What's in my carry on bag when I travel
I travel pretty frequently these days, so I thought I’d share a bit about what exactly I bring with me when I travel! I’ve gotten pretty savvy on exactly how to strategize what goes in a carry on versus backpack vs checked bags, so I’m going to share that here with you.
Ready to see what’s in my bag? Let’s go!
What carry-on bags I use:
(Yes, these are all affiliate links!)
London Fog is my go-to luggage brand. I have the carry on, medium and large sized checked bags. (Here’s a link to the set.) I’ve had these for years and they’ve held up well to some long-term travel beatings. I have them in brown and find it’s the perfect color. They’re dark so they don’t show dings and marks like lighter colored suitcases do, but brown really isn’t all that common on the luggage carousel for checked bags, so they’re easy to spot. This carry on is on the bigger side, so while it is my go-to favorite, if I’m flying on a budget airline or only going somewhere for just a couple days, I tend to take my smaller, lighter Samsonite.
I got this when I flew a budget airline to England and knew my London Fog would be too big as a carry on. I chose this one specifically because it’s one of the lightest carry ons out there, because I want my stuff, not the suitcase weight, to be adding to my weight allowance!
I had a trendy pink canvas backpack which I admittedly got pretty annoyed with after a year for a few reasons, so I went shopping again and had a list of necessities:
Must be a dark color so it doesn’t look dirty after a couple months
Must have a water bottle side pocket
Must have lots of pockets inside for easy access to small items (headphones, keys, sunglasses, pen, etc.)
Must fit my 13 inch MacBook
Preferred if it looks good, so I don’t look out of place at a nice cafe with a grungy backpack
I have to say I LOVE this bag! It’s supposed to be extra safe, though honestly that’s not why I bought it. I got it because it had everything on my list. I take this thing to cafés, on hikes, skiing, to the airport, etc. An added bonus is that it has a strap on the back so it slides over the handles of a suitcase easily too.
If you choose to buy one of these, great! If not, just make sure whatever suitcase you buy has 4 spinner wheels. Once you get those, you’ll NEVER go back to a 2-wheeler again! I also tend to like soft-sided bags because you can squish allll the last minute items into them and they magically always make room for your stuff.
Also, I know AWAY bags are trendy right now and they’re killing it with marketing and branding, though I have to say I bought one and was super unimpressed with the quality of it. It felt pretty cheap and flimsy so I sent it back.
What’s in my carry-on:
1. One stud earring
If you’re sitting there scratching your head right now, valid, haha. BUT let me ask you, how many times have you landed somewhere, bought a new SIM card and then had no way to open your SIM card slot on your phone? I’ve had this happen to me sooo many times! So I always leave 1 stud earring in the change area of my wallet. The backside of the earring is the perfect size to stick into the little hole in my iPhone to pop the SIM card slot out and replace my SIM card with a new one!
Betcha hadn’t heard of that travel hack, eh?!
2. SIM cards
I have collected a number of SIM cards in my travels and tend to keep them for the countries I travel back to frequently so I don’t need to pay for a new one every time. Not to mention, it’s sooo convenient to just have a SIM card and not need to wander around the airport or a city to find a new one every time you go somewhere, doing that is such a hassle! I also keep these in the change area of my wallet. This is my wallet btw.
3. Laptop & chargers
I always have my devices charged before heading on a flight, but even then I then make sure to keep my chargers with the device itself, and I never separate the laptop in one bag and the charger in another. I also make sure to put my laptop and its charger in my backpack as opposed to my carry on. Sometimes carry ons get checked if the overhead bin storage is full, but a backpack that can fit under your seat won’t. My laptop is what I run this business from, so having it get lost (checked carry ons can get lost) or die on me would be a bit of an issue.
4. World adapter (similar to mine)
Because planes are freaking cold and my toes don’t like to freeze on flights.
6. Giant scarf
Some airlines don’t give blankets anymore, so a giant scarf or wrap is your next best bet, because again, why it is sooo cold on flights?!
7. Blow up neck pillow (similar to mine)
I dislike how much space normal neck pillows take up in your carry on, or having it hanging off the side of my bag, so I got a blow up one. Very happy with that decision, I’ve had mine one for years now.
8. Change of clothes
It only takes 1 time of having an airline loose your bag or it be delayed for you to start bringing a change of clothes with you in your carry-on.
9. Clear plastic pouch
My London Fog suitcases came with clear plastic pouches, so I store all liquid cosmetics in them as security tends to require that. If your suitcase didn’t come with those however, you can get some here.
10. Cleanliness essentials
This includes makeup remover, deoderant, tooth brush, tooth paste and a disposable razor. For the longest time I thought you couldn’t bring shavers in a carry on, so I’d pick up some obnoxiously priced disposable razors at the airport when I landed. Turns out you can indeed bring regular disposable razors with you in your carry-on.
I’ve had this cup for years and it’s my favorite water bottle, I love having the straw! I like it much more than a water bottle with a large opening (like a Nalgene) because then the water splashes in your face while in a car or in-flight turbulence. The problem is, you can’t just throw this Starbucks cup inside a backpack like a normal twist top bottle as it might spill. That’s why I was so hardcore about finding a backpack with a water bottle holder on the outside.
For immigration forms, and in case anyone asks you for your autograph. Kidding.
13. Bag identification
My London Fog bags come with a slot in the back and a card to write down your details in case the bag gets lost. If you don’t have this built into your bag, write your contact details on a piece of paper and place it on top of your stuff in the bag or get a bag tag.