What's In My Carry-On?

With a blink of an eye, our semester is coming to an end. Given the circumstances of this year, I think it's appropriate to say that our semester has definitely 'zoomed' by. It felt as if it had only been a week ago when I finally made it to campus after a long 7-hour drive and unloaded my suitcases. But just today, I had to call my mom to coordinate logistics from the airport and begin packing up my suitcase for when we leave next week. As Einstein put it so perfectly, "Time is relative."

As much as I love road-tripping, my preferred travel itinerary is via plane–it's expedient and expeditious. Traveling from point A to B can be exhausting, so if I can make it to Newark Liberty International Airport in just an afternoon nap's span of time, then count me in. When it comes to airline travel, I always like to bring a small purse or backpack on the plane with me, packed with just about everything I need to make the airborne journey as effortless as possible. Here's a two-dimensional look into my little carry-on purse with my absolute essentials for my next flight back home!

  1. 1. Hand Sanitizer

    TSA now allows one liquid hand sanitizer container of up to 12 oz. per passenger! It's always a great habit to carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you, especially in light of COVID. It can come in handy if you're handling food on the plane, or simply feel the urge to sanitize your hands after touching high-contact surfaces, such as a door handle or railing. I also like to bring along one or two packets of alcohol or cleaning wipes to wipe down high-touch surfaces just for my own peace of mind.

  2. 2. Extra Disposable (or Reusable) Mask

    A COVID-19 necessity. You never know when you might need an extra mask (or maybe to give to a 'Karen' if you unfortunately stumble across her on your travels). Either way, it doesn't take up too much space, so you might as well carry one.

  3. 3. Moisturizer

    If you don't listen to music, what planet do you come from? I love listening to music on the plane; whether it's a long or short flight, my earphones always keep me company. Cliché as it sounds, music is truly food for the soul.

  4. 4. Chapstick or Lip Balm

    On a similar note, the skin on your lips chap more easily because it's thinner, especially in the winter, so using chapsticks will help with keeping your lips hydrated through the duration of the flight. I like to carry a tinted lip balm so I don't look like I was resurrected from death.

  5. 5. Portable Charger

    I could not tell you why, but my phone is always at 10%. It's generally important to have your cellular device readily available during travel. You can't really do anything without your phone nowadays, and for people with long flights or long layovers, a portable charger will become your best friend. I mean, it always makes me happy when I wake up from a nap on the plane with my phone battery at 100%. Anxiety = negative.

  6. 6. Earphones

    If you don't listen to music, what planet do you come from? I love listening to music on the plane; whether it's a long or short flight, my earphones always keep me company. Cliché as it sounds, music is truly food for the soul.

  7. 7. Tissues or Napkins

    It can get chilly on flights, and when that happens, my nose starts to run. Tissues are a practical accessory for flight whether you need to blow your nose or not. It definitely does not hurt to bring one on the plane if you have room in your carry on.

  8. 8. Contacts or Glasses

    I'll admit that sometimes I sleep with my contacts in–which is so bad for your eyeballs as you are essentially suffocating your eyes and can lead to high risk of infection–so bringing an extra set of contacts or a pair of glasses in case your contacts start drying out on the plan is a good idea.

  9. 9. Ziplock Bag(s)

    I like to bring an empty ziplock bag for emergencies, just in case I need to store trash on the plane or other belongings. That's it.

  10. 10. Ear Plugs

    Living in a college dorm, where particular weekends can get noisy, I've come to appreciate the merits of ear plugs. Let me remind you of the roaring sound of the engine which will be even louder if you're seated right by the wings of the plane. Certainly essential if you plan to get some shut-eye on your flight. Just be cognizant of equalizing the pressure on your eardrums during the ascents and descents of the plane!

  11. 11. Hair Accessories

    Checking my wrists, hoping that for once I didn't lose all my hair ties, is all too familiar to me. Keeping a few extra hair ties, scrunchies, bobby pins is a pro-tip for long and short flights alike.

  12. 12. Sleep Mask

    For long-flights, I'd recommend a sleep mask. As a light sleeper, I've always had trouble sleeping on planes. Fortunately, my flight back home is only an hour long, but I can't imagine how wearying it can be for those who have to endure 10 hours flights and connecting flights. It's an investment worth making and might even be the remedy to your jet lag!

Regardless of where you’re headed to this winter break, remember to always stay safe and healthy!