Summer is coming! And here’s to guessing you’ll probably be getting on an airplane sometime in the next few months. I’ve been taking lots of short little trips around, so I’ve got my carry on/personal item packing down to a science.
So when I say “carry on” I’m talking about the bag you have with you on the plane that goes under the seat in front of you. The bag that holds all the essentials. It also usually doubles as my day bag when I get to my destination too.
My rule for what goes under the seat in front of me: Things I will want or need on the flight or right after, and things that cannot be easily replaced. I don’t like to over stuff my bag with extra clothes or toiletries if I can help it, mostly because I never end up needing or using those things, especially on shorter flights. For longer international flights I’ll sometime add a few toiletries but I honestly never pack clothes in my carry on. My thinking on that is that if my bag gets lost I’m going to have buy some clothes anyways so having an extra pair of undies and a tee-shirt aren’t going to make much of a difference and they just take up space.
Anyways, back to the carry on, I have two regular carry-ons bags I use depending on the destination and the activities I’ll be doing there. For cities and city like activities I bring a large purse. It’s big enough to fit my laptop and camera without being too bulky and look enough nice enough to take out on the town. For more outdoorsy and active destinations and activities I bring a backpack. I’m a little obsessed with my Topo Designs backpack, it’s set up a lot like a backpacking backpack but day pack sized and has a padded laptop sleeve.
How to fit everything in a carry on
What’s in my carry on
- Computer: I bring my computer everywhere with me, honestly because as a digital nomad I’m always working on the road. Those MacBooks are expensive so I want to keep it with me. I’d don’t want to risk it getting lost or damaged in my checked bag.
- Sunglasses & regular glasses: I like being able to see (haha).
- Notebook: I tend to journal out ideas so I like keeping my notebook with me at all time so I can write things down and work things out.
- Chapstick: Airplanes are super dry and chapped lips suck.
- Tissues: Airplanes can also be super cold and can make me sniffly.
- Pens: For writing out those ideas and doodling. I love multicolored pens for color coding all my notes like a super nerd.
- Face wipes: My skin always feels gross after a flight, but a quick swipe with a face wipe really helps me to feel human again. I love the individual face wipes from Ursa Major because I can bring as many as I need without having to have a whole huge pack and they smell really nice.
- Headphones: Noise cancelling earbuds are the best for listening to podcasts or drowning out the crying baby behind you.
- Bandana: It’s super useful and versatile – a scarf if you’re cold, a napkin if you spill, headband to pull back greasy bangs, a mask for robbing an old west bank (jk).
- Phone: Do millenials go anywhere without it?
- Wallet: You gotta put your moneys somewhere, I like using a large coin purse as a wallet because it’s small but still fits the essentials including coins.
- Phone cord: For charging anywhere any time.
- Camera: I take tons of photos (motions to entire blog), so I bring my camera everywhere. While I’ll pack most of my camera gear like my tripod, memory cards, and remote in my checked bag I like to keep my camera with me because it’s expensive and I wouldn’t want to replace it should something happen to my checked bag. Plus if there is the opportunity for cool photos in the airport I want my camera with me.
- Water bottle: I like to stay hydrated, especially on airplanes because the air is so dry in there. Just remember to take it through security empty and fill it up once you’re in the terminal. I’ve definitely stood in the security line chugging water to empty if before it goes on the x-ray belt.
- iPad: I use my iPad as an e-reader and have a bunch of books in my kindle app just waiting to be read. I also download my favorite shows from Netflix to it to watch if I don’t feel like reading.
- Planner: If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know I’m obsessed with my planner. I write everything in it and so I like having it with me on travel days to be able to double check flight times and other important info.
How to survive a travel day
** Metal straw & bamboo utensils: These get an honorable mention because I’m getting better at bringing them with me everywhere to cut down on my single use plastic. I always keep them in the side pocket of my backpack, so when I’m using that as my carry on I have them. But I’m not the best at remembering to transferring them to other bags when I switch it up.
What are the essentials you pack in your carry on?
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