Pack It | What’s In My Carry-On Bag

Welcome back, friends!! I hope you had a fabulous weekend. We did a lot of nothing, and after last week’s craziness, it was perfect! I’m venturing back to Nordstrom today, but this time with Mama Sugarplum! I’m excited to see which pieces she’s drawn to, and ends up keeping! I’ll share later this week when the NSale goes live to the public!

I get a lot of questions when we travel, but the most reoccurring during the summer months are ‘Don’t your feet get cold flying in sandals?’ and ‘How do you pack your straw hat?’

I’ll address that second question in a post soon, but the first question cracks me up because it shows how observant you are when I post my travel styles (see my most recent ones here and here). I flew in my favorite flat sandals (because they are crazy comfy and so chic), but had tons of you worried about my poor, cold feet.

Which reminded me that I’ve never technically and officially shared everything in my carry-on bag for long flights! Nor the little genius Sleepbuds that make travel so much more enjoyable!

what to pack in a light carry on bag

Since I’m the one responsible for toting this bag through the airport, I try to pack it light…sticking with just the essentials. And after countless miles traveled, I’ve figured out the items I really need.

packing bose sleepbuds in a carry on bag

Here are the entire contents of my carry-on bag. (This feels strangely intimate!?)

how to organize what to bring in a carry on on a long flight

To explain why each is essential, I’ll break it down for you…

how to pack electronics and chargers in a carry on

Chargers & Adaptors // Charging cubes and cords for computer, camera, and phone all go in one accessory bag. It’s helpful to have them with you in case of delays or long layovers.

Bose Sleepbuds // These miracle earbuds are not only noise canceling, but they’re also a sound machine! (Bye-bye chatty neighbor, fussy baby, Captain’s announcements, and overall plane buzz!). 

Headphones // Most planes have personal entertainment screens now, but don’t provide headphones…so I’m always prepared with my own set.

book and laptop flight entertainment in a carry on

Laptop & Case // Thanks to the miracle of in-air wifi, I’m usually able to get a fair amount of work done on flights. Or at the very least, access the airline’s entertainment website if individual screens aren’t available.

Glasses & Case // Because I can’t see past a 3-foot radius.

Notebook & Pen // I always have a notebook with me to jot ideas, thoughts, to-do lists, etc. And a pen is always handy, especially for international paperwork.

Book // If you’ve ever endured a cross-country flight with no books or movies, you understand why I never travel without a book now!


toiletries and snacks for a carry on

Antibacterial Hand Wipes or Gel // Wipe down tray tables and armrests, or clean up sticking fingers

Comb // Tame that rat’s nest on the back of your head before landing

Hand & Face Cream // Flying is terribly dehydrating for your skin, so I slather on moisturizers throughout the flight

Saline Nose Spray // As unattractive as it is, I use this on long flights to keep my sinuses hydrated.

Eye Drops // No more dry eyes

Pain Reliever // Someone always gets a headache, so I come prepared to nip it in the bud!

Lip Balm // Lips need constant moisture, too.

Snacks // We can no longer rely on airlines to keep us fed, so I always have a handful of snacks ready to ward off the hangry beast!

Gum // Helps with ear popping and freshens your dank mouth after a long flight.

Travel Toothbrushes // Just before landing, I spend a few minutes freshening-up in the lavatory. You may feel bleary-eyed and haggard, but a fresh mouth, combed hair and moisturizer goes a long way to help you wake up and get on the new time zone.


cozy robe and socks for long flights

Cozy Cardigan Wrap // The moment we’re airborne, I trade my jacket for a cozy cardigan. I love this longer one for wrapping up, and the hood signals that I’d like to be left alone. 😉

Cozy Socks // Yep, I even replace my shoes with these cozy socks. They keep my feet warm, and make it easier to curl up.


So that’s it…the tried-and-true contents of my carry-on bag for long flights. Obviously I scale it down for shorter legs, but the core of it stays the same regardless.

The Bose Sleepbuds are a new addition to my carry-on bag, but I’m already obsessed and so excited for the positive impact they’ll have on future travel! I used to travel with regular over-ear noise-cancelling headphones, but those are uncomfortable on my ears when trying to sleep. Plus, they make it hard to lay on your side, and are bulky in your bag.

The Sleepbuds come in a compact case (it doubles as a charger!), and fit snugly and comfortably inside your ear, so you can even lay on your side. I love its noise-masking technology, but even cooler is the built-in sound machine function! Simply download the app to your phone, and select the sound you like best (I’m a white noise girl all the way!). You can even set an alarm in the app that only you will hear.

bose sleepbuds in ear headphones

These are not only great for flights, and mid-day naps, but for drowning out snoring husbands and street noise at home! I’m literally such a slave to my sound machine, that I lug it all over the world with me…not the most convenient. And depending on your roommate, she may not like that! (Just ask Megan, she curses my sound machine every time we travel together!)

Well guess what Megan, you’re no longer subject to my white noise!! I can pop these comfy Sleepbuds from Bose in my ears and crank them up as loud as I want without bothering you!

bose in ear sleepbuds

how to fit bose sleepbuds in ear

connecting bose sleepbuds over bluetooth
Bedroom Sources

All my flight essentials are packed neatly in my carry-on bag…which most often is a large tote bag. Or if it’s Summer, I’ll choose a bag that doubles as my carry-on for travel, and a beach bag once we arrive.

how to pack in a barrington tote bag for flight

travel style what to wear on airplanes
My Travel Uniform

what to pack in your carry on tote bag

So tell me, what essentials do you always pack in your carry-on for long flights? Do you require white noise to sleep, or do you prefer complete silence? What other packing posts would you like? See more of my packing tips here, and the entire contents of my carry-on bag here.


[Shop Great Bose Products at QVC]


*Photos by the darling Audrie Dollins. This post was created in compensated collaboration with QVC for Bose, but all thoughts, ideas, and comfort obsession are my own. Thank you for supporting Hi Sugarplum sponsors!*


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