An Inside Look: What’s in my carry on

watercolor illustration of travel essentials

I used to be the queen of over packing. But as I started to travel more, I learned a few valuable lessons, for example, the less you pack, the lighter your bag, and also you don’t really need that much stuff! So since holiday travel is coming up, and as someone who can and will live out of a carry on for two weeks at a time, I thought I’d share a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way.

Away Suitcases

My Suitcase

I purchased an Away suitcase (I have the smallest carry-on size in white) before my trip to Europe, and it is hands down the best purchase I’ve made. I was hesitant to buy such an expensive suitcase, but it’s crazy how the attention to detail makes it such a better experience. It rolls effortlessly, the handle slides up and down with ease, and it has ‘compression technology’ - I’m not sure what that means, but all I know is that sometimes it looks like there’s no way my suitcase will shut, and it does, easily. I have the carry on size, because I don’t like to check my bags. It’s roomy enough to fit everything I need, but small enough that I won’t be lugging any extra stuff around. If we’re going somewhere super far away, sometimes I’ll pack an empty extra bag for my treasures and check my suitcase on the way home - it would still suck if it got lost, but at least I’ll be at home with all my other stuff then. If you use my away referral link, you get $20 off your first purchase!

I also have Away packing cubes (shockingly, this post was not sponsored by Away - call me, guys!). These were a gift from my cousin, and I love them - they help me keep my clothing neatly separate even when I’m digging through my suitcase every day, and it helps me visualize where everything needs to fit.

dusty loafers in Italy

As far as clothing goes, I have some fairly strict rules about what to pack. My first rule is to have as few pairs of shoes as possible. I try to stick to two pairs - one ‘everyday’ pair that’s good for walking around, and a pair of heels that are still comfortable, but would work if we’re going somewhere I want to look a little fancier. Right now my favorites are these leather loafers that I wore all around Italy, including to hike, and did my feet right, and these Toms heels that are casual enough to wear during the day but can look nicer at night, too.

The rest of my clothing packing strategy is pretty simple - I try to pack things that will look nice during the day, and not be out of place at night when we’re eating out, and I pack one outfit per day, with one or two extra pieces of clothing in case I spill or get super sweaty. I only try to pack one or two pairs of pants, and keep my dresses to a minimum as well, since those are bulkier items that take up more space.

Bopipa travel pouch in pink

When it comes to toiletries, I also try to keep it pretty minimalist. Something that’s really helped me is getting this toiletry case - it can hold basically everything except for my makeup.

Aqua and clear pump bottles on marble backdrop

I also recently got these air pump bottles, which have been a real game changer. I use them for all of my goops, and they are so much more secure than just regular squeeze bottles - they won’t leak on the plane. Plus, they’re very cute! I labeled them, which brings me just so much joy every time I use them.

away backpack in black

I’ll also bring a backpack on the plane. My backpack is also by Away. I had a different backpack for a while, that I just wasn’t vibing with - it wasn’t black, and it filled up soo quickly. The Away backpack has a suitcase strap, which I didn’t realize I needed until I needed it - it’s so nice to be able to balance your backpack on your suitcase, especially when you need to dig around for a passport, or whatever! It has enough pockets to keep everything organized, but not so many that I’m constantly losing stuff, and it holds a ton while still fitting under a plane seat.

bandolier phone case in black

I have this bandolier phone case that I use for traveling, which is SO GREAT because it means you don’t need a purse - it has a pocket for cards and can fit your ID and a couple credit cards/cash. Like literally everyone, I like to take a lot of photos while I travel, and it’s so nice to have your phone RIGHT THERE when the perfect photo moment strikes.

I’m a nervous flier (I’m getting better, but it’s a long road!), so I have a few essentials that I like to bring on every flight to help calm me down:

swell water bottle in white

An empty water bottle so I can stay hydrated.

bose noise cancelling headphones in black

My noise canceling headphones - these are really comfortable, work so well, and are super easy to use - sometimes I get ragey because my bluetooth won’t connect, or it’s inconsistent, but these always connect right away, and get rid of all the background plane noise, to the point where sometimes I have to take them off to make sure the plane has not stopped running.

ipad storage

My iPad, which lives in this awesome case and can hold all my pens and notebook as well. I like to watch movies on the plane, as part of my strategy for calm flights is to distract myself as much as possible and employ a treat yourself mentality - when I’m in the sky, I do what I want!

A scarf, which I can use as a little blanket and snuggle up and get comfy.

barefoot dreams socks

These cozy socks, so I don’t have to wear dumb shoes.

jet lag face mask

This face mask, which is supposed to help your skin stay hydrated and is really just a nice ritual to do once you’re in the air. I only use it on longer flights, I’m not getting all greased up for just an hour or two!

videri chocolate bar

A bar of chocolate. The reasoning behind this is that I like chocolate.

And that’s it! I like to leave a little extra room in my backpack, if possible. You never know when you’re going to find a treasure, or a snack!

A quick note about links: None of these recommendations were sponsored or solicited in any way - these are all things that I’ve purchased and have used. I am using Amazon affiliate links, and my Away refer a friend link, which gives you $20 off of your first purchase from Away.

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