I’ve mentioned before that I’m a pretty streamlined packer, and the same goes for my “personal item” bag that gets stowed under the airplane seat. The key is to strike that balance between feeling underprepared, and feeling overly laden down with a too-heavy tote (the opposite of a vacation mentality!) I actually used to bring way more stuff with me, but after lots of travel over the years, I’ve finally mastered the art of bringing only what I know I’ll really use and leaving the rest at home. There’s something really freeing about heading to a destination with a little extra room in your bag for the potential treasures you might want to bring back home with you! Click through for my carry-on must-haves, and I’d love to hear in the comments: what are the items you can’t bear to leave home without?

*homepage image: ann street studio


Blueberries.

Nature’s perfect travel snack: packed with antioxidants and sweet without causing a spike in blood sugar… and they don’t require any utensils since they’re already bite-sized! I always pack a small container with blueberries for in-flight snacking, and sometimes they even curb my craving for m&m’s. Sometimes. (Since blueberries are part of the “dirty dozen,” I always buy organic and wash/dry before packing them.)

 


Hot tea.

I can’t really get on board with airplane coffee, but you can always order a mug of hot water, so I bring my hot tea of choice and a squeeze pack of honey for an in-flight treat that’s more interesting than water and keeps me well hydrated in the air. I love Earl Grey from Mighty Leaf, Chai White from Stash, and Everyday Detox from Traditional Medicinals.

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iPad (loaded with lots of books magazines for me, games for Phoebe!)

The iPad is basically a lifesaver when it comes to the fight against overpacking. What once used to be multiple books and magazines that took up all the real estate in my carry-on has now become a single lightweight device. And now that I’m a mom, it’s always loaded up with PBS Kids shows and games. When it comes to toddlers + flights, any and all forms of distraction are welcome!


Ginger Altoids.

These are my latest post-meal addiction. The spicy kick of ginger keeps me feeling fresh and alert and helps keep sugar and caffeine cravings at bay.


Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment

Smashbox ‘Photo Set’ Pressed Powder

I always feel a little disheveled at the end of a flight; the moisture-sapping environment combined with the inevitable catnap leaves me in need of a makeup touch-up. This lip balm + pressed powder combo provides a bit of polish while still feeling lightweight and natural.


These are my new favorite salty snack. So much healthier than the in-flight pretzels that are handed out, but still with that satisfying crunch, roasted chickpeas are packed full of fiber and protein. Here’s a delicious and simple recipe (no need to wait for your next trip — make them now!)

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Sony RX1

This camera has changed my life. It’s a fixed lens digital camera with a full-frame sensor… and it’s compact and lightweight enough to tote along with me on any adventure. Expensive? Yes. But it’s undoubtedly my favorite purchase of the year.

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Granola Cookies.

On a recent weekend, I had a ton of granola leftover from a huge batch that I had made to gift to friends. So what did I do? Made a supercharged version of the classic oatmeal raisin, and the result was an instant hit. These cookies are perfect for taking on a flight, since they pack all the nutrition of granola into a no-utensils-required snack that is way more interesting than your typical “bar.” To make them, sub an equal amount of granola for oatmeal in your favorite oatmeal raisin cookie recipe. I love using purely elizabeth granola because it’s packed full of healthy things like quinoa, chia seeds and dried blueberries.

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EO Hand Sanitizer.

It’s no secret that airplanes are a breeding ground for bacteria, so I always keep a great hand sanitizer handy. This one from EO is organic and plant-based, and best of all its natural lavender fragrance is reminiscent of a relaxing spa to carry me away in-flight.


Vitamins.

It’s hard enough to stay healthy while traveling: restaurant meals, jet lag, and skipped workouts don’t exactly add up to an exercise in wellness. I’ve made it a habit to bring along a travel-sized container of all the vitamins I normally take at home, so I can do at least the bare minimum in getting all my nutrients while traveling. My regimen includes a probiotic, multivitamin, fish oil capsule, and an essential enzymes supplement.


The Bag.

I’m a sucker for a great tote, so I have a few different ones that I rotate in and out depending on the type of trip (woven for the beach, leather for the city), and the size I need. This Simple Tote by Clare V is currently at the very top of my wish list for the next getaway.

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