One of my favorite parts of travel is people watching. Especially at the airport. I like watching people and what they are wearing, what kind of shoes do they have one, and what type of carry on bag are they using. I am always envious of the woman with the big Purse tote. It is usually black, big, and open at the top. She seems to walk seamlessly though the airport with all her goodies in tow. But for me that tote comes at a price. If it’s BIG, then I will bring/put in more crap than I need. More crap means more weight. More weight means that whatever shoulder I am putting it on, that strap is digging into it and pushing down on it and when I get where I am going I am going to have pain in my neck, back and shoulder. The open top means that as I’m attempting to tuck it under the seat in front of me, I run the risk of stuff rolling out and up or down the aisle. Or worse yet, something falling out and getting left behind. So, I have given up on the beautiful bag for the utilitarian back pack. It might not be pretty, but at this point in my life, I have decided that shoes that hurt my feet, purses that are cute but too small or too big to be functional, and pain in my shoulders from carrying a bag that is heavy on it, just isn’t worth it. I also feel “safer” with the fact that everything zippers into a pocket (except for the water bottle).
When I was an occasional traveler, I would “pack” the carry-on bag every time I traveled. When I started traveling frequently, I realized that was just silly. There were certain things I could get together and leave in the backpack, and the next time I traveled my base was ready. As life happens, it is harder and harder for me to “remember” where I put stuff. If it stays in the back pack then I know where to find it for the next trip. I am lucky enough to have a high shelf in my closet, where the bag sits waiting for its next outing.
My backpack is blue and yellow, because the black and red one I had before this one looked a little “manly”. My suitcases are Navy and Yellow, so the blue and yellow backpack makes my borderline obsessive compulsive self happy.
Inside the bag:
In the front pocket, I always have a reading light, a pair of glasses, some mints, a package of Kleenex, and writing utensils. This would be where I would put my car keys as well. So, when I get back I am not digging through every pocket looking for my keys.
In the bag itself I carry the following:
Clear plastic make up zipper makeup bag. I usually double check the bottles of pain medicine if it has been a while since I traveled and add my RX medicine for the trip.
- Small bottle of body spray. Not only to put on if I start to smell but squirt a little on my wrist if there is an offensive odor in the air from other fellow travelers.
- A bag of WYSI WIPE that I found at the container store. (I’m sure you can order them on line too). They look like a white antacid tablet. Add a little water and presto you have a wash cloth. Very handy in the car, boat, camper, or diaper bag too.
- Dental floss plackers and soft picks. There is nothing worse than having something stuck in between 2 teeth when your sandwiched in a small space with nothing but time to think about it.
- Band-Aids. In variably, I pack a shoe that gives me a blister.
- Hand lotion, hand sanitizer and Vaseline lip tube. Hands get dry in the airplane. Germs are easily spread. And you can see that I need a new tube of sanitizer. Lips get dry too, but I like the Vaseline tube, because sometimes you need Vaseline other places. Looks like I need a new tube of it as well.
- Travel size bottles of pain medicine. You could put them all in one container, but I like the ease of just pulling out the bottle of the one I want.
- Hotel shower cap. Before you laugh me off the plane, this is in there because I had to walk to my car in the pouring rain. At least now, I can keep my head dry. I also have it because sometimes I am staying someplace that doesn’t have them, and they also work well to wrap up a pair of dirty shoes.
- Comfort wipes, additional medicine. Let’s face it, when we travel, we eat too much, drink too much, don’t get enough sleep and just the traveling itself can mess with one’s tummy. It’s nice to be prepared!
- Bottle of essential oil: peppermint. I have found that this is very effective in fighting off head aches and nausea. Rub a bit on my wrist and bring it casually up to my nose and inhale slowly. Or, I will dab a small amount on my forehead or under my nose. If I am congested I will dab it on my chest before I get into a hot shower.
- Silicone packet. It’s one of those little packets that came in a box of shoes. Or maybe even in a suitcase I bought. It just helps control the moisture in my bag.
- Fingernail clipper. Nothing is worse than snagging a nail on a trip and not having anything to trim it with. It also works great for cutting tags of items you buy.
- Travel size toothpaste and toothbrush.
Mesh Zipper Bags: I have 2 of them that are just the perfect size and sturdiness for traveling.
- Bag One has chargers, headphone, and an eye mask in it. I do add my phone chargers to it before I leave.
- Bag two has hair stuff in it. A pick, and assortment of clips, ponytail holders and bobby pins. I think there is a pair of tweezers in there too.
Pashmina: It’s a lightweight rectangular shawl. You can buy them at the airport, or if in New York City, from a street vendor. I have 6 or 7 of them in different colors and patterns. I always leave the black one in my backpack. I can use it like a blanket, a pillow, or roll it up like a log and put it behind my back for additional support.
Additional Bag tag: I like to carry an extra one of these in case one falls off or if I bring another bag home with me, I can put the tag on it. On a side note, I use my office address or a cut down business card inside the bag tag. I then don’t worry that if my bag is stolen the thief automatically knows where I live, but also if a delivery service is bringing me my bag, I am probably going to be at the office not at my house.
An inflatable neck rest: The one I have is a Samsonite inflatable travel pillow with cover. A friend of mine l let me borrow hers when I was on a European trip. I like this kind because if I need it, it inflates very quickly. I can also adjust it depending on how much air I put in it. BUT if I don’t use it, I’m not taking along with me a bulky heavy piece. The cover is nice because it makes the pillow soft and hides the sharp edges of the plastic itself.
A wrist wallet: Years ago, my friend Lydia gave me this after I admired hers. It slips over your wrist, so you can tuck in your phone, a room key, and coffee money while you are out walking or running. I put mine back on the cardboard it came on, to keep me from accidently throwing it away.
A pair of cotton socks (and underwear): Sometimes I wear sandals on a flight and my feet get cold. Sometimes shoes get wet on the way to the airport and I need a fresh pair. AND sometimes I get stranded without my suitcase and have to spend the night at a hotel: its nice to have a clean pair of underwear and socks.
Headphones: I have a REALLY nice pair, thanks to my husband. (He wanted some new ones.) If you TRAVEL a lot, it’s my opinion that it is worth buying a pair on noise cancelling head phones that fit over your ears. Now, in addition to the headphones, I also have back up set of batteries, a couple of splitters and jack ends (depending on the airplane) and a few sets of the free headsets they sometimes hand out. I have had batteries fail and then I have used the free ones. I’ve also shared them with passengers who didn’t have them and where the airplane was going to charge them for it.
The things I will add:
- My laptop or iPad or both. A charged portable charger.
- Snack (They are so much cheaper at home)
- My work if it’s a work trip.
- Something to read.
- Refillable Water bottle
- If it’s just an overnight trip for work, I will throw in a change of clothes, my make-up and toiletries bag.
- If I have a roller bag, then I make sure that I have a small enough purse to fit inside my backpack. Most airlines and airline security will only let you bring on 2 bags. I know this from experience.
My lasts tip is for regardless of what carry one bag you have. Be aware of your surroundings and your belongings. If you are putting on a backpack, or taking one off, or backing up in the aisle, think about who is behind you. Yes I’ve been smacked with a backpack. I’ve also had my feet run over with roller bags.