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Packing essentials for carry-on bag

Tips for smart travel packing with a holdall bag

Planning for a trip and always worrying you would miss out something important? We are here to help make your job a little easier!

Below is my list of “essential items to pack in the carry-on bagsyou can refer to. I have packed every single one of these on a previous trip myself - hope it is helpful to you.



  • Boarding pass
  • Passport
  • Copy of passport: Put it in a separate folder or purse like these ones (away from your actual passport) for easy reference during your stay, especially in places where theft is common. Your passport is the last thing you want to lose.
  • Copy of complete flight itinerary
  • Copy of any transportation or accommodation plans I have made for arrival
  • Physical address of where I am staying: You will need this to complete immigration forms and it may be helpful to share with cab drivers as well so they can easily look up directions.
  • Printout confirming I paid for an electronic visa: You can easily show it to the immigration staff when needed, to avoid confusion.

If you are a serious organiser, place the documents in the order in which you (may) need them and put them in a document holder like this one:


Bath & Body

  • Mini bottle of body lotion
  • Chapstick
  • Contact solution and case (if you wear them)
  • Toothbrush and mini-toothpaste
  • Bath wipes to help you freshen up
  • Mini bottle of face wash
  • Toner
  • Face lotion
  • Refreshener: I personally love this Ginger Flight Therapy by Aesop as it instantly gives you a kick and wakes you up after flight

Food & Drink

  • Meal and/or snacks: If you wish to eat healthy and stay conscious about what you eat, it might be a good idea to pack food along. Granola/muesli bars or protein bars might be the most handy snacks to consider.
  • Fruit: Usually an apple as they travel well.
  • Water: Buy one after passing through security. 
  • Medication & Supplements: Pack your vitamin C and general pain killers with you, just in case you go down with a flu or headache with the climate change and jet-lag


  • Ear plugs
  • Eye mask
  • Long haul: oral sleep aid, your own neck pillow and large cashmere scarf


  • Laptop
  • iPod (or your music player of choice)
  • iPad: to read books without weighing down your bag. I wouldn't suggest a separate Kindle as it is just unnecessary as iPad serves more function which can be useful for work purposes too.

Protect your laptop and keep all chargers, USB, lose cables in one padded bag like this:


  • Underwear
  • 1-2 shirts (change of clothes)
  • Outfit for special occasion
  • Glasses & shades

Ever since I lost my bag during a transit years ago, I’ve been mindful of the clothing I pack in my checked bag. I now pack with the thought that I may not see my bag again. An extra pair of underwear and one shirt would be safe just in case the flight delays. 


  • Jewelry
  • Wallet with credit cards and other important cards
  • Money
  • Camera equipment
  • Phone and car keys
  • Small pouch: put all valuable essentials like cash, passport, phone...etc in it and keep it always close to you (such as your front seat during long haul flights). This crossbody with removable strap is perfect for this purpose, and you can have it around your shoulders all through the trip to stay 100% safe. See the video below for what you can put into this bag.


Hard Swirls Orange Crossbody 


  • Guidebook to destination: Haven’t planned what you’ll do the first day or two yet? There’s plenty of time to do so on the plane.
  • Paper and pen: Creative brainstorming sessions often happen in transit. And, you’ll probably want a pen to fill out immigration papers on board.

*All liquids mentioned above should be placed in a bag of liquids (meeting carry-on size requirements)

Everyone has different needs and travel styles, and your list may vary based on your destination, length of trip, and if you’re traveling with only carry-on bags.

What’s YOUR essential item on the carry-on packing list?



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