I am hardly an expert when it comes to packing my regular suitcase, I pack way too much every time. But my carry-on game is strong.
- Water. Hydration is very important when flying thanks to the dry air and I get frustrated when flight attendants only pour a small cup that I gulp down in minutes. Instead of bugging them for more, I bring my own bottle. I used to just buy one at the gate, but I now travel with my Brita Hard-Sided Water Filter Bottle (34 oz.) You can fill this up with water from any water fountain and it filters the water for you. It has a built in straw and is dishwasher-safe. If you are like me and enjoy a glass of wine or a gin and tonic when flying, consuming adequate water is necessary 🙂
- Snacks & Gum. There was a time when airlines provided snacks and meals for free (in fairness some still do) but if you don’t want to pay exorbitant prices for blah food, risk starving, or just want a healthier option, bring your own. Granola bars, apples, fruit snacks, nuts/seeds are all good options. I’ve even been known to throw a string-cheese in my purse. If you don’t eat them on the plane, chances are they’ll come in handy on your vacation when in the hotel room or out and about and wanting a snack. I always have a pack of gum on me too to help with my ears and freshening my breath after a long flight. Or, if you’re feeling especially sassy, strike up a conversation with your neighbor by offering him/her a piece of it. I once met someone this way who I still keep in contact with 🙂
- Eye-mask. These are great for red-eye flights, or when you just want to nap and the sun is in your eyes. I always feel like I get a little more “privacy” when wearing it and trying to doze off.
- Scarf. I usually travel with one of my blanket-sized thin Turkish towels or scarves. I freeze on airplanes and they provide the right amount of warmth and coziness.
- Noise-cancelling headphones. I use ear-buds for day to day needs, but I always travel with my Beats by Dr. Dre headphones. They are such great sound quality for audiobooks, music, TV/movies and block out so much of the noise when you want to sleep. These, the eye-mask and scarf are the perfect combination for a mid-flight nap. They are a little bit of an investment, but worth it. I’ve had mine for years and love them. Here’s a cheaper version that isn’t wireless. (still great)
- iPad/Book/Magazine. Entertainment is key. Whether in the airport, on the plane, or at your destination, you need to be entertained, right? God forbid you talk to the person next to you! j/k. I bring my iPad, pre-loaded with TV shows (iTunes has free episodes often on newer TV shows) for the flight, and then I can watch Netflix when I get wherever it is I’m going if I need something to watch at night before bed. I also always bring 1 book and 1 magazine. On more than one occasion I’ve run out of juice on a flight and have been stuck with nothing to read or listen to, so bring an actual paper-back book people. A few years ago I was stuck in the Houston airport for 11 hours. Yes, 11 hours. And I kid you not, the book I was reading was almost good enough for me to not care that I’d spend an entire day of my vacation in the United terminal. Almost. As far as magazines, I used to bring several with me but a) they’re heavy to carry around and b) I never read them all. So, now I bring just 1. If I need more, I can buy them. Even better- download them on your iPad.
- Hand lotion & Hand-Sanitizer. The hand sanitizer speaks for itself, but for some crazy reason my hands always get SO dry and sore when traveling. Odd, I know. I guess it’s from lugging heavy suitcases around? I just know that I never seem to need it at home, but the second I go on vacation I’m digging it out of my bag. *Totally useless side note- on our trip to Paris last year I ran out of my hand crème and (of course) my hands were super dry and irritated, so I immediately went into the local village to buy some. It is the BEST lotion- their grocery store brand- and I doubt I’ll ever be able to find it again. Se la vie?
- Lip balm. Another self-explanatory item. Airplanes love to blow dry air at you, so keep this handy.
- Advil. I hate being stuck with a headache and no pain reliever, so it’s always in my bag. Another handy item to have if you indulge a little too much on your vacay.
- Extra hair-tie. I often pull my hair back into a braid on flights to keep it out of my face. It also helps give me wave/volume when I pull it out after a long flight.
And that’s it! Everything fits well into my tote and I still have room to throw in any last minute purchases.
What do you always travel with in your carry-on? Any tips you recommend? I’d love to hear in the comments below.