With all of airport security’s restrictions, most travelers spend a lot of time worrying about what they can’t bring on the plane.But the more important part of planning your next trip is deciding those things you can—and should—bring with you. A well-stocked carry-on can make all the difference in ensuring a refreshed, ready-to-dive arrival that starts your trip off right. To help, here are 10 must-have items every dive traveler should carry on.
Dive Mask and Computer
There are certain pieces of dive gear that you should never be without and are best left unsubjected to the rough and tumble of the baggage handlers. Your mask and dive computer are the two most important—and fragile—pieces of your dive gear. Keep them with you on your flight so you never have to go without.
A good philosophy for carry-on luggage is to pack what you need to comfortably get through 24 hours at your destination sans luggage, should your checked bag get misplaced. That means a least one change of clothes, along with anything else you’d need, like a sweatshirt for the plane or a bathing suit for the hotel pool.
Even if you don’t have kids in diapers, a small pack of baby wipes can prove surprisingly useful. Break them out for everything from wiping down your tray table in-flight to keeping yourself feeling (relatively) clean with a quick sponge bath on long, unexpected layovers.
Travel Power Strip
Power outlets are in short supply while traveling. That’s why it’s a good idea to bring some extras with you so you can charge all your devices from a single outlet. Travel power strips are compact enough to fit in a side pocket, yet generally offer three regular outlets and a couple of USB ports.
Similarly, a small battery pack with enough juice to charge your phone or tablet a couple of times over will always be a welcome addition when your movie or game cuts out at 30,000 feet.
Collapsible Water Bottle
Water can be one of the most frustrating items to deal with while flying. Nobody wants to fly without it, and the tiny bottles or cups offered on board are far from adequate. Yet you can’t bring it through security, and buying in the terminal can run $3 to $5 per bottle (not to mention that wasteful plastic bottle). A 1-liter collapsible water bottle is the answer. When empty, it packs down to practically nothing, and you can fill it from a water fountain to stay hydrated in flight.
Planes are notoriously hard to sleep on, and you can’t always expect the airline to provide amenities to facilitate shuteye. If taking a nap on board is an important part of your flight plan, consider creating your own sleep kit: Fill a zip-top bag with an eye mask, inflatable neck pillow and a few sets of disposable ear plugs.
Depending on the flight, food may be nonexistent or come only in the form of cold, boxed meals that cost a fortune. Bring something substantial that’s easy to eat at your seat, like a sandwich, along with a couple of smaller snacks to munch on along the way. Consider things like apple slices or a small bag of almonds over high-sodium snacks like chips to help you feel less dehydrated and tired when you land.
Toiletries and Medicines
Any large toiletry items can go in your checked bag, but it’s a good idea to bring a small survival kit with (at least) a travel-size toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant, so you can freshen up en route. And of course, any prescription medications you need during your trip should always be carried on in the original bottles.
If you’re a dive traveler, chances are your trip will include a stop at customs and immigration, and the paperwork you need should be provided on the plane. Make sure you have something to write with so you can fill out your travel documents without borrowing a pen from the person sitting behind you.