These Two Accessories Help Travelers Bring Along Last Minute Items That Don't Fit In Your Carry On

There's no wrong way to pack a bag when you're traveling by plane. Yes, there are restrictions when it comes to weight and size, and the 3-1-1 guideline, which is one of TSA's rules for liquids, is still in effect for the most part. But as long as you have everything you need and you can zip up your bag, you're good to go. George Clooney's character in the award-winning movie "Up in the Air" may have flying with only his classic black roller bag down to a science, but not everyone can be that organized. That's why regular people who don't live in movies often need accessory hacks for traveling.

Inevitably, most folks will forget to pack something relatively small, even if they're packing light. And then repacking to include even the smallest thing could throw off the whole delicate balance that got everything into the bag in the first place. But thanks to two accessories that you likely already have in your closet (one of which you were probably going to bring anyway), you can take along any small straggling items without touching your luggage or personal item. All you need to do is stash your extra knick-knacks in the pockets of a jacket or in a fanny pack.

Pack it up, pack it in

Typically, airlines will allow one carry-on bag and one personal item per passenger on their planes. If you buy anything at the airport like a meal or a souvenir, you may be able to get an additional disposable bag onboard. Anything beyond that would need to be checked in. But if you don't have room in your backpack or briefcase for phone chargers, medication, or snacks, a fanny pack or the pockets of your jacket can come in handy. These can also save you time at the security checkpoint. While standing in the long line, you can empty your pants pockets and take off your belt to put them in your fanny pack or jacket pockets. That way, you're only putting one or two things in a bin for the X-ray machine and keeping the line moving without further delay.

These accessories also make it very convenient to keep your most important items — such as headphones, a wallet, a small power bank and cable for your phone, the phone itself, and a pack of gum — close at hand while seated. Without a fanny pack, you may need to constantly pull your bag out from under the seat in front of you or squirm into your pants pockets to pull out one or two of these things, which can be uncomfortable for both you and your fellow passengers. 

Pack at your own risk

Technically, jackets and fanny packs are articles of clothing rather than luggage. When you aren't placing them on the conveyor belt for TSA agents to examine, you would typically be wearing them. However, each individual airline may have its own rulings about whether or not these accessories are actually considered personal items.

As TravelingLight learned, many US airlines, including American Airlines, Delta, Frontier, and Southwest, classify a fanny pack as a personal item. When utilizing their services, if their gate agents see travelers wearing them during the boarding process, there's a chance that they might ask you to consolidate your bags to comply with the one bag and one personal item rules. But on the flip side, United Airlines does not share that categorization and will allow their guests to travel with them in addition to a personal item and a carry-on bag.

Although, despite their stance on enforcing this guideline, some airlines may still let their guests get away with a fanny pack. It may come down to how the staff is feeling that day. In the event that you encounter agents who are sticklers for the rules and strictly enforce them, then it's best to keep a fanny-pack-sized space available in your personal item just in case, in order to continue on your journey without further issues.