Packing for a trip can be an intimidating experience. You want to streamline your stuff so you can travel light, but you also don’t want to be so simple that you end up buying essentials that you should be enjoying while traveling.
Maximizing your carry-on baggage allowance is a great way to make sure you’re packing light without skimping on what you actually need, but you need to make sure that what you pack doesn’t get you held up at TSA security checkpoints.When packing your carry-on, you need to be aware of certain TSA carry-on rules and regulations, such as how much liquids you can actually carry Take it on a plane, or if your disposable razor is allowed to pass.
If you want to optimize the way you pack your hand luggage, read on. We’ve outlined everything you need to know about what’s allowed in your carry-on bag, as well as the best carry-on items to consider on your next trip.
Carry-on luggage comes in all styles and sizes – from hard-shell tops to soft-sided weekend bags and even travel backpacks. But the bag needs to meet your airline’s size regulations. In fact, carry-on baggage allowances are not determined by the TSA, but by individual airlines. In general, the maximum size policy implemented by most airlines is 22″ x 14″ x 9″, including wheels and handles.
Your baggage allowance may also depend on your ticket type. Some Basic Economy tickets only allow personal items, such as a wallet, not a piece of carry-on luggage. When it comes to bag weight, you need to make sure you can comfortably lift your carry-on efficiently and into the overhead compartment. However, some airlines – especially budget airlines – limit the weight of luggage.
Lastly, be sure to check the airline’s policy if you plan to bring carry-on luggage on board. Once you’ve determined your carry-on baggage allowance, you’ll need to pack it with TSA-allowed items.
If you want to avoid checked baggage fees, you can usually travel with just one hand luggage. Here are some of the most notable items you can put in your hand luggage without worrying about being stopped at airport security. You can find a full list of allowed items on the TSA’s website.
Alcoholic beverages are allowed in carry-on baggage as long as they are 3.4 ounces or less. Mini wine bottles that you carry around must also fit comfortably in a single-quart-sized bag. However, keep in mind that airline alcohol policies are very strict and the FAA prohibits passengers from drinking alcohol on board unless a flight attendant is present. In other words, the alcohol you can carry in your carry-on luggage cannot be consumed on board.
baby food and equipment
Reasonable amounts of baby food, infant formula, breast milk and juice are allowed. Formula, breast milk and juice should be removed from your pack and screened individually. Plus, you can take ice packs, freezer bags, freezer gel packs, and other accessories you need to cool formula, breast milk, and juices with you. Other items like baby carriers and child car seats are also allowed, as long as they fit in the overhead bin on the plane or under your seat.
Deli meats, seafood, vegetables and other prepared foods
Cooked meats, seafood, vegetables, and other prepared meals and dishes are allowed as long as they do not exceed the 3.4-ounce liquid limit. If you’re flying from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands, be aware that most raw vegetables are not allowed into the continental U.S. because of the risk of spreading invasive plant pests.
Disposable razors can be carried in carry-on luggage. However, loose razor blades, such as utility knives or blades not in a cartridge, are not allowed in carry-on luggage.
Most personal electronics, such as hair care products or handheld devices, can be carried in carry-on luggage. Adult toys can also be placed in hand luggage.
lighters and matches
Passengers are allowed to put disposable lighters in their carry-on luggage. Also, a safety book (which won’t strike anywhere) matches can be used as a carry-on item. However, strikes are prohibited anywhere.
Non-flammable liquids, gels, and aerosols (such as shampoos or deodorants) are allowed in carry-on luggage as long as the TSA’s 3-1-1 liquid rule is followed. That means you can carry quart-sized bags of liquids that are limited to travel-size containers of 3.4 ounces or less per item.
TSA allows large quantities of medically necessary liquids, gels, and aerosols, but you must declare them to a TSA officer at security and be prepared to be pulled away for further inspection.
Power banks and portable chargers can only be carried in carry-on luggage. However, they must be rated at 100 watt-hours (Wh) or less per battery. You can carry two larger spare batteries (up to 160 Wh) if you are approved by the airline.
Vitamins and Supplements
FDA-approved vitamins and supplements can be placed in carry-on luggage.
There are obvious no-fly items — like weapons and bottles filled with water — as well as some prohibited items that might surprise you. Here’s what you’ll want to put in your checked luggage or leave home entirely. You can find a complete list of prohibited items on the TSA’s website.
Self-defense items, ammunition and sharps
Self-defense items, including ammunition, are prohibited from carry-on baggage and, in some cases, checked baggage. This also includes most martial arts equipment, pepper spray, firearms, chef’s knives, bottle openers, and other sharp objects.
Flammable and explosive items such as fireworks, flares, and replicas of explosives are not allowed not only in hand luggage, but also in checked luggage.
Sporting Goods and Equipment
Certain large sporting goods and equipment, such as golf clubs or hockey sticks, are not allowed in carry-on baggage. However, basketballs, soccer balls and other small sporting goods are generally allowed.
Familiarizing yourself with what’s and what’s not in your carry-on luggage is the first step to getting through security with ease, but you also need to make sure that your carry-on luggage will simplify your travel and make it more comfortable and convenient. Stress-free travel. Here are some of our favorite handbags that will make your travels smoother.
Luggage has become a darling of the travel industry due to its streamlined aesthetics and durable design, all at an affordable price. Rolling carry-on luggage has the “Rolls-Royce of luggage wheels” according to our tests. In fact, this bag earned the top spot in our book for the best overall hardshell carry-on.
$299.99 at Amazon
The Delsey Paris Hardside Collection is our runner-up pick for the best hardshell luggage with its chic design and affordable price point. Elegant carry-on luggage may look sophisticated and sophisticated, but this hard-shell spinner can take a hit. We’ve towed this carry-on bag through international budget airlines and domestic flights and it’s held up really well throughout.
$139.99 Amazon $79.93
Looking for a basic design that will last you a long time? The American Tourister Belle Voyage Hardside Luggage is lightweight and offers plenty of packing space. The lightweight design also features four multi-directional oversized rotating wheels to let you traverse the airport with ease.
Given its budget-friendly price point, the Amazon Basics 21-Inch Hard-Side Spinner offers surprising longevity, but it can be a struggle for those looking for a carry-on with plenty of room and organization pockets. The basic design is aesthetically pleasing enough, but you’ll want to avoid checking this bag at all costs. We found ABS shells prone to scuffs and scratches.
If you’re in the market for a weekend bag to store all your on-the-go essentials, Beis’ The Weekender Bag is a great option. Not only does it have a separate shoe compartment, but it also has multiple ways to carry it—handles, shoulder straps, and a zippered pocket that turns into a trolley case.
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