You can take some of your possessions with you onto the plane in your carry-on luggage. If you're traveling for a short period of time, you may choose to use only a carry-on to avoid the checked bag fees charged by most airlines. Knowing what you can put in your bag helps you pack efficiently while ensuring that you don't break any airport security rules.

Valuable Items

Any valuable items you take on your trip should go in your carry-on to keep them safe. You are able to keep such items in your sight during your flight, and you don't run the risk of lost baggage that sometimes occurs when you check your luggage. All of your travel documents, identification and money should go in a carry-on bag or a purse or briefcase you carry with you. Other valuable items include jewelry or collectibles.


At least one set of clothing is a wise choice for your carry-on bag so you have at least one change of clothes in case your checked luggage doesn't make it to your destination with you. If you plan to use only a carry-on for your trip, you'll need to fit all of your clothing into the bag. Roll your clothes so you can fit more into the small space. Choose a few lightweight, interchangeable pieces so you can create several different outfits and make better use of the space.


If you choose to take your toiletries in your carry-on bag, you'll need to transfer them to bottles no more than 3.4 oz. each. Each person is allowed to carry on one quart-sized, zip-top bag of the small bottles of liquid. To avoid dealing with the size restriction for carry-ons, pack toiletries in your checked bag or buy the items you'll use at your destination.


Your medication should go in your carry-on bag, especially if taking the medicine is critical to your health. You will be without your medication if your checked bags end up somewhere other than your destination. Carry a copy of your prescription in case you need a refill. Medication is not restricted to the 3.4-oz. limit, but you do need to declare it before going through airport security. A first aid kit, pain relievers and similar medical supplies are also options for the bag you take on the plane.


Entertainment makes a plane trip pass faster. A laptop, smart phone or similar device are options, as are MP3 players, books, magazines or puzzles. If you're traveling with children, include toys, crayons or a portable DVD player to keep them entertained.

Restricted Items

Certain items are not allowed in your carry-on bag. Leave behind any sharp objects such as knives, box cutters, razor blades and metal scissors longer than 4 inches. Guns, ammunition, gun parts, gun powder, martial arts weapons, stun guns and throwing stars are outlawed in carry-on baggage. Any explosive or flammable items are restricted from both your carry-ons and checked baggage. Most tools are prohibited in your carry-on with the exception of items such as screwdrivers or pliers that are less than 7 inches.