Carry on Essentials: Packing a Personal Item

Happy Tuesday! If you clicked on this post, you are probably curious about what I pack in my personal item for flights. Maybe you’re traveling soon and want to make sure you have all the basics! Maybe you have never been on a flight before and this is your go-to packing list. Either way, I hope this is helpful or just fulfills your curiosity 🙂

I am going to be flying quite a bit for the remainder of 2018, with my next trip going “somewhere in New England” for my bachelorette party Memorial Day Weekend. My girls won’t tell me exactly where we are headed, but I know I am flying direct from Norfolk to Boston. Easy peasy.

Everything I am going to be showing you below are items that I have either used on every flight I have been on, or just feel better knowing that they are accessible should the need arise. I try to avoid buying these items in the airport because they are so darn expensive there! Do yourself a favor, and just get organized so you don’t have to buy a $10 water bottle.

Let me know where you will be flying soon! Do you pack similar items in your carry on? Anything you swear by that I missed?

Keep in mind this is what I pack in a personal item for shorter flights. I can do another post on what I pack for long-haul flights if you are interested in that! Just leave a comment below.

Check out my other travel-related posts here.

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Carry On Essentials for a Short Flight

Choosing a Bag

First things first. Let’s talk about the bag I take as my personal item. I purchased this a few years ago for my trip to Spain and love it! If you are not a shoulder bag person, just skip this section. I don’t mind carrying a tote on my shoulder, and honestly, this sits so nicely on top of my carry-on suitcase that I’m not usually hauling it around. They don’t carry by exact bag anymore, but I linked the closest thing!

This bag has a zillion and one pockets, which makes it incredibly easy to organize and therefore, easy to find what I am looking for on the plane! And in security. Because you know there is nothing worse than standing there with your shoes off, digging around to remove your electronic device, liquids bag, etc. when the people behind you keep pushing their bin into yours. We get it, you’re in a hurry.

Make sure you look for a bag that you can organize easily! It could be a backpack, duffel, tote bag, etc.

Check out these great options!

BAOSHA Canvas Travel Weekender $36
Veegul Wide Open Multipurpose Travel Bag $40
Ulgoo Travel Tote Bag in Trolley Handle $37


These are the items I choose to bring with me in my personal item. Other liquids/toiletries will be in my carry-on, because I probably won’t need them mid-flight.

Toiletries: deodorant, hair brush, chapstick, Advil (or other form of pain relief), hand sanitizer and antiseptic towlette (because planes are GROSS), hand lotion, and Band-Aids (just in case).

Gum and mints, for popping ears and to “freshen up.” Because nobody leaves an airplane feeling like a daisy.

Tissues and Emergen-C. Again, planes are gross and ain’t nobody got time to be sick. Especially when traveling.


I personally like something salty and something sweet! Mostly because I constantly snack and need options. Dried edamame is a great choice because it’s packed with protein! This will help keep you full as your dashing to make your connecting flight.

RxBars and Larabars are my favorite on-the-go snack. RxBars have a good source of protein, while Larabars are more carb-based. Both are delicious and made of only real ingredients!

Also, make sure you bring a reusable water bottle! Just don’t fill it until after security.


For the most part, during a short flight, I don’t need a ton of entertainment options. If I were going to be spending 5+ hours on a plane, that’s a different story.

My essentials include my Kindle, pre-loaded with books/magazines, and my headphones. Most airplanes now have wifi, so you can use your smartphone as usual. If not, you can listen to music or watch something on the plane’s entertainment system.

And, I always keep my phone charger handy! This is especially useful when you are waiting to board the plane and need a quick charge.


I always bring a notepad and pen with me. I know its kind of old school, but some things I just prefer to handwrite. Maybe you are heading to a new destination and the passenger next to you is a fountain of great information on where to eat, what to do, etc. I just feel like having a pen and paper is a standard adult thing.

Scarves are also a must for me! I pack a lightweight scarf in my personal item to have on hand if the plane gets chilly. Plus, if you’re feeling less than cute getting off the plane, a scarf makes you look much more pulled together!

Finally, I always travel with a small crossbody. It is just big enough to fit my phone, credit cards/ID, chapstick, and a few small necessities.

Questions? Comments? Words of Advice?

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