I’m dumping out my Longchamp to show you everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, I carry in my carry-on bag. I know what you’re thinking, 29 items in one carry on! It seems like a long list, but all these items will fit in any carry-on with ease. You will have plenty of space for the not-so-essential items as well.
1. Identification, credit cards and cash
If you’re planning to board the plane, you are going to need your ID. Passport, State ID, License… whatever it’s called, don’t forget it! Plus, be sure to put your credit cards and some cash in your carry on. A lot of countries are not up on their credit card game quite yet while some cities only allow credit cards for many transactions. Bring both!
You are unlikely to forget your cell phone these days, but why not add it to the list. You definitely do not want to be stranded in a foreign land without your cellular.
3. All Your Chargers
That phone isn’t going to last very long with all the airport selfies you are going to be taking. Charge it 100% before going to the airport. A lot of airports are still behind the times. Plenty are still without wall sockets or charging stations. PS, if you are traveling out of the country, check online to see what adapter you are going to need. You do not want to arrive with a dead phone and no charger. Talk about worst nightmare.
4. Eye Drops
Planes are arid environments. My eyes usually feel like I just left the Sahara Desert when I deboard. Eye drops are a saviour when my right contact pops out of my eyeball and on to the squeaky clean tray table in front of me. Yeah, not a good sitation to be in. Even if you don’t wear contacts, eye drops are never a bad idea.
5. Hair Elastics
You really never know what temperature the plane is going to be. Within one flight, the temperature could easily fluctuate 20 degrees. Bring a hair elastic to alleviate some of that heat from your neck.
If you take any daily pills, bring those. You do not want to be without any of your medical essentials while traveling. Your checked luggage could easily go missing, arrive at your destination three days later, or never be found. Keep all your medications on your person at all times. Sleeping pills and Advil are never a bad idea either!
Airborne is one of my most loved travel essentials. I always take Airborne before I board a plane. If you are stuck in the middle seat next to that sneezing, coughing, wheezing passenger or even worse an infant! You are going to be happy you took it. Could be a placebo effect or could be real, but I never get sick while traveling. Airborne is also one of my 10 Tips for Fighting Jet-lag!
Something I always seem to forget. Aunt Flow knows exactly when to strike. You may not think you are getting your period, but traveling throws your routine, and sometimes your cycle off. Bring a few just in case.
Q-Tips are great for cleaning your ears. Did you know there are hundreds of other ways to use them too? I love to carry Q-Tips with me to touch up my makeup in a pinch, fix a zipper, remove nail polish, remove eye makeup, or even to fill in my eyebrows. You can leave a few of your makeup brushes at home if you carry Q-Tips instead. For more ideas read Cosmopolitan’s Q Tip Beauty Tricks.
An everyday must! I always have chapstick in my purse. Dry cracked lips are not sexy.
Cracked palms and scaly elbows are no better than dry lips. Bring a travel-size lotion to apply whenever you sense the dryness taking over.
12. A Breath Freshener
I love mints for freshening my breath, but gum is sometimes a wiser travel choice. Gum not only freshens your breath, but if you chew gum during takeoff, you can prevent your ears from popping! A 2 in 1.
I use Vaseline for practically everything. Forgot your chapstick? No problem. Forgot your lotion too? Vaseline is a perfect substitute for lotion and chapstick. I also use it to remove eye makeup and to moisturize my cuticles.
14. White Eyeliner
This is quite possibly my best kept secret. Applying white eyeliner to your lower eyelid will widen and brighten your sleepy eyes. Just apply a thin line to your inner lid before getting off the plane to look well rested and ready for your vacation!
D.O. for your B.O. You do not want to smell during transit. You can pick up a travel size or bring the whole stick in your carry-on. Most deodorants are less than 3.4 oz.
16. Pop-up Hairbrush
Another one of my favorite items! The Sephora Push & Pop Travel Pop-up Brush. I spent an entire 9 months in Spain with this hairbrush as my sole hairbrush! It’s that good! My sister and my roommate constantly told me I was insane. It was compact and it did its job well. Why would I need any other hairbrush? At only $8 this hairbrush plus hair elastic storage container is perfect.
17. Trial Size Perfume
You know those itty bitty test tubes of perfume you get as free samples? Those are perfect for traveling! No need to lug around your entire perfume bottle. Head to your local department store or favorite fragrance vendor and ask for a sample of your go-to-fragrance. Perk: You can always try out some new fragrances and pack a few options in your carry-on.
18. Reading Materials
Magazines, books, and tablet readers are a good idea. Of course a tablet is more compact and you can download plenty of options, but sometimes a good old fashion book is the way to go.
19. Face Wipes
One of my favorite beauty essentials. Face wipes are great for washing your face in a pinch or freshening up on the go. I use face wipes to remove makeup, freshen my underarms, and even to wipe my hands. My favorites are Neutrogena Cleansing Towelettes. CVS always does the trick too!
20. Antibacterial Wipes
My other favorite wipe. Let’s face it, traveling is not the most sanitary of processes. Planes arrive, deplane, and board again all within 10 minutes. The tray tables, seat belts, and head rests are not clean. There’s just no way. I bring travel size antibacterial wipes in my carry-on to wipe my area on the plane. They also come in handy for eating on the go and unexpected messy situations.
I recently started carrying my jewelry in my carry-on. I do not like putting my delicate and expensive jewelry in the hands of anyone but me. By carrying it with me, I can rest assure that it is always safe.
22. Nail File
You never know when you are going to break a nail!
23. Oil Absorbing Sheets
Even though planes are dry environments, my face usually ends up looking oily by the end of the flight. Oil Absorbing Sheets are a great way to touch up your makeup and de-grease your face without having to start over.
Um, hello! I’m starving. Those mini pretzels and peanuts are not going to cut it. Bring your own snacks in your carry-on to avoid the outrageous prices and the mid-flight hunger pains.
25. Notepad and Pen
I was once stuck in a Customs line in Jamaica with four friends and no pens. Not one person in the airport wanted to share their pen and it was a mad dash to the few available. Save time and energy. Carry a pen. You may have to fill out customs forms on the plane or upon arrival. And what if Leonardo Dicaprio happens to be in the seat next to you? You want his autograph, don’t you!?
26. Toothbrush and Floss
Fresh breath = success. If your in-flight snack happens to be sticky caramel apples or crunchy popcorn, you never know what is going to get stuck in your teeth. Floss and a toothbrush can save you some embarrassment.
27. Eye Mask
Want to get some zzzs? Eye masks are great for sleeping on a plane. They let the flight attendants know you do not want to be disturbed and that creepy guy next to you know that you are not interested in speaking. Plus, you can avoid jet-lag with a little shuteye.
Another way to avoid long unwanted conversations. Also great for listening to your new playlist.
If that white eyeliner isn’t doing the trick, sunglasses are going to be an essential when you get off the plane. Pack your favorites in your carry-on!
Did I forget anything? What would you add to the list?