To be honest, I do not have a go-to carry-on bag. It depends on where I'm traveling and for how long. If I am traveling for a long period of time, I am likely to bring my Pacsafe Camera Backpack. It holds all of my camera gear plus some. If I'm headed on a weekend or week-long trip, I'm more likely to bring a tote bag. I am a big fan of Longchamp's tote bags. They are incredibly sturdy and versatile. Other times I just throw my stuff in the first bag I see. Conclusion: it depends.
When packing my carry-on for a trip I ask myself some questions. How long will I be traveling? Will I need a meal? Do I have a long layover? How will I keep myself entertained? Where am I traveling? What will I need in the first 24 hours after arriving? Does my destination have a different currency? You get the point. I try to ask myself every question and think about all of the "what if" situations. I also try to pack light (but always end up packing way more than I need).
I've rounded up my must-haves to pack in my carry-on for any trip. Whether it's a two day or two week trip, make sure you have these 11 items.
Whether traveling by car, air, or boat you need a form of identification on you at all times. I typically bring both my driver’s license and passport. Keep in mind some countries will not let you in if your passport expires within a few months from the date you are entering. Always a good idea to make sure your identification if fully up to date.
I don’t leave home without my handy earbuds. Someday I would like to splurge on noise-cancelling headphones, but for now earbuds work just fine. I use the Apple earbuds that came with my iPhone but upgrading to a nicer pair might not be a bad idea.
A lot of aircrafts now have outlets at each seat (even in coach). I have an iPhone and my battery barely lasts anytime, especially when I am streaming videos, music, etc. I always have my phone charger with me to recharge the battery during a flight and before landing.
Throw a little cash in your bag just in case you find yourself in a situation where you need food, transportation, or accommodations and it is cash-only. I suggest carrying USD and the currency where you are traveling. If you are staying domestic, USD will be just fine (duh). I know the airport does not have the best exchange rates, but it is worth having a little cash on hand just in case.
Trader Joe’s and Thrive Market are my two favorite places to stock up on healthy snacks before a trip. I try my hardest to skip airport and airplane food because it is chocked full of sodium, fat, and sugar. My snack bag - yeah, I have a snack bag - usually includes dried fruit, mixed nuts (with low sodium), peanut butter with homemade jelly sandwich, hummus, crackers, and something chocolatey.
You can find a list of my favorite hot teas in Healthy Travel Tips. I love bringing hot tea on trips. Hot water is widely available and usually cheap (if not free), which makes tea the perfect hot drink. I usually bring a combination of teas I like to drink in the morning and evenings. Make sure to bring a few immune-boosting teas in your first-aid kit in case you fall ill.
Change of Clothes
I always throw an extra change of clothes in my carry-on. I have had delayed luggage too many times to make this mistake again. If you are checking a bag, make sure you have everything you need for the first 24-ish hours in your carry-on bag. I suggest this outfit be comfy and versatile just in case you end up wearing it several days.
Similar to #9, make sure to bring toiletries with you. Toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant are my must-haves. For women a little concealer or mascara might not be a bad idea if you wear make-up.
My all-time favorite: La Mer Lip Balm. Not many people are interested in spending $60 on lip balm, and to be honest, I wasn’t either, until I put on the tester in Nordstrom. I fell in love. Fortunately, this .32 oz containers has lasted me months of morning and night use. There are plenty of other options out there for cheaper, great quality chapstick.
Camera + Lens
My tried and true camera is the Canon Rebel t7i with 10-18mm and 24mm lens. I love Canon products. They are great quality at a reasonable price point. If I am bringing other camera accessories (tripod, drone, etc.) I usually put that in my checked bag or roller bag that goes in the overhead compartment.
I love journaling while traveling. I document things I see, eat, and experience. I also like to takes notes for future blog posts. Have you checked out my post about How to Create An Epic Travel Journal? My newest journal obsession is the Original Brooks Recycled Journal.
Alright folks, that is what's in my carry-on. I feel like it is a good combination of practical and necessities. What do you bring in your carry-on? Let me know if the comments below.
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