Travel Tips and Ideas

What to Pack: Checked vs Carry-On Baggage

by Isabelle Raffin | Oct 06, 2022
packing tips

Packing can be one of the more difficult tasks leading up to your travel adventures. The list may change based on location, season, and length of time you’ll be gone. Although there are a few staples that you can expect to put in your bags every time you depart; it is still a daunting task. Then there’s the intimidating question of what you should be putting in your checked bags versus your carry-ons. Look no further! We’ve prepared some suggestions on how to organize the contents of each.

On Your Marks

The first step of any packing task could be creating a list of what you intend on bringing. This might help you ensure nothing is forgotten. It can also help you to evaluate whether or not you are over packing. You may want to include items such as: travel documents, toiletries, socks, undergarments, electronic devices, and their charging cords. Your list can be stored in your phone for easy access throughout your day. In case you think of something miscellaneous – try to write it down immediately so you don’t forget.

Get Set

Now that your list is finished, you can gather everything you put on the list. Decide how you want to organize certain groups of items. This might mean organizing by day or by item type. Do whatever works for you and helps you to stay organized. If you have packing cubes or use something similar, now would be a good time to dig around the back of your closet to find them!


Whether you are bringing just a carry-on, only checked bags, or a combination of both, it’s important to understand restrictions. There are general and airline specific restrictions so try doing a little research on your personal flight operators before packing.

Carry-On Bags

  • Electronics – Laptops, tablets, headphones, and cameras are all items you might want to keep in the backpack or duffle bag that you plan on taking with you on the flight. You’ll be able to keep them safe and enjoy some personal entertainment throughout your time in the sky. Don’t forget the cords that go with them!
  • Medication – Prescription medication that is allowed in carry-on luggage should be kept in carry-on luggage. Even if you think you won’t need to for hours after your flight has landed, it can be better to have it with you than not - in case your checked bag goes missing or you have an emergency, and you need it sooner than you thought; you’ll probably thank yourself later.
  • Extra Clothes – We’ve all heard horror stories of air sickness, turbulence spills, and late baggage. There are countless reasons why an extra set of clothes might be a good idea in your carry-on bag. Even if you don’t need them, you can keep them in there for the way home. You never know when you'll need to make a quick wardrobe change.  

Checked Bags

  • Clothes – This one goes without saying, especially if you’re traveling for an extended amount of time.
  • Larger or Heavier Items – It is harder to fit these types of items into your carry-on. They may also make it uncomfortable to carry around the airport. For instance, if you can’t travel without your pillow from home, put it in your carry-on luggage. Consider weighing your bag before arriving at the airport to ensure it isn’t overweight. Perhaps even leave some extra room in there for bringing souvenirs home!
  • Liquids – if you plan on taking full sized shampoo or lotions of your own while you travel these should be put in your checked luggage. Not only will they help keep your carry-on lighter, but they will also not be allowed in your carry-on regardless.


Consider making multiple copies of travel documents and placing one within each of your bags. A back-up on your phone or tablet wouldn’t hurt either! This way no matter what happens, or which bag you have closest to you, you’ll be able to access any important information you may need.


Planning may be one of the easiest ways to stay organized and may help alleviate some stress. No matter when your next trip is, try to plan head with a game plan in mind for how to pack given the specifics of your trip. You may want to consider purchasing a travel protection plan in case something unexpected should occur. Talk to your travel advisor today or learn more on our website to get yours today!





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