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Hand carry luggage space is precious as most airlines cap it somewhere between 7-8 KG (15-17lbs) and you should make the best of it, especially for long distance flights, long layovers and just in case you have an emergency. In the event of any of the mentioned, the last thing you want is to be grumbling at yourself at a lack of preparation so here it is: the seven things you must have in your hand carry:

1. Baby Wipes

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Both for the toddler and the adult who can’t seem to keep food off his shirt, baby wipes can be a life saver. Use it to save yourself a trip to the bathroom to wash your hands when you’re stuck in the window seat or to wipe down armrests and table trays which are reported to be amongst the dirtiest things on an airplane.

2. Dry snacks

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One of the most important things you can bring, dry snacks such as a protein bar, a small bag of trail mix or the chocolate bar can be a real life saver in situations when you are stuck in boarding gates or small airports with no access to cafes or restaurants. Just throw one or two rations in your hand carry and you will not need to worry about the potential tummy rumbling that may come from unexpected situations. This is especially important if you are travelling with kids.

3. Scarf

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As important as a towel in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, the scarf is the multipurpose must have in your hand carry. Use it as a blanket, roll it to be used as a pillow or wrap it around your head when you are experiencing bed head after that long nap. One piece of cloth, many uses and you will be glad to have this one item with you, may it be in the terminal or during your flight.

4. Pen

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So you’ve gotten off the plane and now you have to fill in your immigration card and you’re left without a pen. The queues are filling fast and much to the resentment of a pen owner, you sheepishly ask if you can loan his/her pen. Don’t be that person! Bring your own pen, which will be much needed for instances like these. For good measure, bring along a notebook just in case you need to jot down something important.

5. A change of clothes

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For emergencies like delayed flights or missing check-in luggage, a clean change of clothes can be like that breath of fresh air you need after hours of sitting in the same clothes so do yourself a favour and pack everything from trousers, a top to the much needed clean underwear that you will need. Your mum will be so proud!

6. Toiletry kit

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Not exactly something you would need to worry about if you are travelling business or first class but for those in economy class or budget, it is almost imperative to have a toiletry kit with you. It gives you the chance to freshen up, wash you face, touch up that make up, brush your teeth, spritz a little cologne or perfume lest you come out of the plane looking like a hot mess. Just make sure you have the essentials like dental floss, toothbrush and toothpaste, face wash, moisturiser, body spray, and for the ladies, basic makeup items.

7. Phone charger

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An absolute essential in today’s world, make sure you have your cable charger with you in your hand carry as many planes nowadays offer USB ports at your seat and sometimes a book or in-flight entertainment just does not cut it. For even better measure, purchasing an additional cable and keeping it in your hand carry as a backup for emergency situations is not exactly a bad idea.


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