When it comes to travel, there are a handful of carry-on essentials I pack for every trip. No matter the length of the flight or the duration of the trip, these beauty products, tech accessories, and self-care staples are always the first things on my carry-on packing list. And after this, they’ll surely be at the top of yours too.
So, where exactly am I jet-setting off to this time?
This week, I’ve been lucky enough to escape the humid Florida weather and the chaos of everyday life for a bit of R&R at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona. The integrative wellness resort and spa is nestled in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, and it’s impossible not to feel at peace watching the sunset over the region’s iconic Saguaro cacti.
During my stay, I’ll be taking advantage of everything Canyon Ranch has to offer: a relaxing pool, full-service wellness spa, drool-worthy fine dining, and fun fitness activities like aerial yoga and rock climbing. When I’m not busy enjoying an ayurvedic massage or a freshly-made acai bowl, you can find me unwinding inside the giant bathtub in my suite. Perhaps the best part of all is that the resort is pet-friendly, so my dog Lily got to tag along too.
But enough about my vacay (which I’ll be giving a full breakdown of in an upcoming post)! Let’s take a peek at what travel essentials are currently inside my carry-on.
These 10 Carry-On Essentials Are Always First On My Packing List
Silk Eye Mask and Pillow Set
By now, you’re already well aware of the benefits of getting enough sleep. But staying well-rested can be difficult with a different time zone, bedroom environment, and sleep schedule to deal with. I recommend leaving space in your carry-on an eye mask and travel pillow to use during flights, long car rides, and mid-day naps in your hotel room. They’ll ensure you get your ZZZs in any time, anywhere while you’re on the go.
While this Slip Travel Set is perfect for long plane rides, it’s just as great for taking a quick nap during a layover. Plus, it makes a great gift for your girlfriends who can’t wait to travel internationally again post-pandemic. The specially designed Slipsilk™ fabric feels super soft against your skin and helps keep your hair frizz-free while you sleep.
I’ve always admired celebrities for their effortlessly chic travel outfits. Their looks always feel elevated and entirely plane-friendly, thanks to cozy fabrics, minimalist color palettes, and oversized fits. So to channel my inner movie star, I’ve swapped my basic sweatshirt for a cozy knit hoodie. It’s just as comfortable as your go-to loungewear, only far cooler.
SKIMS Cozy Knit Zip-Up is the perfect jacket to add to your carry-on packing list. The plush boucle fabric feels like wearing a giant hug. While it’s cozy enough to curl up in on the plane, it’s chic enough to wear for morning coffee runs and late-night adventures during your vacay. Might I suggest pairing it with the Style with the coordinating Cozy Knit Pants while you lounge in your hotel room?
Rejuvenating Reusable Water Bottle
I’m fully convinced that staying hydrated is the key to successful travel. Water aids in keeping your skin clear, your digestive system happy, and your energy levels up. Plus, drinking ample H2O during travel days helps you recover from jet lag faster.
Packing a reusable water bottle is the easiest way to ensure you drink enough water while you’re on the go. And on top of keeping you hydrated, this carry-on essential helps cut back on plastic waste and reduce your environmental impact. A real win-win if you ask me.
Gem-Water’s VitaJuwel Wellness Waterbottle isn’t your average reusable water bottle. Inside the premium glass bottle is a hand-crafted pod of crystals and gemstones designed to naturally enhance your water. After finishing a bottle of gem water, you’ll feel calm, balanced, invigorated, and well-hydrated too!
Hydrating Lip Balm
Without a good lip balm, flying with a face mask can lead to dry, chapped lips when you land. Even worse, masks create a humid environment that can lead to maskne and skin irritation. So give your lips the love they deserve with a heavy balm that offers intense hydration and lasting relief. You can even slather on a thick layer for an easy lip mask mid-flight.
The Lip Balm from La Mer is one of my ultimate carry-on essentials. The luxe formula nourishes, restores, and strengthens your lips’ natural moisture barrier to lock in softness and soothe irritation. It makes a great everyday chapstick and layers well under lipstick too!
When your suitcase space is limited to a small carry-on, the skincare products on your packing list need to serve multiple purposes in order to make the cut. Save space by opting for a multi-purpose moisturizer that can be applied in the morning, at night, and any time throughout the day your skin needs a little love.
Flying can wreak havoc on my skin, so I only pack skincare products I know and love. Clarins Beauty Balm is undoubtedly one of them. The multi-purpose moisturizer can be worn on its own, layered under foundation, or applied in a thick layer for an energizing 10-minute mask in-flight. Key ingredients like olive extract and bisabolol restore radiance and diffuse fine lines and wrinkles for a well-rested appearance (even when you’re running on a few hours of sleep).
Plane-Friendly Eye Masks
Between indulgent food, late-night drinks, and lack of sleep, your vacation can leave you with dark circles and undereye bags. But de-puffing eye patches can help combat the eye puffiness and tired appearance that comes with travel. Their compact size and easy application make them excellent for tossing in your carry-on or weekend bag before your next getaway.
Nothing makes me feel more relaxed than unwinding with a good Netflix documentary and a depuffing eye mask like the fantastic Erno Lazlo Multi-Task Eye Mask. Each hydrogel eye patch is packed with powerful ingredients designed to minimize dark circles, reduce puffiness, and smooth out fine lines and wrinkles.
De-Puffing Face Roller
A jade or rose quartz face roller is another great way to combat dull, puffy skin during travel. Roll from the middle of your face outwards under your eyes, on your cheekbones, and along your jaw to stimulate blood flow and invigorate tired skin. Leave it in your hotel fridge for a few hours for added de-puffing power.
This Jade Face Roller from Herbivore makes self-care easy when I’m on the go. Each night, I’ll take a few minutes to do a few deep breathing exercises while I roll in my serums and night creams. Once I’m done, I tuck it in the fridge for a refreshing facial after my morning workout.
Vitamins and Supplements for Travel
While I get to enjoy a plethora of healthy, nutritious food options while I’m here at Canyon Ranch, I’m not always so lucky when I travel. During hectic work trips, I often find myself living off Starbucks, protein bars, and takeout. That’s why I always pack a few single-serve vitamin and supplement packets to ensure my body gets the nutrients it needs while I travel.
Vital Proteins Beauty Sampler contains a weekend’s worth of the cult-favorite wellness brand’s most popular collagen peptides and beauty supplements. I stir the Collagen Peptides and Marine Collagen into my morning coffee, use the Matcha Collagen as a green juice or smoothie mix-in, and pour the Lavender Lemon and Strawberry Lemon Collagen Beauty Glow packets right into my water.
Portable Phone Charger
These days, it’s damn near impossible to travel without your phone. It holds your reservation details, directions, and all-important emails… so essentially your whole life! That’s why I always keep a portable phone charger tucked inside my carry-on, purse, and sometimes pocket to ensure my phone never runs out of juice.
A good portable charger— like this Belkin Power Pocket Portable Charger— is lightweight, compact, and powerful enough to hold multiple charges. Don’t let its small size and adorable pink color; this carry-on essential can charge your phone 2-3 times with a full battery.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
While my teeny-tiny AirPods may be the perfect size for everyday use, they aren’t necessarily my favorite for travel. I don’t know about you, but they begin to bother my ears about halfway through a long flight. While I still toss my AirPods in my carry-on for workouts and (unfortunately) work calls, I use a pair of plush over-the-ear headphones during flight. Not only are they more comfortable, they typically offer better noise-canceling capabilities too.
When it comes to headphones, there’s no brand I trust more than Beats by Dre. Their reliable Beats Studio 3 Wireless Headphones make it easy to block out crying babies and snoring seatmates during a long flight. Plus, the comfortable over-ear design hangs conveniently around your neck, so you won’t have to dig them out of your carry-on.