I’ve been traveling quite a bit in the last months and I’ve got the feeling I figured out a good system for me to make the time on the plane more bearable.
I thought I might share some of my essentials with you, things I always pack in my carry on bag – wether it is for short flights around Europe or for long-haul flights. When packing for a longer trip, I usually bring my backpack (which counts as the personal item) and an additional carry on luggage with me (50% of my carry on bag will contain snacks). For shorter flights it’s only my backpack and maybe a tiny handbag.
My backpack contains everything I need to have easy access to. I always store it under the seat in front of me so I don’t need to get up every time I need something.
First things first – the basics and most important stuff.
- When traveling outside the EU I always bring my passport. Thanks to my German citizenship I can travel to a lot of countries without any visa, which I am very grateful for!
- My identity, insurance and credit cards – all stored in a small wallet. I never bring a big wallet with me anymore when traveling since my last one got stolen on a trip to Paris. The fewer items you bring, the less need to be replaced in case of loss, a lesson I had to learn the hard way.
- Cash. I always bring a small amount of cash with me, which comes in handy for tipping or buying stuff on smaller (food) stands which don’t always allow card payments.
- Sunglasses for hiding under eye circles, blocking sunlight and looking fly (lol)
- My phone and travel documents. Since I always use the opportunity for checking in online nowadays, my phone contains my travel documents. I also have tons of music downloaded (can’t live without!)
Besides these absolute basics I have 4 different small bags with me:
- My toiletry bag which contains all my liquids and needs to be taken out of the backpack when going through security check
- a small make up bag
- a bag for some small electronics
- one for all miscellaneous stuff.
I love having my items devided in categories and in see through bags which makes finding everything I need so much easier.
My toiletry bag contains all my liquids, cremes, aerosols and gels, everything in travel-size containers with less than 100ml (3.4 oz) capacity.
- hand sanitizer
- micellar water
- body mist
- hand creme
- tiger balm (asians’ cure for EVERYTHING)
Besides those liquids I bring
- my toothbrush
- breath strips: they come in handy if you don’t want to bother your seat neighbour every time in order to get up to brush your teeth, giving you an easy and instant refreshment
- dental floss: ever had the annoying feeling of having something stuck between your teeth and didn’t have floss or a tooth pick? Right!
- chewing gum: making your ears stop from popping during the flight which sometimes can be very painful
- nailfile: handling luggage often asks for your nails to break! It happened to me so many times that now I always carry a nailfile with me to even out the broken nail
- cotton pads: If I need to use my micellar water for a refreshed face or for taking my make up off to let my skin breath
- hair brush
- hair tie
- wet wipes: a refreshment for in between, your sticky fingers from snacking will thank you
- antibacterial wipes: the first thing I do when I get to my seat is to wipe down the surfaces of everything I might touch. Planes don’t get cleaned thoroughly in between flights and just the thought of that… yuck!
I bring a very basic collection of make up with me too. Besides my concealer, eyeliner and lipstick, which are in the liquids bag, I have everything to do a basic everyday make up look If I needed it.
I love the Real Technqiues travel-size brushes for traveling. Instead of my brow pomade from Anastasia Beverly Hills which is normally my go-to when doing my brows I bring the brow wiz – one brush less to carry. Powder foundation, blush and highlighter and I’m good to go!
Besides of my phone I bring my laptop and iPad with me. I have some movies and some episodes of a show downloaded to have something to watch if the entertaintment program of the airline I travel with isn’t to my tasting. Sometimes the screen in front of you might not be working or the airplane doesn’t offer an entertainment program at all, which happened to me last time. I was very happy about the episodes of Suits that I had on my tablet. Download some books or podcasts too! Other electronical essentials are:
- phone charger
- portable charger (please bare in mind that those CAN’T go into your checked luggage and NEED to be in your hand luggage)
- noise-cancelling earphones (those are a LIFE.SA.VER!)
- AirPods and regular earphones
This is my bag where all miscellaneous things go in:
- I carry a pen for taking notes (oops, forgot to photograph my note book) or for filling out customs declaration forms
- my apple pencil
- an extra battery for my noise-cancelling earphones
- earplugs (when noise-cancelling isn’t enough)
- a clip if I need to close up snack bags before finishing them
- TAJIN! My new obsession since my last trip to LA. I can’t believe it took me so long to discover that gift from the food-god. I use it to season the fruit I get in my in-flight meals, makes them a hundred times better! Missing those mangoes with tajin and lime juice right now.. mmmhhhh
I would pack a reusable water bottle too but mine got thrown away on my last trip home because I forgot some remaining water in it when I went through security check. Always remember to drink up beforehand and fill them up again after security.
My last 4 items are most important when taking a long-haul flight to get comfortable and for increasing the chance of actually getting some sleep:
- A scarf which is big enough to double as a blanket (it gets so cold up in the air!)
- a sleeping mask
- a pair of comfortable warm socks
- a neck pillow
Depending on what I’m already wearing before my flight I would also bring a sweater and a jacket to keep me warm.
One thing that’s missing on the pictures are snacks! They can get you going in between meals so you don’t have to depend on the crew to give you food when you’re feeling a tad hungry. Some domestic flights don’t provide free meals anymore – and before purchasing overpriced food on the plane I’d rather have my own snacks with me. An example for awesome travel snacks are fresh fruit (apples and other firm fruit are best), nuts, dried fruit, cookies, granola bars, crackers, gummy bears, chocolate and even chips (those little pringle containers are awesome).
For destinations where I’m not visiting friends or family I also bring an extra pair of underwear, pajamas and one outfit for the next day. In case my checked suitcase gets lost I have something to change into so I don’t need to wear my travel outfit to keep me going until my suitcase arrives.
Seeing my full list written out now it does seem a little bit excessive but I just love to be prepared for as many cases possible (that’s the virgo in me I guess). What about you? Are you a light traveler and buy everything on-the-go or do you love to be well prepared like me? Is there anything that’s on your list of travel essentials that I forgot to mention?