One of the biggest rookie mistakes that I used to make as a traveler is to not think through all the items that I should carry onto a flight in order to make my experience a comfortable one. While growing up my mom was a flight attendant and I traveled internationally quite a few times at a very young age. I took traveling for granted and I didn’t really prepare much or think about all the tiny details that were involved with carry-on baggage items. As a result, I spent many flights uncomfortable and extremely bored.
Now that I’m older, I plan and pay for all my own flights.. Packing matters a great deal to me and I’m always thinking about EVERYTHING that I need to take on the plane with me in order to make each trip as comfortable and entertaining as possible. Even while sitting in coach. ;) (Flight attendants and their families often get to sit in business and first class when it’s available..)
Since I have been sharing so many booking/traveling tips lately I thought this might be the perfect time to share everything that I bring along with me on all my domestic & international flights. You might not think this is important but if you have ever sat on a plane bored or uncomfortable than this post is for you..
Totes & Carry-On Bags
Depending on how long your trip is.. you may have to check a larger bag and carry on a tote for all your necessities or you may have a small suitcase and tote that you are carrying on with you. No matter, I have a few different options that I like to have just in case:
Best Carry-On Luggage
- The Bigger Carry-On by Away: This luggage isn’t inexpensive however.. it’s SO high-end. I just bought mine and I’m so excited to use it for my Barcelona trip this spring. I love it for so many reasons.. it’s unbreakable, it comes with an ejectable battery that can charge your phone, it has a TSA-approved combination lock on the outside, 360 degree wheels, an interior compression system and a hidden laundry bag. If that’s not enough it’s guaranteed for life and it comes in 10 different color options. Click here to sign up for an account and receive $20 off your bag!
- CalPak 2-Piece Spinner Luggage Set: Not only is this incredible set a great deal.. it’s on sale and it’s also high-quality. It comes with a TSA combination lock built into the luggage and it comes in a few color options for the price-point.
Best Carry-On Totes:
- CalPak Under-Seat Soft Carry-On: This bag is amazing.. it fits under the seat in front of you, it’s tiny wheels roll and it has a strap that enables you to attach it to your luggage. There are so many features, pockets and compartments – you can fit everything inside. It’s also 40% off right now and it comes in a few color options. Click here to shop.
- MZ Wallace Large Metro Tote: I love this bag SO much. Obsessed!! It’s the perfect size for carry-on and it’s the lightest bag ever. It also comes in so many colors and pattern options. Click here to shop the tote.
- Le Pilage Longchamp Large Tote: This bag is a CLASSIC. I have it in quite a few sizes and it’s durable, reliable, always cute and it holds so much stuff. The price is really great for a name brand bag.. I use it constantly. Click here to shop the tote.
- Louis Vuitton Neverfull: I bought this bag for my mom for Christmas and she loves using it as her carry-on! It’s not only chic, it’s durable and it can hold so much! She loves the look and style.. plus it holds everything she needs and more. Click here to shop a used yet high-quality Neverfull. Click here to shop her favorite purse divider that she uses to organize her Neverfull.
Extra’s that I love
- Clear TSA-approved Toiletry Bags: With my Mom being a former flight attendant.. she has always encouraged me to bring a few of these bags with me. I always like to bring a few little liquid beauty items and toiletries with me in case the airline loses my luggage and these little packs save me! Click here to shop my favorite 3-pack.
- Passport Wallet – I purchased this wallet for my trip to Thailand and it was SUCH a lifesaver. My passport used to float around inside of my bag and I was always worried that I would lose it. Now, my passport fits perfectly in my wallet without any worries for the long travel day. I love having everything in one place. It also comes in a few colors. Click here to shop my passport wallet.
So important! Especially on long-haul international flights.. Sleep is a 100% requirement to helping beat jet-lag and super important for a great day ahead. I always like to bring along these 4 necessities to help me sleep on my flights.
- Eyemask: My eye mask is my #1 must-have to help me sleep during any flight. I invested in a high-quality sleep mask and it has helped me so much more than some of the inexpensive masks I have grown used to using. My mom swears by them and never flies without one.. she even uses them while at home. My favorite? This Slipsilk pure silk sleep mask. The mask comes in a few different colors and my eyes NEVER have wrinkles or lines from using them! Click here to shop my favorite eye mask.
- Travel Pillow: I prefer the aisle on all of my international flights (so that I can get up whenever I’d like!) so I need a nice travel pillow to help me with my slumber.. ( no window to lean on here) I love this pillow by AirComfy.. It folds into a tiny little bag and it inflates into a comfy soft pillow by using a built-in inflation pump. Click here to shop my favorite travel pillow.
- Earplugs: Always a must have for quality shut-eye time. My Mom lives for earplugs and still sleeps with them every night. Se began using them during her flights and layovers and can’t imagine a night without them. I like to order a big pack from amazon and bring a few earplugs with me everywhere in a small Ziploc bag. Click here for the earplugs I like to use.
- Travel Blanket: Most blankets are usually included as ammenties during all international flights however unless your flight is the first of the day.. your blanket may not be fresh and new. (things you learn as a flight attendant’s daughter) Eww. I always make room for a travel blanket inside of my bag so that I can keep warm during my flights. (I’m always freezing!) This is SUCH a comfy blanket that can turn into a poncho.. it also folds down really small which makes it easy to carry. Click here to shop my favorite travel blanket.
I hate being bored on a flight.. I always make sure to pack a few things to keep me entertained:
- iPad Mini – I try really hard not to bring my laptop on vacation, so an iPad or iPad Mini is what I use for all entertainment. It’s the best size and fits perfectly inside my small totes. I love it because I can pre-download lots of books, Netflix shows/movies and YouTube videos before I board my flights. It’s amazingly convenient and it gives me hours of entertainment. I also find that it’s easy to pull out on buses/shuttles and more. Click here to shop my iPad Mini.
- Headphones: It is essential to bring a quality pair of headphones for the plane/whenever you’re traveling. You never know if you’re going to have a screaming baby on your flight or talkers in the row behind you. I love this pair of noise-cancelling headphones for this reason. Click here to shop the headphones.
- Power banks & Universal Adapters: Both important.. especially if you’re traveling internationally. I always bring power banks anywhere I’m going. When I flew to Bangkok I used two power banks that I love. They charged my phone and my iPad Mini multiple times. Universal adapters are important to bring if you’re visiting another country with a different outlet that’s different than what you a re used to using. Click here and here for the two power banks I love and click here for the universal adapter I have.
I always bring a few essential beauty items to keep me feeling hydrated and fresh on all flights. All of these are must-haves on any carry-on check list.
- Eye cream – I hate the ‘tired eye’ look after traveling. Combat this by using a great eye cream! I love this eye cream which helps with wrinkles and tired eyes. Click here to shop the cream. Visine also helps with red eyes.
- Moisturizer – My Mom has taught me that it’s so important to keep your skin moisturized! The air i the cabin of an airplane is extremely dehydrating. I always bring this special cream with me (Holy Grail product!) everywhere and I love it. It’s a small 2oz container so it’s TSA approved for carry-on. This cream clears up any dry patches that I have and it works so well. I always wear it during long flights. The smell is amazing. Click here to shop my favorite moisturizer.
- Face mask – If I’m taking a long, international flight I always like bringing this face mask with me to help moisturize and make my skin feel beautiful. Once again, the air inside of an airplane dries out your skin and this mask is so helpful with hydration. I used to laugh at the thought of doing this on a flight but my Mom has taught me to do things for myself and not worry about people onboard. Most are sleeping anyhow and you would be surprised at the things people do in order to take care of themselves on flights. I love the Summer Fridays face mask for this reason.. it was created for airplane skin. Click here to shop.
- Lip Balm – Always bring some sort of chapstick/lip balm on a flight! You need this for moisturizing. I bring my Rosebud lip balm. Click here to shop my favorite.
- Hand Cream – I always bring a bit of hand cream to moisturize my hands during the flight. My favorite that every flight attendant swears by? The classic L’Occtaine Shea Butter. Click here to shop my favorite.
I always bring ALL of these items with me because they are SUCH lifesavers if anything goes wrong:
- Medication (I never check this in case they lose my luggage)
- Eye drops
- Hand Sanitizer
- Toothbrush & mini toothpaste
- Mascara/mini versions of makeup in case I lose my luggage
- Flushable wipes
- Makeup remover wipes
- Mini version of Shampoo/Conditioner! I always bring my own and never use the hotel’s because of my thick & curly hair.
- Copies of your passport/important documents: I always bring at least 2 copies of my passport when going overseas.. and I e-mail a copy of my passport to myself and family as well.
- Travel Insurance: I’m going to be writing an entire post on this subject but don’t skimp on insurance! Insurance can cover you for everything: medical, evacuation, if you lose your luggage, if your flight/accommodation is cancelled & more! I get my insurance through World Nomads.
- Valuables: Never check valuable jewelry or other items and ALWAYS bring them on with you. You don’t want anything stolen or lost.
I hope this post on what to pack in your carry-on has helped you! It taken me years to figure out everything that I need for flights. I have to say, it definitely helps having a Mom who traveled as a flight attendant for years. She has taught me so much about the importance of preparing for anything and everything. Now I travel happily and like a pro. If you have any questions, feel free to ask away in the comments below.
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