There are a few essentials I pack in my carry on whenever I travel, no matter how long my flight is or where I am going. I used to overpack my carry on and it was difficult to get to the stuff I actually need. For shorter trips, I sometimes pack only in a carry on (Check out my video for tips for packing in a carry one here.) But when it comes to my backpacking trips, I pack everything in my High Sierra 55 L Explorer pack and leave my carry on for essentials. So here is the list of what goes in my carry on every time I travel.

Soap/Face Cleanser Most of the time, when I get off of a plane, the first thing I want to do is wash my hands and face. This is especially true after long flights. There are a lot of times when I have a flight followed by a layover, then another flight and then buses, trains, etc. to get to my final destination and it will be hours, sometimes even days before I even see a shower. So soap is a must. Sometimes I will make sure to keep Beauty Counter Nourishing Face Cleanser in my carry on too. 

Washcloth/Face Towel This goes with the soap and Face Cleanser to keep my face feeling fresh and clean on long (and short) flights. 

Beauty Counter Face Wipes These, again, play the same roll as the soap and Face Cleanser. Just another way for me to feel freshened up if I can not find a bathroom or water to wash my face.

Toothbrush & Toothpaste And again, for those times you are traveling for daaaays. 

Change of Clothes Am I being repetitive yet? Like I said, there are times when you may go hours or even days without seeing a shower so a change of clothes helps me to feel freshened up. Its also important if there is a dramatic change in climate from one destination to another.

Macbook There are many reasons to have my MacBook with me. I can be very productive on long flights or while waiting in the airport during a layover. Or I can be unproductive and pass the time with Netflix binge watching. It kind of depends on my mood.

Phone For obvious reasons…but mainly for music for me. I also keep my travel phone on me. This is an unlocked phone so I can get a sim card wherever I travel. 

Headphones To listen to music, movies, podcasts, etc. 

Chargers For my MacBook, phones and Apple Watch. Whatever you need charged, make sure you pack that charger with you.

Snacks This is important to save money while traveling. I always pack things like nuts, apples, Larabars..healthy snacks that will give me energy and help keep me full in between meals. Depending on how long my flight is, I will sometimes pack a full meal. 

Beats Pill Speaker This one isn’t exactly a necessity, but I take my speaker with me EVERYWHERE I go. So of course its going in my carry on too. 

Book Because sometimes your battery dies on your phone or computer, you don’t have an outlet or any service. A good book is more reliable than technology! Here’s my current suggestion

Notebook For journaling, doodling, to do lists…everything you think of when you are sitting on a plane because it is a good time to get some thinking done.

Pen If not for anything else, to fill out travel documents. They don’t usually provide them on flights. 

Decorative Scarf I got my mandala scarf from Urban Outfitters for $5. I use it as a blanket when I get cold on planes, in the airport, buses, etc. And then it doubles as a beach blanket, accessory, etc. when I’m traveling. But definitely a must for chilly plane rides. 

Wallet/ID/Passport/Money/Cards I keep it all in one place. Everything I need is in my wallet and always stays on me. That’s the safest place to keep it all.

Dry Shampoo For fear of being too receptive I’m just going to say “Please refer back to the top five listed items,”

Make Up Bag I do not use a lot of makeup at all but the small amount I do use stays in my carry on. Sometimes I have somewhere to be right after my flight so I need to be prepared. Keeping my make up bag in my carry on means I don’t have to rummage through my backpack to find it. 

Water Bottle Stay hydrated! Hydration is very helpful in beating jet lag! You can refill your water bottle almost anywhere for free. Just be careful when you are abroad to make sure the tap water is ok to drink. 

Amazing Greens Superfood Packets To get your greens in when you don’t have a blender for your green smoothie!