Travel Tips – Carry-on Bag Essentials

The Delightful Carry-on Bag EssentialsWith Valentine’s Day occurring over President’s Day Weekend this year, I know a lot of folks are taking advantage of the long weekend to head out of town. I thought it would be a good opportunity to share some of my best travel tips. When I was working for Nestlé Professional, I was traveling 80% of the time. That’s right – 4 out of 5 days a week, I was on the road. At the same time, my now husband and I were dating long distance, so many of my weekends were spent in NYC instead of my own apartment. I had one stretch where over the course of seven weeks I was only in my apartment for 5 nights. Rent seemed like a bit of a waste, but it was still nice to have a home base. After many missed flights, long delays and lost luggage, I have developed a list of carry-on bag essentials. I used to try not to check a bag, but during the winter with bulky sweaters or for trips over 4 days, checking a bag just makes life easier. Below is my list of the essentials that always go with me in my carry-on.


A Suit

Anyone who has had their luggage lost knows the feeling – the panic that sets in when the bags stop coming out of the mystery chute or tunnel, and everyone else from the flight has their bags – the sudden realization that your checked bag has not made the trip with you. Well, I have had that happen often enough that my #1 carry-on rule is to always pack my suit for the next day, whether it’s a swim suit or a business suit. It’s not fun to arrive at your destination and have to spend the next several hours acquiring the clothing you need for the activities you had planned instead of doing those activities. Technically, this category also includes pajamas, a toothbrush and a clean pair of underwear, but you get the idea.


Clearly, this iPad has been well-loved and used! The iPad really is a beautiful invention for travel. On it, I can access whichever book I’m currently reading through the Kindle App, watch movies I purchased on itunes, listen to my music, make notes for future posts on my notepad, and check my email, search the internet or catch up on social media when there is wifi available. Now, with Delta Studio, I can even watch movies and TV shows for free streaming directly to my device. This is my go-to gadget for air travel entertainment.

The Delightful Carry-on Bag Essentials iPad


Chargers +  Headphones

What value does that amazing iPad have if the battery is dead? None. Also, I don’t think my seat mates would appreciate me listening to music or watching a movie without headphones, so headphones, cell phone and iPad chargers always ride with me.

The Delightful Carry-on Bag Essentials Chargers and Headphones

Refillable Water Bottle

This one saves me $2.50 per flight. The recycled air on those airplanes can get so dry that I always find myself needing more liquid than the standard beverage service. Most airports now have those amazing water bottle filling stations right by the water fountains, so I will never have to be parched on a flight again. (Note: the water that comes out of the bathroom sinks on airplanes is not for drinking, even if your water bottle has a built in filter like my bobble below.)

The Delightful Carry-on Bag Essentials Water Bottle


Theoretically, if you’re flying first class, you won’t have to worry about this one, but I have been stuck on the tarmac for hours at a time enough times that I will not board an airplane without some sort of sustenance. Sometimes I bring a snack from home; sometimes I buy lunch after getting through airport security; but I will always make sure to have something to eat with me on the plane.

The Delightful Carry-on Essentials Almonds

Hand Sanitizer

This one is a biggie during cold and flu season. I even go the extra mile sometimes and bring anti-viral wipes. I may look like the crazy lady Lysol-wiping down my whole seating area, but there are so many people on and off of those airplanes everyday and so many germs going around that I think the precaution is worth it.

The Delightful Carry-on Essentials Hand Sanitizer


Make-up Bag + Hair Brush

See “A Suit” above. Plus, in the event I have to run to a meeting straight from the airport, I have the opportunity to touch up either on the plane or in an airport restroom before heading out.

The Delightful Carry-on Essentials Make-up Bag

Jewelry or Valuables 

This one is just not worth leaving to chance. I always keep my valuables and jewelry for the trip with me in a case with dividers that keeps the necklaces from tangling when it gets jostled around in my bag.

The Delightful Carry-on Essentials Jewelry

Those are my must-haves for my carry-on. What are yours? Did I miss anything that you wouldn’t travel without?

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