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TRAVEL | What’s In My Carry On Bag

Posted on 5 min read

Last week I showed you what’s inside my travel makeup bag, so this week I thought I’d show you what’s inside my carry on bag.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to show you what’s inside my suitcase: that post would be too long even by MY standards. (If you really want to know, though, first of all picture every item of clothing you’ve ever seen me wear. Now picture it all inside a suitcase. Voila! Now you know what I’m packing!)

When we travel, we almost always fly with British Airways, and one of the reasons I like this airline is because they’re really generous with their hand luggage allowance. With BA, you get to take two bags on board: one can weigh up to 23 kilos (which allows you to almost double your luggage allowance: hello shopping!), and the other is a standard large handbag-size of up to 40cm x 3ocm. I, naturally, make the most of this situation: I have a wheeled carry on bag which is the maximum size allowed into the cabin, and I basically just use it to max  out my luggage allowance. As I’ve said, I don’t travel light, so I use this bag to carry any overflow from my suitcase, and also a few pieces which are too precious/valuable for me to want to risk losing them if the suitcase gets lost. So mostly shoes, then.

(Because of this, I call this bag “Shoebagga”, which is pronounced like “Chewbacca”, but which is a shoe… bagga. Geddit? I’m here all week, folks…)

Because I have the large carry on bag to hold anything, er, large, I then use my regular handbag to carry the items I’ll need for the flight itself. And here they are!

INSIDE MY CARRY ON BAG

THE BAG

I actually haven’t made up my mind which handbag I’ll be taking with me this year, so the carry on bag is being represented by my beloved Philip Lim ‘Pashli’ satchel for now. Which bag to take is an important decision, so you don’t want to rush it, you know?

Inside it you’ll find (working anti-clockwise from the bottom of the image…):

IPAD

(The black and white polka dot case is by Kate Spade, and seems to be sold out online.)

MAKEUP POUCH

This is actually a pencil case, but I use it for the bits of makeup I normally carry in my handbag. Annoyingly, I can’t seem to find the clear pouch I got in a Birchbox a few weeks ago, which is why this is here instead: if I find the clear bag, I’ll take it, and if not, well, it looks like I’ll be decanting the products inside (more on those later) into one of these plastic “baggies” before I go through security.

SUNGLASSES

Because my eyes are so light-sensitive I never go anywhere without sunglasses, and I’ll be needing these when we land.

carry-on-luggage

NOTEBOOK + PEN

(Totally forgot to add the pen to the photo: let’s just hope I don’t forget it in real life, too, or how will I record my words of wisdom, HOW?) Well, you never know when inspiration will strike, do you?

KINDLE

(With case, once I find it.) I know I could just use the Kindle app on the iPad, but I prefer the glare-free screen on the Kindle itself. I also like to have them both in my carry on bag, in case of in-flight battery emergencies.

EARPLUGS

Because airplanes are noisy.

COMPACT HAIRBRUSH

You don’t need me to explain why I need a hairbrush, do you? I thought not.

PHONE AND EARBUDS

I forgot to add the back-up battery pack for my phone to this photo, but it comes with me too – assuming that the photo isn’t the ONLY thing I forget to add it to.

WALLET

Again, not going to insult you by inferring that you don’t know what a wallet is. Mine is this one.

PASSPORT AND TRAVEL DOCUMENTS 

The travel documents aren’t in the photo because I don’t actually have them yet, but I’m hoping to remember to bring them…

STRESS TOY

I realise this will sound totally bizarre to those of you who are, well, normal, but I’m terrified of flying, and clutching this little guy in my sweaty hand helps calm me down, so he’s now become a kind of stress toy / good luck charm. (Which is weird because I’m not remotely superstitious. And just because it’s weird, I guess.) His name is Pinky. Well, YOU try coming up with an original name when your life is flashing before your eyes during bad turbulence…

(Ironically, I now spend most flights stressing over where I put Pinky and worrying that I might lose him. Trust me to make a stress toy stressful…)

PILL DISPENSER

It, er, dispenses pills, if you haven’t guessed.

OH, AND ALSO…

SPARE UNDERWEAR

I didn’t take a photo, because no one needs to see my knickers (except that guy at security who’ll get the job of pawing through my bag, obviously), but you never know when you’ll be delayed, or how long for, do you?

AND INSIDE THE MAKEUP BAG…

inside my travel makeup bag

I don’t normally take too much makeup  etc on-board the plane, because I’ve long-since realised I’m far too lazy to that whole “remove all your makeup, put on moisturiser, then replace makeup before you land!” thing everyone seems to swear by. I wear minimal makeup to fly anyway, so my skin doesn’t get too damaged by my failure to apply a face-pack on board, or whatever it is I should be doing. What I do take with me is…

ANTI-BAC HAND GEL

I don’t really consider myself too much of a germophobe, really, but I start to turn into one when I travel: airplane bathrooms are often filthy by the end of the flight (and sometimes at the start, too, if you’re really unlucky…), and all that recycled air makes them great places to catch whatever bug is doing the rounds, so I always take a hand sanitizer, and use it liberally during the flight.

HAND CREAM

LIP BALM

TINY LITTLE TRAVEL SUNSCREEN/MOISTURISER

HAIR ELASTICS

CONTACT LENSES.

(I don’t wear my lenses when I’m flying, because my eyes get really dry on the plane, but I’ll normally put them in just before we land, so I can see where I’m going…)

travel tips: what's in my carry on bag

EYE DROPS

There won’t be a dry eye in the house with these! Boom boom!

LIPSTICK

Because if I only take one piece of makeup, lipstick is going to be it.

TOOTHBRUSH (and travel toothpaste, which I don’t have yet.)

This is probably unnecessary, because airlines normally hand out packs with travel toothbrushes and paste, but I take it just in case, because nothing makes me feel grottier faster than not cleaning my teeth on a regular basis…

*   *  *

I THINK that’s it, but if it isn’t, at least I still have time to try and remember whatever it is I’ve forgotten. So! That’s what’s in my carry on bag: what’s in yours?

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17 Comments
  • Aisling
    August 25, 2015

    You’re much more organized than I am. I always start out with good intentions and then end up throwing in so much crap. By the time I reach the other end of the flight it’s just a big mess in my bag. Sigh. I love that satchel though, it’s so wild!

  • Selina
    August 25, 2015

    My mum always told me to pack spare knickers. I always wear and pack the ugliest ones for a flight just in case I need to dispose of them

  • Fi
    August 25, 2015

    I have that exact hair brush and it gets through airport security no problem, but the man looking at the bag scans in security to get into the Statue of Liberty was most suspicious of it – wanted to know what it was so I had to take it out of my bag and demonstrate. So watch out if you go to anywhere in the States that requires additional security checks!

  • Fi
    August 25, 2015

    Also don’t forget to get a clear plastic bag to put all the hand gel/lenses etc in to go through security.

    • Amber
      August 25, 2015

      I actually mentioned that in the post 🙂

  • Jaynie
    August 25, 2015

    I wish I was that organised! My main goal is getting through security quickly, so I concentrate on having all my large electronics and my clear plastic baggie easily accessible. I also tend to take a pair of pajamas in addition to the undies, because if I get somewhere and my suitcase doesn’t (which has happened twice now!) the last thing I want to do is an emergency pajama shop while jet lagged. In fact I’ll often stash a next day outfit too, because I hate having to put on clothes I spent all of yesterday trapped in a plane in. And I’m inclined to take a colouring book and crayons on long flights, because colouring requires just the right amount of mental involvement to keep me preoccupied without being too taxing. Probably my equivalent of the stress toy to be honest.

    I’m with you on the toothbrush/paste (although my usual airlines don’t give it out?). As long as I can brush my hair and my teeth and put on a little bit of lipstick at the end of a flight, I feel at least human enough to make it through passport contol.

  • Heather
    August 25, 2015

    Gosh, you’re so organized! Will have to make a note of this. I dont normally take long flights, but my last trip to Vegas, which is suppose to only be an hour, ended up being five. Oy.

  • Stella Kashmoney
    August 25, 2015

    You are super organised Amber.

  • Annabelle
    August 25, 2015

    I will save this post for my next flight! Thank you, Amber.

  • Barcy
    August 26, 2015

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who takes both an IPad and a Kindle. I get so tired of people condescendingly informing me that there is a Kindle app. Then I laugh when their batteries are dead and I still have lots of entertainment. I’m mean like that sometimes (err, most times).

    • Amber
      August 26, 2015

      Yes! And the iPad app isn’t much use for reading by the pool either – the screen glare makes it unuseable for me! I mostly bring it just in case they turn the lights out in the plane – a few years ago that happened to me and the little overhead spotlights weren’t working, so we were basically plunged into darkness and I couldn’t see my Kindle screen: I totally depend on reading to distract me from my fear of flying, so I was panicking!

  • Victoria Danaher
    August 27, 2015

    wow I would have taken half the house. lol.x

  • Wild Tea Party
    August 28, 2015

    That a pretty solid flight bag! I always carry a wrap with me for warmth, though I guess that counts as a plane outfit, and an eye mask and ear buds. I know they give you an eye mask, but I prefer my own that I’ve pre-sprayed with lavender scent. And ear buds are a god send when the couple next to you are having a fight and she’s crying with running mascara and one false eyelash coming off and he just wants to make it better “babe” and you just want a nap. This was totally not based on prior experience *coughsitwascoughs*. I hope they had fun in Thailand…

  • Michelle
    August 28, 2015

    Wow, you’re organised! Loving the stress toy, I used to be afraid of flying so always took a handkerchief with me which I would squeeze, wring and wind around my fingers. I did this over, and over, and over …………. you get the picture.

    I probably looked like a maniac, but it calmed my troubled nerves! Luckily I’ve completely kicked my fear of flying by learning to fly. Extreme I know, but it worked for me 🙂

    Just one thought, when I last flew the guidelines (or Gestapo like rules) of the airline stated that all medication had to be in its original packaging. Prescribed medication had to be in its original packaging which clearly showed the patient’s name (in other words the sticker that they put on the box at the chemist).

    Rules for every airline differ – because a standard set of rules might actually make things easier for us, and where would the fun be in that – so it may be that you’ll be fine with your tablet dispenser. Just thought I’d give you a heads up.

    Have a brilliant time on your hols!

    Michelle

    • Amber
      August 28, 2015

      We’ve never had an issue with that and Terry always has to take a ton of stuff because of his transplant – maybe we’ve just been lucky, though!

  • Michelle
    August 28, 2015

    As I said, it may just be different airlines, different rules. I have to take quite a bit of prescribed meds myself, the airline I flew with was very specific. Being as rules seem to change faster than the speed of a gnats wing in flight, it might be worth your while checking though.
    Hope all goes smoothly and have fun!! 🙂

  • danelle
    September 6, 2016

    Really great tips, thanks so much!

AD | We’re spending a few days at @highlandheatherlodges in beautiful Perthshire, for what Terry is optimistically referring to as his ‘birthday week’. (I say ‘optimistically’ - we’re only here for three days, and his birthday was yesterday, but don’t stop believing, Terry!)⁣
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There’s a hot tub for us and a playpark for Max, so needless to say, we’re having a fantastic time, and I’m already dreading having to leave. Today’s big question: can I pass as an under-12, so I qualify for a pony ride at the nearby wildlife centre? 🤔 (On second thoughts, don’t answer that one...)⁣
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#thetraveltag #scotland_ig #visitscotland #scotland_insta #scotlandlife #scottishblogger  #stayandwander #travelbloggerlife #travelblogging #tblogger #thattravelblog #travellifestyle #travelpreneur #perthshire #scotlandinsta #reallifeandstyle #wearingtoday #igstyleblogger #fashiongrammerv

AD | We’re spending a...

AD | Time for a quick game of “Where’s Amber?”⁣
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It’s another rainy Monday, so I’m throwing it back to our trip to @universalorlando ‘s amazing Volcano Bay water park last month. I’m a bit of a scaredy when it comes to water flumes, but this park had tons of stuff for pretty much everyone: plenty of rides for me, and an amazing splash pad for Max 👶In fact, I’d still be on The Fearless River right now if I possibly could be. Still, doing the laundry and turning the heating on will be just as good, right? Right?! 🌋 🏊‍♀️ .
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#universalorlando #volcanobay #waterpark #lazyriver #vacay #floridavacay

AD | Time for a...

Good news! We took Max to hospital this morning, and saw two different surgeons, who agreed there was no need to go ahead with the surgery as his lip is healing really well on its own 😅  He’ll definitely have a scar, unfortunately, but that would’ve been the case whether he’d had the surgery or not, and if it turns out to be worse than anticipated, we’ll have the option to have it corrected under local anaesthetic when he’s older. ⁣
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I’m still really upset that this happened in the first place, obviously, but so relieved that we don’t have to put him through a general anaesthetic, and just incredibly grateful that it wasn’t anything worse. I know some parents have to deal with much more serious stuff than this, and my heart goes out to you all: it’s been a rough couple of days, and I’m really grateful to everyone who took the time to comment on yesterday’s post - your stories were so comforting when I was panicking yesterday ❤️ ⁣
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(Old photo, obviously: every time Max sees the selfie camera, he thinks it’s going to be one of those filters where you open your mouth and something happens 😂)⁣
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#pbloggers #mummybloggers #mummybloggersuk #ukmumblog #mumblogsuk #mumblogs #mamablog #ukparentbloggers #parentbloggersuk #ukparentingblog #parentingbloggers #motherhoodblogger #motherhoodblog #ukblogger #ukofficialblogger #happyblogger #mummyblog #bloggerclubuk #instamum

Good news! We took Max...

Totally unrelated photo, but we’ve just spent the morning in Accident & Emergency with Max, who fell on the path outside the house and split his lip open 😥 ⁣
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They tried to stitch it up at A&E, but it was totally impossible with him awake, so they’ve booked him in to have it done under general anaesthetic tomorrow ... Max is absolutely fine: the bleeding stopped quickly, he doesn’t seem to be in pain, and is just his normal, happy little self. I, on the other hand, am a complete wreck: the plastic surgeon he saw today reckons if we don’t have it fixed, his lip will be crooked when it heals, but I’m absolutely *terrified* of the thought of my baby having to have a GA. ⁣
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If you’re a long-time follower, you might know that I have a full-blown phobia of general anaesthetic (I literally had an elective c-section in order to eliminate the possibility of an emergency one, which might have had to be done under GA), so I just can’t get my head to accept that it’s safe and he’ll be fine 😥 ⁣
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Positive stories and advice very welcome: I’m just so terrified, I can’t even imagine how to get through the next 24 hours 😥😥😥

Totally unrelated photo, but we’ve...

#throwbackthursday to last week, when I needed a sunhat and SPF 50 to leave the house, rather than the current raincoat and wellies situation. Can you tell the post-holiday blues are still in full swing over here? 🌧 .
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#whatiwear #30plusblogs #everydaystyle #realoutfitgram  #scottishbloggers #fashionblogger  #fashionblog #fashionstyle #whatimwearing #stylegram  #outfitoftheday #personalstyle #todayiamwearing #styleinspiration 
#stylediaries #styleblogger #over30style

#throwbackthursday to last week, when...

I posted this on Stories over the weekend, but he looked so cute in it I figured it deserved a spot on the grid, too! This is Max all ready for his friend Eleah’s 1st birthday party on Saturday: despite the jetlag and his continuing obsession with doors of all kinds (He had an entire soft play at his disposal, but he mostly just wanted to open and close the gate into it...) he had an absolute ball, and spent the whole drive home shouting, “HAPPY! HAPPY!” Thanks to @thestirlingstyle for a great party 🥳 🎈 🎉 . (Oh, and that’s his hairbrush in his hand - boy likes to look his best 😉)
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#littlepiecesofchildhood #cameramama #chikdhoodeveryday #childofig #celebrate_childhood #babieswithstyle #ootdkids #fashionbaby #trendykids

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OUTFIT | Green polka dot dress
TRAVEL | What’s In My Carry On Bag