffed into a bag, taking up precious space that could be used for anything else, even a few outfits.
4 Towel- All Destinations Have Towels
Hostels often don’t give out towels, so travellers staying in them are sometimes inclined to bring their own. A towel is a necessity, after all. But you can often rent them, sometimes with a refundable deposit. Or, if you would prefer your own towel, they’re cheap and easy to find, and when you’re leaving you can donate it.
Even the thinnest of fleece towels designed for travel is still another item to carry, and while they can be great for camping, taking something extra on a plane is just a hassle.
3 Extra Cables/Chargers- If You Lose Yours, Airports Almost Always Have Them
Running out of phone battery in an airport can be anything from an annoyance to a horrible ordeal. Phones are lifelines—helping us navigate new places or get in contact with people at our destination. That’s why you should always take a phone charger (or any device charger you might need), along with any appropriate adapters.
However, taking multiple cables isn’t really practical, as lost ones can easily be replaced. Airports have dozens of shops and stalls selling them, because they’re such a commonly forgotten item, and the same goes for headphones.
2 Reusable Water Bottle- Keep It In Checked Luggage
Instead of buying single-use plastic bottles throughout your trip, invest in a reusable water bottle (bonus points if it comes with a filter). A water bottle will become your best friend in hot places, where you could spend a fortune buying bottled water.
Going through the airport, though, store your bottle in a checked bag, because it could get confiscated in security, where large, sealed containers aren’t permitted. Make sure you stay properly hydrated while in flight, though, and buy a bottle or two of water in the airport.
1 All Bank Cards/IDs- You Don't Want To Be Stuck With A Stolen Wallet And Everything Missing
Your final check through your packing list should end with any necessary travel documents—passport, boarding pass, bank and credit cards. Check your wallet and purse to make sure you have everything, but not too much. Just as it’s important not to take too much cash, don’t overstuff your wallet.
Only take the bank cards that you will use, because if something does go drastically wrong and you lose your wallet, you don’t want to be stranded with having to cancel all your cards. Likewise, if you won’t be driving, don’t take your driver’s license—a passport is all the identification you’ll need.
References: USA Today, U.S. Department of Transportation