Hey wanderers! If you love to travel like I do, then you KNOW the importance of a carry-on bag – and how much stress and planning can sometimes go into it. Trying to fit all of your necessities into what seems like the smallest bag in the world is sometimes more work than the actual travel itself. Over the years, I’ve carefully practiced this skill – whether it be for day trips, week trips, or sometimes month long trips. Someone give me my PhD already! 🤷
In two weeks I’m heading out on my next adventure – two weeks in Ireland! I am so very excited, but being the anxious planner and travel-a-holic that I am, I’ve already begun packing in my head.
Since I’ll be gone for a few weeks, and am going to need anything from boots to heavy jackets, I’m justifying a checked bag. But for me, the hardest part it going to be packing the carry-on bag. I’d like to think that I’m a pretty experienced traveler, but with longish layovers, overnight flights and everything in between, you never know what you’re going to get.
Finding the Perfect Bag
Over the years, I’ve had my fair share of trial and error with bags. Finding the perfect bag can certainly depend on the occasion, and I’ve definitely gotten it wrong a few times. This bag is my ultimate go to for travel. It’s fairly cheap, but it’s such good quality. It’s rough and tough, which is perfect for me, as I never know what I’m going to get myself into. My favorite part is that there are so many little compartments and pockets. I love (attempting) to be super organized, so it’s really nice to know that everything is where it needs to be and that it hasn’t gotten lost in a bunch of clutter (i.e. my purse, lol).
What I Pack: The Essentials
Phone & phone charger: Whether it’s for checking up on travel plans, chatting to relatives or friends you might be meeting, a boarding pass or even just for entertainment.
Laptop & charger: Long layovers aka I’m catching up on ALL of my favorite Netflix shows, YouTube subscriptions, or online shopping.
Headphones: My saving grace on long flights and the best way to avoid any awkward situation.
Wallet, passport, and any other important travel documents: I usually try to keep these in a safer part of my bag, but still easily accessible. I love using a smaller wallet as well, with just the essentials in it, so that it’s not so bulky in my bag and easy to carry with me through TSA or when I’m buying a snack.
Medicines: If you’re anything like me, you wouldn’t be caught dead traveling without things like Ibuprofen, cold & flu medicine, etc. There’s nothing worse than getting a headache mid-flight and not having anything to relieve it. I always triple check to make sure I have these things with me!
Chapstick: I take this everywhere I go normally, but this is a huge one for me on flights specifically. Airplane air is so dry and if my lips are uncomfortable, I’m uncomfortable.
Toothbrush & toothpaste: This is huge for me, especially on long haul flights!
Face wipes: There’s nothing more refreshing than being able to clean your face (or anything else) while traveling. Seriously such an underestimated carry-on item!
Gum: I’d be silly to go on flights, or any travel really, without this. Gum is a miracle worker when it comes to help popping your ears with the pressure changes on flights and helps freshen your breathe if you can’t get somewhere to brush those pearly whites. I personally also love having gum because it helps cause any anxiety I might be having. Mint is also a really good at combating nausea, so mint gum is my go-to.
What I Pack: The Fun Stuff
A notebook & pen: I always love having these items available to me, whether it’s for doodling, planning, making lists, or just getting my thoughts out, I always keep them in my carry on.
Hair ties: At home, I can use just the same hair tie for weeks, but I don’t take this risk while traveling. I literally pack at least five! Sometimes (all of the time), you just NEED to get your hair out of your face.
Make-up: Though I typically just pack the essentials, concealer and mascara, I’ve recently been putting my whole make-up bag in my carry-on, if at all possible. I love my make-up, and it’s one of those things that I’d be pretty devastated losing if my checked baggage had been lost. Plus, sometimes I just don’t want to look like a zombie after a long travel day, which is okay too!
What I Pack: The Extras
A Snack: Airport food can get expensive. Sometimes, I’ll bring a snack or two to help get me through the day. Granola bars and crackers are usually my go to. Right now, I’m loving these PB&J bars by Van’s. They’re also gluten free! Fruit is also a good choice, but I like to bring things that don’t tend to make a mess if they get a little squished! An empty, reusable water bottle is also very helpful.
An Extra Pair of Clothes: Sometimes, a travel day can turn into travel days, or you might be going from one climate to another. An extra pair of clothes, if you have room, can be super awesome to have and can help you feel refreshed as well.
Valuables: We’ve all heard it before, if it’s valuable, you DON’T put it in your checked baggage. This is especially true for jewelry and/or other little knick knacks you might have!
And there you go! Now that I’ve given myself the travel bug by writing this post…. Those are pretty much my standard carry-on/airport survival items! What are some items that you guys never travel without? I’d love to know! Thank you so much for reading and I’ll talk to you guys in the next blog post. Until then, stay smiling!
All the best,