You carefully pack your luggage, get to the airport on time and go to the luggage drop-off counter. Then the attendant asks you if you have any carry-ons. You show him your carry-on luggage, a small suitcase and the new shoulder bag you bought for your dream trip to Italy. He looks at your suitcase, tilts his head and then measures it. “It’s 24 inches. We only allow 22-inch carry-on bags. You’ll have to check it in,” he says.

Avoid forced carry-on luggage check-in

More and more, airlines are implementing stricter rules regarding carry-on luggage. Some rules have been set for security reasons, but a recent Seattle Times article implies that it’s also big business. The extra fees collected for last-minute bag check-ins are profitable. The report states that airlines make from $7.21 to $21.51 extra per passenger by charging an additional check-in fee. That’s an easy six-figure income each year. The additional luggage check-ins are also causing baggage management overload, which may cause delayed luggage delivery or, worse, lost luggage. Having travel insurance that covers baggge loss can put your mind at ease.

Couple Walking In Airport, ready to travel /DP

However, you can do a few things to avoid paying that extra fee or risk losing your luggage. First, read your ticket carefully. Many people, especially frequent flyers, don’t bother reading the instructions. The sizes and weight allowance are always on the ticket and reservation confirmation. Airlines can change and update their policies at any time. The carry-on bag size you traveled with six months ago may no longer be accepted.

Another thing you can do is purchase tickets that have better luggage allowances: Fly Business Class or Economy Plus for better service. You may not need a large suitcase to go to your destination, but after you find some great souvenirs to buy in Italy, you may need extra luggage space when returning. Thirdly, you should get to the airport early. Bags checked in late may not make boarding time.

Once you have verified the size allowance of your carry-on bag, you can pack a bag that will be useful on the flight and tide you over if your luggage is delayed.

Perfect Carry-On Essentials

What is a standard carry-on size?

Typically, most airlines accept carry-on bags that are 22 x 14 x 9 inches (55.8 x 35.5 x 22.8 cm). Again, check with the airline you are flying to be sure. If you are planning to fly different airlines during your journey, consider that.

What kind of carry-on bag is best?

First, you’ll need a good bag. A great carry-on bag should be the right size for your needs; remember to check your flight confirmation and boarding card for airline regulations. It should also be comfortable to carry and have plenty of compartments and pockets for organization.

Don’t over-pack a carry-on bag. If you can’t comfortably carry it up a flight of stairs, it’s too heavy. Airport escalators don’t always work or can get crowded.

When choosing any luggage, a bold color is best. Black, grey, and blue bags are very common and can easily be taken home by the wrong person. It’s also easy to spot a purple or orange bag on the baggage claim belt.

Here are 12 things that you should always pack in your carry-on:

You don’t want to be that passenger, you know, the one who holds up the line unpacking thier stuff and trying to shove it into a smaller bag. Always have a compact bag with these 12 items and you can’t go wrong.

  1. Ticket: As much as we all love our tech, sometimes the battery konks out. Always have a printed copy of your ticket and check-in info.

2. ID Documents: Domestic flights usually only require a picture ID like a driver’s license (USA) or a resident’s card (EU), but international flights always require a passport.

3. A change of clothes: This is especially important if you are traveling for business. At least you will have clean underwear, socks, and a clean shirt (think spilled coffee) for your meeting.

4. Pyjamas: If your luggage doesn’t make it, at least you can sleep comfortably when you get to your hotel. A simple sweatsuit can double as PJs or another outfit – going sightseeing in a sweatsuit is acceptable in most parts of the world.

5. An extra pair of shoes: You never know when you might need an extra pair of shoes. If your luggage gets lost, or there’s rain, and your travel shoes get wet, you’ll be glad you have them.

6. Toiletries: Pack all the essential toiletries you will need for your trip. This includes travel-sized items like toothpaste, shampoo, and deodorant. If you wear contact lenses bring an extra pair onboard.

7. Medications: If you take medication regularly, pack it in your carry-on luggage. That way, you’ll have it with you at all times.

8. A book or tablet: This can help keep you entertained during long flights or layovers.

9. Phone/tablet charger: If your flight is delayed or the inflight media system is not working (yes, it happens), you will want to use your device.

9. Headphones: On most long-haul flights, headphones are provided. Most planes have modern headphone jacks if you want to use your own. These will be handy for watching a movie or listening to music.

11. Candy and snacks: Sucking a hard candy (Ricola!) during take-off and landing helps prevent your ears from popping. Most inflight meals are small or (pardon me for saying) weird. Nuts, snacks or trail mix can be a lifesaver.

12. Sleep aids: sleep medication is not recommended as it can cause dehydration and wooziness. Instead, bring a sleep mask and earplugs or sound-blocking headphones.

What Not to Forget to Pack

The three most important things you will need are:

  • ID
  • Ticket
  • Credit card

    Those are the most essential items you will need. If your luggage is delayed, you can buy what you need.

In the wise words of Phileas Fogg in Around the World in 80 Days, “We’ll have no trunks, only a carpet bag, with two shirts and three pairs of stockings for me, and the same for you. We’ll buy our clothes on the way.”

Article by Anthony Ryan for
Images by DP are from Deposit Photos

travel advisor in italyCiao, I’m Celia, your travel advisor in Italy! Need help planning your trip to Italy? Learn about what to do and see, and where to eat and sleep. Ask me a question or request a custom travel plan. Book a consultation.