What’s in my carry-on?

Most planes allow you to take two carry-on items, one for the overhead bins and one ‘personal item’ to go under the seat. I’ll be talking about my ‘personal item’ for the flight from London Heathrow to Los Angeles .

Passport – Obviously this isn’t something you want to misplace! I keep my passport, boarding pass, a pen and some emergency cash in a travel wallet.

Phone – in case the on flight entertainment isn’t as exciting as I had hoped I make sure to download at least a few episodes of something on Netflix and have plenty of music

iPad or kindle – it’s still a toss up between these two for me. My iPad is much older and larger than the kindle. It depends what I’ll be doing on the trip since both hold my kindle library. I went with kindle this time because I knew a lot of my trip would be spent reading poolside.

Portable chargers – yes, more than one! Over the last two years at uni I’ve acquired four free portable chargers from careers fairs, and bought a solar one myself. As long as you remember to charge them, it’s likely that one would get you to where you’re going with no problems. Especially since many planes now have seat-back chargers. I usually have at least five hours to get to London, 3 in the airport, and then from the airport to my destination on the other side varies. The portable chargers get me through that.

Headphones – I usually take both my earphones and headphones since the headphones are far better with noise cancellation though I struggle to sleep with them, so swap for my earphones.

Eye mask – yeah, I don’t like wearing them either. But they do seriously help on the plane, whether it’s the light from the person next to me’s screen, overhead lights, or even from the window, a good eye mask will cut them out. It is worth bringing your own rather than relying on the one from the airline. Even for just a few £, you can get a nice silk one.

Pen – I mentioned I always have one in my travel wallet. This is for filling out customs/immigration forms. It’s usually borrowed by the people sitting around me when they realise they’ve forgotten theirs!

Make-up bag & essentials – in my makeup bag, I usually take:

Make-up wipes – Even though I won’t be wearing makeup, just to cleanse my skin. I often won’t use one until the plane is coming in to land or has landed but they aren’t letting people off yet.

Rose water spray – I made this first last easter and I wouldn’t be without it even now. A mixture of rosewater, lavender essential oil and a little water. There are so many alterations you can make to suit yourself, but I love the smell and the effects are pretty instantaneous. Hydrating, refreshing and cooling. The lavender is also calming and can help if you’re struggling to sleep.

Moisturiser – trust me you need this. No matter how good your skin usually is, moisturise on flight often. My skin gets dry anyway so I take a bottle of my favourite moisturiser and apply it every few hours through the flight.

Toothbrush and toothpaste – I don’t think I need to explain why you should brush your teeth.

Vaseline or lip balm – I try to always have Vaseline with me even when I’m not travelling. The dehydration of travelling affects my lips and a good coat of Vaseline through the flight helps minimise this. It can also be used to tame eyebrows and as clear mascara. This time I also took a nice pink lip balm I got from a Birchbox

Hand sanitiser – For touching icky tray tables

Eye Drops – I don’t wear my contact lenses on flights because the air on board is so drying. I counteract this with eye drops if I need them, since I didn’t sleep on my most recent flight, the eye drops were so helpful in dealing with the discomfort.

Extras – Depending on the flight and my destination, my extra items vary. I often take concealer or mascara for that extra boost, but this time I took Lumene Glow Boost Essence, another Birchbox find. Just a few drops do instantly boost and brighten your skin and the light orange scent is lovely, if I had more money I’d buy the whole set!


Here’s how it all looks crammed into my little ‘personal’ sized bag. Airline rules vary on whether you’re allowed a personal item and if you are what size it can be, this one fits easily within all the dimensions I’ve seen. I tend to use an adjustable backpack as my cabin bag since I can fit a lot into it. For flights where the personal item isn’t allowed, it still helps to pack a small bag that you can pull out of your main cabin bag (which will go in the overhead locker) to keep by you so you have everything you need in reaching distance.


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