What's in My Carry On Bag!

Do you love to take a peek into someone's bag?  I'm betting you do!  We're all a little nosy from time to time, but beyond that, it's helpful to see what others lug around with them when traveling!  'What's in my bag' posts are some of my favorite to stumble upon and I've found some really cool faves by peeking into the bags of others.  So, today, I thought I'd return the favor, unzip by bag, and allow you, dear friends, to see what's in my carry on bag!

Since I’m focusing on organizational tips this month, I thought I’d share what I carry with me in my carry on bag when I travel and how I organize it all.  It can be SO easy to toss too much in your bag that you really don’t need.  One solution to that is to get a bag that is big enough to carry your essentials and a bit extra, BUT isn’t so big that you it allows you to cart along more than what you absolutely need (check out my post yesterday for my pick of the perfect carry on bag)!

How many of you have gotten to the end of a trip, looked at all of your crap while repacking and realize you didn’t use a good 1/3 to 1/2 of what you brought? ME ME ME!  We’ve all been there!

While everyone’s needs for their essentials will differ, the main thing to aim for is to only bring what you KNOW you can’t live without!

Do you really need 10 shades of lipstick…seriously?  I’m betting you can take 3 and do some creative mixing to generate more than 3 colors while keeping your makeup bag to it’s most slim and trim size!  Normally my trips are pretty casual, so lately, I’ve been forcing myself to go with only ONE lipgloss and you know what…I haven't missed the others (I have a bit of a lipgloss obsession)!

I’m planning to do a travel focused month later this spring, so I’ll save all of my packing tips for then, but in the mean time, I thought I’d share with you what I like to bring with me on board my flight! (and if for nothing else…who doesn’t love to take a peek into someone else’s bag, right?!)

The key to keeping your carry on bag organized when traveling (or any bag, for that matter!) is to make use of either pockets within the bag, or smaller zippered pouches to corral similar type items.

For the most part, my O.G. bag has enough pockets that I can stash most of my goodies within those to stay nice and organized!  But, if I were using a bag that was a little light on the pocket front, I’d make use of the gajillion makeup pouches I’ve acquired over the years (so, don’t toss out those freebie makeup bags that you get when you buy your products!  They DO have a use!).

Usually for my carry on, I bring any essentials for keeping me entertained during the flight and anything that I don’t want packed away in my suitcase (this is especially true if I’m checking a bag!).

Ready to take a peek into my bag?

What's in My Carry On?

#1 | Random Papers:  For my last trip, I had some paperwork I wanted to try to work on while on the plane.  I used the plastic envelope to keep them from getting wrinkled or torn while getting them in and out of my bag.

# 2 | Magazines:  A girl needs something to read and a little inspiration!

#3 | 11" MacBook Air:  I like to work on blog stuff when I travel.  I find airports to have the perfect amount of background noise to keep my mind from wondering and I can really focus in and get some work done (much like coffee shops!).  The 11" MacBook Air is perfect for travel!  It's small and lightweight!

#4 | iPad and Nook:  I also like to read while traveling (both on the plane, in the airport, and in my hotel room), so having my Nook with me is essential!  I realize I could read my books via my iPad, but I really don't like the interface and just prefer to my Nook for reading, so I do bring both.  Fortunately, they're both small, so they don't weigh much or take up too much room!

#5 | Empty Water Bottle:  I like to drink lots of water while flying to stay hydrated!  After I'm through security, I fill it up at a water fountain or water station and save the few bucks they charge for bottles of water at the airport.

#6 | Mod Tablet Case: This is my office on the go!  I keep my mouse, card reader, 3 port USB hub, a pen, my blog notebook, and other random bits needed for getting work done.  

The Mod Tablet case is available via This is Ground and I ordered it with the Shooter insert. As with my O.G. Bag, it's pricey, but I LOVE it and I use it all the time!  I also didn't buy this when it was full price...you gotta hold out for those sales, ladies (i.e. stalk their social media pages for announcements of specials!).  The Flourish notebook is a definite fave and it's from Amazon.

#7 | Cheap-o Notepad:  This is for the random notes that I write down while working that I don’t need to keep for posterity!  Once I fill this up or rip out all of the pages, I toss it and grab another one.

#8 | Wallet:  I love this wristlet!  It has a spare phone charger tucked inside and believe me, when I travel, I make good use of this baby!

#9 | Case with iPhone Lenses:  I don't always take my dSLR camera with me, so having iPhone lenses really gives me some options for grabbing memories (and having a little photo fun!).

The three smaller lenses on the right and the shutter release remote are from Photojojo.  The larger lens on the left if the Lensbaby Mobile lens.  The little case is an iPhone case that I picked up from an Accessorize store back in the summer.  I checked their website and they don't seem to have it anymore!

#10 | Small Notebook:  I always have a small notebook with me for quick, random ideas on the go, so this one gets stashed in the front pocket of my bag to keep it in easy reach.

#11 | The Beauty Essentials:  Makeup (compact, lip balm, & lip gloss), hand moisturizer, and a travel pack of tissues...these are all I need for touchups on the go!

#12 | Pens & Pencils:  I like to use a variety of colors when jotting down notes, prioritizing things, etc.  So, I usually keep a small pencil case with me that includes various pens, pencils, and highlighters.  This one might fall into the ‘do I really need this many pens on my trip?’!  If something had needed to be cut, this would’ve been the one to go!

#13 | Sunglasses:  Unless I'm going somewhere that's supposed to be perpetually rainy, I always take my sunglasses with me!  The cute sunglasses case was an Etsy find a few years ago and I LOVE it!

#14 | Snack:  Luna protein bar

#15 | Mucinex D:  On the advice of a doctor a few years ago (after getting a really bad sinus infection on my flight home for Christmas), I take 1 Mucinex D about 3 hours before I fly to keep my sinuses open.  I used to fly almost weekly for work when I was younger and ever since then I have crappy sinuses (thanks to having to fly with head colds at the time!).

#16 | Little Necessities:  Lifesavers, gum, and earbuds

So, wondering how this all fit into my O.G. bag?

I put the things i didn't really need in the flight, like my sunglasses, on the bottom of the bag (underneath my wallet).  Anything I knew I might need to grab was placed within easy reach!

The nice thing about the O.G. bag is when I pull something out, it doesn't cause everything else to shuffle around and become a mess!  If I pull my Mod Tablet case out, it's slot stays open so it's easy to put it back in it's place at the end of the flight when everyone is scrambling to get off the plane as fast as possible!

I put the small essentials (gum, snack bar, tissues, makeup, small notebook, etc.) in the front pocket:

For my most recent trip, I carried both my O.G. bag and my suitcase on board, so this is really pared down to the main essentials!  While the bag looks full in the photos…it wasn’t.  I could’ve easily added a lot more in here! When I went home for Christmas, I had to bring both my work laptop (I had to work for 2 days while home for the holidays) and my personal laptop (which has all of my blogging and personal stuff).  

I also put my full makeup bag in here since I don’t like checking my makeup, some Christmas gifts, and 2 paperback books that I wanted to try to find time to read (which didn’t happen!).  Even with all of that added in here…I STILL could’ve probably gotten more if I had needed to!

Your turn!  What are some of your 'must have' items when you're traveling?  What can't you live without while on the road or in the air?  Leave me a comment and let me know!!