Let me just preface this post by saying that I am probably NOT the ideal traveler.
I overpack to the extreme and my carry on is definitely not one nice neat little tote. No. It’s more like two obnoxiously giant bags; one for each shoulder. Are you wondering why I’m sharing? Well, I figured there is one upside to my hoarderific (that’s a word, right? Yeah. Cool.) travel tendencies and that is that I pretty much ALWAYS have EVERYTHING that everyone could possibly need. I’m simultaneously both the best and worst person to travel with. I’m annoying because I have a lot of bags and am quite embarrassing to walk through the airport with BUT! I’m also amazing because if you forget something or need the most random thing, there’s a 99.9% chance I’ll whip it out for you, problem solved. Steamer? Got it. Extra toothbrush? No problem. Sun burnt? Here’s a cream. Gas? Headache? Nausea? Got a pill for each. Do you need a whole new outfit? Dude, I got you.
So, here’s my logic for carry ons and why I always bring two bags. One if for the overhead compartment which is basically just stuff that I don’t really need on the flight, but it’s stuff that is super important to me and I would be devastated if I lost it. These are things like my makeup (the first time Dan and I went away together I lost my makeup bag at the check and had to buy all new makeup when we got to our destination. I can’t remember a time where I’ve had more anxiety on a trip–lesson learned!), Nikon camera, chargers, face creams and favorite toiletries. Then, I have my second carry which is basically just my purse that I stuff to the brim with all my in flight essentials: a book, laptop, snacks, extra clothing, toothbrush, etc. While I was packing up my carry ons yesterday I decided to photograph the process to share on the blog for anyone who may be traveling soon and wants a little visual checklist of what to bring!
There are only two things that are not photographed and that’s because they’re not yet packed as I don’t have duplicates and am still using them until the day I leave. Those are my Josie Maran Argan Oil and Glamglow Thirsty Mud. Not only will these be with me in my carry on but they will literally be applied to my face right before take off to keep my skin hydrated in the air.
If you’re an over packer like me (actually, even if you’re not), my biggest tip is to make sure everything has a place. My carry ons are essentially bags within bags. This way, I know where everything is and never have to dig through a mess of stuff. Cases also keep my things protected and by keeping organized I can actually fit many more things than if everything was just tossed into one bag. My second tip is to downsize all your products! Go to Sephora and all the department stores and load up on samples. For products that don’t come in travel size I buy the mini containers from Walgreens and decanter. Nordstrom is the BEST for this because in their beauty department they have little empty vials of travel size perfume sprays that they encourage you to take and fill with any of their trial scents to make your own perfume samples. I take a couple to fill with perfumes at the store that I don’t have but am interested in to try them out on my trip and see how they vibe with my skin’s chemistry to decide whether or not I want to purchase it when I return. Then I take a couple empty ones to decanter some of my own perfumes into so I don’t have to lug the whole bottle with me.
Alright….this is going to be a long one, so let’s get to it!
Let’s start with the essentials. I overdo it on the snacks for two reasons: 1, I make sure there’s enough for both the plane ride there and back, 2, Dan always tells me NOT to pack him anything but once we get to the airport he’s ravenous and the second I pull out something to eat he pulls his hand out towards me like, “can I have mine?”. Men are like children in this way. Always pack them snacks. They don’t ask for them, they will vehemently deny that they want them but when the moment comes and they are hungry/bored/hangry they will expect you to have them. Also, be sure to pack a variety of snacks because you never know what they’ll want in the moment; give them options. It is essential to travel with a well fed, happy husband.
I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have these two things. Eyelashes are my life, I don’t even put them in the overhead. My lashes stay with me, safely tucked in my bag where I can see them at all times. Usually I wear flippies to the airport but I want to bring my Hunter rain boots on this trip and they’re just too bulky to pack so I’ll be wearing those to the airport but taking them off on the plane and changing into flips.
To be honest, these are so annoying. They take up a lot more space than they should but they’re a necessity and you can’t throw them in your check bag because they’ll most likely break. I only bring one name brand pair because I always lose or break sunglasses. I bring two or three pairs of cheap ones and throw them into this Victoria’s Secret bag to keep them protected.
Please, please, please never check your jewelry! I’m sure I bring way too much, but I try to stay within the limit of what will fit in a small clutch bag. I only bring several nice pieces and I wear them the day of travel so I know exactly where they are. The rest is just bangles, earrings, statement necklaces, etc. Everything is in a small pouch so things don’t get tangled. I also bring a silver polisher sheet and polish any silver I brought while on the flight.
Skincare & Perfume
It would be a thousand times easier to just check these things but I’ve had too many accidents. First, I had a face wash AND toner both explode in a checked bag all over my clothing. That was fun. The following trip I thought I’d be smart and seal up my toiletries in an industrial strength ziploc and store the whole thing in my checked bag. Well, a lotion exploded within the ziploc and while my clothes were safe, the rest of my toiletries were not. Lotion got into EVERYTHING. It was such a mess I ended up throwing the whole bag and all its contents out. Now I keep everything in these waterproof makeup bags, carry them on and store them in the overhead compartment. The little lacey bags contain my little vials of perfume samples.
Skincare, Lippies, In Flight Touch Ups
These are the skincare and makeup products that I keep in my purse because I use them throughout the flight. This includes some moisturizers to keep my skin hydrated, toner mists to refresh my face, mouthwash, a roller ball perfume (to freshen up without obnoxiously spritzing a strong scent that overwhelms the rest of the passengers), hand sanitizers and lotion. Yes, there are eyelashes in there..don’t judge me.
I’m not someone who can sit on my laptop watching movies for an entire 6+ plus hour flight (like my husband). I’m just too ADD. I can’t even commit to one pair of headphones. I have my big Frends Taylor headphones for noise canceling and movie watching and then the smaller earbuds in case I want to listen to music or just get annoyed with the other ones. I pack my laptop to work on blog posts and my novel. My phone and chargers are necessities and I’ve also packed my HISY so I don’t have to bombard people in another country with, “Excuse me, but, can you take a picture for meeeee?” Nope, can’t do it.
These are the little guys that are so frequently used that they don’t go into a case but straight into my purse’s side pocket for easiest access. I don’t just mist my face with Evian spray but also my hands. I have the worst aversion to having dry hands and if they’re already super dry lotion itself isn’t enough. I spritz my hands with this, rub it in then pile on the hand lotion. I do this constantly. Deodorant is right there because, well, I’m an anxious person and anxiety = sweaty pits. Sorry, but, truth. I will brush my teeth at least two times on a flight over 4 hours. Why is it that flights never fail to give you serious dragon breath? I’m guessing it’s the dryness. Lip moisturizer because my lips dry out like no ones business on flights and gum for take off and landing to help my ears pop.
Soooo…this makeup case is life. I’ve always just carried my regular bulky makeup cases which have taken up nearly all my carry on space! This helps keep my makeup organized, helped me to only pack what I need and is the perfect size to slip into my overhead bag while only taking up a minimal amount of space. Every single zip pocket, including the center one, is removable! It’s probably the best makeup investment I’ve made in years.
Long flights don’t leave anyone feeling their best but there are ways to prepare for it and keep yourself comfortable. Grippy socks for when my toes get cold and Visine to refresh my eyes at the end of the flight. I always carry a pill case filled with things for headache, heartburn, nausea and basically anything that aids any kind of bodily discomfort I’ve ever experienced on a flight. I don’t usually carry an eye mask but for this trip we’re flying overnight and I want to try to force myself to sleep and since I can only sleep in total darkness, I threw this guy in my bag.
I think I’ve mentioned before how obsessed I am with my Erin Condren planner. My friend Keri does the best job at adorably decorating hers with stickers and washi tape which got me really inspired to do mine. I’ve been watching some YouTube videos on it as well as stalking through Keri’s photos for ideas and packed some stickers, tape, glittery pens and other supplies to doodle and decorate on the plane. There’s also a book by my all time favorite author for obvious reasons.
To be blunt, I’m a pain in the ass when it comes to temperature. I hate being cold so a warm sweatshirt and thick, cozy scarf that doubles as a blanket are a must. However, I also hate the feeling of being too covered up and being hot and sticky under unnecessary layers. So in case that happens I always pack a light t-shirt, both long and short sleeve just in case. I’ll outfit change right in my seat. I told you…I’m not the ideal travel buddy.
So! There you have it! My obnoxiously long packing list, but I hope it was at the least somewhat enjoyable and/or helpful! I do get very bored, very easily and I need a multitude of things with me at all times for constant stimulation. Sure, it’s a pain to carry but I do have two wheely bags that I will be checking and I typically just toss one carry on over each wheely and walk comfortably wheeling one stack in each hand.
Feel free to share your favorite travel items! Also, let me know if you have a favorite go-to carry on bag! I haven’t invested in one just yet because I still haven’t fond the perfect one which is why I just use two oversized purses.