Packing Lists Travel Travel Tips

Packing Light: The Carry-On Tote

If there’s one part of the packing process that has become second nature for me, it’s the carry-on tote. It’s a perfected formula, with a few tweaks based on the length of the flight or the time of year I am flying. No joke, I lay out every item on our table before they find a spot in my bag.

Having an organized bag makes flying a lot more enjoyable, and the time spent in the airport a little less stressful.

Here’s what you’ll find in my travel tote (my exact one):

The Essentials:


  • Eye MaskI have no shame in wearing an eye mask on a plane, it’s a serious game changer.
  • Neck Pillow. I’ve been using this one for years and love it! (and it’s under $15!!)
  • My handy-dandy travel socks. On longer flights, I switch out my shoes for a thick pair of socks.
  • Large scarf. The bigger, the cozier, the better. Loving this one and this one.
  • Glasses. I find myself reading/watching TV a lot while flying, good way to rest the eyes.
  • Flight Drink Kit. I love love love these little guys (another option).

Entertainment & Tech:

  • iPad. I prefer using my iPad to watch in-flight entertainment.
  • Noise cancelling headphones. Babies on flights, we’ve all been there.
  • Magazine. I love splurging on a pile of magazines before a long haul flight.
  • Mophi Case and/or portable charger. These are lifesavers! Especially when the outlet decides not to work.
  • International Adapter. If there’s one thing I ALWAYS forget, it’s this.
  • Go-Pro. I love taking shots from the airplane window!


  • Dry ShampooMakes me feel somewhat human after a few hours on a plane.
  • Face WipesDepending on the length of the flight, I’ll find myself washing my face multiple times.
  • Wet Wipes. I’m an accident prone human being…
  • Hairbrush & Makeup Bag. Quick touch up before landing. I can’t stop using this TSA Approved pouch.
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste. 
  • Deodorant.


  • A mixture of snacks. You will always find me with a bag of Swedish fish and beef jerky.
  • Reusable water bottleI always ask the flight attendants to refill my water bottle instead of taking the multiple plastic cups!
  • Packaged Salad. I’ve recently stopped eating the food they provide on the plane and bringing my own salad for my in-flight meal.

The Extras:

  • UmbrellaI’ve been rained on one too many times, especially on the tarmac in Europe.
  • Camera. I’m ready to snap photos the minute we land.
  • Documents. I print off everything before a trip abroad: itineraries, hotel confirmations, flight plans, etc.

Along with the tote, I usually travel with a carry-on suitcase ONLY. You’ll find all my outfits, accessories, and large beauty items in here. The most important thing, especially if you have checked a bag: pack extra outfits in your carry-on. 

What items do you keep in your carry-on?

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