EST. 2007

The untold want by life and land ne'er granted,
Now, voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.

EST. 2007

The untold want by life and land ne'er granted,
Now, voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.










March 20, 2017

How to Pack Your Carry-on Personal Item for a Long Flight

G’Day Mates!

After having just done an hour flight + 8 hour layover + 15-hour plane ride + a 3-hour layover + a 2-hour connecting flight + a 4-hour drive to my final destination, I thought I’d take some time to show you how I pack my carry-on personal item, for not only a long flight, but the journey that follows with the forethought that my suitcase and I could get separated — for possibly a long time.

It goes without saying, that I am a fan of traveling light and carrying on all your luggage.  But despite your best efforts to keep your stuff together, there are times when you just have to separate from your luggage.  It’s with these scenarios in mind that I pack my carry-on personal item carefully:

  1. You board the aircraft and there is no overhead bin space left and you have to check that suitcase you weren’t planning to check.
  2. You get to the check-in counter, and the airline (lookin’ at you Air Canada) unexpectedly makes you check your suitcase because weird weight restrictions for this particular flight, resulting in said suitcase headed to the belly of the plane.
  3. You check your luggage, NBD, but your flight is delayed, causing YOU but not your luggage to just barely make the next flight.

When I start preparing for a trip, I start with a packing list on my phone and add to it every time something comes to mind.   As I begin packing, I like to lay out everything across my bed, table, or floor, and just make a stock pile a few days:

So let’s break it down…

Obviously, make sure you pack in your carry-on anything you’d hate to never see again.  Things like your journal, car/house keys, ID, passport, computer, money, credit cards.  If you’re going somewhere that has different outlets, make sure that voltage converter is with you upon arrival because you’ll likely have depleted your charges one the plane.  Speaking of, that purple stick is a secondary battery charger when you get in a bind.

So many cords… I like to get a soft, mesh makeup bag to consolidate all my electronics.  So below, you’ll see my bag that contains phone and computer chargers, converter, my car USB charger since I’m renting and driving a lot, and my Halo battery stick.  I don’t always travel with my noise cancelling headphones since they do take up quite a bit of space, but for international flights they’re totally worth it.  Inside the case I have the headphone charger and I also bring a headphone splitter case I’m traveling with a buddy and we want to share the entertainment and make our batteries last longer.

A bit of random things here.  Hairbrush to freshen up – you don’t realize how much your hair needs to be brushed until you do it and then you feel like a new person!  Expensive sunglasses always stay in my carry-on, as well as expensive jewelry.  Hand sanitizer obviously.  You’ll see in pics below that I’m rather obsessed withs saying fresh, clean, and germ-free while traveling.   I also LOVE my Uniqlo Ultra Light Down jacket.  It folds up into practically nothing.  It makes for a really soft, awesome in-flight pillow, or on this Australia flight, I actually used it as lumbar support and slept for nearly 10 hours.

A change of clothes can be a life saver… I mean, you never know when your seat mate could spill his drink on you!  But also after really long international journeys, and if your bag does get lost, it’s SO nice to slip on a clean outfit.  I also intentionally laid out a pair of socks in this image.  If I’m traveling in flip flops, I’m extra grateful to slip on a pair of socks when it’s time to sleep.  I stay a little warmer and just comfier knowing my feet are covered.  Plus I like to curl up in my seat, so it’s less weird when a socked foot accidentally touches your neighbor than a bare foot.

Ah, the toiletries… I said it earlier, I like being clean.  So I bring two different kinds of wipes (with and without sanitizer), and sanitizing gel. Before bedtime on a long international flight, I try to trick my body a bit and go through my normal bedtime routine, regardless of the hour.  I brush my teeth, brush my hair, and at the airport I sometimes wash my face with facial cleansing cloths (in Zip-lock bag on top row).  These babies lather up with water and are much easier to do on the go than liquid soap – great exfoliant too.  They’re one of my favorite travel hacks.

After I wake from my slumber, I sometimes love to put in a few eye drops to freshen up upon decent, and probably wash my face again when I land.  Emergen-C or Airborne is a must.  On my flight to Australia, I had a gal seated behind me, who coughed the entire flight and I’m pretty sure she never covered her mouth. EEK!  An extra Vitamin C boost (+ electrolytes!) can’t hurt!

I also include a few snacks and my favorite instant coffee – you never know when you need a little pick me up. These can be a game changer on 30+ hour travel days.

Lastly, I want to note the black polka-dot bag in the photo below.  This is a spare little tote bag I keep with me all the time. And it comes in hand on nearly every trip I take… especially those when I’m unexpectedly forced to check my suitcase, I can take out a few times from the suitcase and carry them on in the black tote.  Or when you just do a little extra shopping, or need a beach bag.  I love this little thing! Doesn’t take up much space and is often a life saver.

Oh and deodorant, sleeping pills, upset stomach and pain relievers.

And all of this stuff fits in my Longchamp bag!  You’ll notice I organized up all the stuff in the above pictures into Ziplock bags or other little bags.  And that yellow manilla envelope has a printed itinerary incase your phone dies and your voltage converter doesn’t work.

So that’s that!  That is everything I would need if my suitcase and I were separated for days.  I would be a happy camper with only this carry-on!

Finally, download my thorough packing list, that includes everything above, and MORE!

May it jog your memory & inspire as you prepare for your own adventures! Anything I missed??? Leave it in the comments sections below!  I love a good travel hack!  Did you know all of this already?? What was helpful?? I’d love to know.


comments so far, leave yours

  1. Lannie says:

    As someone who absolutely hates packing, this is such a great post! So helpful for those of us who tend to overpack for fear of being unprepared for anything…

  2. Melissa says:

    You are just amazing! I am a big planner when it comes to packing. And often times I overpack, pack too large of items, etc. But I have a few trips planned for this year that I will be taking alone, so this will come in handy! And I might need to get me one of these bags. ;)

  3. Erin says:

    This was so helpful! Speaking as an experienced and frequent international traveller, I found this incredibly helpful and applicable.

    Thanks RT!
    – Erin

    (my only travel hack/suggestion is taking advantage of compression bags, even on carry-ons, they make a big difference).

  4. Emma says:

    Thank you so much! This is exactly what I was looking for on the internet. I have never traveled internationally and am getting very nervous for my upcoming trip to Bali. What do you do about your wedding ring? Do you wear it traveling or just a band?

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    I just have to say, I am sitting here at 4:40am, second shift in a row, starting to plan a trip to Italy with a co-worker and I remembered these posts and they are SO valuable!! Thinking of you today (and quite very often indeed) my sweet friend!!

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