Figuring out exactly what to pack when traveling can be hard, but after plenty of trips and learning from a few of my own mistakes I now have packing down to a science! Of course, what I pack for a short domestic flight versus a long-haul flight overseas is very different, so today I’m focusing specifically on what to pack in your carry-on for longer flights when you also have a checked bag.
When traveling you are always trying to find a balance between making sure you have everything you need, while not dragging along extra stuff you won’t use. When it comes to packing a carry-on, your biggest priorities should be making sure you are comfortable mid-flight, are able to keep an eye on your valuables and have your everyday necessities available in case an airline looses your luggage.
Here are the 9 things you need to pack in your carry-on luggage when traveling overseas.
1. A CUTE SUITCASE
Since check-in bags tend to get tossed around a lot, I usually opt for a basic dark coloured suitcase but then pair it with an extra cute carry-on. On our recent trip to Thailand, I borrowed my mom’s Heys carry-on suitcase and absolutely loved it! Having four wheels on a carry-on was an absolute life changer. Normal two wheeled carry-ons are just barely wide enough to fit down an airplane aisle, but being able to swivel the suitcase sideways while pulling it made a huge difference! I knew I wanted to purchase a similar carry-on for my next trip, so as soon as I found this marble printed suitcase I had to have it! It is so classy and I’m obsessed with the neutral palate and pretty striped interior.
2. ONE CHANGE OF CLOTHES
I’ve had my check-in luggage go missing twice in my life, and both times, I had neglected to pack a carry-on bag. I was left sleeping in jeans and wearing wrinkled clothes hoping my bag would eventually arrive. Now, I always pack the outfit (including shoes!) that I will wear the first day at my destination inside my carry-on, just in case my luggage goes missing once again.
3. A BOOK, PAPER & PEN
International airlines often have different rules that could end up surprising you. When recently traveling from Beijing with Air China, absolutely all electronics had to be powered off for the duration of the flight. Switching your photo to airplane mode didn’t cut it and flight attendants literally asked to see your devices to make sure they were powered off. There was no in-flight entertainment, and we had brought nothing along besides our phones to keep us busy. During that flight, I desperately wished I had brought a good old fashioned book or even a blank notebook along with me so I could have made use of that time.
Later, when we arrived in Thailand, all incoming passengers were required to fill out an arrival form and there were absolutely no pens to be found. There were literally hundreds of people trying to desperately find pens and borrow them from the few lucky people who had brought their own. After spending nearly 3 hours attempting to get through immigration, I will never again travel without a pen!
4. YOUR BEAUTY ESSENTIALS
When traveling, I always pack my straightening iron in my carry-on bag. Being able to touch up your hair during a long layover is one of those small luxuries that makes you feel a little more presentable after spending hours sleeping on a plane. I pack mine in a heatproof case to make sure nothing in my bag accidentally gets burned by throwing a hot iron into it. Straightening irons can also be a bit of an investment, so keeping it in my carryon is the best way to make sure it doesn’t get stolen or damaged in transit.
In addition to my straightener, I also pack a small toiletry bag just in case my luggage ends up lost. After a long flight, the last thing you want to worry about is shopping for toothpaste or deodorant in a foreign country! Within my toiletry case, I always separate any liquids into a ziplock bag so they are easy to take out when going through security.
5. ANY ELECTRONICS
Most airlines have become much more lenient when it comes to allowing electronics onboard. I like being able to get work done from my laptop mid-flight, so I always pack it in my carry-on. My ultra slim rose gold laptop case keeps my laptop safe from scratches without creating bulk in my suitcase.
I also like to pack a pair of noise canceling headphones. Airplanes are loud and being able to block out most of that white noise mid-flight is such a game changer. Purchasing a pair of noise canceling headphones can be a bit of an investment but it is well worth it.
6. CHARGERS & ADAPTERS
For obvious reasons, you will want to make sure to bring all of the chargers for your electronics with you in your carry-on. I also love the idea of clipping this adorable fringed leather charger on your bag. At only $7 it is an absolute steal, and an easy way to make sure you always have charging cables available.
Something you may not think to pack is a power adaptor for the country you are traveling to as well as any countries you have layovers in. I always like to choose a power adaptor that has a fuse, just in case the power where I’m staying is inconsistent, I’d much rather blow a fuse than ruin my electronics!
A back-up battery is also great to bring along for a long flight. However make sure to check the requirements of airlines you are flying with and counties you will be traveling through. My iphone power bank was confiscated by security in Beijing because it didn’t fit within the guidelines of types of batteries allowed on Chinese airlines.
7. A SMALL PURSE WITH YOUR ESSENTIALS
Last but not least, I like to bring a small cross body bag onto the plane with me. You don’t want to worry about lugging around a heavy handbag in addition to your carry-on so choose a lightweight bag just big enough to fit your passport, cellphone, ID and cash.
– Shop this post –
Heys marble luggage. Gold iphone power bank. Pink leopard print vanity case. Mrs. Luggage tag. Kate Spade notebook. Paul Michel straightener. Heatproof hair iron case. Pink sandals. Rose gold laptop case. Love x Style x Life book. Travel adapter. Leather fringe iPhone charger.
hahahahaha…thankfully I’ve never learned the hard way. I’m always paranoid about my luggage getting lost so I always pack a solid carry on. Makeup, change of clothes that are easy to pack..anything essential!
I do love the marble luggage though, I’ve been eyeing them for a while now….
These photos are gorgeous! Your essentials are also just prettier than mine haha
Thanks for the tips! I usually lay out my outfits before packing and add to them any single accessory I need for each of them so I don’t forget anything. Then I use two separate beauty bags, one for skincare and one for make-up.
Have a great weekend, Jennifer!
Such a great post Jennifer! Lots of awesome tips & I love all your flat lay photos.
That marble suitcase is gorgeous too!