Gear · Travel

Why You Should Never Check In These 12 Vital Carry On Items

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If you are checking in a bag for your flight, or even gate checking your bag, there are a few things that you need to keep with you. Now, this isn’t about comfort. I have already written an article all about how to pack liquids for hand luggage, and a long haul carry on essentials post. This, is what you should have in your personal item; the vital carry on items you should never let out of your sight.

Deposit hptosos / efired

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You just never know what is going to happen when you fly. Delays, lost luggage and cancellations could add hours or even days onto your travels. That is why you should keep these twelve things in your hand luggage: By this I mean your “personal item” not your small wheeled suitcase as these are often checked in at the gate at the last minute. Don’t let your excellent organisation go to waste as your board!

1.) Your Passport

I know I know, you would never be silly enough to put this in your checked bag BUT sometimes airlines offer (or demand) to check in large hand luggage at the gate. It has been known for people to slip their passports in their bigger bags and forget. Then, whoops, off it goes. Travelling as a couple, we often play the, “This is me putting my passport in this pocket“ game. Of course, this has been learned the hard way through the loss of two passports…mine. Even if you don’t have passport checks as you pass through the gate, just double check that you have it.

FlyMe Villa Air boarding pass inside a red UK Passport

2.) A Wallet

You may have your phone to make payments but who knows when the battery will die or somewhere doesn’t accept Apple Pay. Card terminals may be broken and there are plenty of places that barely take credit cards. It is definitely best to keep cards and cash with you. Carrying a good fee free card like Revolut is a good option, but we do recommend having a few cards just in case the providers are not accepted. For example, American Express is not as widely accepted as you might expect, and there are whole countries that have problems with MasterCard. It is also good to have a credit card or similar with a large limit in case of emergencies.

3.) Important Medication

I have lost track of the number of tourists on TV telling news crews they don’t have their lifesaving medications with them when travel disruption strikes. It blows my mind. Keep your medication with you and again,, that means in your hand bag or personal item, so you know exactly where it is. Oh, and bring plenty of spare medication. If you are stuck somewhere for a few days, you don’t want it to run out! It is also a good idea to have a photo or notes with you of your exact medication in case you need to get hold of some more from a local doctor/pharmacy. (If you are stuck at UK airports, there is always a Boots pharmacy somewhere).

Deposit photos / poznyakov

4.) Some Spare Underwear

Time takes a toll on your undies so having a fresh pair in the case of disruption is a must. In fact, even if you are just flying for a long time, having a spare pair to change into can really perk you up. If you are flying overnight, you can start your new day right! Some people like to use pantyliners to really stay fresh too. Needless to say, these should be as comfortable as possible rather than strappy and lacy. Ice silk/seamless for the win!

Deposit photos / zakazpc

5.) Your House Keys

You really need to open your door when you get home so never lose sight of your keys (that goes for both directions of travel). Bags get lost and you don’t want to have to smash through your window or trek halfway across town with luggage to get your spare pair from your mum. I know it feels great to go on a trip and not think about the house for a while but just keep these close.

Deposit photos / NewAfrica

6.) A Warm Layer

These are annoying to carry, I know, but what if the air con on the plane is cranked up to max? What if the plane diverts to Iceland on its way across the Atlantic? You never know so keep a jacket with you. A light down jacket weighs nothing and doubles as a pillow when it’s in its stuff sack. At the very least bring a cardigan and big scarf/shawl. I have never been one of those people that can wear those fancy ponchos (they don’t go with backpacks) but you will look damn chic if you are!

Rosie standing in the snow wearing a black Ravean Down X Heated Jacket with the hood up

7.) A Power Bank

Phone batteries have come a long way, but you are travelling a longer way. If you are delayed or diverted, you are going to need all the juice you can get for entertainment and/or contacting the airline/your insurance etc etc. Bear in mind that many airports don’t allow power banks more than 20,000mAh so make sure you know where your power bank states the size. If security decides to check. it’ll make your experience much quicker. We prefer the wired kind so you can share it with a buddy and don’t have to hold both items whilst you are waiting in the lounge/gate.

Deposit photos /

8.) A Water Bottle

Filling up on free water whenever you can is the best way to save money and stay hydrated at the airport. Just remember to empty the bottle when you are going through security. It would be best to choose a thermos style bottle which keeps your water nice and cold. This will help your water stay appetisingly chilly, there is nothing so unappealing as water that has warmed up.

Deposit photos / jukai5

9.) Toothbrush & Tooth Paste

Again, if you are disrupted or even just travelling on a long haul flight, the chance to brush your teeth and stay fresh can make a world of difference. After a couple of airline meals or overly flavoured snacks it can make you feel better, especially being in close quarters with others. Some airlines will provide them, and of course every airport will sell them, but seeing as you will need it when you get to your destination anyway, just take yours with you.

Deposit photos / frantic00

10.) Wired Headphones

I mean in addition to your AirPods or similar. This allows you to connect to entertainment on the plane easily. There are those smart AirFly, Bluetooth connectors but the batteries don’t last forever. I carry a little converter so I can use regular wired headphones with my iPhone, as well as the plane’s 3.5mm jack. This allows me to turn off the Bluetooth and save lots of battery, especially important on long, budget flights with no entertainment.

Deposit Photos / dmitryi

11.) Your Phone

Obviously, you would never put your phone anywhere silly but good to double check you have it before you board and before you disembark. Some people leave their phones charging on the posts provided in airport lounges, or tucked away in secret plugs….and there they stay. Once you are on board, don’t putthe phone in the seat back pocket. It is gross in there and you are more likely to forget it.

In your phone, it is good to have access to your insurance details, some entertainment and numbers you might need during your travels. I also like to screenshot arrival information and hotel details. There is no guarantee there will be WiFi or data when you need it.

12.) Expensive Items

If you value it, keep it with you. Jewellery, fancy cameras, prized belongings, they should all be in your under seat bag. You can keep an eye on your things much more easily here than in the overhead, and definitely better than if you check these things in. You can lock a check in bag but you have no power over whether it makes the flight!

Deposit photos / Saksoni

Final Thoughts on Our 12 Vital Carry On Items

Full disclosure, I know the theory behind all of these and even I make mistakes. After three weeks of travelling with my house keys in my backpack I checked them in and stressed about it for 14 hours until I saw the backpack again. Now, I have this little list ready to go in my phone for the final pack to ensure I have everything with me. Have you ever checked in something important that you never got back? Let me know in the comments I hope this list means it will never happen to either of us again.

Rosie xx

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