You picked out the best carry-on backpack. Now, let’s pack it right.
With the holiday season in full swing, the chances of travel plans not actually going as planned are at an all-time high. You might recall last month when more than 1,200 flights were canceled across the USA on the Sunday following Thanksgiving, which is considered one of the busiest travel days of the year.
With winter storms brewing in the forecast, now is the best time to consider how you can prepare for delays and cancellations in your travel plans. Even regions that go unaffected by snow are still subject to delays from other inclement weather conditions. Besides, there is a myriad of other reasons that flights go awry. So it’s worthwhile to plan ahead and be proactive any time you travel by maximizing the use of a carry-on bag.
Carefully considering the items you add to your carry on packing list can be incredibly beneficial;
Not only for avoiding expensive fees for checked luggage. But also for when airlines lose your things, or you don’t have access to your checked bag during long layovers or delays. With that being said, it’s equally, if not more, important to take into account which wellness products are worthwhile to pack in your carry-on bag.
Let’s look at some central health and wellness items you wouldn’t necessarily think to add to your carry on packing list. But most definitely should:
1. Medical Identification and Information
It’s safe to say that most of us remember to keep our identification on us while traveling. Like our passports and driver’s licenses. However, we don’t always take into account other forms of ID that are extremely important to have nearby.
A medical emergency can strike at any moment, so carrying an up-to-date medical ID card in your wallet or carry-on, instead of your checked luggage, provides easy access to crucial health information that could help save your life in an unexpected medical crisis. Your medical ID card should include any medical conditions and food or drug allergies you have. Along with any medications you are currently taking, your blood type and any emergency contacts. For those who wear medical alert jewelry, it’s suggested to engrave the phrase “See wallet card,” which will direct first responders to your medical ID card in your wallet for additional health information.
Some folks might be unsure about the rules for traveling with medicine, which can make them more inclined to pack their medication in their checked luggage. But as a matter of fact, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) highly recommends that you place medications in your carry-on in the event that you need immediate access.
Suppose that you are prescribed an epinephrine auto-injector. Hence it’s imperative to keep it with you as it can be a matter of life or death when it comes to treating severe allergic reactions to foods, insect bites, and much more. Having access to these critical medications can help you travel with ease. Even when those complimentary peanuts are passed around.
Aside from medical emergencies, you never know when an airline might misplace or lose your luggage. So you’ll want to have any maintenance medications with you, especially if they are time sensitive. For instance, doctors recommend taking birth control at the same time every day, depending on which kind of birth control you choose. So if you keep these medications with you in your carry-on, you’ll never need to worry about missing or delaying a dose.
As a side note, you may even want to pack some over-the-counter (OTC) medications, such as Tylenol or Motrin to combat any sudden headaches or pains.
Although it’s typical for airlines to provide complimentary snacks, packing your own food items in your carry-on is a wise choice, particularly for those with certain medical conditions like diabetes. Individuals with diabetes are at a higher risk of experiencing low blood sugar, especially if they skip or delay meals, which can most definitely happen with hectic flight schedules.
Medical professionals recommend having snacks at your disposal with at least 15 grams of carbohydrates like fresh or dried fruits, fruit juices, as well as certain types of candy such as gummy bears or gumdrops. Many might be surprised to know that TSA allows almost all food items to be carried on planes. A long as any liquids do not exceed 3.4 ounces. Just be courteous to fellow passengers by leaving any potentially smelly snacks at home!
Toiletries are common considerations when packing a carry-on bag. Many travelers will bring a travel-size toothbrush and toothpaste, along with other cosmetics like deodorant to freshen up after a long flight, or to have in case their luggage is misplaced. However, you never know what other toiletries may come in handy should a mid-flight issue arise.
Instead of struggling to get the flight attendants attention for a napkin, pack a travel-size package of tissues for sneezing fits or nosebleeds. Dry cabin air and cabin pressure have the potential to trigger nosebleeds during or after flights. With that being said, you should also bring along a travel-size bottle of hand sanitizer or hand wipes as a courtesy to those who share may the same row on the plane as you. But may not want to share the same germs.
For our female travelers, some may overlook the idea of packing feminine products if they don’t expect to be traveling with Aunt Flo. But just like we can’t predict the weather, we can’t predict when mother nature shows up early or unexpectedly. In this case, you’ll want to have a few feminine products on hand. Even if you don’t end up needing them you never know when another passenger will! The feminine hygiene market has made it easy to find products that fit perfectly in a purse or carry-on bag much like travel size maxi pads and tampons with compact applicators that can even fit in your pocket.
Should your feminine product fail you, you’ll want to have a spare change of clothes to stay clean, dry and comfortable during and after your flight. Bring extra underwear bearing in mind the duration of your travels. Experts suggest loose-fitting, cotton underwear as the best route to take when choosing underwear. Cotton wicks moisture away from the skin, while other materials can actually trap moisture and heat, providing a breeding ground for yeast. Which you are especially susceptible to when sitting still for long periods of time. You ought to pack an additional pair of pants as well, but shy away from jeans if possible. Jeans are heavy and bulky, often taking up a significant amount of space in an already spacially-limited bag (this goes for the men out there too).
5. Comfort Items
Last on our carry on packing list but definitely not least, comfort items can provide great relief for other minor ailments while traveling. A good travel pillow can support your neck when you need to catch some ZZZs while flying or waiting at the airport. Likewise, earplugs are a great item to pair with your travel pillow in order to drown out noise for an optimal snooze. Earplugs can serve as an added bonus for those who suffer from migraines and need some relief but have minimal resources during a flight. Similarly, you may not have the window seat on your flight either. Therefore a sleep mask can be beneficial for blocking out sunlight when you can’t control the window shade.
Speaking of eyes, for those travelers who wear contact lenses, you should come prepared with all the necessary eye-care accessories. Keeping in mind TSA’s liquid restrictions, contact solution and eye drops are great items to have readily available in case you suffer from a bout of dry or irritated eyes. You should also bring an extra pair of contact lenses and a pair of eyeglasses. Especially for those red-eye flights.
Wellness Carry On Packing List: Final Thoughts
When packing for a trip, a lot of advice suggests traveling light by only packing the minimal essentials. But sometimes the essentials include things you wouldn’t typically think to pack. Accidents happen and you’ll want to be prepared. Of course, you can always make a purchase at an airport store or kiosk. But strategically packing your carry-on can help you avoid items that are marked-up in price at the airport. And simply give you peace of mind ahead of time for stressless traveling. Ultimately, we can only hope for smooth sailing (or should we say smooth-flying). But if an issue does arise amid your travels, you’ll be thankful for packing these less-obvious items.
Still uneasy? Passengers may reach out to the TSA Contact Center (TCC) at 866-289-9673 with additional questions such as those regarding TSA procedures or permitted and prohibited items. More specifically, travelers or families of passengers with disabilities and medical conditions may call the TSA Cares helpline toll free 855-787-2227, 72 hours prior to traveling. With any questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint.
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