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What To Pack For A Layover

| June 29, 2015

Packing for a layover is like packing for a regular trip, but often much lighter and leaner and ideally something you can achieve with carry-on luggage alone. Layover Guide breaks down the Ultimate Layover Packing List for ideas on what to bring for your layover adventures. Your bag would, of course, reflect your destination and length of layover (overnight layovers certainly have more gear, as do cold-weather locales!).

the ultimate packing list for LayoversDocuments and Essentials

You will need the basics for any layover! We like a good travel wallet to store your:

  • Tickets, license/passport and visas (if necessary)
  • Cash and credit card
  • Itinerary and relevant information (for any reservations, addresses and numbers)
  • Copies of passport and other important documents
  • All essential medicines and prescriptions

Carry-On Friendly Luggage

A good piece of carry-on luggage, that rolls well, is lightweight, has lots of compartments so it’s easy to quickly locate various things (without having to pull everything out) is one of the most essential layover items. Samsonite and TravelPro have some great options.


Layovers (both inside and outside the airport) are much more enjoyable thanks to modern day technology! Regardless of what you choose to do on your layover, here’s the essentials:

  • Your phone! You will need your charger, and we recommend bringing lightweight, pre-charged, pocket battery packs. These chargers – lipstick-sized and ultra-high density external packs – are great for giving some extra juice to a dying phone, or other devices.
  • Laptop/iPad/Kindle. These are great for a million things to do, like work, writing, communication, photo storage, e-books, time-killing games, music, and so much more.
  • Camera and charger (if you desire something more sophisticated than a smart phone/iPad). These are some of the most popular, smallest cameras on the market.
  • Universal plug adaptor (for overseas trips).
  • We love a good pair of noise-canceling headphones to happily listen to your favorite tunes while drowning out crying kids and other background noise.
  • Downloaded music, movies, books, and other entertainment.


Packing all your must-have toiletries in a clear plastic baggy is a great idea for any layover. When stuck for a few hours in an airport or another location without checked luggage, you’ll certainly need to have access to medicines, and your own collection of essentials. Here’s what you could find in Layover Guide’s staff’s toiletry bag. When possible, we pack everything in travel size and remember: Most US Airports only allow 3.4 ounces (100ml) of liquid or less per container!

For the Plane

  • Snacks and food! This is so important, especially for late layovers where airport shops and restaurants may be closed. We like cereal and energy bars, nuts, dried fruits, and pre-made sandwiches. Here’s a great break-down of food options for planes, and for packing food.
  • Inflatable neck pillow and sleep mask.
  • Water, especially a water bottle that you can refill like these
  • Gum/Mints
  • Wetnaps


  • We like to pack at least an extra pair for a total of the number of days needed. Socks and bras too.
  • Easy to wear, non-wrinkle clothing.
  • A good jacket. Even for warm destinations, a good jacket is essential for cold planes or terminals, and over air-conditioned places. Jackets like these North Face ones can flip inside a front pocket and condense into a small pack.
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Scarves always come in handy in lots of different ways.
  • Pajamas for overnight layovers
  • Weather related gear appropriate for your destination (i.e. swim suit for a warm destination, or a hat and gloves for cold weather)

Exploring Your Layover Destination

  • Translation dictionary/app/device
  • Guidebooks or maps
  • Paper and pen
  • Weather appropriate gear – umbrella, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc.

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Comments (1)

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  1. Ricky says:

    Planning to fly to New York with a Layover at Vienna. Please suggest how can i utilize it for a short eurotrip for a week. Thanks.