Let me start off by stating that I’m not a light packer. Never have been, never will be. I brought 3 full size suitcases with me to NYC last year, WHICH, I’ll never do again and also, what was I thinking? We barely fit in the room after wheeling our 4 suitcases, 2 dog carriers, 2 carry on bags and 2 dogs. NYC newbie over here. However, having done a fair bit of traveling over the years, I know what “necessities” are truly worth lugging around busy terminals and long security line ups. We bring our pups Banana and Michael Jackson everywhere and they’re considered one of our carry-ons leaving us with 1 personal/carry on item each. In addition to my love of list making, I actually love packing (unpacking is a different story completely). We’re headed to California in a few weeks and I’m already organizing my thoughts for beach outfits, doggy duds and to-do’s before leaving. Even though the flight is a few short hours, it can still feel like forever and let’s hope you’re not stuck on the tarmac for an hour upon landing. Longest. Hour. Ever.
Keys to packing a complete, but no-nonsense carry on:
- Make a list! AH, I would say that, wouldn’t I? Your needs will differ slightly depending on the length of your flight. For a long-haul flight I would add some cozy socks, a sleep mask (should it be overnight) and more personal hygiene products like toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, hand cream etc.
- Choose a lightweight, but durable bag with a zipper. I love my Longchamp Le Pliage because it’s SO light, easy to clean and fully zips to keep my items safe and secure. Also make sure the bag is comfortable to carry. Over the shoulder or cross-body straps make travel life easier.
- Ensure any liquids, aerosols or gels do not exceed the limit allowance for security screening. I like to go ahead and pack mine in a clear ziplock freezer bag so they’re easy to grab instead of fumbling around for loose items. Also, should there be a bottle of hand sanitizer that decides to go rogue, you’ll be happy it’s contained to a small space and not disinfecting your iPad for you.
- If you can, pack only items you’ll need during your flight in your carry on. Don’t be that person holding up the boarding process because you can’t find your lip gloss in the bottomless pit of possessions. It’s all about the efficiency.
- iPad- I load it up with movies. New movies I haven’t seen yet and old favourites.
- iPhone – photos, music, photos, instagram, photos…snapchat…make a list or two.
- Headphones – duh
- Good book – I’ll bring whatever I’m reading at the moment.
- Snacks are a must. I appreciate the thought behind the airplane snacks but 1 wafer cookie just isn’t going to cut it. I love Kind Bars. They’re filling, healthy, delish and aren’t messy.
- I’ll try to stop at Starbucks for a coffee before boarding if at all possible. It takes some skill to juggle the pups, carry on bags, navigate the boarding process & secure my items at my seat without adding a hot coffee to it. But sometimes it needs to be done.
- If I can’t grab a fresh brew, I like to have tea during a flight. I ask the attendant for hot water and bring my own tea bags. Peppermint is my favourite, I find it so comforting.
- Gum- the chewing helps to relieve ear pressure and let’s face it the fresh breath never hurt anyone.
- I’ll wear or pack a big blanket scarf. Sometimes I get chilly in those air conditioned cabins. Especially if *someone* is always hot and *someone* always cranks both of our air flows on max.
- Neck pillow. Yes, even on short flights (okay, like minimum 2 hours) I’ll bring a neck pillow. If you have the room in your bag, why not be extra comfortable?
- Sunscreen, lip balm, oil blotting sheets etc. I also bring a travel size of perfume to freshen up after the flight while I’m waiting for our bags.
- Sunglasses- cause I’m headed to sunny California. Also squinting= wrinkles
- Wallet – I don’t know anyone who would check their wallet with their luggage. Plus what if you need to purchase in-flight essentials? Like wine.
- Passport – I’m including this because sometimes the most obvious items are the ones overlooked. Travel disaster.
- Hand sanitizer- I love this one by The Honest Company which also works great for spraying down tray tables and arm rests.
I think I have it all. Can you think of anything I’m forgetting?