10 Smart Things To Pack in Your Carry-On (And One Not To)

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istock

Packing for a vacation, business trip, or mandatory family visit can seem like solving a jigsaw puzzle. How do you bring everything you need and still abide by the TSA’s rules? Plus, accidents happen, people lose things, stuff can get stolen—and airport purchases are expensive. Plan ahead by strategically packing these items in your carry-on luggage for happier travels. 

1. Collapsible Water Bottle with a Filtering System

Airplanes are dry and those little water bottles you get on the plane aren’t enough to keep you hydrated throughout the flight. A collapsible water bottle with a filter can be filled with tap water after going through security, and even when filled, they take up less room than a normal reusable bottle.

2. Daily Medications

When packing your medications in your checked luggage, you not only run the risk of it being stolen, but, should your luggage get lost, you'll also find it’s nearly impossible to get a refill far from home. In addition to your prescription meds, pack any over-the-counter medications you might want during your flight in your carry-on. 

3. Phone Charger

No matter how great your phone’s battery life is, don’t assume it’s going to have enough juice to get you to your hotel. Keep your charger with you in case your phone needs a quick boost, especially if all the information you need to get from point A to point B is saved in your email inbox. 

4. Any Documents You’ll Need Throughout the Trip

Of course, keep your wallet, passport, and flight tickets out of your suitcase. Also, if you have physical tickets (for train trips or events such as the ballet or sports), an invitation with an address on it, or any other papers with no digital counterpart, pack those in your carry-on. And it's a smart idea to print out tickets, directions, and itineraries that you’ve stored on your phone just in case.

5. Any Valuables

Airlines and airports are doing more to stop luggage theft, but incidents do still happen. Keep your camera, jewelry, computer, and other luxury or expensive items with you at all times. Even articles of clothing have been stolen out of suitcases, so assume that if you splurged on it, it belongs in your carry-on. 

6. Entertainment

Unless looking out the window is enough to keep you occupied throughout the flight, bring a book, magazine, game, or other source of amusement. But stay away from the giant hardcovers that will weigh you down; opt instead to stock your e-reader or audiobook library—but bring a magazine for take-off and landing, when all electronics must be stowed under the seat in front of you.

7. A Change of Underwear

Keep a change of underwear with you in case your luggage gets lost or you want to freshen up post-flight.

8. Toothbrush, Toothpaste, and Facial Wipes

Give your final destination a good first impression by brushing your teeth and washing your face before leaving the airport. Keeping a small selection of toiletries in your carry-on prevents you from having to rummage through your suitcase in public.

9. Location-Appropriate Clothes

Heading to the tropics to escape the blistering winter? Pack a change of clothes in your carry-on bag to accommodate the new climate. You don’t want to start your vacation off with heat stroke!

10. A Satisfying Snack

The small bag of pretzels and a can of soda handed to you by a friendly flight attendant doesn’t always cut it, so pack your own lunch or snack. As long as it’s wrapped and a non-liquid, it can go through security. Plus, it’s certainly a cheaper alternative to buying a pre-made sandwich at the airport. 

And One Thing Not To Pack: Your Sweatshirt

Airplane cabins are notoriously chilly, so be sure to bring along a cozy sweatshirt or lightweight jacket (and socks!) for your trip, but don’t pack it in your carry-on. Airlines don’t count sweatshirts and jackets as one of your allotted two free bags, so drape them over your arm to save precious real estate in your pack.

When Should You Book Your Thanksgiving and Christmas Flights? Right Now!

zoff-photo/iStock via Getty Images
zoff-photo/iStock via Getty Images

For many people, paying for distressingly expensive airline tickets is just part of life when it comes to traveling for the holidays. And, while you might think you’ll get the best deal by checking fluctuating prices obsessively from today until the day before Thanksgiving, you’re probably better off booking your flights right now.

“Once you get within three or four months, the chance of something cheap popping up for Christmas or New Year’s is not very likely,” Scott Keyes, the founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights, told Travel + Leisure. “Certainly don’t wait until the last week or two because prices are going to be way higher.”

This is partially because airlines devise algorithms based on last year’s ticket sales and trends, and they know many travelers will fork over some serious cash rather than decide not to go home for the holidays—and there are always plenty of people who wait until the last minute to book their flights. In fact, so you know for next year, the absolute best time to book holiday travel is actually during the summer.

Scott Mayerowitz, the executive editorial director of The Points Guy, admits that it is possible to save a little money if you’re extremely diligent about following flight prices leading up to the holidays, but he thinks your mental health is worth much more than the pittance you might (or might not) save. “The heartache and headache of constantly searching for the best airfare can drive you insane,” he told Travel + Leisure. “Your time and sanity [are] worth something.”

If you’re not willing to throw in the towel just yet, you could always track the prices for a little while, and give yourself a hard deadline for booking your flights in a few weeks. Mayerowitz says buying your seats at least six weeks in advance—or earlier—is a good rule of thumb for holiday travel. That still leaves you several weeks to periodically scroll through flight listings and get a feel for what seems like a reasonable price.

To minimize your travel anxiety even further, try to fly one one of these dates, and check out eight other tips for a stress-free holiday trip.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

Welcome to Cool, California. Population: 2520

Alan Levine, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Alan Levine, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

It’s not hard to find U.S. towns with some pretty weird (and sometimes depressing) names, so we shouldn't be surprised that people have the option of settling in the tiny town of Cool, California.

Initially named Cave Valley, due to the limestone formations nearby, the town popped up around 1849 during the California Gold Rush. The population eventually grew to 4100 people.

It's unclear when the town went from Cave Valley to being Cool. One legend suggests that a beatnik named Todd Hausman bequeathed the name after passing through in the 1950s, but the veracity of that story is doubtful since the Cool Post Office was founded as early as 1885. According to Condé Nast Traveler, records show that a reverend named Peter Y. Cool came out to pan gold and settled in the town in 1850, possibly serving as the source of the change.

Whatever the origin of its name, the town of Cool has ample branding opportunities. There’s the Cool Grocery Store and the Cool Beerwerks brewery and restaurant, which specializes in Hawaiian-Japanese fusion cuisine. Cool has held the Way Too Cool 50K Endurance Run every year since 1990.

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]

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