Having a well packed carry on can make any travel day effortless, whether it’s a 3 hour flight or a 24 hour long day of flights and connections. Obviously, for the shorter flights you don’t need to weigh yourself down with quite so much stuff (and trust me, the less you have to lug around airports, the happier you will be!), but I thought I’d share some of my favourite travel must-haves that I bring with me for all the long travel days:
Lululemon’s Om the Day bag has tons of compartments to keep your stuff organized and accessible, and can hold up to 50 lbs worth of stuff. (not recommended, your shoulders and back will hate you for this – but it is an option) A padded pocket for your laptop, easy access phone pocket, interior pockets, and even easy to reach pockets for snacks and drinks, this bag is one of the best carry on options I’ve ever seen. I’d call it perfect, but the one thing I think it’s missing is an adjustable shoulder strap. It fits so much stuff, is super cute, and when you get to your destination you can double up on the versatility and use it for a great day bag/overnight bag/beach bag/long day of shopping/whatever bag. If the lulu yoga style isn’t really your thing, I’d recommend either a duffel or a backpack.
A must for any length of travel, get something comfy so you can listen to tunes, watch movies, or just pop them on in an effort to get chatty Cathy beside you to take a hint and stop telling you about each and every one of the stuffed animals her boyfriend bought her (yes, this has actually happened!) If for no other reason, headphones can help drown out the sounds of crying babies/screaming children and make it a bit easier to catch some zzzzzz’s on the flight. I’m obsessed with the colour of these Beats by Dre headphones, and because they’re wireless, no cords to get tangled up in! If drowning out all background noise is important to you, opt for noise cancelling headphones.
Another Lululemon necessity, this baby is the bomb when it comes to in-flight comfort. There are at least 12 different ways to wear this scarf, possibly up to 4000 different ways, making it one of the most versatile items of clothing that I own. I get cold easily on planes and in airports, so I love that I can wrap this scarf around my shoulders to keep away the chill when its warm outside and I don’t want to actually carry a jacket to the airport. For longer flights you can pull the scarf over your head/face, blocking out ambient light and making it easier to sleep. Also useful for balling up in the corner and making a pillow, or for covering up that crazy I’ve-been-travelling-for-too-long-and-haven’t-showered-recently hair style that might crop up.
My fave eReader out there is definitely the Kobo, which you can get from Chapters/Indigo. It consistently wins out against competitors in online reviews, and comes with a better price tag too. Nothing beats the feel of a real book in my hands, and I love filling up shelves with physical books at home, but when it comes to travel, I grab my eReader every time. The internal memory holds literally thousands of books, and my Kobo has a backlight that I can turn on when it’s needed. I take it on the plane, to the beach, I even carried my Kobo all the way up to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro!
Universal Travel Adapter
Airports are getting better these days, with many hubs installing USB stations at gates or other waiting areas; but sometimes these are few and far between, or in busy areas, might be fully utilized. I carry a universal adapter with me so that I always have a way to plug in and charge up, no matter where I find myself.
Mophie Juice Pack
In case I can’t find any where to plug in, or if I don’t have time to sit and wait for a charge, I keep my Mophie Juice Pack close at hand. It fits over my phone and carries enough extra power to charge my iPhone battery more than once. Total lifesaver.
MAC Strobe Cream
This cream packs a punch and comes in a convenient travel size, perfect for breezing through security. Vitamins, botanicals, antioxidants, and green tea help freshen up my skin after a long flight, and little iridescent particles help make my skin look “glowy.” Airplane air tends to be pretty drying too, so it’s a great way to keep skin feeling moist and healthy without being too heavy. As an alternative, you can go for the Prep & Prime Fix+ spray, a water mist that doubles up as make-up fixer too.
MAC Blot Powder
Another one of my favourites from MAC, the Blot Powder is awesome for controlling my shiny face and adding a little bit of colour so I can look fresh faced and ready to go when I step off the plane.
Chewing some gum helps a lot to relieve pressure during landing, especially if my sinuses are feeling a bit stuffy. Airplanes also don’t have potable water in the bathrooms, so some gum can help with post airplane-meal funky breath too.
Unless you only ever fly domestic, you’ll need a pen to fill out the myriad of customs forms and arrival/departure cards you’re sure to encounter along the journey. Plus, you never know when you might want to go old school and actually write something down.
Travel Document Holder
Mine is actually an old wallet by Matt & Nat, but it’s the perfect size to hold my passport, foreign currency, travel cards, boarding passes, and any confirmations that I’ve printed. I love having one spot where I know everything travel-related will be, and its so much easier that trying to dig through my bag to find my passport, Nexus card, and Yellow Fever card separately.
Water and Snacks
Airplanes are dry, and the flight attendants never seem to come around often enough to offer more water. On long flights I always carry extra water with me, most airports will have water fountains scattered around so I can refill when I get past security checkpoints and whenever I need to along the way. It doesn’t hurt to grab some fave snacks either, in case the meals served on the flight turn out to be a bit less than appealing or just so I can watch some movies while munching on some popcorn. How jealous are my seat mates now?
My Bank Cards, but NOT Much Cash
Unless in your pre-trip planning you’ve determined that ATMs are hard to find, it’s almost always better to just take out money once you get to your destination. These days, almost every airport you fly in to is going to have ATMs available (there are definitely exceptions to the rule – you need to come prepared with cash if you’re heading to Myanmar, for example) and 99% of the time you are going to end up with a better exchange rate by using your card in an ATM at your destination than you will by buying the cash at home first. Plus, then you don’t have to worry about carrying a huge wad of cash in your bag and during your travels. Just make sure you let your bank and credit card companies know before you go how long you’ll be travelling and which countries you’ll be visiting. Having your cards cancelled on you is seriously shitty.
My Passport and Nexus Card
Passport, obviously. But my Nexus card also comes in super handy when making my way through airports, especially if I have a connection in a US airport. The line-ups to cross the imaginary border line at US airports are the absolute worst. Nexus is part of a joint program between the Canadian and US governments to pre-screen travelers. If you have a Nexus card you jump to the front of the line at border crossings at major US and Canadian airports (and land border crossings too!), but you also qualify as TSA pre-checked, which means at some American airports you jump to the front of the line for security checkpoints AND you don’t have to do all the annoying things like take your laptop out of the bag and dig out your liquids/gels at airports that participate in the TSA pre-check program. (If only Canada would get on board with this one, I would be one happy camper!)