If you’re anything like me then one of your main travel pet peeves is getting to your seat on the plane only to find that dumb and dumber sat in seats A and B have taken up the whole overhead bin with their obnoxious amount of carrying on items. Left with few options you now have the choice of moving your carry on luggage to another overhead bin away from your seat or checking your bag underneath the plane, both of which result in time delays and are far from ideal. Luckily for you, help is at hand! In order to avoid the swelling of rage that usually accompanies this situation, we at The Amenity Kit have put together a guide to streamlining your carry on luggage and only packing the essentials.

When it comes to carrying on luggage there is of course no ‘one size fits all’ policy, as each airline tends to differ. With budget airlines such as Spirit, a more hard-nosed stance tends to be taken when it comes to luggage dimensions and weight in comparison to more premium airlines such as Southwest. With that said however a general rule of thumb is to not exceed 22 inches in length, 18 inches in width, and 10 inches in depth while maintaining the luggage weight at 15lbs or less. Follow these dimensions and you should be just fine regardless of which airline your flight is with.

Now that we have the dimensions and weight of your carry on luggage defined, it is important to only pack the essentials. Not only will this help you stay under the all-important 15lb mark but it will also make it easier on your body when lugging the bag through the dreaded mile-long terminal walk that never seems to end. If it is not essential or is not listed in the categories below, then stow it away in your checked bag for when you arrive at your final destination.


  • Phone – on a flight the Internet is becoming more and more common on domestic flights at the moment. Connect to the Wi-Fi and stay up to date with social media and emails or stream music from Spotify to pass the time. You should also have a travel sim card which may vary for every country like japan sim card for Australia.
  • Tablet – for flights with no on flight entertainment this item is essential. Load your favorite TV show or movies onto it the night before and sit back, relax, and enjoy.
  • Book – How often in today’s world do you get a couple of hours to yourself to just sit down and read that book you’ve been meaning to? Put it in your hand luggage and take this time to catch up on your reading.
  • Headphones – Most airlines provided headphones feel like they are scraping the inside of your ears every time you turn your head. Avoid the pain and enjoy your tunes by packing a pair of your own.


  • Eye Mask/Neck Pillow: Absolute must-haves on a long haul flight. Being able to block out any extra cabin light and rest your head on a soft neck pillow will help you catch some much-needed Z’s wherever you are flying to.
  • Spare Clothes: We don’t mean a whole wardrobe change here! Limit yourself to packing a spare t-shirt, socks, and a pair of underwear just to freshen up on the other side.


  • Watches/Jewelry: Any watches or jewelry that are breakable or valuable should always be kept in hand luggage. While we know baggage handlers don’t usually go through our luggage with items like these you would rather be safe than sorry.
  • Money: Any foreign currency you have exchanged ahead of time or any cash you are taking with you should also be kept close to you in your carry on luggage. Money going missing is reported all too often in airports.
  • Keys: Imagine getting home after a long journey and your keys being ‘somewhere’ in your suitcase. The last thing you want is to unpack on the street outside of your house. Make life easy for yourself by putting the keys in your hand luggage.


  • Face Wipes: Everyone can feel groggy and dirty after a long stint on an airplane so freshen up when you land with some face wipes. It may not be a shower but it is better than nothing
  • Hand Lotion: Airports and airplanes are notorious for germ spreading, as there are so many people in such close proximity. Avoid catching your neighbors cough by using hand sanitizer throughout your journey.
  • Deodorant: Much like the face wipes a good roll-on deodorant will act as your makeshift shower until you get to your final destination. Just make sure it fits in with TSA regulations.
  • Chewing Gum: With the face wipes and deodorant acting as a makeshift shower, chewing gum can act as a makeshift toothbrush and toothpaste. Pop a piece in after your in-flight meal and when you land to make sure your breath remains minty fresh.


  • Passport/ID: It’s unlikely you would have got on the plane without this but you never want it too far out of your sight.
  • Pen: You never know when exactly you will need a pen but if you are flying internationally you can bet your bottom dollar you’ll need one at some point for an immigration form of some kind.
  • Bottled Water: Airport stores are notoriously expensive but a bottle of water could be your best investment. You never know how often the drinks trolley is going to come around and there is not much worse than a dry throat for 3 hours.
  • Chargers: Whether it’s cramming for that extra 1% of battery life at a charging station by your gate or using the USB port built into the seat in front of you, never let your phone die on a journey! Pack your chargers so they are easily accessible at all times.

So there you have it, a complete guide to packing only the essentials in your carry on. Never again be worried if your bag is too big or too heavy, just sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight.