Creating a Carry-On Survival Kit

Male traveler at the airport with a rolling carry-on bag
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Every traveler has faced a situation that has separated them from their luggage. Regardless of how it happens - such as a carrier losing luggage, or a flight delay forcing a traveler to seek shelter overnight - a luggage delay can create a major inconvenience for a traveler, separating themselves from the comforts they desire most.

Although lost luggage can derail a trip, it does not mean travelers are completely at the mercy of their travel providers. Through careful planning and management, every modern-day adventurer can make sure they are covered, even when their luggage doesn’t meet them.

Before packing for the next trip, savvy travelers make sure their carry-on is prepared for every scenario. Here are three ways to turn that carry-on bag into the modern survival kit.

Complete Change of Clothes

When many travelers think of their carry-on bag, the first items that come to mind are electronics, snack foods, and water bottles. However, travelers should also pack a complete change of clothes in their carry-on bag as well. A change of clothes consists of a shirt, pants, and any underwear a traveler may need to survive a day without luggage.

According to statistics collected by the U.S. Department of Transportation, an average of over three bags were mishandled for every 1,000 passengers aboard domestic flights across the United States in 2015. Therefore, it may be prudent to consider utilizing a carry-on bag for extra clothes in the worst case scenario. 

3-1-1 Compliant Toiletry Bag

Delayed flights can sometimes end in overnight stays, either at a hotel or inside an airport terminal. In addition to a change of clothes, travelers should also consider carrying a 3-1-1 compliant toiletry bag in their carry-on luggage.

A TSA-friendly toiletry bag does not necessarily need to consist of everything a traveler may need to make it to their next destination. Rather, an emergency bag should consist of the basics to get through the day, including soap, shampoo, toothbrush, and other grooming items. Those travelers who are looking for a luxury experience should consider purchasing a pre-packaged kit, available through a number of retailers.

For those travelers who do not have a toiletry bag packed prior to departure, assistance may still be available. Many hotels will offer waylaid guests an emergency kit upon request, which includes some incidental items. Upon arrival at the hotel, guests can inquire about emergency kits at the front desk.

Emergency Contact Numbers

Finally, travelers should also keep emergency contact numbers written down and packed inside their carry-on bag. When domestic travel may not require a full contingency kit, travelers can get by with carrying all of their emergency contact numbers written down.

The numbers every traveler need to write down include ground transportation providers, service providers at the destination, numbers for personal emergency contacts, as well as a travel insurance provider or credit card provider.

By keeping the phone numbers of service providers at their destination, travelers can make sure they can still receive assistance if their travels are delayed. Without contacting providers like ground transportation and hotels, travelers may lose out on accessing prepaid services.

In addition, a travel insurance plan can help travelers in the midst of a trip delay or baggage delay get reunited with their luggage faster. Travel insurance can help travelers not only locate their luggage but also get reunited faster. Furthermore, travel insurance can also pay for incidental costs as well related to the baggage loss or trip delay, including hotel rooms and replacement items abroad.

Although travelers may be delayed without their items, it does not mean they have to be abandoned. By packing these items in a carry-on bag, travelers can make sure they are prepared to face anything that may happen on their journeys.