Common mistakes you could be making with your carry-on

How to make traveling with a carry-on bag or luggage work wonders for you. Source: Shutterstock.

A trusty carry-on bag or luggage is so handy as it can take the weight, hassle, stress, and potential physical pain out of your travels.

It saves parents, especially mothers, from having to stuff children’s essentials and baby needs in the handbag to keep them comfortable in the flight while business travelers will enjoy having the extra space to store their all gadgets and important documents.

The average leisure traveler, on the other hand, will appreciate being able to take home more souvenirs than an overpacked large luggage will allow.

However, just like packing a piece of large luggage, there are also some tips and tricks to properly packing a carry-on bag or luggage.

It is not just only about what you will need, but also ensuring you meet the requirements of airlines and airport security so you will have a smooth journey from door-to-door.

Here are some common mistakes you could be making (or have made) while packing a carry-on:

Getting the size wrong

In the spirit of meeting the requirements of airlines, ensure your bag or luggage is within the airline’s weight and size limits.

There is no one standard carry-on luggage size or international carry-on size because each airline has its own restriction on size, weight, and the number of items allowed in the cabin.

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For example, All Nippon Airways (ANA) allows carry-ons of up to 22 x 16 x 9 inches ((length x width x height) and up to 10 kilograms per passenger while Singapore Airlines allows carry-ons of up to 45.2 inches linear and up to seven kilograms per passenger.

And that is just for the economy class on international flights. Some airlines have different carry-on rules for international and domestic flights.

It is just best to check ahead with your airline or online to avoid running into any problems or finding yourself having to fork out extra moolah for excess baggage.

Bringing liquids and gels

When you are traveling with children, it is hard to avoid packing liquids and gels in your carry-on because it is very likely that you will need essential medications or food for the young ones.

But many countries have implemented restrictions on the carriage of liquids, aerosols, and gels in compliance with the guidelines set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The general rule, according to the Transport Security Administration (TSA), is you are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes no larger than 100 milliliters per item in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint.

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To add on, the items must be placed in a small, zip-top plastic bag to better facilitate the screening process so for easy access, do not bury it at the bottom of your carry-on.

If you are leaving on a jet plane to a beach destination somewhere halfway across the world, maybe consider leaving your full-sized bottle of sunscreen in a toiletry bag and tuck it inside your check-in luggage.

Packing a prohibited item

Just like the restrictions on the carriage of liquids, each country has its own set of rules for items you can and cannot bring on a plane, and you would be surprised how easy it is to overlook this.

Of course, it is a no-brainer that you should not bring firearms, explosives, self-defense sprays, knives (including hunting knives and swords), and safety razors. But also other sharp/bladed objects such as ice-picks, nail clippers, and embroidery, crocheting, or knitting needles.

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Leave your beloved Swiss Army knife at home as well, MacGyver, because airport security will confiscate that for sure.

Other items such as toy guns, handcuffs, manicure sets, and scissors with blades exceeding four centimeters are also not allowed in a carry-on bag or luggage.

The general rule of thumb is to call your airline to get the list of prohibited items.

Packing too much

What is inherently worse than overpacking your check-in luggage? Overpacking both your check-in and carry-on luggage.

Check-in luggage which is overweight will incur extra fees but so will overweight carry-on luggage, hence the weight restriction for carry-on bags or luggage, and some airlines will weigh your carry-on if need be.

This means you should leave out the unnecessary things you will not be needing in your carry-on such as three novels you may not end up reading and a DSLR camera you may not end up using.

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Go light by opting for a Kindle and a compact camera, and pack only the little things which will keep you comfortable on your flight. Doing this will also give you more space for extras such as souvenirs at the end of your trip.

More importantly, always remember to weigh your carry-on before you leave for the airport so you can repack in the privacy of your home, hotel, or Airbnb.

Not securing your carry-on

Although you want to be able to access the items in your carry-on quickly, it still needs to be secured just like your check-in luggage, especially if you are going to stow it in the overhead cabin.

If you think that watching your luggage roll onto the conveyor belt behind the check-in counter means you are entirely safe from things going missing, well, think again.

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Sky-high thefts is a new travel scam that has been affecting both travelers and airline employees, with members of an onboard theft syndicate stealthily stealing from hand carry/carry-on luggage from the overhead cabin when they think no one is looking.

And by the time you realize you have been a victim of onboard theft, he or she would have long disembarked the plane and could have possibly even left the airport.

Thus, secure your carry-on and keep your cash, passport, and all required travel paperwork near you always.

Additionally, if you can help it, do not store your carry-on in the overhead compartment right above you. Store it where you can see it, i.e., opposite so you can spot anyone opening it and interfering with your bag.