In recent years, I’ve become something of a packing pro.
I have my suitcase must-haves whittled down to a carefully-honed list of workhorses and a pre-packed bag of toiletries always at the ready. But the crown jewel in my globetrotting arsenal is a well-stocked carry-on.
The temptation, of course, is to use the biggest bag you can sneak past security and shove it full of everything imaginable. But in practice that just leads to lugging a 45-pound bag around on your shoulder all day and spending half of your time on the plane rummaging through a bottomless abyss to find the one thing which has inevitably settled to the very bottom of your giant tote.
Lately, I’ve lightened up – literally – and gotten organized. First, I start with a reasonably-sized tote that I’d be happy to carry once I arrive at my destination. Just be sure it has a zipper or tab closure, like the Vince Camuto Leila Tote, so you don’t lose anything in flight. Then, I stock it with a few well-organized pouches so that I know exactly where to look for anything I might be after. (After all, you’ve been wondering what to do with all of those zippered-pouches you get at the makeup counter, right?)
Pouch 1 – The Essentials. This “pouch” is actually a small, light cross body bag like the Vince Camuto Faye Cross Body with the strap tucked inside. It holds my wallet and any other purse necessities and works as my day bag when I’m traveling.
Pouch 2 – Toiletries. My favorite in-air toiletries include the Caudalie Beauty Elixir Mist; a travel-size packet of face wipes (that also double as hand wipes when needed); a sample packet of a super-strength facial moisturizer; mints (to ward off a throat tickle, buy time between beverage services and save you from post-nap breath); Clean Anti-Bacterial Moisturizing Hand Cream by Dlish (so much less drying than Purell); plenty of lip balm; and Origins’ Peace of Mind On-the-Spot Relief(just the thing to dab under your nose and on your temples to relax and fight off any ugly airplane smells). For longer flights, add a toothbrush & toothpaste, a cozy pair of socks and a change of dainties.
Pouch 3 – Electronics. Dedicate one pouch to all your charging cables, plugs and headphones—as a bonus, this keeps them easy to find and untangled. I also throw a pen in here where it’s not likely to leak on anything I care about.
Pouch 4 – Valuables. I never store my jewelry in my suitcase—quelle horreur!
Pouch 5 – Medication. Any medicines always go in my carry-on – I portion out my daily meds and add a stock of frequently-used OTC remedies and vitamins, just in case.
Top those pouches off with a beautiful, soft scarf that will make you feel chic (and keep you warm when the A/C kicks in), a well-stocked iPad (I’m obsessed with Next Issue), a paperback book (because sometimes your eyes need a break from a screen) and my go-to travel snacks: a Luna bar, a few salty crackers (I’m partial to old-school Wheat Thins) and a big bottle of water the minute I get through security.
That’s it! Whether you’re headed across the state or around the globe, this list is sure to get you through just about any flight with style to spare!
Becki Singer is a writer, stylist and the founder of ShoppingsMyCardio.com, a grown-up’s guide to life with style.