What to pack in your carry-on bag

what to pack in your carry on

Whether it’s a short domestic trip or a long international flight, my carry-on bag is always on point. (If I do say so myself.) I seriously put as much thought into what I will pack in my carry-on, as I do in the checked luggage. Also as important is your flying outfit, more about that later, for now, I will say there is a small part of me that misses the velour tracksuit phase of the 2000s. How comfortable were those, and you could rock that outfit with hoops?! Anyway, here is what to pack in your carry-on bag.

1. All the documents.

Boarding passes, passports, copies of reservations, I try to have all of these items on hand. Making copies of your reservations is really important, especially for international travel where there is a language barrier. When my friend and I traveled to Spain, we turned up at our hotel only to find out they didn’t have our reservation. Having something on paper saved us.

2. All the comfort.

One of my absolute must haves is a pair of socks. My feet freeze to death, even on a short flight, and if you’re cold there is no way you can get comfortable. Other musts are headphones, and magazines, kindle or books. If I have music, and something to read, I am pretty content.

3. All the valuables.

My laptop, chargers, jewelry and money all get to travel with me, not in the checked luggage. Basically, anything that I would cry over losing is in the VIP section or my carry-on. I packed my Louboutins in my carry-on before, and I’d do it again.

4. All the snacks.

On the same trip to Spain, I discovered something very important about myself. Or rather, my friend informed me; I am one of those people who should have a t-shirt that says “I’m sorry for all the things I said when I was hungry.” I suffer from hanger, and worse I married someone who suffers from it, too. So snacks are literally vital for surviving a trip  and saving my relationships with others.

5. All the ideas. 

All that time in the clouds really gets my creative juices flowing. I’m suddenly compelled to make lists and organize my life. Now, I travel with a few pens, a planner and a stack of post-its. Pens are also handy for when you have to fill out all that paperwork when traveling internationally.

6. All the toiletries. 

When Mau and I first met, it was a long distance relationship. Wanting to keep things fresh, I would pack an entirely new outfit, and do my make-up on the plane. I brought nearly all my toiletries with me, and one time even got into trouble for painting my nails on the plane—apparently nail polish is highly flammable. (S/out to all the passengers around me who got a good whiff of the stuff, while I was touching up my mani.) Now, I keep it simple with a face wash packet, toothpaste and toothbrush and a little powder, mascara, and blush. Washing your face and brushing your teeth after a long flight really brings you back to life.

7. All the extras.

 It might be a Russian thing, but I tend to mentally prepare for the worst-case scenario, instead of hoping for the best. Being a cup half full person is something I’m actively working on. It’s a process. In the mean time, I take an extra shirt or two with me, so I can have a change of outfit if my luggage is lost for a couple of days.

What are some of your must-have carry-on items?



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  • Reply Lindsay July 30, 2015 at 8:09 AM

    Love it! And we are so thankful for all of your snacks?… Just wait till you have kids! Then the list just grows.. Legos, action figures, toys, books, coloring books, etc! Haha

  • Reply Arlene July 28, 2015 at 10:00 PM

    I pack socks, snacks, and toothbrush/paste too!!! I also pack an eye mask and ear plugs if I plan to snooze. Hand sanitizer is always with me and sometimes I even get cray with the sanitizing wipes and wipe down the tray table (I mean really who knows what two-year-old was sneezing and coughing and wiping his slobbery hands all over what is now MY tray table?! No thank you!). I also bring a scarf that is so big it can also be a blanket or wraparound. And if I’m warm I will just roll it up and use it as lower back support or a mini-pillow for my neck! Loving your blog, Alina!!

    • Reply besosalina July 29, 2015 at 1:41 PM

      Arlene, such great tips! I never think about how filthy the tray table could be! And, yes scarf/lower back pillow is brilliant! Thank you 🙂

  • Reply BB July 28, 2015 at 1:03 PM

    I love that you packed you Louboutins on your carry on. I will be doing that next time!
    And the hanger thing is so real- I have learned that about myself as well- I Always have a snack on hand.
    Thanks for this post- I need to be organized the next time I travel. There is nothing worse then frantically looking through your oversized bag for your passport while a line of 10 ppl stare at you. Talk about excessive sweating! Not Cute.

    • Reply besosalina July 29, 2015 at 1:41 PM

      Yes, snacks are a must! I won’t leave the house without them!

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