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Print This Essential Packing List For Your Family’s Carry-on Bags

Print This Essential Packing List For Your Family’s Carry-on Bags

I consider this packing list for my carry-on bag more important than the one for my suitcase.

After all, I can buy socks and live without one shirt or another if I forget to pack them. But leaving home without eyeglasses, wallet, I.D. and my phone and charging cord would be a disaster.

Especially the phone. Sometimes I print boarding passes, hotel confirmations and event tickets at home. But more often those things are on apps or email on my iPhone.

If you aren’t printing out itineraries and reservations, make sure you know where to find them in your phone and that you can access them even without cell-phone service. I download everything I can to my phone’s “wallet” or document folder.

After I check in, I always make sure I can see the TSA precheck logo on the boarding passes. Sometimes the airline misses them and once in a while I’ve incorrectly typed one of our Trusted Traveler numbers. It you took the trouble to get it, you want to be able to use it.

Leaving behind my favorite lipstick wouldn’t be a logistical nightmare, but I’d miss it all week long. And I’d be reluctant to buy a new water bottle when I have a basket of them sitting in a closet in my kitchen. Staying hydrated on a flight helps to keep you healthy and minimizes jet lag.

What kids take from their packing list will evolve as they get older and trade in their craft kits and Go Fish! cards for Spotify and movies they download to their phone before they leave home. Let them pack their carry-on bag so they have exactly the snacks, books and games they want.

Preschool and school-age kids can use Bluetooth headphones that are sized for their head and limit how high they can turn the volume up. Take advantage of this opportunity to protect their hearing while they let you.

Teen Traveler and I both have small, inexpensive adapters that let us use our Bluetooth ear buds with airplane entertainment systems. Not being attached to the armrest or the seat in front of us by a skinny cord is very handy, especially if, like me, you forget you’re attached when you go to stand up.

Finally, make a mental note of where you tuck away your house keys. There’s nothing like getting home, exhausted, and having to rifle through your bags on your doorstep as you try to remember where you stashed them a week earlier.

Pair this with
• My Basic Packing List for Every Vacation
• And check out my guide to 20 clever gadgets for travel

25 Things You Absolutely Need in Your Carry-on: Adults & Kids

everyone has their own carry-on essentials. a good list helps you to remember everything.

Mom or Dad’s Carry-on Packing List

  • Wallet
  • Sunglasses    
  • Passports or Real ID
  • Boarding passes
  • Hotel/vacation-rental confirmation
  • Car rental confirmation
  • Itinerary
  • Hoodie or sweater
  • Airplane socks (especially handy when you’re wearing sandals; airplanes are cold!)
  • Magazines/book/e-reader
  • Guidebook
  • Eyeglasses
  • Water bottle (fill it up after you pass security)
  • Lipstick/lip balm with SPF
  • Eye drops (airplane air is dry and these have saved me serious discomfort)
  • Medications you’ll need en route
  • Tide Pen
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Laptop/tablet with cord (charged)
  • Smartphone & cord (charged)
  • Ear buds or headphones (charged and paired with an adapter if Bluetooth)
  • Portable charger (charged!)
  • Gum (to help ears pop)
  • House keys

Extras For Overnight Flights

  • Travel pillow
  • Eye mask
  • Large scarf/wrap
  • Hairbands or soft headband
  • Melatonin
your carry-on bag hold important things like phone, ear buds, passport, sunglasses and camera. a list will help ensure you don't forget anything.

Kids’ & Teens’ Carry-on Bag Packing List

  • Cozy hoodie
  • Sunglasses
  • Airplane socks
  • Travel pillow
  • Books or brain-teasers
  • Medication/epi-pen
  • Stuff for braces or retainers (rubber bands, case, etc,)
  • Tablet//laptop/smartphone & cords (charged, with movies downloaded)
  • Portable charger (charged)
  • Earbuds or headphones (charged and paired with an adapter if Bluetooth)
  • Snacks (that they choose)
  • Water bottle
  • Travel-size board or card games (Uno is always a good fallback)
  • Travel toys or craft kits (younger kids)
  • Lollipops (for younger kids’ ears)

Download & Print the list

Pin it for later!

the items you pack in your carry-on bag are more important than almost anything in your suitcase. here is a printable packing list for adults, kids & teens of 25 key things to remember.