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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

What's In My Carry-On?

Let's talk personal items. And by personal items, I mean the smaller size carry-on allotted to you by most airlines. The one that fits under the seat. You all know that when I travel alone, I generally stuff all my belongings into the smallest bag possible, just so I don't have to hoist anything into the overhead, but when we travel as a couple, we take a larger carry-on and a personal-sized item for under the seat.

What's in my carry-on bag? I'll tell you!


I hardly go anywhere without my laptop, because I work wherever I am. And if I don't take it - rarely - I bring along a portable keyboard to use with my tablet or phone. My laptop is large, so I always try to find a bag that fits it well, but still has functionality as a main carry-on as well. You'll have to take your laptop out of your bag at security, unless you have precheck, so make sure you have it somewhere easily accessible.

iPad mini 

This is my all time favorite multitasker. I can check emails, I can play games, I can read a book, I can blog, I can listen to podcasts, I can watch videos, I can easily look up directions and make notes. It does everything your computer can do, but in a convenient handheld size.

A scarf/wrap

Sometimes the plane is hot. Sometimes it's freezing. You never know. I have a wrap I love that can a also be used as a scarf or a blanket. That means it's multipurpose and can be used on almost any trip at anytime. I wrap it around my purse when we go anywhere in case it's chilly inside.

A cardigan

Layering when you travel is a must. Usually I just wear my cardigan over a t-shirt when I travel on the plane. It's the same reason I take a wrap. You never know what the weather's going to be. You might have a freak cold snap. A cardigan is never a bad idea. The worst thing that'll happen is that you won't have to wear it.


O.M.G. You can't live without snacks! Okay, I can't live without snacks. I always have a few things ready to pull out of my bag in case I get hungry, or we have a longer than expected layover or we end up trapped in the Tarmac for forever. You can barely get any substantial snacks on the plane, unless you give them money.

And if you don't eat them in transit, now you have extra snacks to spare on your actual trip! Toss them in your day bag and eat in the car or while waiting in line or in between meals to save some bucks.

Battery backup

If you want to stay connected or play games or use apps, your battery probably won't last all day. I keep a battery backup with me at all times. The one I have - and actually we have two - allows me to charge two things at once, or charge my phone two and a half times before it needs to be plugged in. It's a lifesaver when you're on-the-go all day.


At the very least you should keep your liquids bag in your small carry-on for easy access to them when going through TSA (unless you have precheck). I just like to have things with me in case something happens and I need them during the flight. It also makes it less likely for spills.

Charging cords

Bring at least the most important ones you want on use on the plane, or you'll be sad...or digging in your other bag for it in between flights. Ask me how I know.

Refillable thermos/water bottle 

I'm perfectly happy to buy a bottle of water at the airport, bacause I don't like to wait for the drinks cart to come down the plane aisle. What I hate is buying a bunch of bottled waters at my destination. We generally get a gallon or two at the store and then fill the bottle each morning with a good chunk of ice, that way we save money on drinks when we're not at a restaurant.


You never know when you're going to need to fill something out, play an impromptu game of sudoku or scribble down instructions. I always have at least one, usually two. 

Obviously I also have my money, credit cards, passport and confirmation papers with me, because necessary. After years of packing light and paying attention to what works and what doesn't, I know exactly what works and what doesn't and what I've used over and over again.

So, tell me, what do you have in your carry-on?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, and I will receive compensation if you make a purchase after clicking on those links.

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