Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Adventures in the Great Wide Somewhere // Packing a Carry-On

The most stable relationship
I've had for the past 5 years
This portion of packing tips I'm talking about carry-on bag. I have always used a backpack as my carry-on and it's something I have never regretted doing. Me and my backpack are closer than Dora and hers. It has been literally everywhere with me. If that thing ever breaks or rips I will be as devastated as Tom Hanks losing Wilson. No joke, that thing is a part of me. It's the only thing that has been with me on every trip and has never let me down. I can't even tell you the size of liters it is or where to get it because I bought it on sale at Sports Authority literally almost 5 years ago. It is my BAE and I'm also convicted it has a little bit of magic in it that every time I pack it it's like a Mary Poppins bag because I fit SO much in it!

Prior to my first international trip I read dozens of articles on packing tips. The one thing that I took away from all of them and stuck with me was to pack your carry-on assuming your checked bag would be lost. Pack essentials to be able to live out of for a few days if the worst case scenario happens. I can now honestly tell you after 4 years of international travel British Airways were the assholes that made my OCD packing a a reality. They lost my bag and I was in London for 2 days sans luggage. THANK FUCK for that backpack and my packing habits. I'll be doing a post in the future of Travel Woes where I'll talk more about lost luggage but for now, here's what I pack in my carry-on and why my backpack is essential to my travel.

To Pack in Carry On for Flight
Pair of boots--This is mostly to save a bit of weight and room in the luggage
Essential makeup--tinted moisturizer, mascara, bronzer, eyebrow gel. That's it. Done. I can do my makeup everyday with just those things and feel confident and radiant-haha
Essential toiletries in clear plastic bag--shampoo, conditioner, body wash, contact solution, small toothpaste, toothbrush, makeup removers. Last 2 don't have to be in plastic bag obvs but still. Listing them all together is easier
A pair of leggings
A t shirt/short sleeve stop
A shirt (denim or flannel)
One other top or shirt
A few undies
Sleep/Comfy clothes
Flip Flops
Camera--I'll tuck this in between soft clothes or roll leggings around it to avoid any damage.
Adapters--Don't wanna have to buy new ones because they're expensive and how annoying
Travel Documents--Boarding passes, hotel confirmations, transfer confirmations, itinerary. Most customs, especially the UK, will want to know your return flight home, where you'll be staying, etc. Better to be prepared than frazzled
Prescription Meds/Over the counter must-haves--You definitely don't want to be worried about medication if you take it every day or need your OTC migraine medicine (this is me)
Charger Cords--Depending on flight connections and lengths you might need that adapter and phone charger prior to landing at your destination. I usually put all chargers in a clear plastic bag for easy access

My Carry On Essentials
In addition to it being easy to not only use pack a backpack as a carry-on, it's so easy just to throw it on your back and wheel your suitcase. I've tried to use larger totes before and they just don't work for me. My backpack is my lifeblood when traveling. Not only for ease of use but once I get to my destination and won't be flying for a while, I basically almost live out of my backpack. I keep all essentials in the backpack throughout my trip. Pajamas I wear every night. The rest of my make up. All of my toiletries. Extra pair of leggings. Glasses. Adapters, Chargers. Basically all the stuff I know I will want once I get to my room, that I use every day and night, and I won't have to dig into my big luggage searching for it. If I impart one piece of packing essentials to you it is that one. Use your backpack or small carry-on as your hold all for essentials. It is SO easy after a long day out or a long day of traveling on a bus to know exactly where my comfy clothes, make up removers, toothbrush and glasses are. I can be ready for bed in 10 minutes and not have the daunting task or opening my large luggage to look for everything. 

I know packing can be a daunting task and there are so many pieces of advice and opinions out there so I can only hope my posts are helping rather than hindering/causing more stress. I really think I take a pretty minimalistic approach to packing and while my 'lists' might seem like a lot once it's all said and done it's not that much really. And really, at the end of the day, do what works for you. This is what has worked for years for me and I love my system. I hope it works for you!

Tell me! Do you have any packing tips for carry-ons?
Do you think my backpack system would work for you?

Don't forget to post on Instagram with the hashtag #WanderlustWednesday! It can be anything--a throwback travel photo of a place you've been, a Google image of where you want to go, an inspirational quote, a travel themed trinket you have, anything that inspires your wanderlust.


  1. I totally use a backpack for when I'm traveling as well! I like having extra stuff with me in case of emergencies, or in case of long layovers, and it has served me well in all my years of travel. I do tend to use a smaller sling bag so that my essentials are within easy reach for me, but that's in addition to my backpack!

  2. I love using a backpack and I also usually take my LV Neverfull for anything I will need during the flight; I take what I need from the backpack and put it up top, then shove all the flight essentials in my Neverfull.

  3. So I texted you about this but I am totally bookmarking this post for my trip this fall! I'm always paranoid about losing my luggage so I will definitely be packing my NEW AMAZING backpack with your checklist in mind! I'm so freaking excited. :D


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