Personal items & entertainment
Keeping all your important documents organized is key to a successful trip. Whether passport or ID, credit cards, and other important cards you’ll need like auto or health insurance cards, proof of vaccination, make sure to have backup copies of these on your iPhone or leave copies of them with a trusted friend or family member back home in case of an emergency.
Download any podcasts, audio books, or movies you plan to watch on a personal device before your trip so you don’t have to pay for expensive in-flight WIFI—although some airlines offer this complimentary, and if you want to tune into any in-flight entertainment, pack a set of wire headphones as AirPods or other bluetooth headsets aren’t compatible with most in-flight systems.
Bring a spare battery pack or charger to give your electronic equipment a boost, and don’t forget to pack a couple of pens, which will come in handy for any writing or notes or filling out landing cards if you’re traveling internationally. Some other must-have personal items you’ll want to pack for long-haul flights are an eye mask, neck pillow, and ear plugs are a must if you plan to get some sleep.
Food & drink
There’s nothing worse than arriving hungry or even hangry at your final destination, and having to wait even longer to get a bite to eat. Pack a few healthy, simple snacks like popcorn, cereal bars, trail mix, or small containers of fruits and veggies. And, don’t forget your reusable water bottle. Hydrate before you go through security, put your empty bottle through, then refill before you board. Food and drinks are also important road trip essentials that you should always pack before hitting the road.
Think basic and layer up
When planning your vacation wardrobe, expert packers know to bring several mix-and-match items that will create several different outfits, for example, a shirt that can go with a skirt or with pants, or a scarf that doubles as a pool cover-up. When on the road, you’ll want to avoid fussy items that are uncomfortable, need ironing, or can only be worn one way. It can get super chilly on a flight so layer up on sweaters and hoodies, and if you’re traveling to a hot destination, wear a tank top or tee underneath so you can easily peel off the layers once you arrive.
It’s always a good idea to pack a change of clothes, whether to freshen up or just to have options in case of extended travel time. Maximize the space in your backpack by utilizing rolling clothing to optimize space. Before you pack, take one last look and do a final edit of anything you don’t really need.
It’s always a good idea to pack a change of clothes, whether to freshen up or just to have options in case of extended travel time. Maximize your space in your backpack by utilizing packing cubes, Kondo’ing your potential items, and rolling the clothing to optimize space. Before you pack, take one last look and do a final edit of anything you don’t really need.
With organized and smart packing you can easily get all of these essentials into a backpack like the Wayfinder 20L or the Wayfinder 30L.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I bring a backpack and a carry-on?
Is a backpack a personal item or a carry-on? While this can be confusing, most popular airlines allow you to bring a carry-on and personal item, such as a backpack or purse. In general, your personal item should be smaller than your carry-on and under the specific airline's carry-on dimensions, allowing it to fit under the seat in front of you.
In most cases, backpacks are considered personal items as long as they fit under the seat in front of you. For example, if you use a backpack as a personal item and put it under the seat in front of you, you can then use a duffel as a carry-on bag as long as it’s under the airline’s size requirements.
However, if you're unsure whether your backpack is the right size dimensions, you can check the airline's website or contact them directly.
What happens if your personal item is too big?
What size backpack is considered a personal item? Ultimately, it depends on the airline. However, if your personal item happens to be over their size restrictions, you run the risk of paying a penalty fee or being forced to check it as luggage, which means you won't be able to travel with it near you.
That said, as long as your personal item doesn't exceed carry-on size restrictions, your personal item may be considered a carry-on, and most airlines will allow it to travel with you in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you.
What are the size limitations for a backpack to be considered a personal item?
If you're wondering, "Is a backpack a carry-on or personal item?" the best thing you can do is check with the airline to determine the size limitations for personal and carry-on items.
As a general rule of thumb, anything smaller than the dimensions of a carry-on can be considered a personal item. However, every airline has different restrictions for size. In most cases, your backpack should be no more than 18 x 14 x 8 inches. You should confirm with the airline to avoid penalty fees if your personal item is too large.
Are there any specific airline policies that I should be aware of when bringing a backpack as a personal item?
So what size backpack is considered a personal item? Again, it depends on the airline. However, in most cases, airlines allow one personal item and one carry-on bag for free. Your personal item must be stowed under the seat in front of you, so it must fit the size dimensions outlined in a specific airline's policies. Some of the maximum dimensions for backpacks to qualify as personal items include the following:
- American Airlines: 18 x 14 x 8 inches
- Delta: 22 x 14 x 9 inches
- Frontier: 18 x 14 x 8 inches
- JetBlue: 17 x 13 x 8 inches
- Southwest: 18.5 x 13.5 x 8.5 inches
- Spirit: 18 x 14 x 8 inches
Carrying everything you need with you is incredibly freeing, leaving you more energy to enjoy your trip.