What To Pack In A Carry-On For A Teenager [The Ultimate Packing Guide]



Whether you are taking your first flight with your teenager or they are flying across the country by themselves and you want to make sure they have everything they need, knowing what to pack in a carry-on bag for a teenager can be stressful. 

It is so easy to forget important items when you are packing, and even more so when you are packing for somebody else.

What To Pack In A Carry-On For A Teenager_The Ultimate Guide

This article is the ultimate guide to what to pack in a carry-on bag for your teenager.  


Important Documents

The most important things that need to be packed are the documents that your teenager will need in order to be able to board their flight. This is true whether you are accompanying them or not.  

You will need to make sure that their passport, ID, money, and hotel information are packed securely in their bag.

These items also need to be easily accessible to your teen for when they need them so don’t bury them at the bottom of the bag.  

If it is a domestic flight that they are taking, their wallet with their bank card will be fine for their money. 

However, if they are taking an international flight, they might need to take money with them in the currency of their destination country.

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Comfortable Clothing

Flights can get cold, the air conditioning can be very powerful and it isn’t nice to have to sit, shivering in your seat for the whole flight.

While most airlines will be happy to provide a blanket for your teenager if they need it, it is better to pack them some comfortable, warm clothing that they can put on during the flight. Something simple like a hoodie is perfect. 

If it is a particularly long flight, you might want to pack your teenager an extra pair of shorts or sweatpants for them to change into to make them feel more comfortable and fresh when they get off the plane.


What To Pack In A Carry-On For A Teenager_entertainment

Although your teenager isn’t a small child anymore and can entertain themselves better, it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have entertainment with them.

Even if the flight that you are on has movies that they can watch, they might not be interested in the options available.

What you pack for entertainment will vary depending on your child’s interests, however, packing a variety of things can help ensure they don’t get too bored. 

Tablet Device

A tablet is a great way to provide all sorts of entertainment for your teenager without having to pack multiple things and take up space in their carry-on.

Tablets are great for watching movies and TV shows, reading ebooks or listening to audiobooks, drawing, and playing games.  If your teenager has lots of interests, this is the way to go.

If your flight or airline doesn’t provide internet during the flight, make sure that you have downloaded some of your teenager’s favorite movies and TV shows for them to watch on the plane.


Packing your teenager’s phone is important anyway so that they are able to contact you if they get lost or if they are traveling without you.

However, it can also be a great source of entertainment for your child.

They are likely to already have some games that they like downloaded onto their phone, but make sure to check before the flight just in case.  

It can also be useful to listen to music on the phone during the flight to keep your teenager entertained.


What To Pack In A Carry-On For A Teenager_books

If your teenager is an avid reader, it is important to make sure that they have at least one book packed to keep them entertained.

If they are partway through a current read, it is sensible to pack another book for them to move on to once they have finished.

If you are taking a particularly long flight, multiple books might be necessary anyway. 

Sketchpad And Pencils

If your teenager is a budding artist who loves to sketch and draw, a sketchpad and pencils can be the perfect in-flight entertainment.

This is a particularly good option if your teenager likes to sketch the people and things around them.

A plane has a lot of inspiration for sketching different people. You could even encourage them to create a story for each person that they sketch.

Snacks And Reusable Water Bottles

What To Pack In A Carry-On For A Teenager_snacks

Traveling by plane can take a long time from the gate to your destination and teenagers get hungry often.

It is important to make sure that they have some snacks with them. There are many different types of snacks that you can pack for your teenager.

Packing snacks is a great way to save money and make sure that your teenager is eating healthily during the trip. 

You can make sandwiches for them to take and add some fruit to their bag to give them healthy options, or you can allow them to have a treat during the flight and pack some candy and chips for them to snack on. 

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Nuts also make a great snack that is delicious and healthy, but there may be occasions when your teenager is not allowed to open them on a flight if someone has an allergy.  

Packing a reusable water bottle is a great way to help ensure that your teenager stays hydrated during the flight.

Airplanes can be very dehydrating thanks to the air conditioning, therefore, it is important to drink during the flight. 

Because you cannot take large quantities of water through security, an empty reusable water bottle is perfect.

Once through security, you can fill the bottle up from a water fountain for your teenager to enjoy on the flight.

Chargers And Other Essentials

What To Pack In A Carry-On For A Teenager_chargers and other essentials

Teenagers, like adults, are hardly ever away from some sort of electronic device.

Therefore, it is important to make sure that you have packed all of the charging cables and other essentials that they might need.

Phone And Tablet Chargers

Phone and tablet chargers are very important. Even if you charge your teenager’s devices up before your flight, they are likely to need charging once you land and before the return journey.

If you are taking a particularly long flight, you may even need to charge the devices during the journey.

It is important to make sure that you have the correct charging cables for all of the devices that you are taking with you. 

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External Battery Packs

In addition to taking charger cables with you on your flight, external battery packs can be essential.  Not all airlines or airplanes have the facilities for you to charge a device during the flight.

In this case, a battery pack can be a lifesaver.  It can keep your teenager’s devices charged throughout the flight and keep them engrossed in whatever they are doing.


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If your teenager wants to watch movies or TV shows, listen to music, or play games on their devices, they will need to have headphones.

Taking headphones that plug into the device with a jack is the easiest option.

However, many teenagers have wireless headphones or Earbuds now.  It is important to make sure that any wireless headphones have been fully charged before your trip. 

Lip Balm

What To Pack In A Carry-On For A Teenager_Lipbalm

As mentioned above, flights can be very dehydrating. Therefore, it is a good idea to pack some lip balm or chapstick for your teenager.

Cracked lips can be painful and they can be avoided very easily.  This small addition to your teenager’s carry-on can ensure that they don’t have to suffer sore lips.

Fidget Toys

If you have a teenager that struggles to settle in one place for an extended period of time, or who suffers from anxiety, fidget toys are an essential addition to their carry-on bag.

There are so many different types of fidget toys available, from spinners to blocks, to rings that have moving parts on them.  

These small toys can help make the experience of flying much more comfortable for your teenager and can keep them settled throughout the flight.


What To Pack In A Carry-On For A Teenager_Toiletries

If you are taking a long flight with your teenager, it isn’t necessary to have toiletries in their carry-on bag.

However, if you are on a long-haul flight, packing a toothbrush and toothpaste, hairbrush, and roll-on deodorant can be a good idea. 

Encouraging your teenager to brush their teeth during a long-haul flight helps to encourage good hygiene habits.

Also, teenagers can often sweat a lot and produce an odor that is not nice when they are trapped on a plane.

To help avoid any embarrassment for your teenager, a roll-on deodorant can help combat natural smells. 

But don’t forget that toiletries and other liquids are strictly limited in carry on so make sure to read our guide – How to pack toiletries


If your teenager takes any medication, it is important to make sure that they have it in their carry-on bag and that it is accessible to them should they need it during the flight. 

Final Thoughts

There are a few extra things that should be packed in your teenager’s carry-on bag compared to your own.

It is important to make sure that they are comfortable, entertained, and happy during the flight.