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What to Pack in a Carry-on For a Teenager

Your teenager is bringing a carry-on for your family vacation. It’s rare they ask you for help, but this is one of those times. What to pack in a teenager’s carry-on for a trip?

Packing a teenager’s carry-on depends on the journey’s length and the teen’s preferences. They’ll want their entertainment gadgets, snacks, a water bottle, and travel documents in their carry-on.

The comfort of your teen’s journey partly depends on how and what they pack, so you want to be as helpful as possible. As a parent, your guidance is essential.

I’ve created a teen packing list to help teenagers pack their carry-on, so keep reading!

Young girl sitting on luggage and waiting for train in the station

What to Pack in a Carry-on for a Teenager

Electronic Devices

Your teen boy or girl should not miss home when traveling; bringing a smartphone and power bank will sort them out.

A power bank comes in handy if their seat doesn’t feature a charging port.

Although they might not have Internet access on the plane, your teen can download movies or television series and be entertained throughout the journey.

Other electronic devices to add to a teen’s carry-on bag include Bluetooth speakers for those who love music. They will appreciate it more when their energy for hiking or playing is gone and all they want is to listen to their favorite jams.

As you pack the electronics, do not forget headphones. The music hits differently when one has headphones on, especially when on a flight.

Planes are noisy, and headphones will reduce noise distractions.

Additionally, putting on headphones will be a great savior if you do not want unnecessary conversations with strangers.


Although it’s not a must for a teenager to have an ID, they must have a passport when traveling by plane internationally.

The passport must be easily accessible during check-in, so it should be in a carry-on bag.


Teenagers seem perpetually hungry, right? Although snacks are served on the plane, they may not be to your teen’s taste.

That’s why they (or you) need to pack some extra snacks before you leave for your voyage.

Buying food at the airport snack shops may be more expensive than in your local stores, so try not to wait until then to get what you need!

A snack will help sustain your teen until you get to your destination without them feeling nauseous or moody because of an empty stomach.

Water Bottle

Water is essential when traveling, and carrying it keeps your teen hydrated and reduces travel costs. You will not have to spend money on those highly-priced bottled waters sold at the airport.

A Book

Some teenagers love reading books!

If your teen is in that category, let them put their favorite book in the carry-on.

Unlike electronic gadgets, books do not need to be charged. They’ll provide hours of unerring entertainment for your teen.

Books are also a great way to forget about your surroundings and pass the time until the flight or drive is over.

Wipes and Sanitizers

Germs are everywhere, and a plane is no exception.

Remind your teenager to pack anti-bacterial wet wipes and hand sanitizer to keep their hands free from germs.

They will need to sanitize their hands each time they use the restroom or want to have a snack.

A Light Jacket or Travel Blanket

Sometimes planes can get cold, so your teenager should pack a light jacket in case the weather changes.

Ensure they pack a foldable jacket, so it effortlessly fits in the carry-on.

Eye Mask

Sometimes the lights on a plane make it hard for people to sleep, so it’s an eye mask to the rescue.

The mask will hinder light, allowing your teen to have a peaceful nap. Also, an eye mask comes in handy if you are uncomfortable with people looking at you while you sleep.

Carry-on Packing Tips For Teenagers

Is your teen struggling to come up with what to pack and you want them to exercise their independence? You might slyly drop them the following tips.

Use a Packing List

A packing list will help your teen organize their items and not forget anything essential. You might ask, as the parent, to make additions or adjustments to the list so your teen has all the must-haves.

Consider Accessibility

A general packing rule is keeping all the items you need at the airport somewhere you can easily access them. This includes electronic devices and travel documents, as they will be required to take them out for security checks.

Balance the Bag

Although weight distribution may not seem important, it makes a significant difference in terms of comfort while carrying a bag.

As you pack, ensure all the items are evenly spread in the carry-on. Otherwise, your teen will hurt their back.

You can obtain the optimal weight distribution by packing the heavy items closer to you and the lighter ones at the bottom.


When vacationing with your teenagers, never under-pack their carry-on. Take your time and ensure they get the above items in the bag before you take off.

Your teen may not become experts in packing all at once, but with your guidance, they will perfect their packing skills with time!