I love the freedom that traveling without checking a bag brings. It means that I can easily carry all of my own belongings, choose to skiplag if I want, removes the fear of losing a bag, and kind of makes me feel like a badass. This means that whatever goes in my personal item must be carefully curated, essential carry-on items only. My personal carry-on tends to stay about the same no matter how long the flight. These are the 5 items that always make the cut.
Hand Sanitizer/Sanitizing Wipes
In case you’ve been living without reliable news source, airplanes/hotels/common spaces are full of a bunch of nasties aka germs. Compound that with the fact that you might not always have access to a wash room to scrub your hands
until all the germs are gone. It’s just good practice to arm yourself with some kind of sanitation. I travel with both the liquid gel and wipes so that I can quickly disinfect both myself and the seat/tray table/snotty nosed kid next to me/general vicinity.
From the frat bros doing shots in row 16 to the screaming child in 37B, airplanes become a giant metal tube where everything seems 3874934x louder than it needs to be. Headphones are a necessity for me. They allow me to take a quick doze, tune out the world, and quickly shut down chitchat when I’m trying to focus on writing. I prefer headphones with lots of cushion, but earbuds will do in a pinch.
Crucial for long flights or hitting the road as soon as you land. I’ve used it to charge my phone, GoPro, and Chromebook; talk about multi-functional. A battery pack will let you play Candy Crush (do people still play that?) or read a book or listen to music or whatever your heart desires until the plane touches down. Look for one that gives your device 2-3 full charges without needing to be recharged itself.
A Giant Scarf
Scarves have changed my travel life. That isn’t even an exaggeration. Lets look at the pros of bringing a scarf:
- Turns into a blanket when your flight is an icebox
- Catches tasty morsels you might have accidently dropped
- Easily hides the coffee you spilled on yourself at 7am
- Makes this black t-shirt you’ve been wearing for 3 days in a row look semi-fashionable
- Can be scrunched up into a makeshift pillow
Now lets look at the cons:
- Literally none
Fellas, don’t ignore this tip. Scarves are unisex and fashionable and you’ll get major kudos from me if I see you rocking one. #meninscarvesarethewaytomyheart
Things I shamelessly use on the plane: eye creams, face creams, face oils, body lotion, hydrating masks, sheet masks, and whatever else they recommended at Sephora when I was there the last time. What I use depends on the length of the flight, but the point is that airplane air is drier than the Sahara. So in addition to chugging water constantly, I also use products that nourish my skin. For shorter flights, I recommend traveling sans makeup and applying a thick face cream as well as your favorite eye cream. For those long hauls or overnight flights, sheet masks are my favorite because they are individually packaged and not messy, aka perfect for travel.
So there you have it; my 5 carry-on essentials. What do you always travel with?
(Pro-Tip: Click on the pictures for links to find my favorite items on Amazon. These are affiliate links, so I do get a tiny commission if you buy anything at no cost to you. That helps keep this blog running.)