10 Carry-On Bag Essentials You Can’t Live Without

Real talk: There are very few times I’m not thinking about my next vacation. Even when I’m on a vacation, I’m thinking about the next one. I just love to travel! If you’re like me, you want to be prepared at all moments while traveling, so I’ve put together a list of my 10 MUST HAVES for any sort of carry-on bag for any trip you might be taking.
First things first – let’s talk about what kind of bag you’re going to take. I like to be able to use my carry on bag when I get to my final destination, so it’s typically of the beachy variety. I don’t have room in my suitcase to be lugging around extra bags!
Here are some of my favorites…

Alright, now that you’ve got your bag picked out, let’s take a peek inside..
Extra® Gum 35-stick packages – This pack doesn’t mess around! If you’re traveling with me or have traveled with me in the past, you know that gum is my go-to. This new Extra® 35-stick pack is perfect for a trip, whether you’re sharing or treating yourself, and features durable, recycled packaging, so don’t hesitate to just toss it in your bag. No spilling, no mess – more sharing, more enjoyment!
Headphones – I cannot even tell you how many times I have boarded a loud train car or stuffy airplane, looked in my bag and realized I had forgotten my headphones. It’s such a kick in the pants, because 9 times out of 10, I want to be listening to my favorite music or latest book — not the guy snoring next to me! Now, I keep a pair in my purse at all times that never leaves the interior pocket!
Chargers – Pack ALL THE CHARGERS! I’m serious. Having a charger in an easy-to-reach location is critical for flight delays in particular. I have been stranded at airports (sometimes overnight) and have been saved by the fact that I had my computer charger and phone charger stowed in my carry-on. You never know what traveling situation you might be put in, so it’s always best to be prepared!
Cash – If you’re like me, you put everything on your debit or credit card and that’s fine — until you travel. Sometimes places (especially abroad) aren’t equipped to accept plastic and that is precisely when you’ll need to dive into your spare arsenal of Benjamins! Plus, having a set amount of cash means you can’t splurge on overpriced airport magazines and food.
Snacks – And speaking of food, bring snacks! This is especially true if you know you’ll be traveling over an extended period of time. Airplanes and rest stops aren’t what they used to be, especially if you are like me and have any sort of food allergy. You’ll need to be prepared with your own nutritious (and delicious) snacks to survive! To go with my snacks, I also always carry my HydroFlask with me to fill up with ice cold water 🙂
Magazines/Books – I always travel with something to physically hold in my hand and read. While many turn to e-readers or podcasts, there is something about traveling and reading that goes hand-in-hand in my mind. Plus, it’s the only time I let myself indulge in trashy celebrity gossip magazines at Target before my trip!
I.D. x 3 – I know you’re going to think I’m insane here, but if you are even thinking about traveling abroad, you need to have your identification ducks in order. I’ll never forget booking a train ticket in Paris and being asked for my passport, driver’s license and additional form of identification. I freaked, because I wasn’t carrying anything! At the very least, make copies of your I.D.’s and be sure to at least have one credit card with your full name and identification on it. This will save you a headache in the long run!
Socks – Is it me or are planes and trains freezing cold? I’m hoping I’m not alone here when I tell you that I always travel with a pair of socks in my bag. I get many a weird look from TSA, but I am convinced they have seen stranger things. Once I feel my toes freezing off, I simply grab my socks from my bag and throw them on! There is nothing worse than cold feet, am I right?
Scarf – This might be a new one for some of you, but I am convinced that regardless of where you’re going, you will need a scarf. Keeping yourself warm after too much sun during the day? Check. Wrapping around your head to keep your hair-do in place for a convertible ride? Double check. Using it as a pillow to rest your noggin on an uncomfortable car/airplane/train window? Triple check. Really, I cannot stress the important of a quality scarf or pashmina enough!

 What are your carry-on musts when traveling?


  • These are such great tips! I'm getting ready to to fly out of town today, and have my Extra gum packed and ready!! #client

  • These are great tips! I will remember these while I am packing for my Summer trip to Texas!

  • Great list! I never travel without my earbuds and gum. I HAVE to chew gum during takeoff and landing.

  • Jen

    Definitely chargers! We have personal small battery packs that we keep with us that make charging so much easier when we can't find an outlet.

  • Totally agree with all of these – especially gum when I dont feel like eating but need something you know what I mean LOL!

  • I absolutely agree with all of these! I would pack in my Kindle depending on the flight length 🙂

    Bookmarking this for my trip in November!


  • Yes! Especially the cash! I lost count of how many times I've had to wait at a restaurant or shop while Cass ran around trying to find an ATM.

  • Jen

    YES! These are awesome tips. We also carry power pack chargers, so in case we can’t get to an outlet we can still charge our phones.

    • Kait

      YES to power pack chargers! We got them for Christmas one year and are obsessed.

  • Socks are the BEST idea!! I am always sweating or freezing to death on a plane. I am totally bringing some fuzzy socks next time. I love all the bags you chose, too!

    Meg, Borrowed Heaven

    • Kait

      I have several of those bags in my shopping cart, but I can’t seem to pull the trigger on ALL of them, you know?! How will I just pick one?!

  • Biana

    This came at the perfect time – we’re leaving for a trip next week!! Thanks for sharing all your tips! xo, Biana – BlovedBoston

  • Lava Dogs 808

    I wish they had a 3rd security line at the airport for “Travel Pros” because that’d be my line…I wear layered clothes that won’t set off the alarms, and I am ready to go! In my carry-on bag, I pack items that are a necessity (and would be a disaster if my checked bag were to get lost): eyeglasses, extra set of contacts, medications, chargers (including car charger), print-outs of all reservations, thick socks, Young Living Thieves wipes, hand moisturizer, Chapstick, pens, paper, hair brush, snacks, shorts, slippahs, and business cards (I have a crazy number of friends whom I have met on flights). We learned a valuable lesson last year with my Diabetic father who packed his medication in his suitcase, and the airline asked us if they could put our bags on a later flight, and my father passed out at a grocery store later that day, hitting his head and had a concussion. Lesson learned.

    • Kait

      Oh man! I remember hearing about your dad 🙁 I’m so sorry that happened!

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