Not Everything Can Be Checked In.

While most of us might only want to use our carry-on when we are travelling, sometimes that just is not possible. If you can manage a week long trip with just your carry-on, you are a packing wizard. Carry-on does make things so much easier though, because there is no way the airline can misplace your luggage if you give them nothing to misplace.

This is about those moments where you have to decide what to pack in your carry-on and what you are going to put in your checked luggage. What should you always pack in your carry-on bag?

Things To Always Carry On

Money and Your ID

It is worth mentioning, despite the fact that it might seem obvious to some. You always want to make sure that your ID is in your carry-on. If you are flying international and have your passport on you, do not check your national ID card or driver’s licence in your checked bag. Losing that type of ID is no fun, and you might never see it again if the airline is unable to find your luggage.

You also want anything of monetary value (including jewellery, credit cards, and money) to be in your carry-on. If you lose your luggage, you lose your money. This is not a good combination if you are traveling somewhere for the first time.

Your Medication

Is there an essential medication that you have to take regularly? Do not just pack what you need in your carry-on and leave the rest in your luggage – take it all with you in your carry-on as much as possible. If you arrive at your destination with a day’s worth of medication and have to wait three days for a refill, you might find yourself in some trouble.

Handy tip: If you need to carry needles of have a liquid medication, make sure that you get a note from your doctor before flying. This helps you avoid problems with restricted items.

Things That Make You Comfortable

Most people do not like to think about it, but flying can be boring – especially if you have no one to talk to on the flight. Having a book (or an e-book) can help you pass the time. If you travel with an iPod or a laptop, make sure that you have movies, work, or games installed before you leave.

Also make sure that you bring some snacks. Whether you pick them up at the airport or bring something from home. Most domestic flights do not offer food anymore, and the food is often not that good if you do get something to munch on anyway.

Fragile Items and Electronics

Have you ever taken a moment to watch the luggage get loaded into the plane? This is not exactly a smooth ride for your $500 camera. Baggage handlers are not known to be exceedingly gentle with luggage either. You also want to remember that turbulence is always an option when flying, given that an airplane is a moving vehicle.

If you travel with electronics, you have the added risk of them being stolen as well. Just as with your jewellery and your money, you do not want someone to take your camera, laptop, or iPod while you are not looking.

Anything Sentimental

If you have anything that has special value, make sure that you place it in your carry-on as well. Chances of your airline losing a bag forever are relatively low, but no amount of money can replace something that has sentimental value.

Have A Change Of Clothes & Toiletries Available

Even if you have larger containers of conditioner, shampoo, and toothpaste in your luggage, it is a good idea to have an approved bag of liquids for your carry-on – as well as a toothbrush. It is also a good idea to have a single change of clothes.

If you find that your checked luggage is lost, it is a nice thing to have something to change into when you arrive (or for the next day). You are also able to take a shower and brush your teeth. If your luggage is still not there a day later, you are able to buy what you need – but you have the essentials with you.

Bradley McGowan is a US based freelance writer, extensive traveller and a regular contributor to The Wise Traveller.