Most of us are very familiar with pre-trip anxiety. No matter how much traveling a person does, there are questions before leaving. For some reason, many of these tend to center around the simplest one: what should I bring? There are thousands of articles out there about packing mainly because there are so many questions around it. Is it wrong to overpack? Did I not bring enough? What can I not live without? What will make things easier? What will I never use? The anxieties build up and create tension leading up to takeoff. However, packing can be easy, and flying with a carry-on is a great way to ensure you have everything you need at a moment’s notice. Every woman knows the value of having the products, items, and tools that she uses and loves within easy reach when traveling.
Travel days can be tough on both the body and the mind. Long flights, dragging bags from place to place, and varying time zones can be draining at best and downright exhausting at worst. There are products that can make a significant difference in how you look, how comfortable you are, and even how you feel after a long flight. A smartly packed carry-on bag is not just what it has packed away in it, though, but also what has been left at home. Bring a carry-on that you can be proud of, one that will make you sigh in relief when you open it, and the whole trip might just shift into a better light.
20 Should Have: Chapstick/lip gloss
The air in airplanes can be stuffy, dry, and downright gross. While this process likely won’t hurt you much, it can cause some minor casualties. The lips are often the first to go, cracking and becoming chapped as the dry air is filtered through them time and time again. Having chapstick or lip gloss handy is an easy, quick way, to moisten your lips and ease any potential physical discomfort that builds up as they dry out. Another benefit? Lip gloss can give a tired face a quick pick me up all by itself, without needing to add any makeup into the routine.
19 Should Have: Snacks & refillable water bottle
Two things that most people don’t think you can bring through security: a water bottle and food. This is a myth! Both are allowed through most security gates and into the terminals. Stemming from the no liquids over 3 oz. rule, the common belief that water bottles are not allowed is easily remedied. It just has to be empty to pass through a security checkpoint. Snacks have some rules to them, some airports will not allow agriculture products--i.e., fruits or vegetables, dairy, or meats-- for example. The specific rules vary depending on the airport and country. Most snacks are safe to pack into a carry-on bag. Great options for in flights food are nuts and nut butter--these must be under the required liquid amount--pretzels, granola bars, and even a sandwich or container of prepared food.
18 Should Have: Scarf
This is one of the most useful accessories to bring on any flight. A scarf can simply be a scarf, or, it can be a blanket, a pillow, a cozy comfortable lap item to cuddle with from time to time. A light, fashionable, scarf helps to add a bit of comfort and a cute, cozy look to an outfit that may otherwise be featuring loungewear. A heavier scarf acts as a different accent piece to the outfit with the added benefit of serving as another warm layer on the flight. Wide scarves, regardless of the material, double up as great in-flight blankets and pillows. Once on the ground in your destination, the scarf goes back to its role as a fashion accessory, making it a great item for any trip.
17 Should Have: Face Mist
It may sound odd, but face misters are actually a lovely way for a before, middle or after-flight pick me up. A hydrating facial spray or mist feels great on the parched skin that often comes from flying. The hydration comes in both spray bottles and aerosol cans and is easily used, a short mist or squirt is more than enough to perk up a dry and tired face. There are a lot of different kinds in a wide variety of price ranges, including some that are made by bottled water companies that are readily available and affordable. However, the best and most economical way to do this is to simply put filtered water in a spray bottle. Anytime you’re feeling tired or like your skin needs a little lift, give your face a quick shot of H2O. Bonus: some of the branded ones act as makeup setters as well.
16 Should Have: Face Wipes
Face wipes are great for travel. They take up almost no room in a carry on bag and can serve multiple skin care purposes. There are face wipes for makeup removal and for moisturizing, anti-aging ones and ones to unclog pores. There are natural face wipes or more mainstream ones. Regardless of the type and use of it, a face wipe can be a girl's best friend in flight. Whether a de-shining is needed before landing or the makeup from pre-boarding has settled comfortably under your eyes, face wipes can totally transform your look and feel in a matter of seconds.
15 Should Have: Lotion
This is a biggie. Like many of the other items on this list for must-haves in woman’s carry-on, a moisturizing lotion is a way to ease the tightness that builds in the skin from a flight. It is also a great way to restore some normalcy and give a fresh feeling on travel days, which can often leave skin feeling dry, tired, and just downright sad. Not only will a good moisturizing session help the skin bounce back more quickly after flying, but it is also a way to give a mental boost during or after a flight. Something with a nice but subtle scent, like, say, lavender, can be soothing and energizing after hours of sitting in one place.
14 Should Have: Two or Three Small & Essential Makeup Pieces
We all know those people who show up at the airport looking absolutely gorgeous and somehow manage to walk off the plane 12 hours later with that same glowing skin and fabulous hairstyle intact. While there is much to envy there, the reality is that for most of us, flying leaves us looking, and thus feeling, a bit more drab than usual. Throwing 2-3 key travel sized makeup pieces into your bag is a great way to boost energy, mood, and show up to your destination looking more like yourself. You don’t need a whole set, just your essentials. Pick your favorites, a basic combo like mascara and blush or bronzer works great here, take a few minutes in the bathroom before or after landing, and revive yourself a bit before heading on to your next stop.
13 Should Have: Toothbrush & Toothpaste
Of course, a toothbrush and paste set is needed for the trip itself, but bringing them onto the flight itself can also be useful. If the flight is a long one, 10 hours or more, this keeps you on your usual twice a day schedule. It’s easy to skip a brush when taking long flights, especially when time zones change, but bringing everything with you onto the flight makes it easier to remember. Even for a short flight, all that stagnant, recycled air can start to leave a gross feeling in your mouth. A quick brush will rid your mouth of that stale taste, help perk you up before getting off the plane, and have you ready to chat with anyone you’re meeting on the other end.
12 Should Have: Extra pair of underwear
An extra pair of underwear is one carry-on item that a lot of people neglect or don’t think of, but it can make a huge difference on a long flight. After an especially long trip, with many hours on the plane or even several days of back to back flights, it’s nice to have at least one extra pair of underwear on hand to change into. However, bringing an extra pair is also useful for any flight where the bag with all of the clothes is being checked. If for some reason the bag gets lost or is delayed, underwear is the one item that is hard to live without. Bringing an extra pair in the carry-on bides a bit more time for the bag to arrive.
11 Should Have: Layers
Wearing layers, and bringing one or two extra in the carry-on is essential for a comfortable flight. The flight can change temperatures from moment to moment, leaving you sweating in between two seatmates one minute then huddled up in the corner freezing in the next. Bringing extra layers ensures a more comfortable flight. In addition, this helps with the issue of varying temperatures between destinations. Layering clothing leaves you dressed comfortably for the temperature you left behind as well as prepared for whatever weather awaits you when you arrive. Great items to throw in your bag are a light sweater, which can easily double as a pillow if needed, and a pair of socks if you’re wearing sandals on the plane.
10 Avoid Packing: Extra Clothing
A good rule of thumb when packing clothing for any trip is to lay out everything you think you might want to bring, then promptly cut it down by half. If you are wavering, on the fence, or questioning the item, skip it! Nine times out of ten when we bring things “just in case” they stay nicely folded in the carry-on for the duration of the trip. When traveling, the clothing wardrobe we bring is much smaller than the one we have at home. It is easier to re-wear items, mix and match pieces to form several different outfits, and there is a greater chance of buying new clothing. Extra clothing will just take up precious space in that carryon you have to lug through the airport.
9 Avoid Packing: Too many activities
We’ve all fallen victim to the thought of, “but what if I get bored on this flight?” and then proceeded to pack five or six things to avoid that. Truthfully, no matter how long the flight is, there will likely be some time of restlessness and boredom, regardless of what you bring with you. Having a couple of activities or distractions is a great way to pass the time, just don’t go overboard. Pick one or two items, say a book and headphones for music or tv, and accept the downtime of being totally disconnected thousands of miles above ground.
8 Avoid Packing: Medical Kit
It is nice to pack medical essentials in case of a mid-flight discomfort or illness, but in reality, there is no need for it. Any over the counter medicine or treatment for minor injuries will be readily available in the airport, on the flight, and likely wherever you are traveling to. A headache, minor stomach issues, or small cut, burn, or scrape can easily be remedied without the items weighing down your carry-on bag. Unless, of course, you have specific medical conditions that require special treatment or you have learned through researching your destination that there is no medication for sale, leave the extra medicine at home.
7 Avoid Packing: Light Colored Clothing
While it may be tempting to wear light-colored, feminine clothing on flights or throw layers of them into your carryon, it is often not the best move. The amount of time spent rushing, while drinking beverages or eating food, greatly increases the chance that something will spill on that pretty white top you so lovingly selected for the trip. If you threw a nice white cardigan in your bag then shoved it into the overhead bin with your coke that you forgot about from the airport, chances are, it will not be that pretty white any more upon landing.
6 Avoid Packing: Nail Polish (and other potentially smelly, spillable, liquids)
This one is a bit tricky since these items can be great to have. There is nothing like being on the flight to an event or vacation with a fresh manicure or pedicure only to have them crack unexpectedly after a day of handling luggage and moving from place to place. Nail polish can be great for those quick fixes. However, they are risky. All it takes is one rough bump from turbulence to have that bottle cracked and spilling into all of your precious carry-on items. Not to mention, you would not be a very popular passenger if you were the cause of a smelly plane from spilled beauty products. Play it safe and leave this one at home.
5 Avoid Packing: Sharp or potentially dangerous objects
This one probably goes without saying, but sharp and potentially dangerous objects are not welcome on planes. While most people would avoid bringing obvious weapons onto a plane, this can get tricky for some women’s products. For example, some airports will not let you bring a tweezer on. Many will take away an umbrella, even a small, travel-sized one that fits snugly into your carry-on. The best bet is always to check local laws and when in doubt, leave anything you could not bear to part with at home.
4 Avoid Packing: Blankets
While it can get cold on a flight, bringing a bulky blanket will greatly increase the weight of your bag and limit the free space for other, more important, items. Instead, bring a scarf or sweater (see above tips) to keep you warm if the temperature drops once the plane is airborne. Also, a blanket takes up a lot of room in your luggage, so it's not really feasible, especially when you have to abide by the maximum weight limit. We get the appeal of packing your favorite, most comfortable blanket with you on your flight. But leave it behind, you wouldn't want to be carrying around the extra bulk.
3 Avoid Packing: Laptop
Unless you have work to do or are in for an especially long flight and want to use it to watch TV or movies, it doesn’t make sense to bring a giant laptop onto the plane with you. When you do not need to be working, laptops rarely get taken out of a bag on trips. If you must bring one, at least try to pack it into the checked bag where it won’t weigh you down for the duration of your flight if all you plan to do is read a great novel or listen to a podcast series you’ve been meaning to catch up on.
2 Avoid Packing: Camping Equipment
Fun fact, many airlines, airports, and countries do not allow camping equipment in carry-on bags. In fact, some countries, such as New Zealand, have extremely strict regulations regarding the camping equipment they will allow inside the country. There are usually places to rent outdoor gear once in the ground in a new place. If you must bring your own, plan to check it. Also, who wants to walk around with such a heavy and bulky piece of luggage? It's best to leave it at home and just rent the equipment if you are traveling extensively.
1 Avoid Packing: Towel
Towels are one of those things that people seem to cling to when it comes to travel. Falling in the, “but what if I need it category,” the towel is something that you will almost never use. And it is certainly something that does not belong in the carry-on bag. Towels are readily available at most hotels and guest houses around the world. Very budget travel trips or camping trips are an exception to this, for which there are plenty of very small, very packable, travel towels available.