I love to travel by air even though it makes me a little nuts, sometimes.
I obsessively check and recheck things (Boarding pass? Phone? Carry-on? Suitcase?) when I’m at the airport, so there’s no telling what I must look like. I live in fear of doing something really stupid and being stranded forever in some airport.
Hey, I never said my fears were realistic.
Even though I usually carry my suitcase on board (It fits, I promise) I’m especially attentive to packing the bag I keep in the seat with me. I’ve spent more than a few hours delayed on a tarmac wishing I’d had a bottle of water or an actual paper book when the electronic ran down.
Also, I really don’t like being bored on long flights, so I’m always balancing just the right amount of essential stuff that’s easy to access with what won’t drive me crazy around an airport all day.
I just got back from a trip over the weekend, and am unpacking, so I thought I’d share what I think is important in a carry-on bag.
1. The bag itself - I’m very picky about the bag I use. First, it’s got to zip across the top (as opposed to a magnet closure) so things don’t fall out of it when you have to shove it under the seat. It also has to be bigger than an average purse, but not like a second suitcase. It’s also a plus when it’s at least somewhat stylish because I often carry it around conferences and meetings.
It’s also got to pass my “one arm scoop test”. I suppose it’s left over from my days of carrying kids around, but the straps have to be long enough for me to get it over my shoulder comfortably using one arm. It’s also got to be really sturdy with the straps fastened solidly to the bag since it’s no fun to have a strap break when you’re on your way to Gate 346C from Gate 2C.
2. Travel documents - I always carry 2 printed copies of boarding passes, and I’ve actually had to use them both before. I also make sure I have paper copies of ground transportation, lodging and meeting information even though I keep that information electronically, you just never know.
3. Magazines - I confess: I read celebrity rags on the plane. They have to be the latest copy, too. Don’t judge.
4. Book - Even though I don’t tend to read them on board, I always keep a book with me when I fly. You never know when you’ll be delayed or batteries will run out on your electronic devices leaving you with nothing to do but stare at people while they decide if they should get up and go to the bathroom, or not.
5. Water - I’m not really one of those people who carries a water bottle around everywhere, but I’ve learned the hard way to keep one with me.
6. Snack - I make sure I have something on the sweet side and something salty, since if I have one I inevitably want the other at 10,000 feet. If it’s an especially long flight, I might bring a sandwich or something.
7. Movies and games - I like to watch movies I haven’t had a chance to see. I load up my phone or table with one for going and one for the way home. I also play games on my phone when I’m in the mood.
8. Jacket - A jacket can keep you warm, and it makes a reasonable pillow in a pinch.
9. Pen and paper - It’s handy for making lists, drawing pictures or compose blog posts when you’re bored.
10. Wallet - I don’t usually carry a purse with me when I’m only going to be gone a couple of days. I put my wallet, sunglasses, keys and essentials in my tote and leave the purse and things I can live a couple of days without at home.
11. Personal items - I keep a hairbrush, mints, lipstick, mirror, nail file, Tylenol, bandaids etc. in my travel bag at all times, so I don’t have move those things from my purse to the bag and back.
12. Cords and headphone - I have a make-up bag just for cords, chargers and headphones for my various gadgets.
Since I usually carry my suitcase on board (Seriously, it fits. I’m not one of “those” people. Why are you looking at me like that?) I also have my clear bag with liquids, but I usually put that in the suitcase after I go through security.
I like to believe I’m prepared for anything that comes my way with one simple bag over my shoulder.
What about you? What goes in your airplane carry-on bag?