Carrying on like a Duchess

Carrying on (this pun was so intended) the travel theme, this time we’re going to talk about what to pack in your carry on hand luggage for a long haul flight. I like to think of my hand luggage as -

1Being full of the things that if I lost, I simply wouldn’t be able to live without

2 - If my suitcase didn’t make it to my destination, what would I need to tide me over for a couple of days?


The most important place to begin with your carry on is which bag? The best bag for this would be something of a medium size, that can fit on the floor and in the overheads; something dependable and sturdy; and something with compartments so you know exactly where everything is. The bag I’m taking with me on my next flight is this Zara Office City Bag¬†which can double up as a day bag when you get to your destination and also be a work bag back home.

Once you’ve got which bag sorted, we can move on to what goes in. Start with the most important things – travel documents – passport, tickets, travel insurance papers, itineraries, etc; and money, both the local currency and the money of your home country; and any medications that you need. I like to keep these things together in one area of the bag so they’re easy to get to when and if you need them.

Then we move on to “what if my luggage doesn’t make it with me” – you’ll always need your phone and make sure you pack the charger in your carry on as well, you don’t to be in a foreign country without your luggage and just a dead phone for company. Pack a tooth brush and a small tooth paste, and maybe a small cleanser or face wipes, a small moisturiser, and a deodorant so you can feel clean. If you can fit it in, pack a light change of clothes – underwear, a light dress, leggings, and for some reason, I always pack a pair of socks too.

Now it’s time for the “other things you might what to take and probably should take” – magazines and a good book because even for someone who doesn’t read that often, there’s no limit as to what will happen on a twelve hour flight to the other side of the world. Take an iPod and some headphones for in flight entertainment/attempting to sleep purposes; make up to feel fresh and look good upon arrival; a hairbrush and some bands to keep your hair out of your face and tidy before landing; and a pen to fill in any immigration forms.

Most airlines will give you a blanket and pillow when you arrive on the plane for a long haul flight but if they don’t, most will be accommodating if you ask. Keep in mind the travel restrictions nowadays which you can find on your airline and airport website, especially the 100ml rule!


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