If the last five years have taught me anything, it is that I am an over packer. (And that I wait till the last minute to actually pack….stay up the majority of the night and finally finish with a good hour to sleep!) With how many flights I have been on in those years, you think I would have mastered the art of packing light. Not the case. I may not pack light but I am prepared and pretty cozy for the duration of the flight. I have finally figured out my 12 go to carry on essentials. I technically bring more than just these 12 items, BUT these are my ride or die plane items!

  1. Clorox Wipes: Okay. I know what you’re thinking. “uhhhh….. what the heck is this going to do for my flight????” For starters, KEEP YOU FROM GETTING SICK, KAREN!!!!!!! Seriously though. You are on the tarmac forever waiting for everyone to board anyway. Take the five seconds to wipe down your buckle, arm rests, window cover and lap tray. I know I sound like a psycho crazed germophobe but no one else is disinfecting your seat. The horror stories I have been told from friends who are flight attendants would make you wipe things down too! It is just an extra safety precaution that your vacation will be spent sipping Mai Tai’s on the beach instead of sipping couch syrup from your hotel bed. They come in convenient travel packs, so no excuses there. Now, to the good stuff!
  2. SNACKS: Yup. That’s right. I am *that* person who not only wipes the plane down but I bring my own snacks. It’s not like I am that guy four rows up who brings the food that permeates the plane for the whole flight. I just like to bring something to have that I do not have to purchase for a ridiculous upcharge once past security and I would like it to be semi-healthy. I know, I know. Vacation is for going crazy and kicking back, to hell with the diet! I agree…. to an extent. I still like to maintain healthy choices 60-70% of the time. And for some reason, my go to splurge-but-still-healthy-ish is usually a combo of sweet and salty. GET IN MY MOUTH! There have been flights I don’t partake in my snack but others that I wish I had something when I didn’t. Like the Boy Scouts say, always be prepared…. that’s them right?
  3. Water Bottle: This is an honest to God, staple in my carry on. Why you ask? I hate to be dehydrated and circulated airplane air is the worst. I bring it empty to go through security and then fill it up after. Our airport has a filtered fill up station right after security and I am willing to bet a lot of others do too. I always bring my S’well bottle with me because of how cold it keeps my water and they are super cute. (Here is a Target’s version of the bottle!) Win/win. It is more water than the flight attendants will give you, it has a lid so it isn’t going to spill, and the bottle is double insulated so it won’t sweat either. If you’re flying pretty far and your concerned about jet lag, being hydrated helps immensely!! (See, I didn’t make it up!)
  4. Moisturizer: Well, considering you know I hate to be dehydrated, you can probably assume that goes for my skin too. It is just something about that dry cabin air that zaps any moisture I have out of my already dry skin. I used to never bring moisturizer on the plane with me and I would get off the flight looking like we had just been on an overnight flight that aged me 10 years. But then I realized the wonder of a good mid flight moisture sesh and I was back on track. I always take the Ultra Repair Cream by First Aid Beauty because it is perfect for sensitive skin, keeps me from looking like a cactus and I can use it on my hands too. Find what works best for you, but for me, this is it.
  5. Lip Balm: LAST MOISTURIZING THING, I PROMISE!!!!!!!!! But for real… let’s keep things nice so people don’t think you’re some old hood rat coming off the plane. No one likes chapped lips, especially on vaca. This lip balm from Bobbi Brown isn’t just my carry on staple but my everyday staple. It is always with me and I have a minor anxiety attack when I start to get low. Luckily Nordstrom is just around the corner to save the day like it always does. (Sugar is FANTASTIC too!)
  6. Socks: I always bring a pair of socks with me just incase the plane is cold; Which happens more often than not. I am prepared so my toes don’t freeze off in whatever bomb ass sandal, wedge or heel I am rocking. This was an item I added after I did my Pre-TSA check. Which sidebar, if you have not done and even travel once a year, it is worth it. Because before Pre-TSA when I had to take my shoes off at security like a common street criminal, I always had socks on. I would gouge my eyes out before walking barefoot on an airport floor. (There’s that germophobe we all know and love!) Anyway, now that I can keep my shoes on and not unpack everything in my carry on, I usually just wear some cute sandals.
  7. Sunglasses: I like to fly as early as possible which means sunglasses are not a necessity until waaaaaaay later which is why I never thought about throwing a pair in my carry on. I always bring three or four pairs of sunglasses with me wherever I am going and I used to check them all. Which is great in reality, until you land at your destination and have no sunglasses to wear until you get to your hotel room. It is also nice to have them just incase Jo Schmo in front of you has his window all the way up for sunrise and the beautiful beams of light are burning your retina’s. (Here are some of my FAV)
  8. Perfume: I’ll keep this short and sweet. There are times I want to shower immediately and being on a long flight is one of them. I feel like you just smell like the airplane. However, sometimes showering right away isn’t a possibility….and that’s why we have perfume. I have been loving Flowerbomb so much lately. It is subtle so it shouldn’t bother anyone around you but still give you the refreshment you so desire. Honestly, whatever your go-to scent is will work great. Travel tip: If you do not want to fork over the money for a smaller, flight approved version of your favorite, go to Sephora and ask for a sample of it. It is free and in a little spray bottle. PSA: Don’t actually spray this till you’re off the plane. 😉
  9. Headphones: There is nothing I love more than music during my flight. I even have a ridiculous playlist I made for my inflight entertainment. Maybe you want to watch a movie… block out airplane noise… pretend you are doing something else so that Jo Schmo doesn’t talk your ear off the whole flight… whatever it is, headphones are a must for me. Wow… okay. This one was WAY shorter than my perfume rant.
  10. Electronic Accessories Organizer: If you are anything like me, you have a million devices, and a camera that all have specific chargers and batteries because it would be WAY to easy to have an universal charger. Anyway, I like to have it all in one place. I may not even play with my iPad on the flight, but I like to have it with all my accoutrements just in the off chance that my luggage gets lost. This still allows me to charge everything and have it damaged free without my suitcase. It is also just nice to have it all together. Someone in your party needs a charger.. it might take you three minutes trying to find which one but you at least know exactly where it is.
  11. Reading Material: Old school, I know but I love to read!!! And what a better time to get a book in than while you’re sitting for hours with nothing to do. I have to keep myself from bringing more than just one but plane reading is one of my favorite things. (Germophobe and a nerd… I’m a real winner here folks!)  If I am flying during the Holiday’s, I grab a copy of O Magazine so I can see what Oprah’s latest favorite things are. It is one of my guilty pleasures. (Here is where you can get Carrie Fisher’s book for all your Star Wars fans: The Princess Diarist)
  12. Tote: Last but not least, my favorite tote to throw it all my stuff into. I love this one because it has no pockets and it is reversible. The big inside allows for me to throw in my electronic bag, moisture bag, snack bag, etc. while still holding it all perfectly. It is also my go-to because it changes from brown to black and can outfit adapt depending on what I am wearing there and home. Some people prefer a backpack. You do you, sister. Just make sure you have all the right gear for your long plane ride ahead!

    What are your must have’s on a flight? Am I missing anything that I should be taking? Let me know!!! There you have it, twelve items I cannot live without on my flight. Like I said before, I don’t just travel with these 12. Sometimes I throw a cardigan in the mix just to stay warm on the flight or my laptop if I have work to do. I was going to put a mini size alcohol bottle on my must fly with until I found out that you’re technically not supposed to bring your own liquor on the plane. *shrug* No one told me this. It was always fine going through security because it was the approved liquid and the flight attendants never saw, I guess. Also, when you fly first class, drinks are free. Soooo if you are going to bring mini bottles with you, just make sure your flight crew thinks you’re just enjoying a nice cup of coke, club soda or juice. Or bring this awesome cocktail mixing kit with you and buy some alcohol on the plane. *wink*

5 thoughts to “Carry On Essentials!

  • Alison Cutshall

    My two must have items are my neck pillow and iPad! Couldn’t fly without them! ✈️💺

    • lifeshappyhour

      Do you remember flying as a kid without technology?? I used to be happy to just color or play my game boy. Hahaha. iPad is such a must for me. Even if it is just for the music!

  • Ben Hender

    I cannot travel without neck pillow and headphones. They are on top of my packing list.

  • Joyce Cline

    A pashmina or large scarf for warmth or pillow.
    And pain reliever in case you get a headache a long flight is a bit longer if your head hurts!

    • Emily

      Yes!!! I couldn’t agree more!!! Flights really do get chilly sometimes!


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