Home » What To Pack In Carry On Bag For Flight in 2022? The 8 Packing List

What To Pack In Carry On Bag For Flight in 2022? The 8 Packing List

What To Pack In Carry On Bag
Photo by Joshua Fuller on Unsplash

Here is what to pack in your carry on bag for a flight in 2022? Everything related to the carry on bag usually requires a bit of indecision. The measurements, what is allowed, what bag to buy… and most importantly, what to carry in the carry on bag.

Fortunately, I have been traveling only with a carry on bag for years. I have learned from many mistakes; things have been taken from me at the airport that was not allowed, and of course, I have become an expert on what to carry (and what not) in hand luggage.

What you can carry in your hand luggage with Easyjet (a low-cost European airline) differs a little from what you can take with other airlines such as Airnook (an Indonesian airline) or Iberia (a Spanish airline). Still, there are things they have in common that you carry in one company and another. They will not tell you anything.

Do you want all the information and to become a PRO about what to carry in your hand luggage too?

Well, keep reading… After reading this article, you will have no doubts, and you can take your bag on the plane without having any problems.

As always, I will leave you an index so you can jump to a specific topic if you wish. If you want all the information, just keep reading. You are warned, there is a lot of info!

1. Cabin carry on bag versus checked bag

To begin with, let’s clarify the difference between hand luggage and check-in luggage, as you may not be used to this terminology used by airlines.

Cabin carry on bag versus checked bag
Photo by nappy

What is the carry on bag?

Hand luggage is the bag you can take to the plane’s cabin. It is also known as cabin baggage. It is the luggage that, in theory, will travel with you in the house of the plane. These bags will be placed in the compartments above the head or under the front seat.

I say in theory because it will depend on the type of airline. Things are changing at low-cost airlines. So, to know what you can carry in your hand luggage, read on. The question is short, but the answer is long.

Eye! For cheap flight companies like Ryanair, they put the hand luggage in the trunk of the plane.

They do this at no additional cost if you comply with their regulatory measures. In their e-mails and communications, you can’t take a bag into the cabin if you don’t pay, but you can. The only difference is that the bag may go in the trunk of the plane and not in the cabin with you.

There is a trick, which I will explain below so that you can have your hand luggage with you at all times.

This trick has always worked for me, but things are constantly changing.

Update August 2022: Ryanair changed the rules once more, charging a fee for the carry on bag. The bag will not go with you on the plane but in the trunk, so you will have to wait for it to come out through the baggage carousel once you arrive. Adding another little plus, you can buy “priority access and a bag in the cabin.” In this way, the suitcase can go with you on the plane.

The checked bag

The checked bag is the one that is given at the check-in counter when you check in.

This bag will go in the trunk of the plane.

You must go to the check-in counters of your company a few hours before the flight to check in.

You will not have access to this bag until you pick it up at the destination airport.

The checked bag has an additional cost on low-cost lines, which varies according to the airline.

In the regular lines, the bag also have a maximum weight and measurements. Find out about these measures as well.

  • As a general rule, the maximum weight of the checked bag is 20kg.

  • For low-cost airlines, the maximum weight is usually 15 kg.

In any case, I advise you to always check the conditions with the airline you will fly with.

The baggage allowance will not only depend on the company you fly with; each company has different conditions depending on the needs of the ticket you buy.

For example, two people can fly with Norwegian (which has now opened cheap tickets for long-distance flights) under very different conditions.

One will buy an “economy” ticket: you can only carry hand luggage and have to pay to check the bag. You will also need to pay if you want to have food on the plane. Your seat assignment will be random. She will have to pay an extra amount if she wants to choose a seat.

The other will pay for the “flex” ticket, including food, luggage, and even the ability to choose a seat.

On any given flight, you will find price differences. If you fly in business or VIP class, it always includes more things than the economy ticket. Many companies accept more luggage or packages, offer you champagne during the flight, or accept cancellations and changes… Take into account your needs when you go to buy the ticket.

Always check what is included in your ticket before you buy it.

How? If they don’t say it clearly, you’ll find the answer in the questions and answers section of the company’s website. Do not forget to consult them.

Carry on baggage (cabin baggage)

As I mentioned, the hand luggage, or cabin luggage, which was initially the one that went with you on the plane, may end up in the trunk.

The regulations on hand luggage are constantly changing, so to ensure that 100% of the hand luggage goes with you on the plane, you should be well informed of the specific regulations of the company with which you fly.

I’m sorry I can’t have more generic rules, but today there is no unification of regulations.

You need to know that you will take your hand luggage with you through the security checkpoint and during boarding until you almost reach the plane’s door.

There, you must give the bag to the company’s staff, who will put it in the trunk of the plane.

At low-cost companies, such as Wizz Air or Ryanair, you can take your handbag with you (at no additional cost).

From now on, I will talk about hand luggage and handbags. Remember the measurements:

  • Cabin bag: 40 x 20 x 55 cm.
  • Handbag: 40 x 20 x 25 cm.

All major airlines allow you to at least take your handbag with you on the plane. It is in the bag where you should carry your most essential belongings.

2. What is allowed to go in the carry on bag?

In the carry-on bag (known as a cabin bag), you can carry clothes, some food (consult the company you fly with about this issue as it can also vary depending on the destination), soaps, and some liquids, although with restrictions. Regarding makeup, it will depend on whether it is liquid or compact. Take note of the beverages allowed.

What is allowed to go in the carry on bag
Photo by Andrew Neel

For some years, the liquids allowed are a maximum of 1 liter (1000 ml.) in 100 ml bottles.

That means that you can carry 10 things of 100 milliliters each. Not one more in the carry-on bag.

The liquids must go in a transparent plastic bag when passing through the airport control with an opening/closing system (such as zip bags for freezing food) of approximately 20 x 20 cm.

You can carry only one bag per passenger.

Be cautious because liquids include not only the beverages themselves (water and soft drinks) but also:

  • Soups,
  • Syrups,
  • Creams,
  • Pastes (including toothpaste),
  • Lotions,
  • Oils,
  • Perfumes,
  • A shampoo or gel,
  • Shaving foam,
  • Deodorants
  • Aerosol sprays,

Don’t take risks; ensure that the liquids you carry comply with the regulations. The drinks must be packaged in a maximum of 100 ml container.

Remember: take them in a transparent plastic bag.

Does that mean you can’t carry more liquids if you want?

If you plan to carry more liquids or creams than allowed, you must carry them in the checked bag.

If you put liquids in the checked bag, I advise you to put them in the center of the bag, preferably near the most rigid part. This way, they will be well protected from possible blows.

In fact, if you want to know how to organize the perfect bag, I have an article dedicated to it.

3. Items not permitted in hand luggage

Here is a list of what cannot be carried in hand luggage on a plane.

Items not permitted in hand luggage
Photo by Tom Def on Unsplash

Let’s talk about more prohibited items in carry-on baggage. Most are common sense, but there are others that you don’t think of as prohibited items. You will not be able to carry scissors, explosives, soda cans (they are more than 100 ml, they are 33 cl, which is 330 ml)… nor the following items:

Guns and other devices that fire projectiles:

  • Firearms
  • Toy guns
  • Flare guns and signal guns
  • Bows, crossbows, and arrows
  • Spearguns and spearguns
  • Slingshots and catapults
  • Firearms parts
  • Air guns
  • Stunning devices
  • Stun guns, tasers, and stun batons
  • Animal stunners and slaughter guns
  • Neutralizing and incapacitating chemicals, gases, and aerosols,
  • Pointed or sharp-edged objects

Tools that can be used to cause serious injury or threaten aircraft safety include:

  • Levers
  • Drills and bits.
  • Saws
  • Torches
  • Tools with a blade or shaft longer than 6 cm can be used as a weapon.
  • Piston guns and nail guns.
  • Blunt instruments

Items designed to cut:

  • Ice axes and ice picks are
  • Razor blades
  • Cutters
  • Scissors with blades longer than 6 cm (measured from the fulcrum)
  • Martial arts equipment with a pointed or sharp edge
  • Knives with blades longer than 6 cm.
  • Swords and sabres

Objects that can be used to cause serious injury if hit, including:

  • Baseball bats
  • Sticks and canes, such as batons, blackjacks, and side-handle sticks
  • Martial arts equipment

Explosive and incendiary substances and devices that can be used, or appear to be used, to cause serious injury or pose a threat to aircraft safety, including the following:

  • Ammunition
  • Baits
  • Detonators and fuses
  • Fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices
  • Smoke canisters and smoke-generating cartridges
  • Dynamite, gunpowder, and plastic explosives.
  • Replicas or imitations of explosive devices
  • Mines, grenades, and other explosive charges for military use.
  • Gases, including propane and butane
  • Flammable liquids, including gasoline and methanol
  • Flammable solids and reactive substances
  • Oxidizers and organic peroxides, including bleach and car body repair kits
  • Toxic or infectious substances, including rat poison and infected blood
  • Radioactive material, including medical or commercial isotopes
  • Corrosive items, including mercury cells and vehicle batteries,
  • Fuel system components of vehicles that contain fuel

Most of them are things you wouldn’t carry, but among them are the scissors.

If you want to cut your nails during the trip, I advise you to change the scissors for a nail clipper and Problem solved!

Can food be carried in hand luggage?

At first glance, you shouldn’t have any problems, as it’s not declared a prohibited item.

Remember that there are countries that do not accept certain products (for example, in the Maldives you cannot introduce any element that comes from pork, in Mexico you cannot introduce fruit), so you must eat your ham sandwich on the plane if you take it with you before landing in the country if you don’t want problems.

Recommended Reading:

4. What should you always carry in your handbag?

We have come to the decisive moment: what should you put in your handbag?

In the handbag, keep what is truly valuable and something for emergencies in case your checked bag is lost or takes longer than expected.

What should you always carry in your handbag
Photo by Kindel Media

It is not usual, but in case it happens, it is better if you are prepared, don’t you think?

In the handbag, it should always go:

4.1 Financial resources and documentation

Without money, you won’t get very far when you land, and you wouldn’t want to lose your money if your bag got lost.

With that, always carry the money with you in your bag or bag.

Documentation is always necessary to identify you and, in some cases, even more important than money.

Make sure you take the documentation with you and remember to have a backup copy stored in another place (physical and in digital format in the cloud) in case it is lost or stolen.

You can store it on your Google Drive, Dropbox, WeTransfer… There are many options.

4.2. Electronic objects and entertainment

Electronic objects

It is very important that electronic devices go with you, as checked bags suffer some damage. If you take electronic devices with you, you will avoid possible breakage.

  • Camera
  • batteries
  • chargers
  • mobile
  • Kindle

Some entertainment and snacks

Travel can be boring if you can’t sleep on the plane. Especially international travel!

With that, put in your hand luggage something to entertain yourself with:

  • A great book
  • Your mobile phone with games that work offline.
  • Some interesting Netflix movie downloads
  • A game that does not require batteries…

In case you lose your bag, it is always good to carry at least one inner change of clothing in your hand luggage to be able to change. I also carry some spare change.

You can almost always buy new clothes, but just in case you don’t find anything on the first day, or the trip takes longer than expected, you’ll always have a back-up.

I also always carry toothpaste and a brush, face cream, my favourite lipstick, some soap and deodorant.

Remember: If you carry liquids, they must go in a transparent bag, and there is a maximum allowed. See quantities above.

Keep in mind the size restrictions, your mao bag should not be larger than 40 x 20 x 25 cm.

It all depends on your preferences and the number of hours of travel ahead of you.

Of course, it will also depend on the company you fly with, as you may have access to television and movies on the plane.

In any case, I advise you to bring your own entertainment just in case.

If you fly with a low-cost airline, I also advise you to take a snack in case you get hungry:

  • Energy bars
  • Nuts
  • Snacks

It will depend on your way of eating. Calculate the amount based on your habits and the duration of the trip, and do not forget to include stopovers.

Although food is always available in airports, it may not be the option you prefer.

Especially if you are vegan or vegetarian, things get complicated when you have to find food at the airport.

4.3 A change of clothes and toiletries in case of emergency

Fortunately, out of all my travels, my bag was only lost once. The bag took a week to arrive, so I had to buy some clothes for the first few days.

Note: Make sure you have travel insurance that covers this kind of unforeseen event. I use the one from Iati.

5. What should not be carried in hand luggage?

Just as important as knowing what to pack in your carry-on bag is knowing what not to pack. I’ve mentioned all the banned items above, but I’m sure you either gave up on reading them all or need a little more understandable summary. Here it is!

What should not carry in your handbag
Photo by Anna Tarazevich

If you ever considered bringing any of the items mentioned here, consider the following:

  • Leave them at home.
  • Check if you can pack them in your checked baggage or
  • See if you can send them in some other way.

Let’s see what not to carry in your handbag:

  • Liquids larger than 100 mL

Liquid restrictions are pretty universal nowadays, though you’ll still find differences in South East Asian destinations. (In Bali, I passed a half-liter bottle of water and they didn’t say anything).

To avoid unpleasantness or fright, respect the rule: do not carry any container larger than 100 ml.

Do not panic. A bottle of about 100ml gives you approximately 30 washes.

All containers must be in a small, self-closing, clear plastic bag.

Buy (or reuse) travel jars or containers and fill them with your favourite products that you want to take on your trip.

Make sure that the toothpaste you will bring is smaller than 100ml.

Eye! The following products are also considered liquid: mascara, butter or cream cheese, sprays, snowballs…

How much liquid are you allowed to carry in your carry-on bag?

At most, you can take 10 containers of a maximum of 100 ml. each. Liquids must go in a small transparent zip-lock bag. They are considered liquids: liquids, gels, and aerosols.

Tip: Change your shampoo, soaps, and deodorants to solid formats to save liquids and be able to take them with you.

  • Weapons

Weapons are totally prohibited and cannot be carried in hand luggage.

  • Sharp objects

In theory, it is logical that sharp objects cannot be carried in handbags because they could be used as weapons. If you need to carry a knife, cutter, or large scissors, you should put them in your carry-on bag.

Nail clippers cannot have a blade longer than 6 cm. However, the final decision on this issue will rest with the airport security staff, so be aware that they may be confiscated. You will have much better results if you use a nail clipper.

What about razor blades? Razor blades are a tricky subject. Knife blades, in theory, cannot be transported in a carry-on bag.If the blade is a disposable hair removal blade, yes, you can carry it with you. Electric hair removal machines can be carried in hand luggage.

  • Sport equipment

All sports equipment that contains a stick cannot be carried in hand luggage. This includes golf clubs, bats,… If you plan to play sports during your trip, check if you can rent the equipment at the destination. If you want to bring your own equipment, you must check in with the sports equipment.

  • Self-defense equipment

Self-defense materials, such as pepper spray, are prohibited in carry-on bags. In fact, in many countries, they are considered weapons, and it is also prohibited to possess them. Be well informed about the regulations of each country.

  • Lighters, matches, and other flammable items

There is no doubt that starting a fire in an aeroplane is not a good idea. Please leave all flammable items at home. If you want to have fireworks during your vacation, you must buy them at the destination, as all flammable items are prohibited in both hand luggage and checked luggage.

Beware: a lot of camping equipment, such as the small cylinder for cooking, are considered flammable elements, which is why they are prohibited.

In theory, you can carry a box of matches in your hand luggage, but matches are prohibited in checked luggage.

Can you bring a lighter into the security check?

Normally, you can carry a lighter in your hand luggage (just one), although it should be unloaded.

Can you pass e-cigarettes through security?

Yes, you must carry the electronic cigarette in your cabin baggage (not in your checked baggage). Cigarette liquid must be within the range of liquids allowed on the plane.

  • Meat, fruit, and other foods

In most international trips, the countries of entry prohibit meat, fruits, vegetables, plants, and other agricultural products so as not to contaminate their fauna and flora. If you want to bring a snack, make sure you eat it on the plane. If not, it will be confiscated as soon as you arrive, and you may also face an angry agent.

Some countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, have even more restrictive policies, prohibiting the entry of any wooden souvenirs.

  • stinky food

I agree that food on the plane is not the best food in the world, so it makes sense to bring your own food. On low-cost airlines, even food is not included in the ticket, so you better bring your food if you don’t want to pay a lot for nothing. Please be respectful of your fellow travellers and avoid bringing chorizo, fish, or other foods with strong odours.

Is it allowed to bring food on the plane?

In general, it is allowed to bring food on the plane, although some companies have more restrictions than others. Remember that there is a liquid restriction and a soup or other food (such as a jar of cream cheese or Nutella) that is considered liquid. If you want to carry them in your hand luggage, they cannot exceed 100ml.


Many tools, such as hammers, knives, scissors, machetes, etc., are prohibited items in the carry-on.

Maybe you don’t consider a hammer or screwdriver a weapon, but airlines differ…

If you need to travel with your tools, If you want to travel with your scissors, put them in your bag when you check-in.

  • Perfume

I’m glad to know that you care about how you smell, but the smell of a perfume can be very uncomfortable for many people. It can even trigger allergies. Wait to land at the destination to put on your favourite perfume, so your travel companion can breathe freely.

  • Nail polish

You can take your nail polish on the plane (as long as you respect the liquid policy), but please, don’t paint your nails on the plane!

Important: Please check with the corresponding airline the restrictions on your cabin baggage. Rules and regulations are constantly changing and vary from airline to airline.

6. What is the size of the accepted carry on bag?

What is the size of the accepted carry on bag
Photo by Dids

Although the measurements differ a little between companies, if you buy a carry on bag of the common measurements,

Dimensions: 55 x 35 x 20 centimeters

You will have no problem loading your bag into the cabin of the plane with most airlines.

In any case, always check the measurements accepted by the company you fly with.

Each company is a world:

For example: Wizzair, a Polish low-cost company, only allows one item of a maximum size of 42 x 32 x 25 cm to be carried as hand luggage and the weight of this bag must not exceed 10kg. If you want to take an additional carry-on bag, you will have to pay for their “priority” service.

I have seen how they made that more than 60% of the people who were going to board had to pay a surcharge because the measures are larger than those accepted.

Moral: Always check the measurements with the company you are going to fly with.

In most airports, at the check-in counters for checked bags, they have a place where you can check the weight and measurements of carry-on bags. When in doubt, go there.

7. Which carry on bag to buy?

The perfect carry-on bag for the plane will depend on your preferences.

Which carry on bag to buy
Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi

In my case, flexibility is my number one priority, but everyone has their preferences, and they are all valid and acceptable.

In my opinion, the carry on bag is much better if it is not one of the hard ones. Hard cases are too rigid. If the measurements are not accepted, you may have problems shipping them with you…

When the bag is one of the soft ones, you can have some margin to make it fit in the luggage control.

If you want to ensure that low cost companies let you take your hand luggage with you (even if you pay an additional amount), you should bring a backpack that is not rigid to have something to play with.

It may surprise you that the companies want to put the bag in the trunk, but the fact that they put the suitcases in the trunk is simply because they wasted a lot of time playing Tetris so that all the carry-on bags could go on the plane.

By putting the bag in the trunk, the process of boarding the plane is much faster and more agile.

Make sure you have everything you need in your bag.

Back to the bags:

The best thing if you carry a bag with wheels is that the bag has 4 wheels instead of 2. It is much easier to carry.

If you are one of those who prefer backpacks, make sure that your backpack opens like a suitcase to be able to access things much more easily. It seems like a small detail, but it really makes a difference.

In fact, I preferred a bag a few years ago because having to open the backpack only from the top and disassemble the backpack every time I wanted to take something out gave me headaches. But now that backpacks open like suitcases, I prefer backpacks to suitcases.


first, because I charge it much less. Having to carry the backpack on my back allows me to realise how much weight I am carrying.

Second, because I find it much more comfortable. I don’t have to drag my bag up the stairs or worry about puddles on the floor.

Everything is a matter of taste. I have many friends who prefer a suitcase with wheels so they don’t have to carry the weight themselves.

The important thing is that you weigh the pros and cons and feel comfortable with your decision.

The 7 best of carry on bags to buy for air travel

  1. Rimowa Essential Cabin Case $740
  2. Away Carry-On From $275
  3. Away The Bigger Carry-On $245
  4. Away The Expandable Carry-On $225
  5. Calpak Hue Carry-On Luggage with Hardshell Pocket $225
  6. July Carry On $245
  7. Victorinox Spectra 2.0 Spinner From $411

8. What should you carry in your handbag?

What should you carry in your handbag
Photo by Kindel Media

I have all the details in my article on what to pack , but I’ll summarize what you should always carry with you:

  • Passports, money, and cards
  • Electronic devices (camera, batteries, computer…) and a good book (or entertainment for the flight).
  • A change of underwear and some basic hygiene supplies

If you have everything in your bag, it will go with you if they put the carry on bag in the trunk.

If you want the carry-on bag to also go with you on the plane, make sure you read the airline’s conditions carefully. On low-cost airlines, there is the possibility of taking the bag with you by paying an additional amount.

Important: Add the mask, gloves, and hydroalcoholic gel to the list.

I’d love to say that these items will be temporary, but who knows?

Personally, if I go early, I don’t mind waiting at the destination airport for my bag to come out.

So I don’t mind if my backpack is put in the trunk when I take a plane, but in some circumstances, I will try to bring a smaller backpack so that the bag travels with me on the plane.

When do I want the bag to be with me on the plane?

If I arrive at my destination at night and I see that, in case of delay, I would miss the bus, public transport, or shuttle bus to my accommodation,

If I arrive at noon, I don’t mind waiting. I know that I will have public transport to get to my accommodation. With that, putting the bag in the trunk does not bother me in the least.

I have to say that, depending on the airport, the bag arrives before the travellers to the collection area, because for the travellers it is a bit of a labyrinth, but for the bag they have a very direct connection with the unloading. Other times it may be delayed. Luck and chance always come into play.

Find out beforehand how you are going to get to your accommodation. If you have a contracted transfer, it will not matter if you wait a little longer for your luggage.

Ricks to bring your hand luggage on the plane.

There are several things that will help you always carry your hand luggage with you on the plane, even with cheap companies.

Update August 2022: Ryanair no longer allows you to carry a small bag, so this trick no longer works.To take your hand luggage with you on the plane, you will have to pay extra. Remember that it is cheaper to buy it when you buy the plane ticket than a few days or hours before.

This trick continues to work in other low-cost companies, especially in Asia, but make sure you look carefully at the conditions of each airline.

Obviously, if you carry a small bag, it will always go with you, but if you want to be able to carry a hand luggage, here are some tricks so that they do not put it in the trunk:

  • Arrive early at the airport.

Arriving at the airport will not make you stressed and you will be able to think clearly. You will also be able to check how much your bag weighs and how the company you will fly with acts.

  • Adapt your luggage format to the accepted measurements.

Each company has its own rules regarding your carry-on baggage allowance. Check their rules and see where the gaps are or what can help you.

  • Use a backpack instead of a suitcase.

If you only have a backpack in the regulations, they will almost certainly let you go.Personally, this trick has worked for me in 99% of cases (including low-cost airlines). If you carry a backpack plus a bag, this trick does not work. The bag is what will go with you on the plane.

  • Here is the backpack that I use. I love that it opens like a suitcase.

A summary of what to pack in your hand luggage

I hope that now you have everything clear about the cabin bag and you can take it with you whenever you are interested without problems.

The basics that should always go with you are:

  • Passports, money, and cards
  • Disinfectant wipes, gloves, mask, and hydroalcoholic gel
  • Electronic devices (camera, batteries, computer…) and a good book (or game to entertain yourself with during the flight)
  • a change of underwear and some basic hygiene supplies
  • All the details of your trip (hotel/Airbnb contact , transportation, etc.) are written down in a notebook or on your mobile.

These are the essentials that must always be with you in the cabin to avoid being startled.

Everything else could go in the trunk.

For long trips, I also recommend you bring your own travel kit and thus save on disposable products.

My travel kit consists of:

  • Mini toothpaste
  • A toothbrush,
  • Sarong/foulard in case I get cold from the air conditioning.
  • A reusable cup (to avoid plastic cups on the flight).
  • Sleeping pad
  • Mask and plugs.

I recommend that you avoid fragile or breakable items, I have seen many souvenirs that did not reach their destination.

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