Carry-On Essentials

Tis the season for holiday travel. If you're headed off on a plane like me, chances are you will have a suitcase and a carry-on in tow, unless you're one of those people who can fit everything in your carry-on- I blame shoes and toiletries that are over 3 oz.

Pretty sure my plane won't look like this but wouldn't it be cool if it did?! [ Source ]

Pretty sure my plane won't look like this but wouldn't it be cool if it did?! [Source]

Packing your carry-on is an art. You need things to be accessible and easy to take in/out, plus you have to keep it a manageable size and weight. For any of you who might be struggling with this or just curious to see how I do it, here are my carry-on must haves.

Note: I use MZ Wallace's Kate bag from their Bedford collection; mine is brown but that doesn't seem to exist anymore. I was gifted it a few years ago and it since became my law school book bag and now my carry-on. The bottle holders on the side are perfect for an umbrella, my phone, and (post security) stowing drinks.

Less than a week until my view looks more like this.

Less than a week until my view looks more like this.

Aside from the obvious must-haves (phone, headphones, something to read, wallet, appropriate form of identification, tickets and other needed travel documents), you will find my carry-on packed with:

  • Socks - I always like to have a pair of socks, especially if I'm wearing slip on shoes. Although I have pre-check and in most cases don't need to remove my shoes, sometimes I still do and I really don't want to step on the airport floor with my bare feet because cold and gross.
  • Glasses & Extra Pair of Contacts - You never know when you might lose or rip a lens and plane air is SO DRY, which can irritate my eyes and force me to put on my glasses. In fact, if it's an early morning or overnight flight, I wear my glasses regardless. These are also two of the items that, should my luggage not make it, I absolutely must have on the other side.
  • Medicine - I'm not talking Advil here, that I can buy if I need, but prescriptions which, like my glasses and contacts, I will be SOL (sh*t out of luck) without. [Nerdy lawyer Leah comment: How ironic that SOL is also the abbreviation for Statute of Limitations? Coincidence?]
  • Scarf (of the pashmina/shawl variety) - Is it just me or are airports and planes cold AF?! A scarf keeps me warm (and stylish) en route to the airport, can serve as a blanket on the plane or I can bunch it up into a little makeshift pillow. Way to earn your place at the table scarf.
  • Hand Cream & Chapstick - I pretty much always have these in every bag regardless, but when flying, I make sure that I have them in tow. As I said, plane air is so dry and it sucks out every ounce of moisture from my skin. Anything I can do to rehydrate is a must.
  • Snacks - You never know what you will find in the airport or on the plane, though recently I've been pleasantly surprised by airports, especially the NYC airports. Still, I always like to have a variety of things with me just in case. They can also come in handy if you have delays on the other end, be it waiting hours for baggage or a rental or getting stuck in traffic, etc.
  • Pens - It might seem silly but in today's world we don't always have pens on us. So often when traveling there are forms to fill out and if you have your own pen, it makes the process so much faster.
  • Phone Charger - The last thing you want is for your phone to die when traveling. For safety, ensuring you get to your location, being able to use maps, look up information, communicate with fellow travelers, a phone is essential. Airports are usually full of outlets and recently I've started seeing them on planes as well. I will often bring a fully charged mophie as a back up. (You can never be too prepared :) ) 

What are your carry on essentials? Are you traveling for the holidays?