What You Need to Pack in Your Carry On Bag

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Thanksgiving is in less than a month! Normally, people start the countdown to Christmas right now and avoid counting down for Thanksgiving, but I'm excited for our next school break. Classes have been crazy and I've been so busy I barely get any rest. A week off is just what I need to recharge and get myself back together for the last month or so of the semester.

Since we do get a week off, many people will be traveling to visit family or friends for the break. I'll be heading home to California to visit family, and when I plan any sort of trip that requires packing, I make a huge list of what I need so I can check off everything and avoid forgetting essentials. One list I make when I'm going to be traveling in an airplane is a carry on packing list. I can’t really sleep on airplanes so I need a lot of stuff to keep me busy for the five hours I spend up in the air. Besides the usual entertainment and snack choices, there are a few things you may want to consider taking to prepare for the unexpected.


Neck Pillow

Even though I can't sleep on planes, neck pillows are a must for me. I have so many body aches and pains that the cold airplane cabin does not help, so keeping my neck supported while I relax or read is a life saver. If you do sleep, then you probably already use these often. Sometimes, I like to place mine on the open try table in front of me and pretend to be asleep if the person next to me wants to keep talking (oops).



I drink so much water when I'm traveling. It could be from my anxiety of being so high up, or just because I get super dehydrated from such a long process, but I go through either one large bottle or two regular bottles each trip. I usually end up buying the bottles from the little stores in the airport, but what I plan on doing soon is getting a reusable water bottle with a filter in it so I can just get water out of a water fountain at the airport and save on some money!



SNACKS ARE LIFE. I love snacking so much, it's honestly a horrible habit but I will eat so many snacks that I won’t be hungry for actual meals. When your flight is tons of hours long and there's no access to a full meal, snacks and treats are a must. I like bringing a mix of sweet and salty ones to mix up the variety, and bringing small meals from fast food restaurants work too! You can bring healthy snacks or snacks you consider indulgences, the possibilities are endless.



I listen to music pretty often throughout the day, and I always have headphones on me. These are great for keeping your energy up with dance music, relaxing with soft music, or even watching TV if you're able to on Wi-Fi. They’re also good for blocking out seat neighbors when you just don’t feel like being social. Plus, they're great for tuning out the crying baby a few rows ahead or the couple arguing in the back row (yes, this has happened before).



I love reading, but I just don't have time for lots of "fun" books anymore. My reading time is taken up by textbooks and PowerPoints, not the newest young adult books. So when I get any sort of break, I use that time to catch up on my loooong "To Be Read" list and pack two or three books for a week trip. If I get in the zone, I can knock out a decent size book in a few hours, which is a fun way to kill time and keep my mental strength up.



Is it just me or are airplanes always freezing? Even when I turn the little fan off and point it away from me, I still end up shivering and suffering. I don’t carry blankets with me because I'll end up dropping it or leaving it behind in a hurry, so I bring fuzzy socks. You lose body heat from your feet and your head, so wearing socks is a great way to keep it in. Plus, there are so many cute designs, so as long as your feet are clean you can slip your shoes off and enjoy your warm toes.


Steripod, Tooth Brush, Tooth Paste

If you are able to sleep on planes, you're part of the lucky ones. I don’t know about you, but after I sleep or nap I feel the urge to brush my teeth and refresh myself to get back on my day. Carrying your tooth brush and tooth paste onboard may seem silly, but if you have somewhere to go when you land, it could come in handy. Plus, you can use a Steripod to keep your tooth brush clean and sanitized. Since bathrooms in airplanes and airports see a lot of traffic, these are super important to have to avoid getting sick before the holidays. You can get these for $5.99 for one or $19.99 for a pack of eight from Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, Walmart and online at their website.



Usually, my makeup and hair are the last of my worries when I travel. I'm not there to look good, I'm there to get on the plane and get to my destination. However, there have been times where I've gone straight from the airport to a meal with family, an event or some other place where not looking like a sleepy zombie could be nice. I usually just bring my face powder, an eyelash curler and some lipstick to make sure my face looks somewhat put together and that I can do in under 5 minutes.


Change of Clothes

In the unfortunate event that your luggage gets lost or comes in late, having a spare change of clothes can be really helpful. There have been times where my luggage didn’t arrive until the day after I did, and I'd have to wear the same dirty and wrinkled clothes from the day before until I could get it. Save yourself the trouble and pack and extra shirt or extra pair of leggings, since you never know what could happen. Plus, it's great if you’re clumsy like me and spill soda or ketchup on your white T-shirt.


Hair Brush

My hair is a naturally curly mess, and I don’t normally brush it much because doing so just makes it a fluffy and poofy wreck. I usually travel with my hair in a ponytail or braid, so I don’t worry about it being in my face. But if I rub my head against the head rest of the seat or I use the neck pillow, it gets messy and honestly looks so much worse. A brush is a must have for me so I can brush out any tangles and get it into a smooth ponytail without ripping out the knots.