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Carry-On Essentials For a Short Flight

Packing up and heading out again! This summer has seriously been non-stop from San Francisco to Miami to Dallas to Greece to San Diego and now back to San Francisco I go! 5 out of 6 of those flights I packed into carry-ons (I amaze myself sometimes how much I have changed as a traveler), so I’m really starting to get the hang of this whole packing thing. I’ll have a post soon about how to pack for a weekend in a carry-on, but for now I’m going to talk about that ‘under the seat carry-on” that I used to have such a hard time packing.

Truth is, I pack a lot. My name is Chelsea Martin, and I am an over-packer. My purse carry-on is no exception to this either. My carry-on bags seem to have a short life span because I pack so much into it that the straps cannot survive long. I’ve tried fixing this problem by buying smaller bags, but then that just frustrates me because I actually need everything I pack. (By the way, cannot wait to get my Lo & Sons bag this week to hopefully solve all my problems!) Therefore I have learned to just pack more efficiently and utilize space for the things I truly do need (i.e. maybe I don’t need 4 magazines).

Right now I am heading to San Francisco, which has become basically my second home this year. This weekend will be filled with a few small but fun meetings, lots of girl time and catching up with old friends, The Bay Area Brew Fest, and of course lots of great food and drinks. Here’s a list of what I packed in my carry-on for this short 4 hour flight!

  • Laptop: This is a must for me as I do a lot of work on the flight and during my layovers. I actually write a lot of my blog posts on flights and am currently writing this one on my flight to SF!
  • iPadI continuously break my Kindles so now I have an iPad with the Kindle app on it. I’m currently reading Everybody Writes and love it… I highly suggest it for honestly anyone because as the book states, everybody writes. I also use my iPad for using other apps, games, etc.
  • Noise Canceling EarphonesThese make all the difference on flights! It’s crazy to me how much airplane noise it blocks out and makes it so you don’t have to have the volume up high.
  • Portable ChargerYou never know if you’ll be stuck on the tarmac for hours or cannot find a plug anywhere in the airport. This is a lifesaver, trust me.
  • Perfect Foods Bar: Couldn’t live without these and Quest bars on flights! Packed with protein and good fats, they are very filling unlike a lot of other healthy, limited-ingredients bars I have had. I sometimes even make my own bars, recipe to come for those.
  • Green JuiceI drink this on the way to the airport to get some good nutrients in me before the flight. It might just be me too, but I feel like it gives me energy and leaves me feeling fresh and less bloated throughout the day.
  • Re-Fillable Water BottleAirports are finally catching on to the trend (except for DFW for some odd reason) to have re-fillable purified water at water fountains! Hallelujah this definitely has saved me some bucks considering I drink SO much water on my flights. It is important to stay hydrated pre, during, and post flight. Good for you mind, body, skin, and everything else (except for maybe the person sitting next to you on the flight when you have to use the restroom every hour… aisle seat for the win).
  • Tea Packet: I try not to drink coffee unless it is an extremely early flight because it is dehydrating, so tea is a great option in lieu of that cup o’ joe. I always go to a coffee vendor in the airport and get a cup of hot water for my tea (often free, sometimes costs 50 cents). I do this also because then I know I am enjoying the tea that I like rather than a generic brand from the airplane or coffee shop.
  • Lotion: Planes are dehydrating for all aspects of the body, so this is essential for keeping my skin feeling good.
  • Mini Perfume: Especially in the summer, running through airports and sitting on planes makes me feel pretty gross. A mini perfume bottle gives you that fresh-smelling, new feeling.
  • Notebook & Pen: I often have random thoughts and feel the need to write them down if I cannot have my laptop out at that moment. There’s also just something so comforting about putting pen to paper to me rather than typing.
  • Small Bag: Great for keeping all of your chargers in one place! I keep my iPad, iPhone, and portable charger in here to keep the cords from getting tangled up and in the way of everything else in my bag.
  • Wallet: This is obvious, but make sure you have your ID with you! No leaving it in your workout pants (which was very close to happening to me this trip).

Safe travels y’all!


Chelsea Rose Martin