Personal Items vs Carry-On
First, let’s look into the difference between a carry-on and a personal item. All airlines allow you to bring a personal item on your flight. This can be a purse, briefcase, backpack, etc.
But how big can my personal item be? Some airlines have their own size/weight dimensions, but the general rule of thumb across all airlines is your item must fit under the seat in front of you.
If you’re not sure what to use as a personal item, find a backpack to store any leftover items that didn’t fit in your luggage, items that need to be taken out during TSA security (laptops, liquids, etc.), and anything you might need for the flight—don’t forget the hand sanitizer!
A carry-on is luggage smaller than your checked bag. Sizes across airlines may vary, but the general size for carry-on luggage is 22” x 14” x 9” and it is intended to be stored in the overhead bin above your seat.
TSA Approved Carry-On Items
Planning ahead and doing some research on what carry-on items are allowed on flights can help make your travel experience as seamless as possible.
Here are some popular carry-on items allowed:
- Alcoholic beverages* (under 140 proof)
- Baby food
- Breast milk** and pump are allowed
- Bowling balls
- Bottle opener
- Child car seat**
- Coffee (beans or ground)
- Contact lens solution*
- Empty water bottles
- Fishing poles
- Scissors (shorter than 4 inches)
- One lighter
- Shaving cream/gel
*Less than 3.4oz/100ml allowed
**Check airline for special instructions
See the full list of carry-on items allowed on flights on the TSA website.
Travelers often ask if they can bring liquids, gels, or aerosols in their luggage. You may bring 3.4 ounces (100 ml) or smaller-sized containers that fit in 1 quart-sized, resealable bag in you carry-on and through security.
It’s worth getting a clear, reusable, quart-sized toiletry bag if you are an avid traveler.
You may ask, why bring empty water bottles in your carry-on? Well, once you pass through the security checkpoint, you can fill those water bottles at a fountain and save yourself a few bucks. Read our post for more tips on navigating through the TSA checkpoint.
When traveling, planning and packing properly can save you some stress once you arrive at the airport. Knowing the difference between a carry-on and a personal item, size regulations, and what carry-on items are allowed will make your traveling experience much easier.