Keep Calm and Carry-On

Travel Essentials

"I get ideas about what's essential when packing my suitcase." - Diane von Furstenberg

Last summer, my son embarked on a two week trip to Scotland with his favorite teacher and the amazing non-profit group, Classroom Worldwide. During the final trip meeting, the teacher said, "no checked bags". What? Two weeks overseas with a carry-on only? 

At the end of my son's trip, we met him overseas and tried to follow suit by packing light (although we did check in bags).

Planning for that trip and packing my carry-on is where the idea for my clutch wallets, totes, and wristlets was born.

So here is my essential carry-on packing list.

1. The Tote

I love a carry-on tote to carry all of my trip essentials, including a book, phone, wristlet/wallet, tablet, medicines/toiletries, and important documents. The tote makes a perfect beach companion too!

2. Wristlet Wallet/Passport Wallet

The reason I designed the wristlet/wallet to begin with is that I found that more often than not I was carting around a tote or computer bag and wanted a slim wallet/purse to take out of the tote when I needed to buy lunch, go to the restroom, or even buy sundries. All of my wristlet/wallets have four credit card pockets and are large enough to hold your passport, cell phone, keys, and a lipstick, and the slim profile slides easily to a computer bag or tote without taking up a lot of space.

3. Zipper Pouch

For an overnight flight, consider packing a zipper pouch full of travel sized essentials like: a toothbrush, small travel sized toothpaste, chapstick, bath wipes and/or face wipes, and anti-perspirant. Freshening up on the plane before you land will not only make you feel refreshed, but is also a great way to jump start your day of sightseeing (especially if you are landing early in the morning after an overnight flight and want to beat the jetlag like we did). Zipper pouches are great to throw into your child's carry-on too to carry all of their pencils, pens, or crayons.

4. Travel Pillow/Scarf

You may want to consider packing a travel pillow and/or wearing an oversized scarf to keep yourself warm and cozy on a long flight. The Nomad Scarf by Fluxus is 100% cotton, washable, and turns into a blanket, and it sells for under $50. 

5. Documents/Itinerary

Of course you don't want to forget your passport and boarding pass, but you will also need to pack your travel itinerary, confirmation codes, and physical address of where you're staying. When I have traveled, I have used TripIt to store all of my travel plans, accommodation arrangements, and confirmation codes. I can then download the TripIt app and not only access all of my travel information from my phone, but also share my itinerary with my family and/or those traveling with me. In addition, the US Department of State suggests you consider making two color copies of your passport, one to leave home with a trusted family member or friend, and the other to carry with you (separate from your passport) in case of emergency. Finally, get a letter from your doctor for any medications you are bringing. Bear in mind that some countries have strict laws against over-the-counter medications, so you may want to do your research before packing any over-the-counter meds.

6. Travel Chargers

When traveling overseas, remember you will need travel chargers and travel adapters to charge everything from your phone to your tablet to your electric razor. When we traveled to Scotland last summer, we invested in the Bestek Universal Travel Charger/Adapter, which was not only compact, but included 4 USB charging ports, enabling us to charge four devices at once.

Additional Resources

For an excellent, comprehensive online packing list, check out the Packing Essentials website. There you can customize your packing list based on your destination, length of trip, and activities.

Safe travels!


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