Plan Your Trip

Five carry-on luggage must-haves

Follow these pro tips to ensure comfort and enjoyment on your next flight.

Kate Spade Saturday weekend bag travel

Small Weekender Bag by Kate Spade

The carry-on is one of travelling’s greatest challenges. Pack too much and your vacation will start with a painful shoulder; too little and you risk forgetting something you’ll greatly miss at 30,000 feet. So what should you bring? We asked two travelling pros for their top picks.

1. A satisfying snack
“Let’s face it: outside of Porter, few airlines are offering anything snack-worthy during flights, so I always carry my own,” shares Toronto-based travel writer Heather Greenwood Davis. “I’m particularly partial to Kind granola bars. They’re tasty, filling and won’t set off any alarms at security.”

2. Emergency spill packs
You never know when a fellow passenger may dump a cup of coffee all over your lap — and your smartphone. Greenwood Davis suggests packing a Kensington EVAP Pouch to make sure you’re prepared. “These emergency pouches can rescue your electronics. I always tuck one of these into my bag in case of accidental dunking,” she says.

3. Your own entertainment
Don’t rely on the back-of-the-seat TV to entertain you. Ann Layton, president of the travel communications company Siren Communications, says her carry-on is never complete without “an iPad filled with TV shows, (I’m currently working through Justified), a good set of headphones, the New York Times Crossword book with about 20 good pencils, and a good book.”

4. A battery booster
There’s nothing worse than having your e-reader die halfway through your flight. “Plugs aren’t always handy when flying and the fear of running out of juice used to give me the shakes,” says Greenwood Davis. She now packs a portable Fat Cat charger to make sure her electronics are always ready to go.

5. A change of clothes
Leaving Canada for a tropical paradise may be a dream vacation, but it does make dressing for your flight rather challenging. Layton dresses in a weather-neutral outfit (she loves 119 Corbo’s signature stretchy leggings) and keeps a change of clothes in her carry on. “Changing on descent helps me avoid the perils of that sweaty airport look,” she says.