Six Must-Have Items In Your Carry On Bag

Medications and Basic Toiletries

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Always keep prescription medications in your carry-on. As for liquid medications, as long as you declare them to the TSA security checkpoint agent, they're permitted in reasonable quantities exceeding 3.4 ounces, and they don't have to be placed in the zip-top plastic bag with other liquids, aerosols and gels. I also pack some aspirin, a few basic toiletries (toothbrush, travel-size toothpaste and the like) and, to combat the dry-as-the-Sahara cabin air, lip balm and saline nasal spray.

Reading Material

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I always make sure my carry-on has reading material, whether it's magazines, newspapers or a book. Increasingly I rely on my e-reader, which under a recent FAA rule change no longer has to be switched off during takeoff and landing. But whether you're a reader or a player of cards or games, the point is to include some easily packed entertainment in your carry-on.

Something to Keep You Warm

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Have you ever sat under an air conditioning vent on an airplane? It can get a little chilly. Bring aboard a light jacket or sweater for shorter flights and a travel blanket for longer ones. But if you opt to take up valuable space in your carry-on with an extra garment to keep warm during the flight, make sure it's also something you'll wear during the trip.


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Unless you enjoy the overpriced boxes of processed food that pass for a meal these days in coach cabins, pack your own snacks in your carry-on. Bring at east a little something to snack on during the in-flight beverage service, or in the boarding lounge during long delays. Ratchet that up to a nice, fat sandwich, fruit and cookies if you're flying during mealtimes.

Printouts of Important Documents

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Even in this era of making online travel arrangements and loading boarding passes onto smartphones, there's still a place for paper. Take printouts of your air itinerary (showing reservation or locator number), hotel confirmation, car rental reservation and other important travel documents and put it in your carry-on bag. If there's a problem, it's often a lot easier to consult a piece of paper — or to show one to an airline, hotel or rental car employee — than to pull up a document on an electronic device.

Chargers for Electronics

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Don't find yourself rationing battery use. Stash charging cords in your carry-on for phones, tablets and any other electronic device you might conceivably need, either at the airport waiting for a flight or after arriving at your destination.

Change of Clothes/Undergarments

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Last but not least, don't find yourself without a change of clothes and or undergarments. You'll kick yourself if your luggage is misplaced, stolen or lost. When I was in the Boy Scouts, our Moto was: "Always Be Prepared". Take heed.


Wherever you may be flying to or just taking a road trip this holiday season, I hope your trip is a safe and enjoyable one. Have fun.

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Regards and Blessings to you,

Jack McLaughlin (JMAC)

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  • Great information for anyone who is going on a journey.  Thanks for sharing.

  • Hi Jack, great PR, thanks for sharing, very helpful, have a great day

  • Top Member

    Very useful information Jack for travelers. I have shared on Google plus and tweeted. All my best and make it a great day.

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