Free Travel Guide: Packing Your Carry-On Like a Boss

On one of my recent trips across the country, I got to thinking about different kinds of air travelers.


There’s the organized lot that packs in advance, checks and double-check their bags the night prior and only feels at ease when they’re seated at the gate an hour before boarding.

Then, there’s those of us who roll out of bed, practically sleepwalk through security and get to the gate right as the flight is boarding.

Any guesses as to which category I fall into?


Oh yes. The latter, usually. Asshole alert!

Now, I’m getting much better about my preparedness when it comes to traveling, but I think that’s because I’ve been doing so much of it this year (recent trips include: PhoenixVegasParis).


When I’m traveling, there are a few specific “needs” that I plan for.

I need to be entertained (or productive),  I need to be comfortable – and on return-flights like the one from Vegas last week, I ABSOLUTELY NEED to be close to a bathroom… And/or to be medicated. Wink.

With the holidays upon us, I know you’ve got a trip or two around the corner. So with that, I thought I’d share an updated version of my perfect packing list — as well as a (printable) check-list to help you travel like a boss this season:



Pin that for later, read this now.

First things first: The bag. Your closest companion and in-flight BFF.

Lately, I’ve been using my favorite reversible tote bag from Nordstrom.  It’s big — not baggy — holds up well and fits everything I like to carry. (Of course, I love my Lo & Sons travel tote, too.)

Here’s what’s in my bag when I travel:


  • Phone, keys, wallet.
  • More specifically, the Michael Kors jetset wallet: To organize receipts, cash and cards.
  • Cute and colorful passport holder.

*Click to shop:




Because, well, duh.

*Click to shop:



*Click to shop:


airplane-outfit*original outfit post / scuba leggings (on sale)


Beauty & make-up musts:

Because sunglasses only hide so much — and you never know who you’ll meet…

*Click to shop:




I’m not a huge germaphobe, but airports (and people) are fucking disgusting. As a result, I need hand sanitizer and tissues to go — always.

  • Aspirin
  • Vitamins
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Emergen-C packets
  • Tissues (I’ve been using Puffs Purse Packs and SoftPacks — love ’em both).
  • Tampons, Pepto, band-aids and Visine are also good to have.



Does anyone really like airplane food? No? Me neither. Which explains why I’m the type of person who reserves the majority of her carry on for snacks on snacks on SNACKS.

  • Water bottle: I carry one with me and fill it once I’m through security.
  • Fruit and produce if I’m traveling domestically. You can’t bring those across the border, though. (I’ve learned the hard way.)
  • Nourish Snacks: I’ve blogged about these portion-control snack packs before, and with good reason. Each is 200 calories (or less) and made with all-natural, non-GMO ingredients. You can shop ’em a la cart  or sign up for a monthly delivery.




Here are some nice-to-haves:

*Click to shop:


Of course, we all have different needs and travel styles. Your list probably varies based on your destination, length of travel and the like. Regardless, though I hope you found this helpful.

What’s one essential item that’s got a guaranteed spot on your packing list?


This travel season, let’s keep in touch! Find me on…
Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | snapchat: @coralsncognacs


  1. GIRL. YES. This is one of the best packing lists I think I’ve ever seen. Most people are like “Bring things that go together to be layered, and a lot of black, and don’t forget your chargers.” And that’s it. This was so in depth and detailed! I always make sure to save magazines that I subscribe to for a few weeks leading up to a trip so I don’t have to buy them in the airport (but let’s be real…). Cozy socks (especially if it’s possible that the floors of wherever I stay could be questionable in their cleanliness) and lotion are also musts.

  2. This post is so amazing!! Great attention to detail. I will refer to this on my next travel adventure 🙂 Great blog! Check mine out if you have time!

  3. Thanks for this! I leave for Chicago in a few days and have been stressing about what to take. I’m a genius packer when it comes to car trips, but for flights I still get a little frazzled. 🙂

  4. I usually pack last minute but I can do that because I’ve written out a list days prior. I rarely forget anything. One thing I have to have is my magazines for the plane ride. I love to fly but don’t particularily want to sleep on my flight (I like to be alert at all times, just in case) so reading material keeps me company. Even If I’m flying with someone, I am not the person that’s gonna chat the duration of the flight. Let me read. Part of the heaviness of my carryon is the mags. Also my extra battery for my phone. It’s godsend considering when you’re at a place like Manhattan or Chicago and know you’re not going to be in the hotel room or anywhere to charge, it’ll allow you the chance of having a charged phone all day. I sometimes prefer to take pix with my phone vs lugging my camera around so an extra phone battery comes in handy.

    • Oh, girl. I so wouldn’t mind being wedged into a middle seat next to you – we’d be airplane BFFs.

      Your reading = my music’ing. That’s half the reason I have over-the-ear, canceling headphones. They’re my obvious “Nope, not open to chatting. I’m jammin’!” Glad to know I’m not alone on this 😉

  5. Pingback: How To: Pack the Perfect Carry-On for Traveling

  6. This is so great, Hallie! And very timely – I am flying to London tomorrow! I absolutely must have a pair of compression socks when I travel. Without them, I get sexy swollen cankles on international flights 😉 I also like to let my mag subscriptions pile up for a few weeks beforehand so I’ll have fresh content, and I have a secret stash of leftover Halloween candy to get me through the flight.

  7. I like to bring my latest read or magazine with me, especially on short flights when getting out electronics seems like more trouble than they are worth! This is an excellent list 🙂

  8. I was comparing your list of items with what I brought in my travel bag to Mexico last week and it’s true, brilliant minds think alike! 😉 No matter where I am traveling to/from or how early/late I get to the airport, I must stop and get a bottle of water before I board the plane. It might be part of my OCD travel ways.

  9. Pingback: Weekend Browsing - Annie Reeves

  10. Pingback: Link Love, Vol. 29 - corals + cognacs

  11. Pingback: Tuesday Web Candy | Honestly Jamie

  12. Pingback: Weekend Reading

  13. Pingback: Win a travel bag from Lo & Sons!

  14. Pingback: 5 Days in Paris | Isabelle Victoria's Travels

  15. Pingback: To Pack (for Paris in the Summer) | Isabelle Victoria's Travels

  16. Pingback: What’s in My Carry-On? | vogue & van gogh

  17. Pingback: My Travel Essentials - Kymmiee, Blogger By Chance

  18. Pingback: Travel Essentials & Traveling Light

  19. Pingback: What To Pack For Vacation! Airplane Essentials + Tips! | World Hotels Deal booking

  20. Pingback: Cool Sh*t to Share, Vol. 14 – Among Other Things

What do you think?