Last month, I shared my Top to Toe packing technique. This month, I'm sharing my carry-on packing technique. I keep the most important items in my carry-on bag, including medications, technology, and, most important of all, back-ups in case my suitcase goes missing in transit.
I don't use packing cubes for my clothing, but I do a sort of version of packing cubes in my carry-on. For some, it's just a Ziploc bag, but for other categories, I use actual bags. Liquids are decanted into TSA-approved bottles and jars and those bottles and jars are kept separately from the non-liquid items in a TSA-approved, quart-size Ziploc bag.
This category includes prescription and over-the-counter ("OTC") medications. I keep these in a Ziploc bag, so I can see them easily. I also pack a back-up of the OTC in my suitcase, if it's a long trip.
I also pack a mini first aid kit, including regular bandages, blister bandages, antiseptic cream, and anything else I might need, depending on the location (e.g., aloe if I'm going somewhere sunny). Right now, my first aid kit is stored in a Ziploc bag, but you could also find a small bag to hold everything (except the liquid items that will be in the above-mentioned clear Ziploc bag.
I keep most of my tech in a separate bag in my carry-on. My travel tech includes:
- My laptop
- Power adaptors (I use a universal that has a couple of USB ports, too)
- Power packs
- Extra headphones, batteries, etc.
I keep my regular charging cord in my pocket, for easy accessibility, and in my technology bag, I keep a 10' charging cord.
Why do I need a ten-foot charging cord? I prefer to have my phone near my head, especially if I'm getting up early and really need to hear my alarm go off. I also do not want to be rushing across a strange room to turn the alarm off. If the only suitable outlet is on the other side of the room, I use that 10' cord so I can keep the phone near me.
I keep a change of clothes and spare toiletries in my carry-on, just in case. If my checked bag goes missing, I've got a set of clothes to get me through at least one day.
If I'm on a red-eye (overnight) flight, especially if it's a transfer stop, it's nice to have a change of clothes to wear on the second day of travel. I keep each "outfit" in a separate gallon-size Ziploc bag, so the clothes stay clean no matter what else I've got in my bag.
I also bring:
- Pencil puzzles (I'm partial to killer sudoku and other logic puzzles)
- A pencil case full of pencils and pens
- A notebook
- Extra change purses for swapping out currency (snack-size Ziploc bags work, too)
- Any ongoing craft project (I like cross stitch best)
- Any printouts I have related to my travel (travel and accommodation confirmations, places to visit, etc.)
- A collapsible water bottle
- A gallon-size Ziploc bag full of more gallon-size, quart-size, and snack-size Ziploc bags (there's another Ziploc bag full of Ziploc bags in my suitcase, too).
And one last thing
Did you notice the missing item in my last post? I pack my toothbrush in my carry-on bag, because I brush my teeth often and because I want to make sure it doesn't go missing.
How does it all fit?
This might seem like a lot of stuff to put in carry-on, but I use a standard backpack (a Disney Mickey Mouse backpack that was a purchase with purchase deal, so it's not especially large, but definitely not a mini) and there's also room leftover for adding magazines or snacks or souvenirs.