It can be all too tempting to think you need to pack everything in your hand luggage should the worst happen and your checked baggage is lost en route.
However, as Australian travel expert Rebecca Andrews reveals packing the right items is more important than packing too many.
Writing for Escape, Rebecca shared the 13 carry-on essentials you need to ensure you have a more comfortable flight – and why you need to ditch a wheelie bag.
A backpack, rather than a suitcase with wheels, is a far more versatile carry-on piece (stock image)
1. Use a backpack not a wheelie bag
Wheelie carry-on luggage does make travel easier, however, a backpack is better for versatility.
Rebecca said the handy item, one most people already have at home, isn’t just spacious, but also comes with handy pockets for putting all manner of things – and it can be stored under your seat rather than in overhead lockers.
Additionally, a backpack can do double duty at your destination, unlike a wheelie bag which doesn’t leave your hotel.
When it comes to packing carry-on clothing, ensure to include a spare pair of underwear, thick socks, a thick jumper or puffer jacket.
Some form of loungewear that can double as sleepwear should also be included, suggests Rebecca.
Change once you are on board, and layer up with warmer clothing if it gets cold during the night.
3. Always pack a scarf
One item that Rebecca considers a carry-on essential is a large scarf, an item that has myriad uses.
‘It also keeps you warm from the plane chill and is more comfortable than a sleeping eye mask,’ she said.
Scarves can be folded up and used as a pillow, or worn as a wrap should you wish to add a chic touch to your arrival attire.
A scarf is a carry-on must as not only will it keep you warm but it can double as a pillow or blanket (stock image)
4. A water bottle is a must
Plane travel is notoriously bad for dehydration which means taking a water bottle on-board is a must.
If you don’t already have this item at home, consider purchasing one that’s reusable and constantly refilling while you are in the air.
It’s worth remembering drinking alcohol on board a flight also leaves you dehydrated so it’s best to stick to water or juice if possible.
5. Earplugs or headphones
Travelling long haul in a packed plane can make it almost impossible to sleep, a problem that is easily remedied with earplugs or headphones.
Rebecca’s insider tip when using earplugs is to purchase the gummy type which can be moulded to the shape of your ear over those made from foam.
She adds if you can afford it, a pair of noise-cancelling headphones will ensure you have a far more peaceful flight.
This inflatable neck pillow set from Kmart is priced at an affordable $5 (pictured)
6. A portable pillow
Saving yourself from neck pain while trying to sleep in awkward positions means you will need some sort of pillow.
And while you can purchase U-shaped neck pillows from the airport, a thrifty and potentially smarter investment is a blow-up cushion from Kmart or the Reject Shop.
This item will not only provide better support, but they can be deflated and easily packed away.
Kmart has two versions on offer, an inflatable camp pillow, priced at $2 or an inflatable neck pillow set – which comes with an eye mask – for $5.
Moisturiser is a must when travelling long-haul and while business and first class are given this product for free, economy passengers should pack their own.
A small makeup bag with samples you have collected is ideal. If you want to make your travel experience more luxurious, pack a sheet mask as well.
A small makeup bag should be packed with on-board essentials including moisturiser and a sheet mask (stock image)
8. Lip balm
The one item you should always make sure you have to hand is lip balm.
Rebecca declares the product an essential and one that won’t just save you from dry lips.
Her top tip is that as well as using lip balm on your pout, a little applied inside your nose will stop it from drying out.
9. A small, hard ball
This is an odd one, but a small hard ball can be used to massage your feet, your temples or any other area that’s causing pain.
Kmart offers a range of small massage balls designed to help ease tension. These are priced at $5 or there are mini massage balls, priced at $2.
10. A pen
While it is obvious, making sure you pack a pen will save you when you are presented with customs forms.
Pack a few extra and if you’re feeling generous, give these to your fellow passengers as a way of helping them out if they’re stuck.
11. Toothpaste and mini-sized toothpaste
There’s nothing worse than flying through the night and not having anything with you that allows you to brush your teeth when you wake up.
Packing a toothbrush and mini-sized toothpaste in your carry-on is an easy solution and if you have samples from your dentist, it’s one that won’t cost a cent.
These luggage scales from Kmart are priced at $9 and will ensure you don’t overpack
12. A gear pack
Rebecca advises not packing anything in your checked luggage you might need on arrival as if your luggage goes missing you will be stuck.
These items can include laptop and phone chargers, medication, hair straighteners and cameras.
‘The No.1 rule of travel is always keep your gear near,’ she said.
13. Luggage scales
If you don’t want to be questioned by your airline while boarding your flight over the weight of your carry-on, luggage scales are a must.
Kmart is offering a version priced at a very affordable $9 which allows you to easily and accurately weigh your luggage before you fly.