What to Pack in Your Carry-on Backpack for Comfortable Airplane Travel

The 4 essentials you need to pack in your carry-on
A carry-on bag for any flight can be the best sidekick or a hassle. Finding the perfect carry-on backpack is important to ensure your travel day is a breeze. Too big, and your sprint from terminal to terminal to catch your connecting flight will be slowed down, or worse, you’ll have to check in your bag due to the sizing requirements. Too small, and your snacks or extra souvenirs you pick up at your gate won’t fit, and you’ll be stuck holding them.

In this article, we will go over the most ideal airplane travel-sized carry-on bag, and discuss how to make the most use of your carry-on space all while ensuring a comfortable airplane ride.

Airplane Travel Carry-On: Backpack or Travel Tote?

Hands-free is what you want to be at any airport. This is why we recommend a backpack as a carry-on instead of a tote. Grabbing a quick bite, holding your boarding ticket or cell phone, and readjusting a tote bag on your shoulder can be frustrating when you're constantly moving.

If the tote bag lacks a zipper, your items are more likely to fall out compared to a backpack.. Tote bags may not have as many compartments as a backpack, making it harder to find items quickly. Airports can feel chaotic, and disorganized so going in with a well-organized bag will give you a sense of peace amid the chaos.

What Size does my Carry-on Need to be?

Each airline has different carry-on size restrictions for domestic and international flights. It is best to research the specific airline to double-check the sizing requirements. Travelers can look here to see what their airline carry-on policy is.

4 Airplane Comfort Items for your Carry-on

Once you find the perfect backpack, deciding what to pack in your carry-on is the next step. With only a small amount of room available to bring onto the plane you want to be sure that what you pack is useful. To make it easier we've listed four airplane comfort items to pack in your carry-on.

1. Reusable Water Bottle

Imagine sitting on the tarmac due to airport delays, or a late-night connection where the stores at the airport are closed, you’ll want to have your water on hand. A reusable water bottle is great for emergencies, but it will also save you money at the airport by not having to buy multiple water bottles. Hydration also helps with jet flag, so having a water bottle will allow you to fight your jet lag more easily.

24 oz Standard Mouth via Hydro Flask

2. Noise Cancellation Headphones

As a traveler, you are not in control of your surroundings, so it is beneficial to have items that will allow you to be. Noise-cancellation headphones are perfect for moments when you want to sleep, but the airport is bustling with people, or there is a crying baby on your plane.

AirPods Pro Max via Apple

3. Eyemask

Similar to noise-canceling headphones, an eye mask allows you to be in control of your surroundings. Whether in a brightly lit airport or on a plane where your neighbor decides to keep their window open, you will have the ability to create a dark space to sleep or relax.

Alaska Bear Sleep Mask via Amazon

4. Travel Pillow

Are they necessary? Don’t knock it until you try it. If you are taking a long-haul flight, you are bound to fall asleep. Airplane seats are upright, and when you fall asleep, your head can fall sideways or forward, resulting in waking up with neck pain. A travel pillow helps to support your neck while you sleep, reducing neck pain and allowing you to sleep better.

The best travel pillow is the one that you find most comfortable. Just as we are picky with the pillow we sleep with each night, the same goes for a travel pillow.

Travel Pillow via Infinity Pillow

As you travel more often you'll learn about your travel habits and how to best pack. Whether you already have a running packing list that you want to add to or are just starting out this is a great place to begin!