What’s In My Carry On?

I like to be comfortable when I travel and I think after many years of traveling I finally have this process down to a science.  In this instance, I’m referring to the carry-on as your 2nd bag, assuming you checked a larger bag for what is likely a long-ish flight. If you didn’t check a bag and have a carry-on suitcase, this still can apply.

So what’s in my carry on? Only what I need of course! I will show you the essentials to take on the plane for a pleasant journey. As always, all opinions are my own and I’m not paid to endorse any specific products.

 Picking the Perfect Bag

A perfect carry on should be capable of holding all thing things you need, yet be light enough as to avoid neck and back pain. Of course it also needs to be cute!

I like the Longchamp Pliage Tote Bag. It is super light, comes in many shapes and sizes, tons of great colors, and is easy to clean. The nylon is machine washable and durable.

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It folds easily into this tiny bag for when you want to pack it away during your trip.

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Things I Simply Must Have With Me on the Plane

1. A Sweater

I am always cold and the dinky blanket they may or may not give you only works so well. This one is perfect. It’s soft, it’s warm, and it’s stylish. It’s the Boston Proper Signature Cardigan. It folds nicely with out wrinkles or losing its shape. It comes in several colors. It’s thick enough to be warm without being heavy.

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2. Moisturizer for Face, Hands, Lips and Eyes

The plane is a dry environment and since I live in 100% humidity in Miami, I am more prone to just about every body part drying out! I bring these products which work great.

Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer. Traveling skin is stressed skin. This calms the stress and decreases redness and dryness. It’s light, non greasy and fast absorbing.  A great travel product for the plane and the trip in general. You can buy it on Kiehl’s website or places that sell Kiehl’s products such as some major department stores or at airport duty-free.

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Kiehl’s Purifying Hand Treatment. This one is really great for traveling because it is a cleanser and cream-gel at the same time. It uses various botanicals and has a calming lavender scent.

what's in my carry on


Lip Hydration:  I like the Aquaphor brand but DCT and Kiehl’s brand lip balm is also very good. I detest dry cracked lips!

Eye drops:  I like to use a multi-purpose drop that lubricates and fights redness. After an overnight flight, I like to look a tad less like something from the walking dead when I arrive!

Undereye DePufferThis Garnier Clearly Brighter stuff is the best find ever. It is a cool refreshing roller ball for the under eyes and literally wakes up puffy tired eyes from an overnight plane ride or just jet lag or a hangover!

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3. Plug adaptors

This set came in this little black pouch, they all fit into each other and the entire world is covered.  I like to have them with me in the carry-on so I can use them at my destination without waiting for the checked bag. You can find the adaptors on Amazon.

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4.  Charging cables

I use a cute little pouch to carry all my chargers and cable. A pencil case or larger glasses case could also work. I got this polka dot one at CVS.

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5. Facial Cleansing Wipes

I like to treat bedtime on the plane like bedtime at home which means washing my face and brushing my teeth. It’s just civilized people! I like Burt’s Bees brand wipes for this. They have several choices, all with great scents. Some are exfoliating, some moisturizing. I will use these in other places besides my face that may need uh…refreshing.

what's in my carry on


6. Disinfecting wipes

Planes are DIRTY!

I like these (again from CVS) because they kill the flu and other viruses and don’t have bleach which can be irritating to you and other passengers.

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7. Hand Sanitizer

As I mentioned in my Health Tips Post, alcohol based hand sanitizers are the best and CVS has scented ones that are nice.

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Other Essentials


Comfort is sometimes hard to obtain on a plane, especially in coach on a 17 hour flight! Some airlines have excellent entertainment systems while some are abysmal. I’ve had several experiences where the system on my chair or my row simply didn’t work! Now I always bring my own entertainment, just in case.  My entertainment consists of and iPad, laptop, Kindle, or books.  I love to read and having hours of uninterrupted reading time on a plane is quite fun for me! I download TV series and movies on my iPad or laptop and if I manage to stay awake, I have something to make the time go more quickly. We all love binge watching shows these days, right?


As for sleep…several things will help even in the most cramped conditions. The earplugs and mask are a must to create some peace and quiet. I also take some prescription  medication for sleep with me. I take it with a glass of wine just before the meal is served. This timing seems to work well for an 8 hr flight to Europe from the East Coast of US. I finish the meal as I watch a movie and bam…sometimes I’m asleep before the meal is taken away.  I make sure to take a medication that only lasts 6-8 hours because if you time it incorrectly, you may have a bit of a hard time deplaning! Please consult your health care professional for that last part!

Read More: Skin Care Tips For Travel

Here Is a Handy List:

  • Ipad or laptop
  • Kindle or Books
  • Noise Cancelling Head Phones (unless you like the sound of babies crying mixed with plane engine)
  • Ear Plugs
  • Eye Mask
  • Nail File (I really can’t bear a chipped nail)
  • Medications
  • Tissues
  • Gum/Mints/Hard Candy
  • Travel sized toothbrush and toothpaste (these were either swiped from a spa bathroom or given out on a previous plane ride)
  • A Scarf (provides some warmth and pop of color on the neutral colored travel outfit)
    • the scarf shown is from the La Mamounia Hotel boutique in Marrakech (contact me for info on how to get it)

Here is all of it! When packed, I can assure you that it fits with plenty of room to spare for the things not pictured here such as the chocolate and candy healthy snacks that I always bring.

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The only problem with the Longchamp Tote is that it only has one small side pocket inside. I need things to be somewhat organized so  I will put the smaller items in a pouch such as one you get from the make-up counters as free gifts. This one was an actual gift.

***Disclaimer*** Since some of these items are technically liquids, it is wise to have a clear 1 quart ziplock bag handy just in case TSA gives you a hard time. Maybe I’m just lucky, but I haven’t been stopped for these sorts of items if they are hanging around in my purse or tote, as long as they are no more than 3 oz.

what's in my carry on


Now what if you also have a purse? I don’t always carry both the tote and the purse on the plane but once at my destination I like to carry a small handbag.  I have several travel handbags, all of them cross body and lightweight because it’s just better ergonomically and I dislike upper back and neck pain. Two examples are Le Sports Sac and Nylon Tory Burch Swingbag. Le Sports Sac comes in many colors while the Tory Burch comes in navy, as shown, red or black.

travel tips

travel tips

Inside my purse while at a destination, I will usually have these things that I find essential:

Wallet (or if less room, just money and credit card)





Hand Sanitizer

Hand Lotion

Lip Balm

Lip Gloss



Nail File

Hair Ties

Camera (Phone not shown but usually present as well)

what's in my carry on

These easily fit in the bags shown. You can even downsize a bit more for a smaller bag by foregoing the wallet and only bringing credit card and cash. You can also leave the sunglasses case and downsize the sunblock into a tiny jar. For me, sunblock is NOT an option! I know it seems I have a nail file obsession but I snag my nails all the darn time!

If I’m checking a suitcase, I bring a carry-on tote as described, as well as a purse and a travel pillow that attaches to the tote. If I’m only traveling with a small carry-on sized suitcase or backpack, I may have to pack up the purse into the tote while flying or just integrate some of the larger items into the suitcase and the smaller ones into the purse. It all depends on the type of trip. Either way, I like to bring the same things.

I hope these tips are helpful. Please contact me for more information or questions.

Happy Packing!


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