inside my hand luggage

TRAVEL | What’s In My Carry On Bag

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!



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…):


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


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.


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



(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?


(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.


Because airplanes are noisy.


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


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.


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


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…


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…)


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



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?


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…


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.






(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


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


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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  • 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!

    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

    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!

    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.

    August 25, 2015
  • Jaynie


    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.

    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.

    August 25, 2015
  • You are super organised Amber.

    August 25, 2015
  • Annabelle


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

    August 25, 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).

    August 26, 2015
  • wow I would have taken half the house. lol.x

    August 27, 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…

    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!


    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!! 🙂

    August 28, 2015
  • Really great tips, thanks so much!

    September 6, 2016