By Cassie Johnston
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As I was packing for our trip to Canada last week, I starting thinking about the different kind of air travelers. There are the people who roll out of bed the morning of a flight, grab a muffin and a magazine on their way to security, and get to their gate right as the plane is boarding. Then, there are the people who pack everything they could possibly need, print off their boarding passes as early as possible and feel the most comfortable sitting at the gate at least an hour before boarding. I suppose there are probably people that fall somewhere in the middle, too.
I’ll give you one guess which one I am.
I’m actually getting much better about my over-preparedness when it comes to traveling. Before vacations, I used to literally memorize the names of hospitals in our insurance network that were close to our vacation destination, so if something happened and I had to tell an ambulance driver where to go, I could. I’m not kidding. Thankfully, I’ve traded in over-preparedness for just plain ole preparedness. Phew. Much less crazypants.
Anywho, I thought it might be fun to show you guys what I lug around with me when we’re flying. It’s actually a pretty small bag (a Timbuk2 extra small messenger) but I manage to pack a lot in there.
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Where did you get those adorable snack bags??
I made them. :) But you can buy them from sellers on Etsy.
You made those?? Awesome! Can you do a tutorial? Or did I miss it and it’s already on your other blog (really need to catch up on my RSS reader!)?
Awesome information.. love the tea idea!
I was going to suggest that you pack at least one ginger teabag for possible nausea on the plane. I don’t get plane sick any more, but I always pack one for my seat mate just in case, because the last thing anyone wants is, well, you know. As a diabetic, I always carry food and additionally they allow me through security with extra juice boxes. Also just in case, I carry all of my medications with me, along with a copy of my insulin pump settings and dosage information. I always pack my sketchbook, Kindle, water brushes, my travel tin of watercolors, 2 fine point mechanical pencils, which won’t need sharpening, and a vinyl eraser..
i really like the idea of watercolors on the plane with you…it sorta reminds me of me…i like to bring as many colored pencils and erasers with me as possible….but nothing ever fits in my bag…can someone help me with that i leave in two days and i still can’t figure out how to pack my carryon. i would really like to know the secret to that
So you are way, way more organized than me. My carry on bag pales in comparison to yours!
Mine usually consists of a small knitting project (I have yet to have any issues with bringing knitting needles on a plane, though unfortunately I’ve heard of other people having problems), crossword puzzle book, some sort of bar (either Clif or Lara), and maybe some fruit? I don’t think about it much because I H A T E to fly (I’m really, really, really terrified of it, meaning I have to take Xanax and even THAT doesn’t work unless I drink a beer with it, and, well, I don’t really feel great doing that).
I have those exact same pens! I DO bring my paper journal and pens too, now that I think about it… but those I just keep in my purse all the time too. My carry on is pretty much my purse with knitting and a book and food in it.
Please don’t mix xanax .ambien and any other sleep inducing prescription drug and alcohol on a airplane. That’s the crews worst nightmare. As pilots we make emergency medical landings often enough and making it because the person has mixed drugs and drinking really gets my goat! Often the crews are up against a Federal rest and duty day requirement and an un-scheduled landing somewhere can mean a stranded set of passengers.
Thanks for reminding passengers about the risks of mixing medications and alcohol. Maybe passengers should b made aware of more insights into how their behavior effects themselves, others…flight crews, attendants, TSA agents, food and baggage services, fellow passengers, etc
. Perhaps it would b a good idea to publish a regular column for in-flight magazines. It could offer ‘Glimpses from the other side ‘…to include tips and truths from all depts. of airline personnel , as well as legitimate observations and peeves from passengers. Simple things like properly covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing seems so small, but is a common occurence. I have had many people think nothing of coughing in my direction with no effort of covering their mouth.
One more thing. How much alcohol can a passenger in first class consume? I have repeatedly watched passengers get ‘Trashed’
On flights. One man became so beligerent and paranoid that he started demanding to get off the plane AT THAT MOMENT. We were in mid-flight. The attendants had to subdue him and stay close by for the remainder of the flight.
One very public case in New Mexico was about a passenger who got inibriated on a flight going in to Albuquerque, and proceeded to drive in that condition, which ultimately cost the lives of an entire family of 5. Its time to be smart about the facts.
Did you buy those Coconut Date logs or did you make them? They look and sound terrific.
Also? I love “what’s in your bag” posts. I can spend hours looking through the Flickr group devoted to just those shots!
Bought them at Whole Foods. In the bulk section. I haven’t tried them yet, though. Saving ’em for our return flight.
I am with Bethany, where oh where did those cute snack bags come from?
I made them (https://wholefully.com/2011/02/19/tutorial-reusable-snack-bags/) but there are lots of sellers on Etsy with them. :)
I got some from a woman in Maine, but the name escapes me right now. I love mine as they have Velcro closures and you can wash them.
Please post some Etsy sellers you think are reasonably priced with good quality. This tutorial for a non-DIY in any way loses me at Step 1 unfortunately!
Awesome post. I’m leaving for a domestic vacation on Wednesday. I pretty much pack the same stuff. I’m downsizing this time. Checking a small bag but only carrying my backpack on board. Kindles are the most awesome thing ever. No more bulky book! I am intrigued by the water bottle you have. I always thought those kind were overkill, but now that you mention the filter and nasty fountain water. THAT would be perfect for travel AND sports games at certain arenas, where they don’t let you bring in water bottles (even unopened!) I may have to hunt some down before Wednesday!!! ACK!
I used to be over prepared, and then I moved to an apartment minutes from the airport. Now I’m the person who rolls in at the last minute… It’s glorious!
I’d say I waiver between perfectly and overly prepared. There’s no shame in that! I have a streamlined little bag of things that I switch from one backpack/bag to another depending on what I’m doing (biking to work versus walking or weekend activities).
Great idea to bring tea when you travel! I can never find tea I like in an airport…nor food, for that matter. There is nothing worse than being a hungry vegetarian in an airport!
Most airports are getting hip to the fact that healthy sells and looking to more retailers that provide options. Did you know that multiple aiports now have yoga/meditation rooms for passengers? SFO and BTV both do! (Wearing my industry hat today!)
Indianapolis has a really awesome locally-sourced, organic cafe that is AWESOME. Unfortunately, the Canadian airports aren’t quite there yet. :)
How does the cooler going thru secruity work? We are flying to SFO soon and will be leaving early in the am with a 6 plus hour flight. I know we need to pack lunch, etc. This post has been very helpful.
We’ve never had an issue with a little collapsible cooler. You can’t take ice packs though, so we use frozen grapes instead. Then, once all the food is eaten, we just smoosh the cooler into one of our carryon bags.
You can take a frozen water bottle through on domestic flights as long as it’s completely frozen. I also took a frozen sponge (which stayed cold a long time) in a ziplock bag.
It is really easy to take food on most airlines (no forks or knives). As far as international travel, the only thing they take away from me are my drinks and they took a very expensive refrigerated gel pack that my husband uses for his bad knee. We should have checked it in our bags. You cannot take fruit or veggies on international flights but most food is transportable inside the states. Be aware of how you pack it. It can’t look like a weapon.
You are so organized, love this bag… may have to review this post again before our Disney trip in June!
Love this! You are super prepared when it comes to snacking. I always like to bring fruit leather, but yogurt covered almonds would rock. I went to Sweden two months back and am so glad I brought my lotion – definitely necessary. I also have to stay away from those vegetarian meals. Ugh, get sick just thinking about ’em.
You are adorable! I always bring snacks on the plane, but my boyfriend is responsible for carrying all snacks and techy-stuff…thereby leaving me with virtually nothing in my carry-on bag. It’s the best way to fly. :)
Thank you for sharing, it’s so much fun to see, what other people carries along. I looove your home made snack bag, they are so usefull and cute!!! Have a wonderful day
This post is awesome!! And perfectly timed—I am starting to make a To Pack list for our trip to Europe next month!
I always have issues being hungry in airports (seriously, airports take note—vegetarians DO fly places!) and this is an overnight trip and I’m worried about sleeping on a plane overnight.
And then the issue of not taking coats and risk being freezing, or taking them, and having to lug them around!
Pack a spare pair of underwear for overnight trips. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
And of course a toothbrush, toothpaste, and face wipes. Baby wipes work great for EVERYTHING!
you’re super right.! these stuffs are essential – will save you from from being uneasy. feminine hygiene is a must.
Layer a t-shirt, lightweight wool/cotton pullover, and light jacket, plus rollup one or two pashminas in your carry-on. These can be pulled out to be used as a shawl, blanket, scarf, etc as the temperature fluctuates. I even keep one rolled in the bottom of my briefcase for those meetings with over-zealous AC! I must have at least 20 pashminas in assorted colours and weights!
Great advice Ellie! I always have scarf, even if I am going to the tropics. It doubles as a blanket or rolls up to make an extra travel pillow. A disposable Colgate Wisp is a great toothbrush substitute for overnight flights.
One other carry on trick I learned is to tie together all your power cords and headphones using hair bands, that way you always have a spare :)
A lot of people who fly to Europe, myself included, will stay up the night before they leave so they’re exhausted on the flight and are able to sleep (that way you stay away from taking meds unnecessarily) and be awake when you arrive (assuming you’re arriving in Europe during the day). The trick is to go go go once you arrive then sleep during their night time.
Don’t forget the water!
I like this post :)
Love your idea with tea bags will use it on next trip
An empty Sucrets Throat Lozenges case works perfect for storing tea bags and sugar. :)
How cute are those reusable snack baggies? Where are they from? How do you keep them clean?
Extremely entertaining post for someone who loves to travel as efficiently as possible (which sometimes means coming prepared (yay not having to buy snacks at the airport) and sometimes means leaving it at home (I often feel better if I have less overall). Great post!
Oh, okay, just saw your tutorial on how to make the reusable snack bags – awesome! Except I think that’s pretty far over my skill level. Do you have any ETSY folks you’d recommend? Or do you make them for ETSY? Seriously, great idea!
I always bring so many snacks. I hate paying for their overpriced food at the airports. I need some of those reusable pouches you use though!
What kind of bags do you have your snacks in?!
I am traveling soon and I was wondering, about the water bottle, they wont take it away when ur going through security? I want to take mine but I am afraid they would take it away.
Nope. Just dump it out before you go through security (I usually just hit up the bathrooms right before security), and then fill it back up once you are through.
If you have a gel tube in your bottle they may take the tube away. You may have to carry it in your liquids and gels bag so make sure it fits.
As a frequent motion sickness victim, next time you go to Canada trade your Dramamine for some Gravol. Way more effective. I’m always severely let down when I visit the states and all I can find is Dramamine. Just make sure to grab both the regular and non drowsy types.
Great post! We’re international travelers with a toddler in tow, so I’d like to add (when you travel with your little one) that the liquid fruit pouches are allowable through security. We put them in the liquids bag and they go through just fine. We normally take between 3-5 on at a time. We have had an issue only once and then, security only made us open one pouch up. This was no big deal as the LO eventually ate it at the airport anyway.
Our Kindle is a lifesaver, as a reader, but also as something to watch movies or TV shows that we rent for the trip.
I love this! My family and I traveled to Spain earlier this year and we each brought only a backpack. We did well, but I’m going to make sure I check this post out again before our next trip. Thanks for the great ideas!
I’m about to take a trip to New Zealand and these ideas were great! Thank you!
The water in New York’s JFK airport – well, Terminal 5, anyway – is EXCELLENT. That’s a major hub for me and i’m always sure to filling my bottles there.
After spending the night in the Atlanta airport and nearly freezing to death in the terminal, I always pack a change of clothes and a large scarf or wrap in my carry on now.
I know this post is old, but I have really enjoyed it. I’m getting ready to go on the first plane trip I’ve had in a long while. It’s in April Judging by the fact that I’m listing and prepping three months in advance, I’ll have to go with the over-prepared traveler label. Lol. I am slightly paranoid about being board or hungry, so I usually pack twice as much entertainment and food as I need and then regret it as my back hurts more and more.
HI, I am a panicker so I don’t fit into those categories. Anyway, I personally like to bring boiled sweets as a snack, glycerine cough pastiles for sore throats, lip BALM (Solid) and hand sanitizer for lips and hands in addition to what you said. I would also recommend a tablet/laptop.
I just wanted to say I enjoyed seeing your post and I love your IU key chain! HOO HOO HOO Hoosiers!
How on earth do you get food and water through security?!
You empty the water bottle before security, and then fill it up once you go through. Food is no problem, just as long as it isn’t liquidy (like yogurt or hummus, and I’ve even heard of some people having no problem with those).
hi Love all the ideas for packing a carry on. I travel quite a bit to Asia and have been looking for a nice carry on bag.. I like the look of the bag in your post. Can you post what the bag is and where did you buy it?
The Eagle Creek Emerson bag is an awesome travel bag.
oh my Lord! This woman is amazing!! Thank you for this detailed post! I’ll be using it this summer for my trip to India:)
I’m certainly a pack/plan ahead girl! WAY too far ahead probably, but with blog, church, etc responsibilities I don’t have much time the week I leave to prep much. I always take granola energy bars and peanut butter crackers when I fly. I find the salty crackers better for my stomach when in the air!
Thanks. We are about to fly next week across country and man am I stressed about getting it all in the bag. I have a family of 6 flying and that is a lot of stuff!!!!!! I have everything layer out in. Y room in piles, I’ll need to modify your idea a it, but it gives me a good base to start with. Thanks so much.
You might want to use Bonine instead of Dramamine. Dramamine’s active ingredient is Dimenhydrinate, which causes sleepiness. Bonine’s active ingredient is Meclozine (also called Antivert as a prescription). Here’s a little blurb about it: “Prevents and controls nausea, vomiting, and dizziness caused by motion sickness. Also treats vertigo (dizziness or lightheadedness) caused by ear problems This medicine is an antihistamine.” I’ve had motion sickness all of my life, and I always choose Bonine (Meclozine).
military wives and dependents have been packing like this for years for military travel. Some real good tips though that I will incorporate. ALWAYS,and I do mean ALWAYS pack an extra set of clothes,because you never know where your luggage could end up !!
I agree. Pack a change of clothes or at leat another top/blouse. Furthermore, I always stash one of my outfits in my husband’s checked luggage and one of his in mine. There have been a few times when one of our bags has gone missing but the other has made it to our destination.
I love your blog!! You’re a great writer :) I noticed your cell phone cover, I LOVE IT!!!!! Where did you find this treasure??
I’ve been looking for a post like this forever! Super helpful! thank you so much:)
I always put my more expensive and valuable things in the bottom of my bag so they’re less likely to get stolen because I’ve had my phone stolen in the airport before because it was on one of the outer pockets
I pack granola bars as a must plus some sugar free drink packets to add to yucky water. I also carry some facial wipes and wisps to freshen up with just prior to landing. And, yes, I carry a neck pillow. They are bulky but beats a crick in the neck for the first day of vacation.
Activated nuts and apples are must-have snacks for me on the road – filling and nutritious!
I have the exact same Lunch Money coin purse. Where did you get yours?
From a local health food grocery store in my college town. :)
1st…Thank You!!!. We have only flown a handful of times, so all this info is very helpful. We (family of 4) be flying to Hawaii next month. I had no idea you could bring own snacks on board!! awesomeness! I will definitely be using a lot of these tips!
Great suggestions on packing a bag. I love your snack bags and want to make and use these on an upcoming day hiking trip.
I loved this! I thought I was organized—but wow! Your carry on is well thought out.
Love this post that I found on Pinterest. I fly every 2-3 days and another staple for me is a big blanket scarf – looks chic, doubles up as a blanket on airlines that don’t give em, and folds up as an extra pillow if you’re warm enough!
Just a note, fruit is not allowed into most foreign countries, Canada for sure. Risk of carrying insects that may be harmful yo their agriculture.
Honestly, I pack like this for my day. Snacks and lunch for work, etc. I love your set-up.
How long do you fly for? I couldn’t imagine only taking this amount of cabin baggage. It takes us 24 hours of flying (36 hours of transit) to get to Europe. We need additional clothes, laptops or tablets, our Bose, chargers, some food (although usually just eat what they give us on the plane) ear plugs, eye masks…..the list goes on. I would LOVE to be able to take only this stuff. :)
I love your blog. In the past was a slave to my luggage but never again.
I use a zippered shoulder tote, put about the same things in it with a power pack to recharge phone and Kindle. My regular purse goes in with the usual so I can take it out and be street ready, One thing I have in purse along with tea is a bag of crushed red pepper to perk up blah food. Also a day or two supply of vitamins. I have a lovely large black cashmere stole that I can wrap up in on the plane or wear on cool evenings.
What i put in my carry on is:
1. Phone( with charger)
2. Water Bottle
6. Extra pair of clothes
We take nuts in individual snack size zip bags, cheese sticks, crackers, granola bars. I always carry sweeter in my purse for coffee and tea. Keep medicines in your carry-on. Purse goes in tote bag.
Thank you so much for this post. We are about to travel and these are such great ideas. I like that water bottle as well. I’m thinking of going out and buying one before we leave. Last time we traveled (like 2-3 years ago) I had my nail file just like yours in my carry on and they made me throw it away, I don’t know if things have changed but I’ll just keep it in my luggage.
Pepto tabs are the best!
Thanks! This was perfect, very helpful! (: where did you get your traveler bag??
It’s a Timbuk2 messenger. Love ’em!
I think you’re absolutely amazing. These are such useful tips. Thank you
Thanks for the info in your post! As a side note, I have been able to take the reusable “blue” ices with me in my carryon lunch bag when traveling–apparently since they are sealed they are ok. They are the $1 ones that Walmart sells.or a similar size. They are nice to keep my cut up fruits and veggies cold!
Unsalted almonds have always been my favorite snack – but lately we have been on several “no nuts allowed” flights. No idea what to replace them with – nothing else that small is satisfying.
I think you are my long lost sister. I pack just like you. Hate paying for drinks and food at the airport too. Always have my iPad mini, my Erin Cindren and pens-I have the same pens and love them. and passports, Chargers and most importantly snacks!!! I keep baby wipes in my purse and carryon(my baby is almost 10 yo) purell, Kleenex, Chapstick and OTC meds and Rx for my son. He has asthma and bad allergies. Extra disposable contacts for me with a small container of solution.
Hi, what size & brand is your carry-on it looks great?
It’s a Timbuk2 size small (I think). http://amzn.to/1pXiKl1
I recommend if you go back to Canada that you visit Tim Hourtins the tea is under $2 for most of the sizes and there brand is good.
Well, of COURSE you suffer from headaches! You stress so much. (Can you guess which kind of traveler I am?? ?)
I pack small bottle of saline nasal spray. Should someone be coughing/sneezing in flight, my Doctor advised using the spray to help kill germs and keep nasal passages from drying out which is a natural defense against germs.
Small packet of disinfecting wipes is good for cleaning the most contaminated surface on a plane….the tray.
My daily supplements and few meds in a single container.
Water….always my own water.
Ipad and cell phone…loaded w my favorite music and entertainment.
Meditation files downloaded on device (pick what works for you.) for those difficult delays…like sitting on the tarmac for 2 hours with little air and crying babies nearby. Also good stress reliever. My favorite one is Ken Cohen’s Power of Qi.
I’m not a fan of guided meditation, but this is the exception. Its an easy intro to Qi Gong, and great to calm ones innards even if youre not interested in Qi Gong. Hes the real deal…not some wannabe Guru.
Toothbrush loaded w a single application of toothpaste in ziploc bag…for freshening up between long flights, or if luggage is lost w toilteries.
Love this post! With beautiful photos too :) So inspirational for my bag making business. Thanks Cassie!
I will be travelling in 2017, Did not realize its a good idea to carry water and medications etc. Thanks for your post. I have learnt a lot and will certainly prepare a small pack of essentials.
Very inspiring. Gonna make it for my future trip. Thanks :)
Since I’m both a retired home care nurse and a penny pincher, what you are calling your carry on is my purse on any given day – you just never know where you’ll be stranded. And since I saw the movie “Alive” when it came out, I’m neurotic about having snacks on a plane (though I hope to never crash in the Andes). I have a separate bag with my medications, including baby aspirin for long flights, and a lunch bag, plus a huge water bottle (ask for 3 cups of water every time the flight attendant goes by to refill), and cords and a small surge protector for the electronics (laptop is in the wheeled carryon with the jar of peanut butter and canned salmon :-) ).
How/Where did you make/find those snack bags?
There is a tutorial here: https://wholefully.com/2011/02/19/tutorial-reusable-snack-bags/ Otherwise, check green living websites like Mighty Nest – they sell them already made!
Are you me? I feel as if I could have written every word of this myself, from the recovering-over-planner right on down to the Excedrin (a lifesaver) and Dramamine (a trip saver)! And clementines are always my go-to for long flights, since they’re so refreshing – and come in their own packaging! I’ve never had issues with them internationally, either…
A great idea for when your traveling is a blanket scarf. As you can tell by the name, it doubles as a warm scarf and a cozy blanket! it is especially useful if you are traveling to colder climates ?
This summer I’m leaving for California and I had NO idea what I was supposed to bring in my carry on, but now, I do!! Thankyou SO much, this post helped tremendously!?
I’ve only flown commercially once, two years ago, just “puddle jumper” flights, but no more. I was so intensely BORED, I’d rather drive (I’ve never been outside the USA). When driving, though, I like to have LOTS of snacks with me to help me stay alert, and to prevent having to stop at (expensive!) restaurants so often. Your snack bag ideas are great, and I like the bags themselves. So much prettier than Ziploc bags.
Enjoyed reading the tips you privided. May I ask the brand of markers and planner? Also, liked the teabag idea!
The markers are Staedtler Fineliners: http://amzn.to/2C6a1na and the planner picture is my own personal printable planner. :)
Those square bags you used to pack your snacks are adorable! Where did you get them?
Thanks! I made them myself: https://wholefully.com/tutorial-reusable-snack-bags/
Pens. I always carry pens for the sudoku in the plane mag, and the immigration forms. PENS.
Ear plugs. Never, never leave home without two or three pairs. Have saved my sanity more than a dozen times.
I like the little bags you store your trail mix and dried fruit in. Did you make those or buy them?
Sorry, I see the link for the snack bags now, thanks
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