The well packed carry on is an important key to making travel stress free and enjoyable. Knowing what you need and what you don’t will be sure you don’t weigh yourself down unnecessarily. Also, packing your bag efficiently means you know where things are and how to get to them easily and in tight quarters. Travel documents. These days you really just need to have a credit card and your photo ID ready. If you’re traveling internationally, you will also need your passport with any necessary visas. I always have these items in an outside pocket, easily accessible.
Liquids in a zip top bag Why? Because you have to! TSA regulations allow 3oz or less of liquids, and they need to be put through the x-ray machine separately. Having that all ready to go makes security screening a breeze.
My zip top bag includes a small hand lotion (planes get super dry), antibacterial gel (they also get germy), individually packed hand wipes (in case you can’t get to a sink), and lip gloss. I also add any drugs I may want with me (Tylenol, Pepto, Sleeping pills), breath freshener, and tissue packs. If it's a long haul flight, I'll carry a toothbrush and toothpaste.
Sleep mask I love the Dream Girl brand as they come with their own pouch, set of ear plugs and are adjustable and rounded , so they don’t crunch your eyelids.
Fully charged device & earbuds My iPhone is always prepped with my essential travel apps. My favorite is TripIt, where I have all my travel details easily accessible. You can also use your device for your boarding pass, and every airline also has its own app, which are handy for airport maps and airline specific news.
I also have my iTunes loaded with a white noise playlist. I actually prefer this to ear plugs. I use the same white noise playlist at home (if I ever need to drown out city noise) so my brain already associates it with sleeping, helping me sleep anywhere.
Plug to charge your device Most planes now have a spot to plug in right at your seat, and most airports have charging stations everywhere.
Scarf, a big one So many uses! I’m always chilly on flights. I use this around my neck or shoulders, or as a blanket over my legs, or a pillow against the window.
Water bottle I fill up at a water fountain once past security, or use one of the new filling stations for water bottles found in more and more airports. This is both eco-friendly, and also saves money on overpriced water bottles once past security.
Camera & Laptop Your laptop will also need to be removed and put in its own bin to go through security, unless you have one of those fancy new TSA approved bags, so pack it for easy in and out.
Reading material I always have at least one book, one magazine, and sometimes a guide book.
My journal As Oscar Wilde put it, "I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train."