Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What's in Your Carry-On {Packing Tips + Carry-On Essentials}

It's always fun to see what people put in their carry-ons because unlike their luggage there could be a very  w i d e  variety! 

Today is the final part of this little travel series.

{Carry On Essentials}

My three main categories are:

Unless I'm carrying my luggage on the plane, I like to keep my carry on as simple as possible.

Depending on the length of the flight (definitely essential for 5+ hour/international/over night flights) I really like to carry face wipes, a tooth brush, maybe even a washcloth, a hairbrush and some make up essentials. 

A lot of the time we pass time just grabbing a drink and talking lately or I just close my eyes.  But having something to entertain me is key - especially for those long flights.  I always stock up on magazines at the airport store, a book, load up on puzzles and sometimes tv shows/movies.  A pair of headphones is key in case there is an inflight movie or tv channels.

I definitely like to be comfortable and you never know the temperature of the plane so I like to layer and usually throw in a sweater and sometimes use it as a blanket.  A neck pillow is also key - it takes up just a tiny bit of space and can help to feel more comfortable sleeping.  No matter what kind of shoes I wear I always always throw in a pair of socks.

Also, depending on the length of the flight I'll throw in an extra outfit too.  If it's an overnight flight then I'll definitely throw in something sweatpants like to change in to.

Another favorite carry on tidbit of mine is to leave room for your purse in your carryon tote - it's so much easier to carry and if you are carrying on your luggage then this is a must do!
{Packing Tips}

I'm not very good at packing light but I'd say as time goes on I'm definitely getting better and better at it.

+ Try on before you go: I like to *try* to give myself enough time to not be rushed packing so I can try things on and not just throw in extra outfits.  This has helped me tremendously cut down on overpacking.  I still throw in one or two (okay, sometimes three) extras though.

+ Don't overload the jewelry:  I used to bring jewelry to match each and every outfit and could fill up an entire big makeup case.  You know what, I'd hardly use any of it! Picking a couple nice statement pieces that can go with multiple outfits is the way to go.

+ Throw in some sneakers: I've learned my lesson by not keeping some sneakers with me - if a lot of walking is involved - they are a necessity. 

+ Workout outfit: For some people this might be a huge necessity but I like to throw in a pair of shorts, sports bra and one/two tops.  There might be a beautiful walking trail I'd be bumped to miss if I didn't have the proper gear or the weather might be iffy one day and it would be a great time to burn off some of those vacation calories.

+ Neutral Shoes: Kind of like the jewelry thing, I use to pack a pair of cute shoes I couldn't wait to wear, even if it was just one outfit.  Now I stick with neutrals that will go with most of the outfits - works great! 

+ Purses: I like to bring my big everyday purse (It's great if we want to throw in the big camera without taking the case) as well as a side bag and/or a clutch. It's nice to have a little variety - plus I usually use the clutch to store chargers and such during travel.  On the same note - we always pack a back pack for the Mr.  Depending what we're doing, it's sometimes easier to just carry the backpack around.

+ Nice camera: We don't use our big nice cannon camera nearly as much as we should (thank you iPhones) but it always tags along on a vacation.  We still use the iPhones a ton but the quality of the camera is the best.

+ Extra bathing suits: Sometimes they don't completely dry over night, sometimes you might hit the pool in the morning then go out for an excursion and want to hit the beach in the afternoon - there's nothing worse than not having a dry suit ready to go.  A couple extra coverups can't hurt to because you can always take the bathing suit from day to happy hour, etc.

+ Roll clothes: This one helps save so. much. space.  I can squeeze way more into my suitcase with my clothes rolled. Plus it keeps them neater.

+ Protect nicer items: If I'm taking some nicer dresses I like to keep them wrapped up just in case a makeup item or something explodes.  Thin garnet bags from stores work really well and recently I've been using the cover bags that nicer bags come in (do those even have a name?) but they work really great!

+ Ziplock anything and everything liquid: Yes it takes a couple extra minutes but it's worth it because do you want a conditioner leaking out of your toiletry bag onto your clothes?

+ Try not to pack the night before: I'm always throwing things in last minute but since our honeymoon I've been trying to be an "advanced" packer and get most of the items in the suitcase ahead of time.  There's always so much to do the night before - stressing over packing isn't one I want to be doing.

+ Toiletries Only Bag: I've started to just leave all my travel size toiletries in the travel bag so for a weekend trip I can just grab it and go.  For a bigger vacation I'll take some out and put new more full ones in - but this is so great because it's always tedious to pack and easy to forget something in this category.

What's in your carry-on?? 


  1. Great tips, lady! I agree about the sneakers, always important to throw those in or travel in them.You never know when you are going to need them. I also keep a toiletry bag stocked year round, so it's a quick grab and go since we travel so much. Saves lots of time :)!

  2. I love your tips--especially leaving enough time to try on the things that you're taking. I always make sure to have my Kindle with me so that I have something to read on the flight (and I love that we don't have to turn them off for take off and landing anymore, unless flying internationally).

  3. Layers on a flight are totally key for me (especially the socks) - and the socks are a must. I need to get better about cutting down on the jewelry since I usually don't use most of what I bring, but it's just so tempting when packing to throw everything into a big bag and deal with it later!

  4. I try to keep carry-on size toiletries in an overnight bag too! It really does save on time when you're going on a quick weekend trip.

  5. I'm great at packing my checked bags -- terrible with my carry on. I feel like I need everything with me, and I'm scared to check some things in case they get lost. And a blanket. I have one blanket in the house that I always carry on. It takes up more space than I have, but ever since our Honeymoon, I've never taken a flight without it.

  6. These are fantastic tips! As much as I love to travel, I loathe packing so I've been making a better effort to get it done sooner and not stress about it. Laying out outfits by day helps me a ton!

  7. Most of our trips are quick weekend getaways, so I rarely pack more than a carry on. I've gotten better at packing, but still have issues with bringing too much. It's always easier in the summer when clothes don't take up as much space. I hate packing in the winter when a sweater takes up 1/4 of the suitcase.

  8. Great tips! I also do a lot of the same things that you do. The longest flight that I've ever taken was when we went to Asia for Christmas. My sister lives in Singapore. I wore layers, brought pj's and fuzzy socks, and I kept my makeup with me. I also had some other things, but I can't remember what they were.. haha. Thanks for sharing and have a great day!!

  9. We are doing a different kind of packing (packing to move) but organization is SO KEY! Tonight we are tackling the bathroom- lets see if I can be as thoughtful with that as you are with yours!

  10. Great tips here! I definitely love putting my purse in my carry on. There is always so much to hold onto in the airport :) I have definitely learned my lesson on not bringing sneakers.

  11. Great tips!! I definitely don't like packing the night before - especially for big trips. I always feel like I'm forgetting something

  12. I started rolling my clothes recently and you're totally right -- it saves SO much space! I also ALWAYS have socks with me.

  13. Haha my husband wants no part in talking on a plane and instead prefers to read or watch a movie (or sometimes sleep)! I often pack an extra change of clothes (especially if going somewhere warm or with a connecting flight - and definitely international) in my carry on just in case my luggage gets lost or delayed. I also try to carry on instead of checking whenever possible. It forces me to bring only what I'll actually wear and makes travel to and from the hotel that much easier. When I have my kids with me, I absolutely overpack a carry on with more than enough snacks and activities to keep them entertained!

  14. YES to entertainment and beauty. There's nothing worse than having a layover (or even missing a connecting flight) and being stranded without your essentials! Great tips :)

  15. Great list gurlie! I've lost my checked luggage a few too many times that I'm always paranoid it'll happen again and jam-pack my carry on with as much as I can so I can "live without my checked bag". I've been stranded without my makeup bag, phone charger, and bathing suit so I always make sure all that is packed in my carry on as well as an outfit for the first night and next day in case the worst happens *again* :-P

  16. These are such great tips!! I got a few vacations planned this year so I'll definitely be saving this post for when I'm packing. Just started following you on GFC and bloglovin to keep up with your fabulous blog!!


  17. I always have books or magazines in my carry on! I could not survive without it. Only once did I fly with a carry on only and that's when we were going to California for a few nights for Rose Bowl and I will never do it again! I will always check a bag!

  18. Great tips!! I am never one of those who can "carry on" only. Such an overpacker!! I have learned to not pack as much and it has helped. Love to read posts like these!!

  19. Love your tips! I also like to have books and an extra outfit in my carryon! :)

  20. Love these tips! I agree, that rolling clothes is so great! I find that it helps keep them from wrinkling! And with small kids, I put their little outfits in a large Ziploc bag....shirt, shorts, socks, undies, etc. That way, it stays organized.

  21. Well this post just made me itching for a vacation! I love all your ideas!

  22. We always take entertainment for the flight - so that includes an earphone splitter, something we watch to catch up on/watch (West Wing and Newsroom have been dominating our bags for the past year or so!), and a laptop.... although yesterday we were in for a surprise when I realized my new laptop doesn't have a disk drive and my husband's doesn't hold a long charge... so that's going to have to be fixed!!

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