What's In My Bag? Carry-on Essentials

What's In My Bag? Carry-on Essentials

I've been traveling since before I was a year old. In fact, my first birthday was celebrated on an overnight ferry cruise from Denmark to Norway, or so my parents say. For all I know, we could have been having a low key night in, watching the news.

My point is, I've had experience and as a result, I've become quite the packer. It was on my trip to Japan (take me back please) three years ago, when I finally achieved packing perfection. I planned each day's outfit and didn't stray. I knew exactly what I was going to wear and didn't have extra clothes with me that just end up going for a nice roundtrip plane ride without ever actually leaving my bag. This can be hard; however, when you're packing for nine months in Russia.

So, instead of going through the 15 pairs of wool socks, two sets of long johns, and one pair of mittens that I shoved into my checked bags, I'll stick to something a bit more universal: the carry-on.

I love packing a carry-on bag. It's like a little place to store your treasures and comforts while you venture to far off and new places. It has everything you need and perhaps a few extra luxuries to help you get through the sometimes exhausting journey.

First of all, you need to pick a bag. I love a weekender bag with a shoulder strap. Sure, after walking from Terminal A to E in Logan International, your shoulder might be crying, but hey, you looked good while doing it. I do admit that I'm tempted, for long trips, to cave for a rolling carry-on like the one my husband has.

  1. The first thing I pack, before anything else, is a pair of socks and underwear. My feet always get cold on planes, and you never know if you're going to need to spend the night at a connection due to an apocalyptic snow storm (enter fresh underwear). 
  2. I like something mindless to read (look at) in addition to a good novel or memoir. I opt for the latest issue of Us Weekly and on this particular trip, grabbed Gulag Boss by Fyodor Vasilevich Mochulsky which I am engrossed in. My suit case is packed with numerous other books that I'll be reading over the course of our stay.
  3. Facial towelettes are amazing! They clean, refresh, and revitalize instantly.
  4. You can't always rely on airplane food, so I tend to pack something nutritious and something sweet. A hearty granola bar can hit the spot just as a piece or handful of your favorite candy can.
  5. If you're looking for something to pass the time during lay overs, Bananagrams packs away easily and can be played on any hard surface. So get yourself a coffee in between connections and have a seat by the windows, where you can watch the planes coming and going while you smoke your travel partner. No mercy!
  6. I always make sure my electronics are fully charged. This way I can put the cords into my suitcase (exception: phone charger).

P.S. Gum is good for take-off and landing (plugged ears can be a pain) but if you don't love gum, just pretend. Only you will know that you're a crazy person chewing imaginary gum.

My cosmetics bag has only the essentials in it. 

  1. A good moisturizer is key. I read somewhere once that an airplane is dryer than the Mohave desert, so anything that will hydrate your skin will be a lifesaver. I have been a Clinique user since high school, thanks to my mom, and haven't strayed once.
  2. I love a bit of illumination and Kiko makes an excellent eye shadow that can be used as a highlighter.
  3. Biotrue contact solution to keep my eyes supple.
  4. Kiko's blush brush is great for applying highlighter to your cheekbones.
  5. I bought a travel sized Urban Decay's Perversion Mascara after reading some good reviews. I'm not sold on it yet though.
  6. Tweezers for those strays.
  7. Sephora Collection eye shadows add just enough color to brighten your eyes.
  8. Kiko became my favorite (if you can't already tell) when I lived in Italy. They make a creamy, black eye liner that blends like a dream.
  9. With a small and precise eye brush, good for blending, I never need more than one.
  10. And lastly, my favorite new product, Sephora's brow pencil. It lasts all day and all night, while looking purely natural.
  1. I like to have a small across-body purse with me when I travel, like this one by Ted Baker. This way I can access my money easily and also, shove the entire thing into my carry-on if I want.
  2. I adore my Ted Baker wallet. It's classic and full of great little details, and most importantly plenty of room for everything you could need. They're always switching up the designs slightly, so here's a similar one.
  3. I don't go anywhere without at least a few lip essentials. I have Clinique's Chubby Stick and Maybelline's Baby Lips (favorite!) in a handful of tints.
  4. Like most people, my phone is never far. 

I always pick an aisle seat so I can get up easily to use the restroom or access the overhead bin without awkwardly waking up the person next to me. I wear either pants or a long dress and always a blazer or light jacket to keep me warm. 

Traveling is a thrilling experience no matter where you're going. Sometimes things don't go as you planned, so being prepared makes you feel a bit better. Bring with you whatever small comforts you relish in, because you never know what you'll discover when you get to your destination. Счастливого пути! 

Tyler and I have finally settled into our apartment in Russia and I'll be much better about posting now that I've had a moment to get my bearings. Lots of food and travel coming your way soon!