Carry-On Bag Essentials—Everything We’re Packing for a Long Flight

Marjie and I are both traveling this hot vaxx summer, and since having a good carry-on system ensures you don’t spend hours in the air annoyed, we thought we’d each share what we’re packing.

Marjie’s Bag

Heading to the San Diego airport after a fun long weekend getaway

I’m not traveling internationally these days (although I still miss Ireland). But I did take a trip to San Diego with my daughter Emma, and the four hour flight felt long enough (especially wearing a mask). I was able to get by with my MZ Wallace City Backpack which is light and compact, but holds a surprising amount of stuff. Perfect for our hike through Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve as well. Here’s what I packed for my flights:

Water bottle—handy throughout the trip

Scarf—an extra light layer is a must.

Kindle—with two new books

Notebook and pen—gotta be able to write stuff down.

Wallet—with plenty of cash, just in case

Phone and charger—playlists and podcasts downloaded

Noise cancelling headphones—to block screaming babies and loud talkers

Car Key—driving and parking at airport is cheaper than Ubers these days.

Glasses—reading and sun

Masks—I find a N95 mask most comfortable during travel.

Lipstick, lip balm and hand sanitizer

Hair tie—a ponytail is best disguise for messy/dirty tresses.


Laura’s Bag

Lately, flights long or short, coach or business have all had one thing in common: very little in-air service. After getting stuck starving in business class (because I assumed there would be snack packs and not just pretzels, duh!), I take nothing for granted. Here’s my list for my upcoming trip to Switzerland (we’re meeting Emmie and Maisie in Geneva since the UK is still requiring quarantines for all incoming visitors). Like Marjie, I like a backpack that I can also use during the trip as a daypack, so this all needs to fit in my Knomo backpack. I have a separate tiny purse for my phone, wallet and keys.

Laura’s carry-on bag has everything from her passport to her ambien!

Snack and water bottle—Channel your inner Girl Scout and be prepared!

Needlepoint project—The light on planes is really good, so it’s the perfect place to needlepoint.

Book—I always bring an actual book just in case my electronics fail.

iPad and chargers—So many planes have no screens and I can’t watch a show on my phone.

Passport and documents—My vaccine record, negative Covid test, there’s a lot to keep track of these days.

Moisturizer—Flying is dehydrating!

Eyemask—So I can sleep on an overnight flight, but also just in case the hotel room isn’t dark enough.

Extra masks—For long flights, one mask isn’t enough, so I usually have a few to trade out when one gets gross.

AirPods + Bose—I always have my AirPods, but if I have room, the noise-canceling Bose headphones are better.

Ambien—The flight to Switzerland is an overnight flight, but it leaves too early to naturally fall asleep, so to make sure I get some shuteye, I take a 5mg tablet as soon as we’re wheels up.

What’s in your carry on bag? What are we forgetting?!

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