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Pack This! My Top 5 Carry-On Travel Essentials

I’m a firm believer in how you begin the trip will determine the manner in which you enjoy the trip and ultimately end the trip. Which is why your time in-flight is of the utmost importance. And there are five things I MUST have in order to get my party vacation started and it begins as soon as I step foot on the plane:


Because a Refreshed Look Is a Good Look

Sleeping for hours on plane and waking up with dry skin and that tired post airplane travel look is honesty a hot mess. Although I am not a big makeup girl, I do keep my skin on point! Aside from freshening up your lipstick and running your fingers through your hair, I recommend having a facial mist on hand. I’ve tried quite a few but my faves are the Kopari Coconut Rose Toner (new to my stash but smells great and hydrates), Tula Urban Defense Hydrating Mist (full of antioxidants, boost hydration, and protects your skin from all that icky stuff in the air), and my go to Herbivore Rose Hibiscus Coconut Water Hydrating Face Mist (moisturizing and alcohol-free).

Because I Want To Sleep

To know me is to know that I am no good as a passenger of any mode of transportation. My body shuts down and sleep comes on almost immediately (don’t you just get the best sleep on an airplane?). As soon as I’m seated and buckled in, I pull out my trusty headphones. No matter your reason – crying kids, snoring neighbor, or other folks annoying conversations – a good set of headphones is a must; and plan to invest a little dough. You want to purchase a pair that not only cancel out noise but also keeps others from hearing your personal playlist. I recommend Bose Quitecomfort, and don’t forget your Aeris Pillow and a iluminage Eye Mask, because pre-arrival chill time is always required.

Because Bad Hair Days Are a No No

No matter what you try to do or how perfectly you try to sleep, bad hair on flying days is inevitable. Any curls that may have been there when I left the house are now flat and lifeless. But without fail, my beautiful Goorin hat comes to the rescue! I probably have about 7 Goorin hats in my collection now and the fedora has always been my favorite style. Depending on where I’m headed, I go for a floppy or down-turned brim. Be prepared to carry this baby either in your hand or in a very loose bag because smashing the Goorin is just disrepectful. Hahaha!

Because I Want To Drink

It is no secret that we are cocktail girls. So a cocktail or three (in between my naps) is par for the course. We all know the TSA rules for bringing liquids beyond the security checkpoint but that doesn’t mean we can’t elevate our cocktail game once we are on board, right? I’m sooo over the basic drink options and I want a real cocktail! W&P Design offers a Carry On Cocktail Kit ( I found another cute kit made by Gray Malin) that includes a spoon, muddler, aromatic bitters, cane sugar, and a linen coaster – everything you need to mix up two delicious Old Fashioned’s at 30,000 feet! 

Because I Want To Be Comfy, Cute, Classy

It only took one time for my luggage to be lost for me to learn my lesson – wear something you are okay with keeping on for the next several hours and bring a change of clothes! My advice? Wear something comfy for the plane ride that is still cute just in case you need to wear it for the reminder of your day. My pair of ASOS jeggings with a loose-fitting top, SAKS Fifth Hooded Cardigan, and Via Spiga Slide Sneakers are my go to travel gear. And when the evening comes, you would have packed your classy Rachel Pally jumpsuit (I love Rachel Pally anything) that not only packs well but is super elegant. Pair those with a strappy heel and you’re good to go.

And a bonus…

This is one topic that Swanky Girl and I always agree on! Unfortunately, public places are nasty and not everyone follows the rules of proper “I have a cold etiquette”; like covering your mouth when you cough and using a Kleenex to blow you nose. I digress but you get the point. We are both known to wipe everything down with wipes (Clorox or any disinfecting brand will do) and I ALWAYS take a few Vitamin C pills. If you forget your pills at home, most airport stores will carry Emergen-C. It’s an inexpensive way to ensure you are protected. Especially if you find yourself sitting next to someone hacking up a lung! It’s contains a good dose of Vitamin C, other vitamins and electrolytes to keep you as healthy and hydrated as possible.

So what’s in your carry on?


Photos courtesy W&P Design, Herbivore Botanicals, iluminage Beauty, Goorin Bros., & Via Spiga.

Shanna Jones

Shanna is the co-founder and editor of Urban Swank. She focuses on food and travel.

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