My Carry-On Essentials

Hello from Michigan!
I actually flew in last week, and it’s been great to have a little extra time to relax with my family and see friends before Turkey Day. I was also really glad to beat the crowds that will inevitably be at the airports this week by flying in a little earlier as the holidays are such a busy time for traveling! Last week, Emily shared her carry-on essentials over at C&C and I really enjoyed the post as I love seeing what other people bring when they travel. It inspired me to put together a list of my own travel “must-haves” and I thought today would be the perfect time to share them to kick off Thanksgiving week!
When traveling, I pretty much try to avoid checking a bag at all costs. Not only do most airlines charge a ridiculous fee for checking a bag these days, but I hate to run the risk of my luggage getting lost/delayed when I get to my final destination, as that’s such a headache. Most of the time, I find that I can pretty easily get by traveling with only a carry-on, however, you definitely have to be much more selective about what you bring with you when you travel this way!
Standard airline regulations state that you are allowed one carry-on suitcase and one “personal item.” What I typically do is pack my clothes/shoes/non-liquid toiletries in my 22″ rolling suitcase (22” is the max carry-on size), and it’s just a very standard black rolling suitcase (I think mine is Samsonite?) that I picked up at TJ Maxx last year. I try to fit as much in this bag as I possibly can and I try not to include any items that I’ll need to access while I’m at the airport or on the plane. Then for my personal item, I pack a tote bag that includes my make-up bag, my liquid toiletries in a ziplock (for easy access at security), my laptop, my purse (yes, I stick my purse inside my tote!) and then anything else that I’ll need to use at the airport or on the plane. When going through the airport, I typically sit my tote bag on top of my suitcase and interlace the handles for easy maneuvering and it works perfectly!
Here’s what you’ll typically find inside my tote bag…
My Carry-On Essentials

The tote bag I bring is this Longchamp XL travel bag. It’s such a classic and perfect for travel; I love that it’s super durable, it zips, and it’s roomy enough to hold everything I need while still (just barely) fitting under the seat in front of me. (Only on a rare occasion have a had a flight attendant tell me it was too large, and normally I can fit it under the seat no problem!) The only problem with this bag is that because it is so large, it’s (very) easy to overfill it which makes it super heavy!

I almost always bring my laptop when I travel, and so this Built laptop sleeve is great for keeping it protected, plus you don’t have to take it out of the sleeve while going through security. The one I have is actually solid burgundy, but I think the polka dots are so much fun!

Traveling from the West Coast, I’ve taken my fair share of red-eye flights. If you’re going to try to sleep, I think a good eye mask is essential! I first got turned on to these 40 Blinks sleep masks back when I worked at a travel store in Boulder, CO (seems like forever ago now!) and we used to sell them all the time. I recently bought them for Cam and I because the window shades in our apartment do a pretty terrible job of blocking out the light, so we actually wear them a lot when we sleep at home! They’re super lightweight and go a great job of blocking out light on an overnight flight.

I try not to wear much make-up when I travel, but nothing is worse than chapped lips. I have raved about these Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments many (many) times before, but they’re definitely still my go-to lip balm. They come in a variety of colors and they’re incredibly moisturizing!

I always wear a scarf when I travel since it’s easier to take on and off at security than jewelry, and it can double as a makeshift blanket on a chilly plane. I’m currently in love with this gold polka dot scarf from Target right now (and it’s what I wore on my flight to Michigan)!

Cam got me the Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas last year, and it’s perfect for traveling!

Another thing I learned at the travel store is the importance of using packing cubes–they are a necessity (IMO) when you’re going to try to travel without checking luggage as they really maximize your space! I have these packing cubes from Eagle Creek (in varying sizes) and love them. I typically use a few in my suitcase for my clothes and then a small one for loose items in my tote.

I can get hot and thirsty on the plane, and there’s nothing better than being able to have some cool water mid-flight. I used to always bring a collapsible water bottle when traveling, and while I still think they’re great, I’ve found that it’s worth it to bring this Hydro Flask water bottle. It keeps water ice cold for hours and hours…just be sure to fill it up after going through security!

Even though I bring my Kindle when I travel, sometimes I just want to be able to flip through a magazine 🙂 A hefty InStyle magazine is the perfect thing to peruse on the plane!

This is not a sponsored post in any way, these are just my tried and true favorite travel items that I wanted to share! Plus, all of these things would make perfect gifts this holiday season 🙂

Safe travels this week!