What to Carry on and What to Check When Flying

| November 2, 2012

flying tips

While not the most fun, packing does rank as one of the most important parts of taking a vacation. Use DexKnows to plan your trip and then pack properly — both carry-on and checked luggage — to avoid undue stress and expense.

Carry-On Musts

Your carry-on bag should include anything you can’t do without during your flight and can’t replace easily if lost or stolen, such as:

  • Electronics — From your laptop and tablet or e-reader to any portable entertainment devices, keep them with you to avoid boredom and replacement costs. Bring along a magazine or a book in case the battery goes dead.
  • Prescription medication — Not only may you need to take medication during the flight, you also don’t want to hassle with replacing the prescription if it gets lost or stolen. Before you leave on the trip be sure you have enough refills left to replace prescription medication and that it’s on file at a national pharmacy chain that has a location where you are traveling. Tuck your prescriptions into your carry-on bag, especially if leaving the country or if you are on a medication that is not easily refilled.
  • Toiletries and makeup — Unnecessarily replacing toiletries and makeup also can be costly. Carry on as much as you can; at the minimum what you need to get ready for bed that night and for the next day in case your luggage gets delayed. Note: With liquid carry-on items, keep the Transportation Security Administration’s 3-1-1 rule in mind. You are allowed as many 3.4-ounce (or less) bottles that can fit in one 1-quart clear, plastic, zip-top bag.
  • Jewelry — Do not let expensive jewelry out of your sight. Wear it or keep it in your carry-on bag. Lock jewelry in the safe in your room, no matter how nice the hotels and lodging on your trip.
  • Travel documents — Your wallet and/or passport already will be with you — or else you won’t get past security — but also keep in your carry-on bag any information relating to prepaid shuttles, reserved hotels and/or rental property, and other important travel docs.
  • Kid necessities — If traveling with children, you know you need many of the above items for your kids as well. Pick out a kid-friendly carry-on bag for each child, one that will hold everything he or she will want on the plane. Also make sure it will not be too big or bulky for a little one to carry, if necessary. Actually, your children likely will insist on their own wheelie bag and will want to do the rolling themselves. Test the bag before buying it to make sure that the young one can wheel it easily enough.
  • Antiques, fragile objects — If you went shopping on your trip and have something fragile or delicate that could break if handled roughly, put it in your carry-on luggage. Placing the bag or luggage in an overhead bin or under the seat in front of you will protect the objects better than having your suitcase tossed around and piled on in the plane’s cargo bay. Bottles of wine can probably be wrapped and survive in your checked luggage.

Checked Luggage

Delegate anything not listed above to your checked bags. Doing so will keep yourself and family members from getting delayed at security checkpoints. Be sure to check the weight limit imposed by your airline (usually 50 lbs. for domestic flights) to avoid overage fees. If in doubt as to whether hotels and/or the rental property will have on hand larger items you might need, such as a crib, use DexKnows to contact the property directly.

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Category: Travel

About the Author ()

Pamela Mitchell spent more than 15 years at daily newspapers such as the Hartford Courant and Houston Chronicle before becoming a full-time freelancer. She now writes about a variety of topics, from dining and entertainment to pets and travel.