Packing Your Carry on Luggage


l TipsCarrying a bag onto an airplane these days is no simple matter. Security regulations and the weight restrictions of particular airlines make packing your carry on bag a tricky proposition. There are many considerations that need to be taken into account when you pack your carry-on bag: the length of the journey, any conditions you may have that you need to pack for, security and the weight of the bag.

The length of your journey should be a strong determining factor when you pack. When flying on a transcontinental or transatlantic flight, for example, you should focus more on packing for comfort than on a flight from New York to Chicago. For a longer flight, you should include items like books to read and a music player with which you can keep yourself occupied. If you plan to sleep on the plane you might want to pack a non-narcotic sleep aid.

The environment of an airplane also tends to be very dry so a package of throat lozenges never hurts. Many other amenities are provided by the airplane, even in coach. Virgin Atlantic, for example, provides eye patches, a tooth brush and tooth paste as well as socks, pillows and blankets. You should, of course, also pack any medication that you are taking and might need in-flight. If the flight is not scheduled to be long enough that you should require a dose of medication pack them with you anyway. Flights are sometimes delayed and luggage is often misplaces therefore it is a good idea to know where your medication is at all times.

On shorter flights there is often less consideration of comfort. When flying on a shorter flight you can pack many things in your carry-on bag that will help you lighten your check-in bag so that you can avoid paying an extra fee for exceeding the weight restrictions. Electronics such as electric shavers, hair dryers or international voltage adapters are heavy and can be carried in your check-in baggage with little fuss. Make sure, however, that your carry on bag can fit under the seat of the plane or in the overhead luggage compartment, otherwise you will either be carrying it on your lap for the entire flight or leaving it home.

As of the summer of 2006 security regulations have increased on flights within, into or out of the United States due to threats of terrorism. These restrictions affect carry-on luggage. You are no longer allowed to take liquids of any kind with you on your flight. Thus water bottles, toothpaste, mouthwash or even deodorant are now relegated to your check in baggage. Inspections for liquids are rigorous so do not even think about bringing such items onto a plane. As of 2001 you also cannot bring a lighter onto an airplane and are restricted to one book of matches. Although restrictions have eased, it’s not a good idea to pack any sharp objects such as scissors, pocket knives or traditional razors, no matter innocuous they might seem. Know the security restrictions before you leave home so that you do not end up having to discard something or mail it home. Most airlines post their regulations on their website, but if you are unsure of an object, you can either call or check with your travel agent.

The most important thing to remember is to keep things with you that you can not survive a few hours without. If it is something that will make your flight more bearable than feel free to bring it along with you as long as it does not violate any of the airline’s regulations.