international travel: what's in my carry-on bags


Happy Friday, everyone! So, tonight, we’re off to the airport heading to Europe for my birthday and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m working a little bit today, may half the day before getting everything ready to go and heading out. Over the years, I’ve come up with the perfect airplane outfit which I’ll show you in my post on Monday! But today, I’m sharing what’s in my big ‘ole carry-on bags.

Contrary to what I often see out there in the world, I’m not at all an over packer. It probably has to do with the fact that I lived so lean in New York, so I’ve become experienced with getting everything I need streamlined into one piece of carry-on luggage and the tote bag I use for my purse. So, here’s everything I pack to make sure I’m prepared specifically for a long haul, overnight flight.

Barrington Tote

1. Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask
My favorite carry-on item has to be the Jet Lag Mask from Summer Fridays. I rarely set foot on a plane without using a hydrating mask because the air is so dry and this is the perfect one because it goes on completely clear. See my full review here.

2. Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve
Another hydrating must have is a good hand cream and I love the hand salve from Kiehl’s. It’s super thick and hydrating, plus you can wash your hands three time without needing to reapply which is great since I tend to hand sanitize a lot while traveling.

3. Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner
The third facet of the hydration trifecta is a face mist and in the past, I typically have used the Mario Badescu spray. But this time, I’m using a toner from Indie Lee. I’ll spritz this on a couple times through the flight whenever I need a little refresher. Another great option is Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir.

4. Honest Beauty Makeup Wipes
text - I usually don’t use makeup wipes because they’re sort of wasteful, but I make an exception when I’m flying somewhere because they’re so much easier to pack than my giant bottle of Bioderma. As soon as I get to my seat on the plane, I take off all of my makeup and slather on my face mask.

5. Honest Company Anti-Bacterial Baby Wipes
As soon as I get to my seat, I start my routine by wiping everything down with an anti-bacterial wipe, from the seat and the armrests to the window and the tray. I like The Honest Company’s baby wipes because they’re pretty clean, much like the makeup wipes I mentioned above.

6. Zzzquil Capsules
For overnight flights, I keep a sleep aid on had in case I’m having trouble falling asleep. There are tons of options including Dramamine (which is for motion sickness but also good for sleep), Ambien (which I avoid), and natural choices like melatonin or even Nature’s Bounty Goodnight Lovely capsules with melatonin and hyaluronic acid. But I tend to opt for Zzzquil because it always works for me, whereas the natural options can be hit or miss, personally.

7. Apple Earbuds + Kreafunk Wireless Headphones
I carry two different headphones with me because I prefer using my wireless pair when I’m listening to something on my phone, but if I want to watch a movie on the seat screen, it requires pluggable earbuds.

8. Sigvaris Compression Calf Sleeves
It’s super important to ensure proper blood circulation in your legs and that’s especially true when flying because you have such limited mobility. For long flights, I always wear my Sigvaris compression calf sleeves. I have the black ones because, although they are usually hidden under my leggings, I can wear them with shorts and they look more sporty than medical.

9. Swell Bottle
I love, love, love my Swell bottle and they’re so good for travel because they truly keep your water cold all day long even if they’re left in a hot car. My particular bottle is a Liberty print which is very fitting for London, right? So, I’ll bring my empty bottle with me through security then fill it up at a water station or, if there is’t one, at a Starbucks or airport café.

10. Trtl Pillow
I don’t know what to say about this one. Some people think it looks silly, I think it looks sort of like a scarf. But regardless, this thing is so comfortable and the only neck pillow I’ve found that works for me!

11. RX Bars + Other Snacks
These are so great for travel because they’re small but mighty. I personally prefer the berry variations (especially blueberry). I get all of my other snacks from Trader Joe’s. Things like fresh and freeze dried fruit, organic string cheese, Inner Peas, and individual trail mix packets.

12. Truffle Pouch Necessities
I absolutely adore my Truffle pouches for air travel because they’re cute, they’re clear, and they keep everything super organized so that I can just reach into my bag and know where to find important things. In my larger pouch, I keep the skincare products I’ll use on the plane and then in the smaller one, I store my passport, Global Entry card, phone charger, and boarding pass if for some reason it is printed out. Side note, these are really easy to clean! I spilled nail polish in my large tote and thought I was done for, but with some soapy water and polish remover, it looks like new again.

13. Sleep Mask
I’ve packed one of my cute themed sleep masks that came with a pair of pajamas (I have a drawer full of these) to block out any light in the cabin overnight. If you can, I highly suggest getting the Slip silk eye mask.

14. Book
I used to be the girl who lugged multiple books and magazines in her carry-on bag and was miserable hauling it through the terminal, only to end up listening to a podcast anyway. So, I’ve finally relented and have started taking a magazine instead! However, since this trip involves two long flights, I’m also packing a book which happens to be presidential primary candidate Pete Buttigieg’s new memoir.

15. Cashmere Socks
I believe that you can’t honestly reach peak cozy without a pair of warm socks to slip on when you get to your seat. Who wants to sleep in their shoes?!

Carry-On Luggage

1. Away Packing Cubes
I love using these packing cubes (I have them in the color ‘sand’) to keep things separated and organized in my luggage and everything easy to find without having to dig through. This set comes with four different shapes/sizes. Within and outside of the cubes, I use the KonMari folding method to ensure maximized use of space. When you get to your hotel or Airbnb, simply lift the cubes out of your luggage and straight into the dresser drawers.

2. Makeup Bag
I carry a few essentials with my in my tote but the rest of my makeup goes into my luggage inside a little organizer. I try to pare down what I take with me to only the essentials that I’ll need for whatever I’m doing on the trip. In this case, I have my Anastasia Brow Wiz, Burt’s Bees Mascara, Tarte blush, a Nars red lipstick, and Maybelline brown eyeliner. Things like my RMS Uncover Up concealer and Fresh lip balms are in my tote bag because I use them all day long.

3. Dual Voltage Curling Iron
When I’m at home, I use my trusted Hot Tools curling iron but it isn’t dual voltage. I like to be safe with things like that, so I have a Conair dual voltage ceramic curling iron (1 1/4 inch) to take abroad with me. It’s super affordable and works really, really well for the price. I highly recommend it to anyone who travels abroad or even if you just need a good curling iron that’s well priced.

4. Reusable Straws
It might sound a little extra to bring along your own reusable straws but I hate plastic straws and my bamboo ones are small and easily packable, so why not? I’ll put one or two in my bag when I go out for the day and use them at restaurants so that I’m not wasting plastic.

5. Skincare Routine
And finally, my full skincare routine. Like I said, I keep things like makeup wipes, Jet Lag mask, and face mist in my large Truffle pouch but the rest of the routine is packed away in my luggage. Like makeup, I pare things down and only take the essentials like a cleanser and a moisturizer (in my case, rosehip or almond oil). I’ve got a really good trick too! Instead of packing leaky shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, go out and buy a bar of soap (I recommend Dr. Bronner’s peppermint bar soap) that can work as all three. Keep in mind, not all bar soaps can double as shampoo but Dr. Bronner’s can, as well as this and Lush has shampoo bars too.