What’s in my carry on?

I set a goal for 2017, hit Delta Silver Medallion Status. That meant planning 30 flights in a year. Guess what? I did it with 8 days to spare. I’m already working towards maintaining status during 2018… I take off for another adventure in February! Now clearly this goal takes some logistical, planning, and financial skills. More importantly, it takes some serious packing skills. Most trips are long weekends and I am a PRO over-packer. I may or may not have busted the zipper on my Tumi more than once… (I highly recommend this investment because of their fabulous warranty and customer service!) I am still working on improving my suitcase packing skills, but my carry-on packing skills have always been A+. I am a type-A big sister with a hot mess I-don’t-need-plans little brother. He is forever running late, saying he’s hungry, and asking for an extra set of headphones (love ya baby bro, and disclaimer: he is Delta Gold Medallion Status, so he is actually a really good traveler too). I think his lack of preparation is what has made me so good at being prepared on a trip.

For all 30 of my flights this year, these were the must haves before wheels up… and more than once it was the baby brother who ended up wanting these at 36,000 feet.


  • iPad: This is ideal for on the plane before laptops are allowed. I can listen to music, play games, or read a book on a screen that is bigger than my iPhone X without having to wait until after take off. I also love the Delta Studio App that works with the iPad to watch free movies and TV shows while flying! The Delta Studio App is probably the only place I ever watch movies… like ever.
  • MacBook Air: If I am going to spend 11 hours in the Detroit airport then have to spend the night at a Detroit airport hotel then have to spend 7 hours in the Detroit airport the next day (yes, it happened this year) having a laptop is important. I can keep up with work (thank goodness I have a job that lets me work anywhere I have internet), work on writing new posts, or meal plan on the road. It is my favorite to land at home at 8pm on Sunday night with a grocery list I made on the plan so I can stop at the food store on the way home.
  • Headphones: Similar to the iPad versus MacBook debate, I pack an excessive amount of headphones. Powerbeats for when I don’t want to deal with wires (and for hotel gym workouts). Beats Solo for listening to anything on noisy airplanes. Apple EarPods (lightning AND 3.5mm) because lord knows you always have the one you don’t need and these little ones are easiest to just grab and go. Most importantly, never forever the awkward little lightning to 3.5mm converter. (So when my brother says he needs headphones… I literally have 4 pairs for him to choose from.)
  • Mobile power station: Airports have started adding more outlets, but they are still really hard to come by. Airplanes have started adding outlets, but they rarely work. I just trust a portable battery to keep me up and running.


  • Empty Water Bottle: I always travel with an empty water bottle. I always have to chug it before I go through security. The majority of airports are putting in water bottle filling stations at water fountains and I love it! Water bottles are SO overpriced in airports (most of the times it is my S’well… other times it is a plastic one I get for free somewhere), so it is nice to be able to stay self sufficient. Packing some lime essential oil is a great way I add some flavor to my endless water bottles. I’ve also found that airport restaurants will usually fill it up with seltzer and some lime slices if I ask nicely!
  • Bars: Everyone loves a granola bar. They are healthy, filling, and travel really well. Some of my favorites are Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Larabars (they’re seasonal, so if you see them in a store I suggest buying them all), Blueberry Coconut Tone It Up Bars, and Apricot Pepita Nut Butter Bars from Big Spoon Roasters.
  • Apple Slices: Fresh fruit is pretty hard to travel with, but apples seem to last through at least a flight. I usually do a sliced apple or two, as well as some Big Slice packs. Their Pineapple & Passion Fruit ones are my favorite!
  • Trail Mix: The night before I leave I grab a Stasher Bag or a Tone It Up container and create a trail mix for the trip. I always have some random nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips, and other random stuff that has been thrown to the back of my cabinets. Some favorite combinations this year have been cocoa almonds, dried cherries/coconut flakes, and cashews/dried blueberries/dried cranberries/granola.

Self Care

  • Young Living Essential Oil Rollers: I swear by these when it comes to travel (and day to day life). Breathe Again helps with my asthma, and overall breathing troubles that come with travel. Deep Relief is great for muscle aches after being awkwardly stuck in a little plane seat. Stress Away is constantly rolled all over my wrists and neck and everywhere to help me stop stressing. Remember when I said I was type-A? That also makes me a worrier. Am I going to miss my flight? Is that noise on the plane normal? Does this turbulence freak anyone else out? Yeah, I use a lot of stress away.
  • Cocokind Mymatcha Stick: This bad boy does WONDERS for the terrible under eye circles that happen after flights and the not so cute puffiness that happens all around my face. Put some of this on that struggling skin and it definitely helps wake me up.
  • Thieves Wipes: Do you realize how dirty planes are? Or airports? Or your hands after a day of traveling? These all-natural non-toxic wipes clean anything they touch… and they smell great.
  • Lotion Bar: Lotion can get awkward and sticky and spill all over your bag when you don’t want it to. I found a lotion bar on a trip this past year and it has been the BEST for dry hands when traveling. All you have to do is open up the little tin, rub your hands on the bar, and close it back up. Plus, it smells delicious.

Basics you don’t think of but then always want…

  • Vaseline because I use this as a solution to everything
  • Nail file because I’m a diva about my nails
  • Dental floss because when you need it you desperately need it
  • Hair things (hair ties, bobby pins, clips) because I have too much hair
  • Your wallet because its nice to remember this one BEFORE you get in the security line
  • ALL THE CHARGERS because I would have ZERO travel plans without my phone

I have to say, my carry-on really is the game changer here. It fits SO much. It holds up so well. It has been through so much with me. I have had my Lilly Pulitzer La La Tote for years and it still looks great and handles flights like a champ. If you are looking for a quality dump-all-my-crap-in-one-bag bag, you need the La La.

Now that I have gone through my whole packing routine, I’m ready for my first trip of 2018!

A note on the links: I tried to find links as close to what I have as possible! If you have questions about any of the links or products let me know! 

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