I can’t believe it’s taken me forever to write up this post! I know there are a ton of carry on guides out there, but I figured everyone’s travel styles vary a little, and I don’t know about you, but I always love seeing how other people travel.
In general, we pack as light as possible and rarely check in a bag (seriously, I packed for 14 days in a carry-on bag with plenty of space left for gifts and Jacob’s shirts). And in my smaller personal item, I make sure that I always have these items handy:
15 CARRY ON ESSENTIALS TO TAKE ON EVERY FLIGHT
1. Backpack / Reversible Tote Bag
I’m more practical, so I carry this day pack everywhere, but if you want to also look nice and stylish, this tote bag is perfect because not only can you pack in all your essentials, but it’s also reversible, so you can change up your look during your trip. I personally don’t have this tote, but a friend of mine does and absolutely loves it.
Since I usually don’t get on wifi, I get a lot of reading done on a plane. I never know what I’ll be in the mood for, so I love bringing my Kindle to ensure I have as many options as possible. Even though it’s nice to flip through pages of a physical book from time to time, I love that my kindle is lightweight and you can carry as many books as you want.
3. Scarf (Doubles as a Blanket)
I usually get cold on a plane, and unless you’re on a long flight, they may not have blankets for you. So far, I’ve taken this pashmina scarf that can double as a blanket. I’m still writing up a review about the Encircled Chrysalis Cardi, but this might be my next go-to travel scarf / blanket / cardigan / dress. ;)
This is a no-brainer, and most of us live connected to our phones more than we should. I usually load it with my Spotify playlists. Since we’re on a budget, we don’t keep our subscription to Spotify, but I’ll activate it for one month only before big trips. Don’t forget your USB Cable. A lot of newer planes have USB plugs where you can recharge.
Everyone snacks a little bit differently, but we try to carry something to munch on when we get hungry since pretzels and peanuts don’t always do it for us. My favorite on-the-go snacks are Kind Bars and fruit clusters from CVS! They sent me some to sample and now I’m hooked on them. Have you tried these yet?
Although we don’t use the camera too often on the plane itself, we keep them with us so we know it’s secure. Also, it’s handy to have them on us to take any footage we want at the airport too. For our trips, this is our go-to vlog and casual camera and this is our go-to DSLR. If you’re looking for a new camera, check out our camera gear guide for bloggers.
Headphones are essential for listening to music, watching movies, or just to drown out the noise around you. For the most part, I just travel with ear buds in my DIY Cord Taco holder, but I have been contemplating getting some nicer noise canceling headphones that can pack up small. If you’re not going to use music to tune out the noise, then don’t forget ear plugs!
8. Warm Socks
There were many times I regretted traveling in flip-flops without having an extra pair of socks. It took me a long time to learn my lesson until Jacob made me write myself a note. I tend to get cold easily, so even if I’m wearing regular socks and shoes, I have to bring thicker socks or double up for the plane. For an added bonus, sometimes I bring compression socks on long flights to minimize ankle, leg, and foot swelling.
Newer planes typically have USB chargers, but getting on one of those planes is still a toss up. I know I’m not the only one who gets paranoid about their phone battery dying.
10. Collapsible Water Bottle
These are perfect for traveling! You can get through security with the bottle empty, then fill up while you’re waiting for your flight. Then you won’t have to wait for the first beverage services to get a drink.
I really try not to think about it, but airplanes can be kind of gross. I bring wipes so that I can clean up my personal space, but also to wipe down my hands after eating, especially if I’m sitting on the inside.
12. Light Jacket –> Travel Pillow
I bring my trusty NanoPuff jacket to keep me warm on the plane. It’s also nice because it packs up into a pocket nicely and can become a travel pillow. I don’t know if that’s what it was intended for, but that’s how I like to use it!
13. 3-1-1 Compliant Toiletry Bag
Even if I check my bag in, I prefer carrying my toiletries on my carry-on. You never know if you’ll need them on the plane, and if my bag ever gets lost, I know I’ll still have my essentials. Rather than using annoying disposable bags, it’s nice to have a TSA Compliant toiletry bag that you can reuse. One thing I make sure I keep in my toiletry bag is hand cream because my skin gets really dry on the plane. I make Jacob moisturize too.
14. Laptop / Tablet
We bring one or the other depending on the trip. If we need to get work done, the laptop comes with us. Otherwise, we’ll bring our iPad filled with movies!
I really dislike taking meds and try toughing it out more often than I should. However, it’s good to be prepared. I don’t want to be the person that’s constantly relying on other people’s preparedness. I’ve borrowed from others a lot. I like to include Melatonin in case I have trouble falling asleep on the plane, Ibuprofen for headaches, Imodium for upset stomachs, and most importantly Vitamin C to help boost your immune system when you’re trapped on a plane with tons of germs floating around. I take Vitamin C on every trip,
BONUS. A few non-essentials that are sometimes nice to have:
- 10 Genius In-Flight Dining Hacks: My favorite happens to be my sriracha2go.
- Sol Cool Hoodie: This comfy hoodie gives me an extra layer that doesn’t make you too hot and has a hoodie that can go over my eyes.
- Travel Pillow: so far I haven’t been able to find one that I am comfortable with. I usually do ok with my jacket / pillow (see number 12). Do you have one that you absolutely love?
For the most part, Jacob and I can share a lot of these items, but he would also like to add that he’s a man and doesn’t need a scarf to keep him warm. ;)
What are your in-flight essentials?