This guide will give instructions on what and how to pack in carry-on baggage for one week of either national or international airplane travel

  1. National travel includes the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands of the United States
    • National travel includes the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands of the United States

    • International travel is traveling to an area governed by another country

  2. If you are traveling Internationally, check for more details on documentation while traveling
    • Notify your credit or debit card company if you are traveling internationally and wish to use your card abroad

    • Bring US dollars and exchange the currency if you need another payment option other than credit or debit cards, but note that there will be an exchange fee

    • Use the website to check exchange rates for where you will be traveling

    • Most US airlines allow a carry-on of 9”x14”x22”, as well as a personal item of 9”x10”x17”

    • You will stow the carry-on in the overhead bin of the airplane. These are often rolling suitcases, large backpacks, or duffel bags

      • Where will you stay and for how long may affect your decision, as different baggage may be more practical in different situations. For example, traveling around Europe might be easier with a backpack, while a business trip would be easier with a rolling bag

    • The personal item is what you will stow under your seat. Options for a personal item include a purse, a computer bag, or a small backpack

      • Remember that a bag without zippers or buttons can make it easier for someone to steal something from your bag while you are carrying it

    • This usually includes any object that may harm yourself or others, such as any sort of firearms, explosives, knives, and most sporting goods

    • Check out the website for more information

    • All airlines now have liquid restrictions that include not only liquids, but also gels and aerosols. Each airplane passenger is allowed one quart or liter sized, plastic, clear, zip-top bag for liquids, gels, and aerosols. Each product in the bag cannot exceed 3.4 ounces (100ml)

      • Do you need sunscreen? Bug spray? Shampoo and conditioner? Toothpaste? Lotion? You can buy these travel-sized or buy empty travel-sized bottles that you can fill with the liquid of your choice

      • You can also wait to purchase these items once you arrive at your destination. Doing so will help conserve space for other items

      • Any liquid, gel, or aerosol makeup products need to be placed in your quart-sized bag

      • If you wear contacts, contacts you are not wearing and contact solution also need to be in your quart-sized bag

      • Note that breast milk and baby formula is an exception to the liquid restriction. You can take as much with you as you need

    • Are you going on a business trip? A vacation?

    • Are you traveling somewhere warm or cold?

      • Be sure to check the weather forecasts of your destination before packing

      • Be prepared for unexpected weather by having an outfit that can be worn in warmer or colder weather than the weather forecasted for your destination

    • Take into account the type of culture you will be immersing yourself into

    • For a week of travel, pack two pairs of bottoms, three tops, and one nicer outfit into your carry-on. Also pack one pair of socks and undergarments for each day of travel. This will create seven outfit combinations. Don't forget pajamas, if you use them

    • Check the weather for your location before packing, and always plan for extreme weather conditions. Choose clothing and shoes based on your planned activities

      • For example, you may need a swimsuit, hiking boots, or a warm hat and gloves

    • Different occasions will call for different types of dress. Business trips will call for more professional clothing/shoes while a camping trip will call for comfort and warmth

      • Pick items that can serve multiple purposes and fit multiple outfits

        • For example, some pants will work both as pyjamas and bottoms of an outfit. A neutral colored classic shirt can also be both dressed up and dressed down to serve multiple occasions

    • Since shoes take up a lot of space, consolidate what you bring. Pack one pair that can be worn with a nice outfit and one pair that can be worn for comfort

      • If you are planning on going to a beach or pool, bring shoes that can get wet (flip-flops or sandals, for example)

    • What to wear on the airplane

      • If possible, wear your bulkiest clothes and shoes on the airplane to provide more space in your baggage. For example, this would be a pair of boots, a winter coat, or a large scarf. You can also layer clothes in order to wear more of your items

      • While you want to wear your bulkiest items, also be aware of security lines. Try to wear clothes and shoes that can be taken off and put on easily and efficiently

    • What to pack in your personal item

      • Include any items that you want to have easy access to, such as: documentation, wallet and desired payment types, toiletries, a converter for electrical outlets that are used in your place of travel, electronics (laptop, tablet, phone, matching chargers), headphones, entertainment (books, journals and puzzles), and writing utensils

    • What to pack in your carry-on

      • Include any items that you will not need on the airplane, such as: clothes that aren’t being worn, and shoes that aren’t being worn

      • You may want to pack your toiletries in your carry-on if your personal item is too small

    • Roll tops and bottoms up tightly to conserve space

    • Condense bulkier items that you will not be wearing by tightening them with a belt or using travel compression bags to remove excess air

    • Pack dressy clothes the same as normal tops and bottoms. Wrinkles can be removed either by ironing them once at your destination, or by hanging them up and running a hot shower to steam the wrinkles out

    • Stuff any shoes that you are not wearing with smaller items, such as undergarments

    • Place hard items, such as books and shoes, along the edges of your carry-on

    • Lay out any extremely large items that cannot be rolled along the bottom of your carry-on, such as a winter jacket or snow pants

    • Place all clothing items on top of other items

    • Place large, flat items such as a laptop, large book, or magazine along the back of your personal item for stability

    • Place electronics or entertainment that you want to use during the flight at the top of your bag so that they are easily accessible

    • Place documentation in a pocket that can be easily accessed but remains securely closed

    • Place your one quart bag of toiletries in remaining space, but remember that you will need to remove them when going through airport security

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