In-Flight Carry On Essentials

Heading to the airport and flying is just so second nature to me that I don’t mess around when it comes to in-flight carry on essentials. Having served in the military for several years and flying on multiple international and domestic flights as well as flying, on average, once a month last year alone, I definitely consider my flight skills on point. 

That’s why I’ve decided to do a little series of post discussing my travel tips and essentials to make your process of flying easier. You might be thinking “Okay girl- EVERY blogger does a post like this.” True. But what makes blogging so special is that everyone has their own story to tell and has different experiences. So, here’s mine.

I don’t know about you, but when I fly, I like to keep things simple, easy going and relaxing. The airport is the last place you should be feeling stressed! For me, a plane is either a place where I can catch up on sleep (but you should know, I could literally fall asleep anywhere- I used to fall asleep on loud, rumbling helicopters all the time, if that tells you anything about me) or it’s a place where I can catch up on work and blogging.

For this post, I’ll be sharing my in-flight essentials for girl on-the-go! (Keep in mind, this is regarding domestic flights. I’ll be doing international flight essentials in another post in the series!)

In Flight Essentials

  1. First and foremost, I have to include electronics. Your cell phone is a no brainer, but bringing your tablet is a great option to your laptop- not only is it way smaller, but it’s less cumbersome and you don’t have to take it out during security. If you must bring your laptop, invest in a good case. DON’T forget your chargers or headphones.
  2. Life essentials– Make sure you’ve got all your IDs, bank cards, stuff like that. I know, this sounds like a ‘duh’ bullet point. I’d like to bring up the last time you switched your purses around- did you try to pull out something that you needed only to remember you left it in your other purse or wallet? I thought so! It happens to everyone so don’t feel bad. Just remember your essentials.
  3. Small refresher kit: This one was a HUGE bullet point for me when I was in the military- ESPECIALLY during international flights. Granted, the longer the flight, the bigger the refresher kit, but for this post, we’ll stick to smaller items fit for domestic flights. The point of this kit is to make you feel refreshed and ready for your final destination as soon as you deplane. For me, this kit includes: Face wipes, a small toothbrush and paste and/or mints, a fragrance rollerball, small deodorant, feminine products, chapstick and lotion, facial tissue and medications (prescription/over the counter.)
  4. Entertainment: unless you plan on sleeping your way through the sky, a little in-flight entertainment wouldn’t hurt. For movies, games or light reading, you can stow everything on your smart phones on tablets. If you’re a paperback fan, bring along your latest read or some magazines. Flights are actually the perfect time for me to catch up on blogging. I’ll open my laptop and start typing away for future blog posts (would you believe me if I said this post was written in flight?) I’ll also bring along my planner because flying is the perfect time to lay out my plans for the week and jot some notes down.
  5. Snacks: Who would I be if I didn’t include food? Elevate your in-flight snack game by bringing some homemade concoctions that are easy to eat and not messy. I always bring a homemade granola mix or trail mix, granola or health bars, the occasional dark chocolate chip cookie. Make sure you stay hydrated too- drink plenty of water!
  6. Sleep and comfort essentials: Bring an eye mask and ear plugs if you know you want some shut eye on your flight. For comfort, bring a small neck pillow, a comfy sweater and a blanket scarf (most airlines have small pillows and blankets in first class, but usually if you ask the flight attendant for one, they’ll give the to you.)
  7. A Carry-On luggage bag itself! There are many cute options for bags out there. Believe it or not, I actually use an old military bag I bought during my first deployment. They’re called ‘Bug Out Bags’ because you could quite literally fit a million things in this bag. They were made for troops who were going on multiple-day missions and needed carry deployment essentials and field gear. (Pictured is the one I use.) If you’re not feeling the military vibe, there are many other options. I’m loving Kate Spade Saturday’s custom design weekender bags.

If you’re bringing an actual small suitcase as your carry-on, be sure to add a day’s worth of fresh clothes, under garments, and small toiletries, just in case your baggage doesn’t make it to your final destination on time.

I do recommend that you give using a backpack for a carry on a try. That will leave you with both hands free and free to roam around the airport without having to keep track of as much. I pack my handbags and just use my wallet that I keep in my backpack, and then I carry my camera bag as well.

In my next post in this series, I’ll be discussing how to style a comfortable yet stylish airport outfit.

Do you prefer to have a carry on or purse full of in-flight essentials or do you just hit the snooze button and knock out?

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  • Great picks! I have to have a a good book and/or some magazine to read on flights because I cannot sleep on planes. At all. I envy those people who pass out the second the plane takes off!


    • cassandramonroe

      Yes- I’m always afraid I’ll accidentally drool or snore though, like the man sitting next to me on the flight yesterday!

  • Great list of essentials Cassandra! I always try to sleep on planes, but for some reason I struggle with it a lot, so I take those moments to read

    • cassandramonroe

      Flying is the best time to catch up on work or reading, hands down! Thanks for reading, Maru!

  • I always have my in-flight essentials, but I actually have an extremely hard time staying awake on any flight, no matter how long or short it is!

    Sweet Spontaneity

    • cassandramonroe

      And that is great because then you arrive to your destination faster!! -or it feels like it anyways!

  • I love that weekender bag! So cute. I just got a new carry on for a trip next week and I’m super excited to give it a go! 🙂

    Always, Anita

    • cassandramonroe

      Great Anita! Can’t go wrong with a good weekender bag! Have fun on your trip!