Depending on my trip, I have two favorite methods of carryon, either with a rolling carryon or a hiking pack. If you’re planning roadtrip, or travel that demands changing accommodations frequently, a hiking pack is probably the best way to go.
This could be a great travel tote, backpack or diaper bag. For me it’s dependent upon my carryon and camera gear. Whichever you choose, it should meet personal bag dimensions for travel carriers, secure your items, protect your electronics, be easily accessible, and capable of being hands free.
My favorite camera backpack by far has been Kamrette’s Lyra Backpack. I get compliments on it every time I travel and non-photographer’s don’t recognize it as a camera bag. It looks nice, is well made, and I’ve been able to fit all my travel camera gear in this backpack, along with all my personal items. It’s sized perfectly to meet personal item dimensions and fits easily underneath the seat on airlines. Besides its capacity and customization features, my favorite attribute is the back panel slip that allows you to secure it to your rolling luggage.
Tile Tracker Pro
I always pack tile trackers in my checked luggage and in any carryons. They’re also great for camera bags, wallets, strollers and small children.
I discovered these when I became a Mom. Now hat clips, luggage straps, and mommy hooks are some of my all-time favorite travel tools and hacks and I wish I’d discovered them sooner. Anything that is inexpensive, easy to pack, secures your items and helps you stay conveniently hands-free during travel, gets a beaming endorsement from me.
Travel Med Kit
From personal experience, I can tell you that being stuck anywhere without [blank] when you need it is no fun, to say the least. It’s also terrible to have to spend 5x as much to purchase something from the airport lounge than to buy it at home in advance. That’s why I travel with a personal travel med kit that includes at least 24 hours worth of any over the counter and prescription medications I could possibly need.
Filtered Water Bottle
Staying hydrated is crucial to avoiding fatigue and jet lag when traveling, and bringing your own filtered water bottle is also a great way to save money. I love Brita’s filtered water bottle for the convenient carry handle, covered silicone mouthpiece and internal filtration system.
Travel can be unpredictable, and when doing so often, food purchases can also really add up. I always bring easy-to-pack snacks like cashews and cliff bars in case of longer-than-expected layovers or 3am arrivals.
Change of Clothes
If you’ve ever been forced to spend your entire trip without your luggage, you’d probably adopt this practice too. After one scuba trip abroad without any of our checked bags, we always pack at least one change of clothes in our carryon. Basic rule of thumb to travel by, if you can’t travel without it, and you can’t afford to replace it, keep it in your carryon.
Starbucks Gift Card
Starbucks are everywhere. And luckily I’ve never been in a jam where it was my only option, but I’ve taken to collecting my gifted Starbucks cards and using them exclusively for travel. It’s a nice way to offset my travel food expenses and feel like I always have an option for something to eat in a hangry emergency.
Some things still rely on cash, and it’s also nice to have in an emergency. I make it a practice not to carry much, but enough to cover things like tolls, tips and valet.
We rely on our phones so much for travel that a reliable power bank is essential to traveling well. Feeling stranded with a dead phone, or being chained to a wall outlet at the airport isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time.
I don’t often get sick on boats or airplanes, but when I do, it stays with me. I also once paid 14$ for Dramamine at an airport kiosk, since then, I make a point to always carry it with me on travel days.
Eye Mask & Earplugs
I used to think this was a little extra, but one 14 hour flight seated next to a caffeinated extrovert who was seriously stoked on bitcoin was more than enough to convert me. Now a tempurpedic eye mask and noise canceling ear plugs are a staple in my travel sleep kit.
I’ve used so, so many. This is the one I’m currently loving, especially because of the easy to pack and carry case that comes with it.
Hydrating Skin Mist
The controlled climate on airplanes have a way of sucking the life right out of you. I regret it if I don’t pack some sort of hydrating skin mist to hydrate and refresh my face. My all time favorite is Tacha’s Silky Spray Mist Moisturizer, I also like Thayer’s Natural Skin Mist.
Noise Canceling Headphones
My sweet husband bought me a pair of Bose Quite Comfort Headphones prior to the release of Apple’s Airpod Pro. To compare them would be apples and oranges, but you know your personal preferences. I’ve loved them both and never travel without headphones.
I find my iPad more convenient that my laptop for entertainment during travel. Because it’s lighter and more compact, it’s easy to slip in my personal bag or the seat back. Before traveling, I download my tv shows, movies, books and games.
Travel Documents & Copies
Particularly if you’re traveling abroad, or in an area where you’ll have no cell service, it’s vital to have copies of your travel documents, reservation confirmations, maps and itineraries–digital and paper. For me, this means passports, ids, dive cards, car/boat/hotel confirmations, and maps. It’s also important that you don’t keep any physical copies with your original documents. Carry documents securely in different bags, or split them up between responsible individuals.
Camera & Lenses
I never go on a trip without at least a point-and-shoot digital camera, but regardless of whether I’m carrying my professional camera gear or my travel camera, I never put them in my checked luggage.
Regulator & Dive Computer
As a general rule, if you’re ever traveling with equipment your life depends on, it belongs with you at all times. I never dive without my personal regulator and dive computer and we advise our students to do the same, so for scuba trips, these have a permanent and non-negotiable place in my carryon.
For the most part, I’m against traveling with laptops so if I can help it I leave mine at home, but if it’s a very long trip or I’m traveling for work, my laptop is in my carryon.