Travelling is exciting. Packing is not. In fact, it’s a pain in the ass - but it signifies good times ahead, so you’re not allowed to hate it. It also separates people neatly into personality types: The type who packs at least a day ahead and knows exactly how many kilos of carry-on they’re allowed, and the type who goes out for drinks the night before and winds up wildly throwing things into a bag two hours before departure. We see you.
Whatever your packing personality type happens to be, there are a few practical things you’re going to need in your carry-on to keep your sanity intact (and your spirit unbroken) as you make the transition through the clouds.
May we present Pack Hack: The 12 things you need in your carry-on. Because life's too short to worry about being completely organised.
1. Wallet. Duh. Make sure you have a small amount of actual money as well as cards in case you get stuck at the terminal with nary an ATM in sight, decide to do some on-board snacking and don’t want to pay the outrageous card charge, or opt to donate spare coins to charity (you nice person, you). Strip your wallet of everything else you won’t need while you’re away (like loyalty cards to your favourite beauty salon, massage joint, or coffee shop). You're probably already carry-on weight-challenged.
2. A written-down version of where you’re headed to upon arrival, or your friend’s phone numbers. Why? In case your phone dies. Also, try not to forget your passport if you’re travelling outside the country, and make damn sure you check the expiry date to ensure it’s valid for at least six months beyond the date when you plan to return home.
3. Phone. Yes, you’ll have to put it on Airplane Mode, but like an artificial limb, you’ll feel its presence and want to touch it from time to time. It’s probably the first thing you’ll reach for when you disembark, so for f**k’s sake make sure you give it a decent charge before you leave (see above), and buy one of those handy portable chargers for extra juice. Besides, if you don’t share a pre-holiday shot of clouds, looking out from the boxy cabin window, did your holiday even happen?
4. Eye mask. Sleeping on planes is hard enough without that bright yellow light seeping into your subconscious. Buy one with a pithy message on it to make it clear that when the mask is on you are not to be disturbed. Ear plugs will help seal the deal, or ...
5. Headphones. They’ll cut aircraft noise to a whisper and provide much better sound quality than the ones that are supplied. They also act as an excellent ‘boundary establisher’ between you and that chatty person next to you, as well as an excellent anger management tool for that baby screaming in the front row. We recommend buying a splitter, too - for when you want to share a device between two, but not a pair of headphones.
6. Scarf or shawl. Nothing says ‘chic person on a plane’ like a nice scarf. Like cinemas, planes are always freezing, so take something you can snuggle into. When you get off, you can nonchalantly toss it over your shoulder like a bedraggled Audrey Hepburn.
7. Socks. Preferably your comfiest, warmest pair – or those fancy compression flight socks, if you like. Some people on flights sport Uggs – we’re not sure about that. Just take socks, okay?
8. Sleeping tablets, or what bored, rich housewives refer to as ‘prescription medication’. Any vitamins you like to take daily, plus any *actual* prescription medication.
9. Trashy magazines. Sure, it’s great to carry a good book as well – but planes are the perfect place to catch up on all the celebrity gossip you would never ordinarily be seen caring about. Why else do you think they have those 3-for-$10 sales at newsagents near the terminal? Succumb to the siren call.
10. Condoms. Nah, just kidding. Or am I? But definitely pack some travel-sized moisturiser, lip balm, and eye drops if you want to leave the plane without feeling like a scratchy, red-eyed demon. And face wipes. Those little things make a big difference.
11. Plastic bags. They weigh nothing, and yet are so useful: From enclosing all your leaky (carry-on sized) products in to avoid spills, to having an airtight seal for your dirty clothing, and a place to keep wet bathers, plastic bags are an essential. Plus, we've finally found a use for that cupboard full of them you have at home.
12. A couple of pairs of spare underwear. Because no one wants to be that guy when your suitcase goes missing.
Not sure what you need to pack for your next adventure? Check out Our Top 10 Travel Essentials!
Image credit: TravelandLeisure.com