What’s In My Carry-On?

Beginning tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn- I’ll not only be 100% vaccinated for COVID-19, having received my second dose of Pfizer exactly two weeks ago- but I’ll also be boarding a super early flight back to Las Vegas, Nevada for a week spent in the desert with Kelsey’s family. I had last been out that way near the end of March/beginning of April for an extended stay, where I had an absolutely amazing time– and had hoped to return sooner rather than later to spend more time with the little ones and grab some renowned cuisine on the strip.

Well, my wish came true- and I’m heading out for a week of baby-sitting and further exploring after getting an invite a couple of weeks ago. I had worried that my “impromptu trip preparation” skills may have been rusty since it’s been a very, very long time since I just sort of up and flew anywhere on a whim without an extended or advanced period of time to get ready- but I (pleasantly) surprised myself with how easily I was able to get things sorted at my job, run some errands I needed to get done before I leave- and pack accordingly so I wasn’t left scrambling mere hours before I had to be at the airport.

And I figured now would be as good a time as any to share what I’ve been keeping in my carry-on during the sporadic times I’ve had to fly/travel since the pandemic started. It’s been a long time since I’ve done a post like this (I think the last time was for San Diego Comic-Con in 2013 on my old blog!) so it was kind of a fun topic to revisit, especially now that I’ve learned a few tips and tricks along the way to make my time in the airport- and in the air- a little less stressful or uncomfortable.

And a lot of those tips and tricks are centered around what you take with you to keep within reach during your flight!

So, for travelers everywhere- beginners and professionals alike- this is what I keep in my carry-on.

I feel like even if we weren’t still in the midst of a global health crisis- these sanitary packs from iFLY would still be one of my favorite things to bring onboard any plane, train or automobile. With antiseptic hand wipes, gloves, a headrest cover and two face masks- all in a small and discreet resalable pouch- this is the perfect travel companion for anyone who might want a little extra protection and cleanliness in and around their designated seat.

Of course, the items within the kit are all well and good- but I also make sure to bring along some extra hand sanitizer/anti-bacterial hand gel in case I touch any surfaces on the plane that might have been missed by the cleaning crew and flight attendants prior to departure (window shades, pull-down trays, seatbelt buckles, TV screens, etc.) I also try to get these quick-absorbing gels in scents that aren’t straight up rubbing alcohol or anything too potent- since I don’t want to inconvenience any of the people sitting around me- even if it’s only for a few seconds! I love the little multi-packs from Bath & Body Works. They come in a variety of fragrances that smell great and aren’t too drying.

And with all the sanitizing and the fact that the air being circulated around the plane tends to dry my skin out long before I even reach the desert- I keep a rich and moisturizing hand cream in my bag at all times and apply it a few times per flight. Much like the anti-bacterial gel, I stick to fragrances that aren’t going to overpower those in the rows near me. This coconut one from Spongellé is one of the best I own.

Pre-COVID, I would wear a little makeup on any flights I was boarding- but with mask wearing still required when not eating/drinking- it seems a little pointless to put on anything other than a bit of concealer or mascara to keep me looking fresh-faced and awake until I arrive at my destination. That means that while I’m up in the air, keeping my skin hydrated is the priority- especially since it’s not just my hands that tend to dry out while I’m soaring over the States. These Retinol-infused facial cleansing clothes from Global Beauty Care are great at swiping away excess oils, dirt and/or sweat mid-flight- and are followed up immediately with a quick spritz of my Glow Recipe Watermelon Ultra-Fine Mist to keep my skin glowing and balanced.

And despite the fact that I’m wearing a mask for the duration of my flight- I don’t forget to give my lips a little TLC, either. I apply lip balms liberally- especially when traveling to the Southwest. I’m still in love with the strawberry pound cake-flavored balm from Bath & Body Works. It keeps my lips soft, smooth and shiny- and of course it tastes good, too.

And although I typically keep a pain reliever with me even when I’m not traveling in case a pesky headache should show up unannounced- I can’t stress the importance of having something with you when you fly. Between the altitude, the cabin pressure, the ear popping- or any turbulence- it’s always good to be prepared to combat headaches/migraines before they get a chance to reach their full, miserable potential.

But you can’t take any headache medication or keep yourself hydrated without water, obviously- so I always keep a refillable, spill-proof bottle in my bag for little sips along my journey- like this insulated one from Masontops.

Naturally there are the essentials in my bag that go without saying, too- like my wallet, my keys (for when I get back,) my phone charger, breath mints, earbuds for when I want to listen to music or watch a movie, and a sleep/eye mask for when I just want to clock out for an hour or two and get some rest. Occasionally, I’ll grab a light snack and a magazine at the gate before takeoff if I’m in need of something to read- otherwise I just use the in-flight WiFi to catch up on any last minute emails and messages or social media scrolling before I’m in full vacation mode and can unplug and unwind for the duration of my stay.

Since my flights are usually only a few hours- I try not to go overboard with packing my carry-on. I still have to move around comfortably at the airport once we land, after all- but that is what I almost always have with me whenever I travel to keep me looking and feeling my best from the moment I hit the sky to the second I touch down wherever I’m visiting.

I’m sure that once this pandemic finally winds down and more restrictions are lifted- my carry-on contents will change a bit- and I’m looking forward to it, really!

If you’d like to share your must-haves and carry-on essentials- feel free to drop me a line or a comment!


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Hi! I'm Ashley. I'm a blogger and a radio personality with a makeup and shoe addiction based out of Boston and the Pioneer Valley. These are my (mis)adventures.

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