I’m useless at packing. I always over- or underpack, often to disastrous consequence. I decided that on my recent trip, this would be a thing of the past. Starting with my carry on luggage. I trawled the actual whole internets for tips of what to pack in your carry on luggage, and most were boringly similar. Passport, tickets, money, etc etc. I may be packing challenged but I’m not a total idiot. However, there was one video I found that stood out.
In the video, Karissa’s comprehensive list covers all the items which she takes on the plane with her, and there were quite a few I’d never thought of before. Her practical approach appealed to me and I like the fact she does long-haul, international flights as well. So I thought I’d pack exactly what Karissa packed, and see which things I used, which I didn’t, and which were revolutionary. I’m here to share the results with you. What I will continue to pack is denoted by a Y or N after the item. High-tech, I know.
In the order that Karissa mentions:
Large water bottle with a clip – Y
I completely agree with this entry and you know what, the clip really does make a difference. I bought myself this bottle* from Amazon and whilst the fact it’s a floppy bottle takes a bit of getting used to, I like the fact that it squishes up and takes up barely no room when it’s empty, and it’s got the all important clip. Leg room is at an absolute premium for me on flights, and I found that this meant my water hung just out of the way of my legs whilst still being easily accessible. We’re off to a good start!
Passport in a bright cover – Y
I took this to heart and bought the brightest travel wallet I could find, coincidentally from my favourite store, Kikki.K. Sadly it’s no longer available (here it is in boring black) but you can see it in action in this post. I decided to get a travel wallet rather than just a passport cover because I thought it would be more efficient. Also, I used the very cute passport cover that says “let’s get lost” pictured in that same post for my last 2 trips and I kept having to take it out of the holder to go through scanners, etc. So I’ve ditched the cute cover and I’m just sticking with the obnoxiously bright travel wallet.
Wallet with a zip – N
As previously mentioned, I’ve combined this with the above. The wallet handles currency nicely and nothing flies everywhere when you open and close it, like it did with my last travel wallet that had a popper closure.
Copy of all important documents scanned in to Dropbox – Y
This is a good one. We (the Royal we, meaning my lovely husband) did this for me and sent copies to our email addresses and our parents. Just to be on the safe side.
Thick socks – Y
I’m always freezing, especially on aeroplanes, so this is a must for me.
Extra pair of underwear – Y
This isn’t something I’d thought of before but I’m now a complete convert. I’m not going to go on about it, but if you’re sceptical just try it.
Headphones – Y
I’ve got my Bose QuietComfort 25* noise cancelling headphones that I got from NYC, thanks again for the recommendation Kerri! My husband now wants a pair, too… These have made all the difference to my ability to be able to zone out and enjoy a film on board. I highly recommend them if you can afford the splurge.
Hand sanitising spray – Y
Yes! This is kind of a revelation. I bought this Clinell one* and would recommend it. On 3 out of the last 4 flights I’ve been on, I’ve immediately sprayed down my seat area after boarding the plane. You may get some strange looks but they’ll all be going home and buying themselves a spray for their next flight, you know it. Also, the last flight I took I got self-conscious and didn’t spray, and now I have the mother of all colds. Make of that what you will.
Saline nose spray – Y
I tried using this on my flights to and from New York. I find nose spray weird and I had lost it somehow by the time I was packing for the Big Trip so it didn’t come with me. And I got sick.
Eye drops – N
These I passed on, because I don’t really suffer from dry eyes. I might consider it for the future, though.
Mouthwash – Y
This is a great idea, especially in the travel mini size. Sometimes when you’re on a plane and everything feels gross, you just need a little extra. This was it.
Teeth wipes – N
Karissa recommends taking these instead of a toothbrush – I’m not so sure, primarily for brace related reasons. I’m just not sure my teeth would feel clean enough after using a wipe and it certainly wouldn’t do the trick on my braces. Instead, I brought my travel electric toothbrush in a ziploc bag. I figure that ought to keep the germs at bay.
Hand cream – Y
Yep, it’s really dry on planes and yep my hands did start to suffer. Especially with all that antibacterial nonsense.
Makeup – Maybe?
Karissa takes: eye cream / hair oil / BB cream / concealer / blush / face powder / brush / eyelash curler / fibre brow gel / mini mascara / perfume tester. I might take some of the above, depending on how put-together I need to look when I get off the plane. For my last 2 flights I’ve boarded and de-planed (my new favourite word, I now de-anything I leave eg de-boat, de-house, de-car) sans makeup and been quite happy about that. However en route to NYC we had a full day ahead of us when we landed, so girlfriend needed a little help with that.
Stick deodorant – Y
Why would you not want to take deodorant with you? This was great for a mid flight pick me up. If you take a stick deodorant it shouldn’t count against your liquids/gels allowance, either.
Face wipes – Y
Always, yes. Even if you don’t need to take off makeup these are great for refreshing your face when you’re halfway through the flight and everything is miserable.
Hair ties and grips – Y
Always useful, my hair usually starts bothering me at some point and it’s good to be able to hide it away if it goes mysteriously greasy mid-flight.
1Above tablet – N
I had to google this to find out what it is, but it’s a tablet with various vitamins and extracts in that are supposed to perk you up and counteract the effects of jet lag – personally I want to see the ingredients list to check it’s not just a caffiene pill, but that’s just me. I didn’t try these out. NZD$18.00 for 4 seemed a little steep for something I am not convinced isn’t hokum. If anyone has tried them, please let me know how you got along.
Pen – Y
You always need a pen! Landing forms, customs forms, emergency postcards, there’s always something that needs writing. There’s a pen holder in my Kikki.K travel wallet so I just make sure there’s always a decent, working pen in there and I’m good to go.
Pantyliners – Y
Definitely a good idea to keep you feeling less disgusting.
Emergency sanitary pad – Y
You never know, always good to prepare for the unexpected. Especially when the unexpected is a situation you really don’t want to deal with. I’ve gone for tampons instead but the choice is yours, my friend.
Vag wipes – Y
This made me laugh for so long but it’s actually genius. I now have what I have termed my lady bag which contains these, the pantyliners and tampons, spare undies, and a ziploc bag. I can take the whole kit and kaboodle to the loo with me and have a complete freshen up. I don’t want to be dramatic about this but it’s kind of a game changer. Sidenote: vag wipes seem unusually hard to find in the UK. I ended up getting these* and they work just fine although the description on Amazon is well dodgy…
Extra ziploc bag – Y
See above. I also carry extra extra ziploc bags in case someone forgot their liquids ziploc bag, something looks like it might explode, or there’s some free food going that I can pinch for later. No shame. I have no shame.
Moisturiser sachet – Y
I actually took a small travel tube with me so I could use it on the way out and back, plus there’s always too much in the sachets for me anyway. My skin is dry to begin with so on flights it just goes crazy; this is an essential for me.
Sheet mask – Maybe
I thought my bestie was going to disown me when I slapped this on on our flight to NYC. I had a great time. I found it was a little bit messy though, and on my last 2 flights it never seemed to be the right time – I was either eating or sleeping, neither of which are conducive to putting on a sheet mask. I think I’ll take this on a case by case basis in the future.
Q tips aka cotton buds – N
If I’m taking makeup on, then these will be useful to tidy up the inevitable turbulence-induced disasters. If not, I’m not sure what I’d use these for so I’d probably pass.
Melatonin – Y
I only bought this when I was last in the US but I’ve been desperate to get my hands on some for ages. You can’t buy it over the counter in the UK, and having studied the effects of melatonin as part of my degree I’m convinced it’s the secret to getting over jetlag. I’ll let you know how I get along.
Extra electrolyte sachet – Maybe
I used some rehydration salts which I think is the less glamorous version of this – to be honest I totally forgot I had them, and they make me feel a bit funny anyway. I really don’t like the taste. Maybe this would really help with feeling less grim when I arrived, but I’m not convinced on this one. I need to give it a try a few more times I think.
Protein bars – Y
Always always protein bars! Gluten free meals are usually disgusting, generally not filling, and are sometimes mislaid altogether. I always carry some type of bar with me, usually multiple, just in case.
Just-add-water meals – Y
I wish I could have an instant porridge pot like Karissa has, but the only ones I could find were pre-flavoured with golden syrup which is just far too sweet for me. They’re pricey, too. So I found some sachets of porridge oats that I brought with me for the flights where I had enough food, and forgot on the flight where they had nothing to feed me for 8 hours except a small side salad, 2 bits of melon and a strawberry…
Cough drops – N
I don’t like cough drops myself and I’m not ballsy enough to hand one to a stranger in a passive-aggressive manner, so this was a pass from me.
Earplugs and eye mask – Y
These are now essentials for me. I didn’t use the earplugs* on the flight as I generally can’t sleep on planes anyway, but I had to use them to sleep on our Amtrak ride because it was so incredibly noisy. I almost had to use them on our cruise when the waters got rough and our cabin developed a strange squeak, but I soldiered on through without. My eye mask I wore all the time though, even when I wasn’t sleeping (!) because it’s infused with lavender. This* seems to be the closest to mine that I can find. I find it really soothing so I keep it around.
Magazine – N
I am anti-magazine (that’s a story for another day) so I didn’t bring any of these with me. I prefer to read a book and/or my Nook.
Mini colouring book and pens – N
I like the sentiment behind this and perhaps on another flight I’d do this, but again I passed on this in favour of a book. That’s just me.
iPad – N
I don’t own one so… that’s a no from me. I did download some programs from BBC iPlayer onto my iPhone though, which was great. Generally I find I’m quite happy with the seat back entertainment, plus I’m too stingy to pay for films from iTunes etc. I can more than make do with what the airline provides… unless it’s Asiana (sorry, Asiana).
Portable phone charger – Y
I’m not sure why I haven’t jumped on this bandwagon sooner. I have this Anker portable charger* and it’s so neat! I can get a charge and a half out of it usually, and it’s quick to charge itself.
Phone charge cable and plug – Y and Maybe
The phone charge cable is necessary to use the above device, and is also handy in case your seat back entertainment has a USB charging socket which my last 4 flights have all done. It’s so handy and I wish all planes had it. The plug, I’m not so sure about. They’re quite bulky but you do find plugs in unexpected places so maybe it’s worth it.
Kindle – Y
I have a Nook, same same. For my last 2 flights I’ve ended up taking my Nook and a real book, which I think is a bit silly. I need to work on that.
Blotting papers – Y
These are a good idea, planes make me shiny. It’s not nice feeling like a greaseball so I’ll definitely be taking these in the future.
Lip balm – Y
Alright I bring about seventeen of these with me everywhere I go. I am very good at losing lip balms so I need backups for my backups.
So, that’s the end of Karissa’s list. Of course, I have a few more things of my own to add:
Including but not limited to travel insurance documents, details of accommodation, transport, and any other bookings I’ve made, and a letter from my surgeon explaining I have a metal spine and that’s why I’ve set off the metal detector.
Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, tramadol for emergencies – chronic pain, yo. Shake me and I rattle.
First aid kit
Containing antiseptic wipes, normal plasters, blister plasters, and anything else relating to any injuries we may or may not have at the time.
Antibacterial travel wipes and hand gel
I’m now evangelical about disinfecting everything everywhere. If only I’d been so diligent on my flight home, maybe I wouldn’t have caught this monster cold?
I prefer to not wear them for my flight, as they can get a bit uncomfortable after a while – especially in the dry cabin (maybe I need those eye drops after all). As I have the disposable kind, I just take an extra pair so I can put them in at the end of the flight and actually be able to read the signs at my destination.
Tide To-Go stick
I’m clumsy. This is a necessity. These are pretty hard to find in the UK, you can’t buy them in shops. I found them here* though, if you need some.
This sounds like a lot, and maybe it is, but it all fits comfortably in a rucksack which I find the most comfortable way to carry things around – Karissa recommends a tote bag but they just don’t work for my back, especially with this amount of stuff in it..!
What do you take in your carry-on? Anything you’d add to this list, or are you horrified at this amount of stuff?
Finally, thanks Karissa for inspiring and informing this post. I don’t know you, but from one long haul flyer to another, high five to vag wipes!
* denotes an affiliate link. It costs you no extra but earns me maybe a penny or two. Thanks for your support, I know affiliate links can be a tricky subject so if you don’t want to use my link, feel free to bypass it.