What's In My Carry-On? || Short Flight Edition

Friday, February 24, 2017


As you're reading this post, I'm currently in Michigan, competing for additional scholarship with my beloved school. (More on that later!) It's just a long-weekend trip, and the flight from my hometown is pretty short (only about an hour and a half, actually), but I thought it would be fun to share the essentials that I pack for a short plane ride: minimalist, delineated, only the necessities. Because you really don't need to pack a full skincare regime in your hand luggage unless you're flying overseas, let's be real. On the other hand, you do want your liquids to be easily accessible for getting through security with as little hassle as possible.

Of course it's easy to overpack for a long vacation, and maybe this is just me, but I especially tend to overpack for shorter trips! I probably bring as much for a 4-day trip as I should for a 7-day trip, if that gives you any idea...(oops). But the more I travel, the better I get with weeding out the unnecessary, and actually remembering the things that I typically would forget or forgo. This isn't a "pretty" or "photogenic" minimalist travel-list, this is the real deal, in hopes that I can save you the frustration of dealing with a fussy backpack that doesn't fit under your seat, or having to rummage through loads of junk to find your boarding pass in the security line. Here's a hint: it's all in the bag. 

I hope it's helpful to ya, whenever you're next hopping on a plane!


1. The Bag
The best type of bag for air travel is a tote with pockets - something with enough structure to keep your things where you've put them (and therefore easy to find), but big and open enough to fit things like magazines, a book, a laptop...and this tote I got from Target a few years back fits the bill just perfectly (similar products linked here, here and here). I love that it's not as bulky as your typical computer bag, but it still fits more than a laptop sleeve.

Honestly, though, if I didn't need to carry school supplies with me this time around, and get work done in the terminal, I would even pack my larger reading materials in my suitcase and just carry a simple shopper tote (like thisthis or this), and just wear my--

2. Wallet On A Chain
I'm not really a fan of wristlets, as I find them to be clunky and irritating; instead I wear cross body purses almost exclusively. I recently bought this little guy (also from Target...I swear I'm not sponsored, you guys...XD) and it hits that perfect combination of wristlet and crossbody: it's quite simply a wallet on a chain, perfect for wearing on you in the airport when you need to access it easily, or throwing in your tote just like a wallet when you don't.

3. Scarf
Because it can get chilly on airplanes, but sometimes sweaters and sweatshirts don't look nice with your outfit. (Also, this rolls up and tucks into smaller spaces.)

4. Headphones
No. description. necessary.

5. Snack
...Because between arriving at one airport and departing the second for your actual destination, there are a lot of hours in which healthy food access is both limited and expensive.

6. Journal
I always find myself wishing I had my journal in my hand luggage, instead of my suitcase, when we're up in the air. And maybe that's just me, but something about the physical distance from everything definitely helps me get a little mental distance too, and those are the times when having plain paper available is imperative. (The "notes" section on your phone just doesn't have the same therapeutic scratch-scratch as a pen on paper.)

7. Sunglasses
Because you never truly know what the weather will be like when you get there.
(And especially if you're going makeup-free, because it looks glam.)

8. Agenda
I write to-do lists. A lot. Again, I'd much rather do it with pen and paper than on my phone, so I carry this little black one around with me everywhere.

9. Book
I'm still working through Out Of The Silent Planet. Oops (but I love it).

And that's it!
What's one necessity (besides your phone) that you can't live without when traveling?

8 comments

  1. I hope you have a wonderful trip, Carmel!

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  2. Ooh, I love this post! The scarf idea is so great. Next time I fly somewhere, I'll certainly remember to pack a scarf in my carry-on. I get SO COLD on flights, it's crazy.

    Also... I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU AND YOUR UPCOMING COLLEGE ADVENTURES! I'm 1.5 semesters away from completing my bachelor's degree, and I can't even begin to describe how much I've loved college. I hope it's everything you dream of and more. <3

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    1. I'm glad you like it, Katie! Scarves are a must. :)

      I'M SO EXCITED TOO. (And oh my word how are you so close to graduating already??) Thanks for that. You're the best. <3

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  3. LOVE this post! I agree with Katie; the scarf idea is fantastic. I get cold on flights, even in the summer, so a scarf is handy to have. I also love your wallet-on-a-chain suggestion. I have a cross-body one too (can't stand a clunky wristlet), but to keep it in a tote just like a wallet when traveling is brilliant. No one likes having to dig around while a line is waiting impatiently behind you!

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    1. Thank youuu! But for real, the wallet-on-a-chain is literally the antidote to all my travel frustrations. It's such a little thing but seriously: it's made all the difference. XD

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  4. I have a wallet wristlet from Target and love it to death!

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    1. Target does have the best cute things, no joke. XD

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