11 things you should always keep in your carry-on in case of a delay

ShutterstockA reusable water bottle is key.

Flight delays are annoying, but they happen – especially around the holidays.

While you might want to keep your carry-on as light as possible, there are a few essentials you should consider having on hand in case of a delay, a cancellation, or lost luggage.

Keep scrolling to see what 11 items are must-haves in your carry-on bag.


In case of long delays, you don’t want your phone dying on you. Make sure to have a phone charger or a portable charger on hand.

PIMPAN/ShutterstockA phone charger.

Having a dead phone at the airport seems mildly terrifying, especially if you’re stuck at the airport for hours, without a book or laptop to keep you company. A general rule of thumb: keep all your chargers in your carry-on.


Noise cancelling headphones are a travel game changer.

Of course you’ll want headphones in order to listen to your music and meditation guides in peace, or to watch movies and TV shows without disturbing those around you, but noise cancelling headphones take everything to a new level. They will help you nap, or even read in peace while a toddler is having a tantrum nearby.

If you have wireless headphones, make sure you have the charger on hand as well.

We have recommendations for the best cheap in-ear buds, and for the best bluetooth headphones.


The high AC at the gate will get old quickly — don’t forget to bring something to keep you warm.

Chris Weller/Tech InsiderJust one option.

If you don’t want to take up precious real-estate in your bag with a bulky sweater, consider a scarf.

Though this likely pertains more to female travellers than male travellers, a scarf comes in handy as a fashion accessory, a blanket, and even lumbar support once you’re finally on your flight.


Nothing will keep you refreshed like a toothbrush and some travel-sized toothpaste.

If you’re stuck in the airport overnight, a toothbrush and toothpaste will help you feel like a new person.

Generally, it’s a good idea to keep a day or two worth of toiletries on you, just in case, from deodorant to makeup remover wipes.


If you’re rocking contacts, don’t forget your glasses — you might be stuck overnight and need to give your eyes a break.

kaesan/iStockWearing contacts overnight is a no-no.

Wearing contacts overnight can be very bad for your eyes, so make sure to bring along a backup pair of glasses to give your eyes a break.

In fact, you could be at the airport long enough to need a new pair of contacts. A mini-kit of extra contacts, solution, re-wetting drops, and a case in your carry-on will come in handy.


If you have any medication that you need to take regularly or at specific times, make sure to keep it on you.

It might also be a good idea to have basics on you like pain relievers, allergy meds, Tums, and band-aids.


Dry shampoo will make your hair look and feel almost freshly washed.

Chloe Pantazi/INSIDERDry shampoo.

Dry shampoo will give limp hair a boost, will have smelly hair smelling fresh, and will have dirty, oily hair look clean.

We’ve rounded up the best dry shampoos you can snag for under $US20.


Bring an empty water bottle you can refill.

ShutterstockA reusable water bottle is key.

No matter how long your delay, you will get thirsty.

Instead of spending an obscene amount of money on water bottles at the airport, bring a reusable one.


Bring snacks.

Daisy Daisy/ShutterstockAlmonds are the perfect snack.

Airport food is notoriously expensive – do yourself a favour and bring some snacks that will tide you over in case of a delay.


Long stays at the airport will be made more bearable with a fresh pair of underwear — if you can fit a whole change of clothes, even better.

Annette Shaff/ShutterstockFresh undies will make you feel like a new person.

Long layovers can get stressful, hot, and sweaty. If you don’t have enough room for a whole new outfit, at least make room for a clean pair of underwear – you won’t regret it.


No one wants to be seen with a severe case of bedhead, so keep a brush within your grasp.

gpointstudio/ShutterstockA comb will take up almost no space.

To save space, pack a comb.

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