Carry On Bag Essentials

Seems all the travel we didn't do in the beginning of the year has caught up with us because we're in and out of town all through the late summer and early fall. Admittedly, I'm not a great traveler (I blame my memory foam mattress and hatred of unpacking), but I've done enough of it lately to get a pretty good system for my carry on bag. It's efficient and I know the list backwards and forwards by now. It's a small enough lot that I can still feel my shoulder by the time I get to the gate, but I'm very rarely left without something I need in the airport or on the plane. 

And just to be clear... this is just my carry on bag. Goodness knows if I'm travelling with the kids, I could buy another seat for the amount of carry on luggage we bring for them.

Carry On Bag Essentials

  • A spacious bag with both a cross body and shoulder strap option. (This is one of my favorite bags that I own and it's super affordable for the quality!) The shoulder straps are actually really helpful to put it on the handle of my roller bag, and the cross body makes it easier to keep my hands available to get through places. 
  • Tech Accessories (all kept in a zippered bag) I keep my phone charger, A/C adapter, my favorite headphones, and a charged power bank (just in case I use my phone too much at the gate before I even get on the plane.) All in a zippered bag, of course, because I don't feel like fishing for tangled cords in cramped plane quarters.
  • Baby Wipes. I'm a mom, and I know there is (almost) nothing a pack of baby wipes can't fix. Forgot deodorant? Baby Wipe. Get crumbs from your snack everywhere? Baby wipe. Screen really filthy? Baby Wipe. Get caught overnight and need a shower? Baby wipe. You get the picture - parent or not, grab a pack and bring them with you.
  • Non-perishable snacks. I once tried to take a banana on a place. I'm sure you can guess how that turned out. I like granola bars, dried fruit, peanut butter crackers, and nuts. Things that won't get too squished underneath everything else in my bag, will bring me some energy on the plane, and things that don't make enormous messes while eating it. Also - no beef jerky. Ever. Don't be that guy on the plane, because it will linger the whole flight long. And I always always always buy an (overpriced) bottle of water in the airport. Staying hydrated while travelling is so important, and if I don't, my travel swelling gets way worse.
  • Travel Wallet. This is not to say I bring a different wallet, but I do pair down my wallet pretty considerably for travel. If I (God forbid) lost my wallet, it is way worse to lose 4 credit cards than the 2 I actually used. I keep my cash to a minimum, clear out loose change (better for security too!), and take out all those old Starbucks and Target receipts. All 20 of them. *Ahem* (It's worth noting - make sure you have your health insurance card with you! In an emergency, that can be really important!)
  • My phone. This is pretty obvious - but I do a couple things to make my phone travel ready. I have a couple things downloaded so I'm not stuck without music or entertainment on the plane, I backup and clear off all photos so I'm not fighting for space for my travel photos, and I download the app for whatever airline I'm flying. Not only that, but I screenshot both my boarding pass and my flight details so I'm not that girl at the boarding counter with the boarding pass that won't load.
  • Must-Have Toiletries. I guess I should probably note that after I go through security, I rearrange all my quart-sized bag contents so I have what I need available and every other liquid goes in my suitcase. I keep beauty essentials like a powder foundation, oil blotting sheets, and my favorite lip gloss, hand sanitizer (because I don't even want to know how many people have touched, well, everything in that airport), and ginger capsules (I'm a queasy flyer and they help a ton!). Also - sunglasses for when you have to wake up at 3 for a flight that you didn't start packing for until 11:00 the night before. #teamuplate
  • My Bullet Journal. I will be sharing more about how I set this up soon, but often times on the airplane when I want to be productive, this is where I do it. I'll meal plan, map out some blog posts, actually journal, write, draw... it's a nice break from the screen. Plus, I keep all my agenda and important info here so it's nice to have just in case technology gives out on me.
  • A sweater. Swiftly getting from security, to gate, to Starbucks, to restroom, back to gate, and onto stuffy plane is enough to break a sweat. But without fail, I get chilly on the plane and I always regret not bringing a sweater. I love my goes with everything cardigan because it means I can still use it on my trip without having to figure out how to fit one more things into my suitcase. Let's just say, I'm really good at suitcase Tetris by now.
  • Entertainment. What I bring on the plane varies from trip to trip. My most recent trip, I brought my copy of The Cursed Child, sometimes I'll bring magazines, other times I don't bring anything and just watch the in flight movie. Every time I try to be productive and edit photos or blog on the plane, I end up T-rexing my arms to type at the tray table, or the WiFi sucks and  I can't actually get anything done. I like a physical book (gasp!) and a 2+ hour plane ride is the perfect excuse to do something "non-productive", which almost never happens. 

And there you have it - my expertly efficient carry on bag that has everything I need and nothing I don't. What are your must haves for a plane ride? What do you always have in your carry on purse?