The Ultimate City Trip Carry On Essentials

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Packing for a city trip can be a challenge at times – how much do we pack? What should we bring and what can we leave at home? How much should I take with me in my carry-on luggage? I got your back in this entire struggle. These are the ultimate city trip carry on essentials to take with you.

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I have a (long) list of carry-on essentials and depending on what you usually bring, you can add stuff or leave stuff at home. These city trip carry on essentials are very personal based and I added a freebie in this blogpost so you can add your own additional essentials in the notes section.

The Ultimate City Trip Carry On Essentials

Travel documents

The most important thing to bring with you: the travel documents. Bring your passport and boarding pass with you if you actually want to go anywhere! This one needs to be on the top of your list.

Camera and camera gear

If you’re carrying your camera with you – take this with you in your carry on bag so you won’t lose anything. Keep the valuable stuff in your bag, you don’t want to end up without your camera and camera gear.

A powerbank

A power bank is a small electronic device to charge at home and take with you on trips in your carry on bag. You can charge your phone, tablet, camera or anything else with this device! It’s so handy to have this with you – you’re never stuck with an empty battery.

Read more: Read the summer essentials for a city trip.

Comfy shoes

Comfy shoes are an absolute necessity to bring with you! Either wear them while travelling or carry them with you in your bag to wear on your destination. There is nothing worse than travelling in not comfy shoes with blisters all over – I’ve been there and was ready to cry the entire travel day!

Travel guides

I love travel guides and read them when I’m waiting in the airport or while I’m on my flight, or when I am on the train on the way to my destination. The perfect travel guides to use on your next trip are the To-Go Guides I’m currently designing and writing. Read more on my landing page about the To-Go Guides.

Hamman towel

If you’re just travelling with a carry on suitcase, you do not have the space for a big beach towel. A Hamman towel is the key to still bringing a towel for the beach or pool. These towels are very thin, dry really fast and can be folded up to a small piece that fits in your backpack!

Travel sized toiletries

You have to bring these with you in order to get through security on the airport, but it’s also much easier to carry it with you whether you’re taking the train or car. Bring a small one with you to use on the road and buy the bigger one on the destination if you really need to.

A good lock for your bags

This is especially handy if you need to leave your bag somewhere and there’s valuable stuff in there. Buy a lock to lock your backpacks and leave without any worrying about someone stealing your stuff.

Electronics + charges and a travel adapter

Take all your electronics with you as well such as your phone, tablet and/or laptop including the electronics. This might sound crazy if it’s a lot to carry with you, but it’s so easy to have it with you and it’s a lot safer as well. Do not forget to bring a travel adapter as well to immediately be able to charge your phone or power bank, even if you have a lay-over. You never know what kind of plugs they have.

A good book or an e-book

I always alternate between reading a good book in the actual copy of the book or reading it on my e-reader. For travelling – the e-reader is my top favorite pick. I have the Kobo e-reader and it saves so much weight and I can bring dozens of books with me!

Get the free carry-on packing list!

Noise cancelling headphones

This might be because I’ve already been using a noise cancelling headphone and it honestly keeps me sane in busy surroundings. I can’t imagine travelling without my noise cancelling headphones. Whether it’s in the train when there’s a child screaming in front of you or to block out the annoying airplane motor sounds.

Hand sanitizer and cream

Honestly, travelling really isn’t the most hygienic thing to do and especially if you’re flying – your skin gets really dry. Hand cream is saves your skin and the hand sanitizer helps to keep your hands clean if you do not have the option to wash your hands.

Read more. Read the blogpost about all-round carry on essentials.

a flatlay with notebooks and a watch

Packing cubes

If you are only bringing your carry-on luggage, packing cubes are the way to go. These cubes make it so easy to bring lots of stuff in an organized way without them taking too much space in your luggage.

A carry-on backpack

A good carry-on backpack is awesome ‘cause it has a lot of space and it is easy to wear if you’re still taking a carry on suitcase as well. I love the Samsonite backpacks because of the space inside and the backside of the backpack has a band to place it around the handle of your suitcase. You don’t have to carry it and it won’t fall off!

Travel pillow, in seat pouch, eye mask and breath refreshing mints

I love travel pillows, travelling always makes me kinda sleepy and the eye mask helps me to sleep if its still bright outside. These breath refreshing mints are always a good idea to have with you, but especially if you’re travelling for a while and if you are sleeping! The in-seat pouch is perfect to carry small things like earphones, elastics and other easy-to-lose-stuff.

a bag with earrings, a watch, sunglasses and pictures

Hair elastics and a small hairbrush

Alright, I cannot be the only one who’s hair looks like a birds nest after flying, taking a train journey or a car ride. It just goes really crazy honestly. A small hair brush is a necessity in my carry-on bag to look somewhat presentable. A few good hair elastics are smart to bring with you as well.


Please do not forget your sunglasses. It’s so annoying to arrive at your sunny destination, step outside and be ready for your trip and realize you have not brought your sunglasses in your carry-on bag. You do not want to open your big suitcase or have an entire search project in the back of your car just to find your sunglasses! Been there, done that, do not recommend.

Sunscreen and lip-balm

It is very important to take good care if your skin and protect it against the sun. Carry a body sunscreen, face sunscreen and a lip-balm with SPF in it to protect yourself. Even if you’re not going to a sunny destination: your skin is still exposed to the sun!


As someone who needs to take medicines daily, I highly suggest to take enough medicines with you for at least a couple of days. If your suitcase gets lost, you will still have enough medicines until you have your suitcase back. Obviously take enough with you if you’re just bringing a carry-on bag!

Bring 1 extra outfit

Again with the thought of losing your suitcase – bring an extra outfit. If you’re going to a sunny destination, pack shorts and a tank top with some slippers so you won’t be stuck in your airplane outfit all the time! Look at the temperatures and weather on your destination.

Your (travel) wallet

I love bringing a small wallet with some room for cash and enough space for my cards. A small wallet fits perfectly in your bag and won’t really draw the attention from pickpockets – but you honestly never know! If you have a wallet with RFID protection – skimmers won’t be able to duplicate your bankcard.

Food and beverages

Bring some food from home and buy water/another drink if you’ve passed the security on the airport. If you’re travelling with your car or train, it’s obviously possibly to take your own drinks from home! It saves you money and its most of the time much tastier than the food on the train or airplane.

These are the absolute carry-on essentials to take with you if you’re going on a city trip! Download the freebie in this post and you’ll never miss anything in your suitcase or bag. Add your own notes if you need more stuff and you’re good to go!

What is your absolute carry-on essential?



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the ultimate city trip carry on essentials, carry on bag, travel tips
the ultimate city trip carry on essentials, carry on bag, travel tips


  1. Thank you for this list! I almost always forget my travel hairbrush, and I emerge from a flight looking a fright! Love the tip about locks and the towel. It will be interesting to see how our lists change as we start flying again in a new era. Keep up the beautiful posting!

    1. Hahaha girl I’m sure we’ve all been there! I’m definitely interested in how this list changes if we start flying again, I’m sure masks are the #1 thing to take with us as well 🙂

  2. This is such a great, comprehensive list! I really like how you have the “table of contents” at the top so I can click on whatever I’m most want to read about first. I would probably say besides my devices, travel documents and glasses (I’m blind without them), the #1 thing I always have in my carry on or backpack is my trust insulated water bottle! I love that I can put a bunch of ice cubes in my insulted water bottle and I can take it through security when I’m flying because it’s not liquid! Then I have delicious ice cold water 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    1. The table of contents is a must for me too, I love to know what I can expect in a blogpost and go directly to the section I’m most interested in! An insulated water bottle sounds absolutely amazing, I’ve never heard of it before and it sounds like a game changer! 😀

  3. It’s interesting that you (and so many others) recommend packing cubes – I can’t get my head around how they are useful! I’ve tried but…they just make my stuff take up more space than otherwise.

    1. I mostly love them to keep my stuff organized! Everyone has their own preference of course, totally fine you don’t like the packing cubes! 🙂

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Rosy Melissa

Travel Guides, Travel Tips & Conscious Travel

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