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Packing in a Carry-On: My Top Travel Essentials

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Travel is by far my favorite (only?) hobby, and since I’m a carry-on-or-bust kind of person, I’ve perfected the art of packing as efficiently as possible. Side note: Please learn from my recent epic fail, and check your passport expiration dates (like a hawk!) well in advance so you don’t end up having to cancel your international trip days before departing like our family just did. Who knew children’s’ passports expired every five years, not ten?? Not this lady.

Onward! I’m sharing my top travel essentials below so you can pack like a minimalist while adding comfort, convenience and style to your next trip. My latest printable packing checklist is also LINKED HERE. Safe travels!

travel essentials

Compact Carry-On

I’ve been using this suitcase for years and it’s held up quite well. I love that it’s super lightweight, meets international carry-on standards, and has a roomy external pocket, perfect for tucking in a laptop, book or magazine.

$325 – Linked Here – Away

Travel Headphones

I normally use Airpods, but for the plane I like a more comfortable padded headphone that can also plug in for movies and music. I opted to skip the splurge and instead bought a a highly rated budget pair. I love that they fold up neatly in my handbag and the price is right.

$12 Linked Here – Sony

Structured Pouches

I’m a real sucker for a good pouch. I use pouches for organizing charges and adapters as well as toiletries and products when I travel, and they top my list of travel essentials. I alternate between using the clear, structured pouches linked below, and this sturdy canvas option, by Amanda Cercone, which can double as a chic clutch, wristlet, or even a cross-body bag.

$50 – Linked Here – Truffle | $145 Linked Here – Amanda Cercone

Passport and Card Holder

When I travel, I typically leave my wallet behind and just pack my passport, credit cards, and healthcare. This sleek passport and card holder can handle all the essentials and can be monogrammed with the most charming hand-painted initials.

$60 Linked Here – Leatherology

Packing Cube Set

I only caught onto the packing cube craze in the past few years and it’s been a game-changer. This compression set will help you maximize space in a small suitcase, and keep things organized and tidy when you pack. I always keep one aside for dirty laundry.

$26 – Linked Here – Bagail

Convertible Hip Bag

This stylish, versatile bag can be used as a hip bag for the plane and also converts into a crossbody or shoulder bag. Roomy enough to store your phone, wallet, and essentials, and secure for travel – it’s become my go-to.

$325 Linked Here – Clare V.

Travel Steamer

Full disclosure: I rarely pack this (no room!) but I do use and love it at home, and I often get asked about which steamer I use. It heats up quickly and will leave your clothes looking wrinkle-free in minutes flat.

$19 – Linked Here – PurSteam

Sanitizing On-the-Go Wipes

Wipe down tray tables, armrests, and anything else you want to quickly disinfect on your travels. I also use these to give my suitcase a good wipe down when I get home so it’s sparkly clean and ready for my next trip.

$7 Linked Here – The Honest Company

Portable Charger

This bad boy will charge your phone 7 times faster than a normal charger and the sleek, compact design will fit in even the smallest bag. I also make sure to always travel with a compact set of international travel adapters so I’m never without a charge.

$59 – Linked Here – Anker

In addition to the products mentioned, I always travel with a water bottle, gum, snacks, and something good to read.

travel essentialsWhat are your go-to travel essentials? Anything you can’t leave home without?

Photography Credit: Vivian Johnson

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