Travel

The Best Carry-On Packing List for International Flights

I don’t know about you but I love seeing other people’s packing lists, they always give me so many great ideas for my next trip. Today I am sharing with you my carry-on packing list for international travel. This includes everything I would normally bring on a domestic flight- plus a few extra items that are either necessary or make the long trip a lot more comfortable!

My International Carry-On Packing List: 

This guide is a great jumping-off point for your carry-on. Depending on the bag you’re allowed you might be able to fit more items like a laptop or camera. Those items require their own packing lists so for this one I just stick to the basics, let’s start!

  1. Headphones:
Headphones to listen to music on your flight

These should be considered essential on any long trip. Don’t be that person playing their music or movie out loud on the plane. I usually just bring the wired kind so I don’t have to worry about charging them.

  1. Outlet adapter:
Outlet adapter for international travel

If you are visiting a different country make sure you triple check what adapter you will need. You can always get one of these handy universal chargers so you can use them anywhere you go. They’re great if you need to stop at a different country for your layover.

  1. Power bank:
power bank to charge your electronics between flights

It’s smart to always have one of these fully charged in your carry on. I charge a couple before my trip to keep in my carry on and another in my checked bag if I have one. Never find yourself stuck with a dead phone!

  1. Lip Balm:

Long flights are so dehydrating (I’ll get into it later). Chapped lips are uncomfortable and honestly just not cute. Gotta look good for the ‘gram, bonus points if it has spf like these! I like to use a tinted one like this one with spf so my lips look and feel great with minimal effort.

  1. Eye Mask:
sleep mask to block light from other airplane passengers

Most airlines will turn off the lights so people can choose to sleep during long overnight flights. In case your neighbor is watching a bright movie or you need to catch up on sleep during a layover, eye masks are life savers.

  1. Skinny/Minimalist Wallet:
Minimalist wallet for travel

On international flights you want to pack as much stuff as you can manage, especially if you aren’t checking a bag. Ditch the bulky or long wallets for a small, slim wallet. They save space for more important things, like snacks. They also aren’t as obvious for pickpockets to spot if you aren’t putting it in your bag the whole trip.

  1. Passport:
passport cover to keep your passport and plane tickets safe and organized

DO. NOT. FORGET. THIS. This is probably the most important item on this carry-on packing list. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you before you leave the house. Double and triple check that your travel mates have them too along with any other papers you may need. I love my passport cover– I use the pockets inside to hold my plane tickets so it’s all in one place!

  1. Makeup Remover Wipes:
Makeup wipes to cleanse mid-flight

You will definitely want to refresh and touch up during/after your flight. I’ll use makeup wipes to clean my face before I use a sheet mask and to fix any smudged makeup when I reach my destination. I also keep some concealer and mascara easily accessible. 

  1. Sheet Mask:
Sheet Mask to rehydrate your skin during a long flight

Why not treat yourself to a hydrating facial during your flight? You have the time. You can do a full face mask or just eye patches, either way your skin will thank you. Just stick to a basic one that is tried and true, right before a trip is not the time to test out new skincare products!

  1. TP:
Travel Toilet Paper for international emergencies

It’s not glamorous, but it needs to be said. Sometimes the bathroom is out, it will always happen at least once per trip. There are pre-made mini travel rolls, or you can take some off your roll at home and put it in a baggie. Better safe than sorry right?

  1. Hand sanitizer:
hand sanitizer to keep you and other passengers safe

I don’t think I need to explain this one. Germs are everywhere, bring a personal sized hand sanitizer and use it often- for your safety and the safety of others.

  1. Phone charger:
phone chargers to charge your phone at the airport or on the plane

Some planes will have outlets, or you can use your handy adapter at the airport if you can find an outlet during a layover. I don’t use my power bank unless I absolutely must. 

  1. Water bottle (with a filter):
Travel water bottle with a filter for long flights and active trips.

Long flights are very dehydrating. The air inside the cabin has lower humidity than your body is used to. That means that moisture evaporates from your body faster, so make sure you always have water available to counteract that dry, recirculated air. I like to use one with a filter so I can refill it anywhere. They are also handy throughout your trip, especially if you are planning on doing a lot of walking. Just remember to empty your bottle before going through TSA!

  1. Snacks:
Clif Bar for snacking on the plane

I always bring a few granola bars like theses PB filled Clif bars (they are my favorite) and some candy like peach rings or dark chocolate. They are great for long layovers or if you don’t want to buy food on your flight. A hangry traveler is the worst.

  1. Book(s):
person reading while traveling

I always pack a book to read on long flights, international or not. It’s a great way to pass a lot of time without using up any of your electronic device’s batteries or straining your eyes with blue light. If you don’t know what to read check out my book rec list!

  1. Blanket Scarf:
Blanket scarf for travel

If I have space in my carry-on I like to pack a scarf that opens up large enough to use it as a little blanket. Airplanes can be cold, if there isn’t room in my bag I’ll just wear it! I love an accessory that’s as fashionable and useful.

Travel Hack: When I pack my carry-on I like to organize the things I am going to use during the flight in a small folding toiletry bag. That way I can just hang it on the back of the seat in front of me (obviously not touching/bothering the person sitting there). I can keep my snacks, headphones, lip balm, charger, eye mask, makeup remover wipes, and sheet masks organized into appropriate compartments. I will also throw a mascara and concealer in it with a compact mirror if I know I’ll want a touch up during the flight. Everything you need will be easily accessible, no digging around your bag for that lip balm that sunk to the bottom! 

Well there you go! That is my international carry-on packing list. I hope you find it helpful while you plan your next trip. This isn’t an exhaustive list, just what I always start with, adjust and add according to your wants and needs but DON’T forget your passport! Safe travels!

What is your favorite thing to bring on long flights?

For a great packing list for weekend trips check out this post by Her Life Adventures!

18 Comments

  • Emma

    Great post! I don’t know why I’ve never thought about bringing a blanket scarf with me on flights before, I always get cold! Such a handy tip, thanks 🙂

  • Keira

    So many good ideas here, a lot of them I can’t board a plane without. I never thought of taking a scarf to use as a blanket though! I feel like Lip Balm is always overlooked but I can’t go anywhere without it

  • Kirsten Wendlandt

    Oh my god I can’t believe it happened to you once that there was no toilet paper. That would be so awful especially if you didn’t notice till after you went. Im going to have to start bringing some of those tissues with me on all flights now!

    • Sam

      Luckily I didn’t have to stress too much since I brought some with me. Even if you just put some TP from your hotel in a ziplock, it’s always best to be prepared for anything!

  • Arielle Kurtze

    Great list! It’s so important to be strategic when you fly for a super long time. I always bring my neck pillow, a good book and download some movies I haven’t had a chance to watch yet 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • Sam

      I totally agree! I always bring a book too, luckily most of the long flights I’ve been on have had in-flight movie options to pass the time.

  • Kate Toll

    Great list! So happy to see makeup wipes on here. When I fly overnight, or on a long flight, I always have to take my makeup off! It helps me feel so much more refreshed. A water bottle is also so important, staying hydrated is so important on long flights.

  • Nichole the Nomad

    I love everyone on this list and always bring these carry on items on every flight! Headphones and a power bank are so essential, especially when flights don’t have an outlet to charge anything. Thank you so much for this helpful guide!

  • Nichole the Nomad

    I love everything on this list and always bring these carry on items on every flight! Headphones and a power bank are so essential, especially when flights don’t have an outlet to charge anything. Thank you so much for this helpful guide!

  • Melissa Roos

    I always make sure to bring my noise cancelling headphones, a big scarf and my eye mask to have the best chance of a good sleep!! I hate when people see me sleeping lol and I currently want to bring my laptop to future flights as well to get some work done.

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