Ever been caught out at the airport? Don’t let it happen again! With more than 100 flights under her belt, Erin Holmes of Explore With Erin will help ensure you pack only what you should in your carry-on, so that your favorite tweezers are never confiscated and you never run out of clothes.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of arriving in a brand new destination. You step off the plane excited and ready to relax on the beach with a cocktail in hand, and rush to the baggage claim area and wait. The bags start coming out sporadically at first and then more frequently. You wait patiently, but slowly your fingernails make their way between your teeth. Every last bag is gone and you are still standing there wondering how it’s possible yours is the one that went missing. All of a sudden you wished you had packed some key items in your carry-on. Don’t let missing luggage ruin your vacation; here are the top 5 things to pack in your carry-on and 5 to put in checked luggage.

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1. Spare change of clothes

Without fail, I always pack a pair of underwear and, at the very least, a change of shirt in my carry-on for each family member. After a long flight, one of the greatest feelings is showering and removing rumpled clothing. In the event of lost bags, this is a lifesaver. Alternatively, you may even pack pajamas to change into on the plane or (if arriving at night) to change into immediately once you arrive at the hotel to avoid unpacking your whole suitcase. In line with this, I always pack my toothbrush and hairbrush, too. On a plane, these two items are magical at making you feel somewhat presentable.

2. Valuables

We’ve all heard horror stories of packed items that never make it to their final destination. To avoid theft, take anything you value on the plane with you. I always carry on my jewelry, electronics, cameras, and sometimes the more exotic souvenirs purchased while on vacation.

3. Chargers

Risk of theft is only one reason you should carry your chargers with you. You’ll likely need them on the plane or once you arrive at your destination, so having them within easy reach will make your journey a lot smoother. For example, a dying phone upon arrival can cause multiple issues when you try to use it to call an Uber or pull up your hotel address.

4. Water bottle

With airlines charging for everything these days, having your own bottle of water can save you a fortune and keep you hydrated while in the air. Most airports now have refill stations, plus airline staff are usually happy to refill on the plane or show you where the filtered water tap is available. Save plastic and your money.

5. Medication

Never place your medications in a checked bag. Besides the potential for lost or stolen luggage, airport delays can leave you with no access to your bags for hours or sometimes days. If you have a medication that you need to take regularly, best to bring it on the plane with you (remember, the 3.4-ounce limit on liquids does not apply to medications).


What not to pack in your carry-on:

1. Liquids over 3.4 ounces

TSA regulations for US and international flights require all liquids, creams, sprays and gels to be less than 3.4 ounces, or 100ml. Medications and infant and child “nourishments” are the only exception, so empty that water bottle before heading through security and make sure your deodorant is under the 3.4-ounce limit, too.

2. Peanut butter or toothpaste

Seemingly solid pastes are classified as liquids by airline security, as well. Case in point, on a recent trip to the UK, they confiscated our Vegemite! So make sure you check your peanut butter stash or any other pastes, and that your tube of toothpaste is under 3.4 ounces.

3. Sharp objects

While a razor is acceptable, as long as it has a handle, one lone head may cause you drama. And let’s not forget your nose trimmers or scissors on board. Check your airline beforehand to make sure you are clear with some of your bathroom products. I even lost tweezers once!

4. Aerosols

If it sprays from a can, it goes. Just check it. Or don’t bring it. For deodorant, consider roll on as an easy alternative.

5. Weapons or tools

This one should come as a surprise to no one. If you want to buy a Swiss Army knife, no worries—just don’t pack it in your carry-on, because they will take it. Sorry, brother, I did get you a gift, promise! It’s just lying in a bin of contraband at the airport somewhere.



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