What’s in My Carry On Bag!

Do you love to take a peek into someone’s bag?  I’m betting you do!  We’re all a little nosy from time to time, but beyond that, it’s helpful to see what others lug around with them when traveling!  ‘What’s in my bag’ posts are some of my favorite to stumble upon and I’ve found some really cool faves by peeking into the bags of others.  So, today, I thought I’d return the favor, unzip by bag, and allow you, dear friends, to see what’s in my carry on bag!

Since I’m focusing on organizational tips this month, I thought I’d share what I carry with me in my carry on bag when I travel and how I organize it all.  It can be SO easy to toss too much in your bag that you really don’t need.  One solution to that is to get a bag that is big enough to carry your essentials and a bit extra, BUT isn’t so big that you it allows you to cart along more than what you absolutely need (check out my post yesterday for my pick of the perfect carry on bag)!

How many of you have gotten to the end of a trip, looked at all of your crap while repacking and realize you didn’t use a good 1/3 to 1/2 of what you brought? ME ME ME!  We’ve all been there!

While everyone’s needs for their essentials will differ, the main thing to aim for is to only bring what you KNOW you can’t live without!

BONUS! To help you get organized with your packing, I’m giving you a FREE packing list printable at the end of this post, so don’t run off before grabbing your copy!

Do you really need 10 shades of lipstick…seriously?  I’m betting you can take 3 and do some creative mixing to generate more than 3 colors while keeping your makeup bag to it’s most slim and trim size!  Normally my trips are pretty casual, so lately, I’ve been forcing myself to go with only ONE lipgloss and you know what…I haven’t missed the others (I have a bit of a lipgloss obsession)!

I’m planning to do a travel focused month later this spring, so I’ll save all of my packing tips for then, but in the mean time, I thought I’d share with you what I like to bring with me on board my flight! (and if for nothing else…who doesn’t love to take a peek into someone else’s bag, right?!)

The key to keeping your carry on bag organized when traveling (or any bag, for that matter!) is to make use of either pockets within the bag, or smaller zippered pouches to corral similar type items.

For the most part, my O.G. bag has enough pockets that I can stash most of my goodies within those to stay nice and organized!  But, if I were using a bag that was a little light on the pocket front, I’d make use of the gajillion makeup pouches I’ve acquired over the years (so, don’t toss out those freebie makeup bags that you get when you buy your products!  They DO have a use!).

Usually for my carry on, I bring any essentials for keeping me entertained during the flight and anything that I don’t want packed away in my suitcase (this is especially true if I’m checking a bag!).

Ready to take a peek into my bag?

1.  Random Papers  – For my last trip, I had some paperwork I wanted to try to work on while on the plane.  I used the plastic envelope to keep them from getting wrinkled or torn while getting them in and out of my bag.

2.  Magazines  – A girl needs something to read and a little inspiration!

3.  11″ MacBook Air  – I like to work on blog stuff when I travel.  I find airports to have the perfect amount of background noise to keep my mind from wondering and I can really focus in and get some work done (much like coffee shops!).  The 11″ MacBook Air is perfect for travel!  It’s small and lightweight!

4.  iPad and Nook  – I also like to read while traveling (both on the plane, in the airport, and in my hotel room), so having my Nook with me is essential!  I realize I could read my books via my iPad, but I really don’t like the interface and just prefer to my Nook for reading, so I do bring both.  Fortunately, they’re both small, so they don’t weigh much or take up too much room!

5.  Empty Water Bottle  – I like to drink lots of water while flying to stay hydrated!  After I’m through security, I fill it up at a water fountain or water station and save the few bucks they charge for bottles of water at the airport.

6.  Mod Tablet Case  – This is my office on the go!  I keep my mouse, card reader, 3 port USB hub, a pen, my blog notebook, and other random bits needed for getting work done.  

The Mod Tablet case is available via This is Ground and I ordered it with the Shooter insert. As with my O.G. Bag, it’s pricey, but I LOVE it and I use it all the time!  I also didn’t buy this when it was full price…you gotta hold out for those sales, ladies (i.e. stalk their social media pages for announcements of specials!).  The Flourish notebook is a definite fave and it’s from Amazon.

7.  Cheap-o Notepad  – This is for the random notes that I write down while working that I don’t need to keep for posterity!  Once I fill this up or rip out all of the pages, I toss it and grab another one.

8.  Wallet  – I love this wristlet!  It has a spare phone charger tucked inside and believe me, when I travel, I make good use of this baby!

9.  Case with iPhone Lenses  – I don’t always take my dSLR camera with me, so having iPhone lenses really gives me some options for grabbing memories (and having a little photo fun!).

The three smaller lenses on the right and the shutter release remote are from Photojojo.  The larger lens on the left if the Lensbaby Mobile lens.  The little case is an iPhone case that I picked up from an Accessorize store back in the summer.  I checked their website and they don’t seem to have it anymore!

10.  Small Notebook  – I always have a small notebook with me for quick, random ideas on the go, so this one gets stashed in the front pocket of my bag to keep it in easy reach.

11.  The Beauty Essentials  – Makeup (compact, lip balm, & lip gloss), hand moisturizer, and a travel pack of tissues…these are all I need for touchups on the go!

12.  Pens & Pencils  – I like to use a variety of colors when jotting down notes, prioritizing things, etc.  So, I usually keep a small pencil case with me that includes various pens, pencils, and highlighters.  This one might fall into the ‘do I really need this many pens on my trip?’!  If something had needed to be cut, this would’ve been the one to go!

13.  Sunglasses  – Unless I’m going somewhere that’s supposed to be perpetually rainy, I always take my sunglasses with me!  The cute sunglasses case was an Etsy find a few years ago and I LOVE it!

14.  Little Necessities  – Lifesavers, gum, and earbuds

15.  Snack  – Luna protein bar

16.  Mucinex D  – On the advice of a doctor a few years ago (after getting a really bad sinus infection on my flight home for Christmas), I take 1 Mucinex D about 3 hours before I fly to keep my sinuses open.  I used to fly almost weekly for work when I was younger and ever since then I have crappy sinuses (thanks to having to fly with head colds at the time!).

So, wondering how this all fit into my O.G. bag?

I put the things i didn’t really need in the flight, like my sunglasses, on the bottom of the bag (underneath my wallet).  Anything I knew I might need to grab was placed within easy reach!

The nice thing about the O.G. bag is when I pull something out, it doesn’t cause everything else to shuffle around and become a mess!  If I pull my Mod Tablet case out, it’s slot stays open so it’s easy to put it back in it’s place at the end of the flight when everyone is scrambling to get off the plane as fast as possible!

I put the small essentials (gum, snack bar, tissues, makeup, small notebook, etc.) in the front pocket:

For my most recent trip, I carried both my O.G. bag and my suitcase on board, so this is really pared down to the main essentials!  While the bag looks full in the photos…it wasn’t.  I could’ve easily added a lot more in here! When I went home for Christmas, I had to bring both my work laptop (I had to work for 2 days while home for the holidays) and my personal laptop (which has all of my blogging and personal stuff).  I also put my full makeup bag in here since I don’t like checking my makeup, some Christmas gifts, and 2 paperback books that I wanted to try to find time to read (which didn’t happen!).  Even with all of that added in here…I STILL could’ve probably gotten more if I had needed to!

Since we’re talking about packing and staying organized, making a list of what to pack will save you time & space. Grab a copy of my super cute packing list to make getting ready for your next trip a breeze!
After entering your email address the page will refresh with a link to the PDF!

Here’s a little sneak peek for ya…

Your turn!  What are some of your ‘must have’ items when you’re traveling?  What can’t you live without while on the road or in the air?  Leave me a comment and let me know!!


  1. 3


    What a fab little and efficient list of items! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the empty water bottle idea! That is so seriously brilliant. Why havent I thought of that? Thanks for the great tips! And I will also be carrying around journals more often now so that I can doodle and take notes along the way! :)

    • 4

      Vicky says

      The empty water bottle comes in handy! I can also fill it up at the water fountain in the hotels to have water throughout the day (well…part of the day…that little bottle doesn’t last me all day, lol). :)

  2. 5

    Tanya Patxot says

    First eye phone lens wow cool never heard of that and 2nd THANKS I am traveling to Las Vegas for a blogging for profit mastermind and I so need these awesome tips hahaha I forget stuff or have way too much

    • 6

      Vicky says

      Hi Tanya – yay! So glad this is helpful! And the iPhone lens are a ton of fun (when I remember to use them!). :)

  3. 7


    Wow! That really does fit a ton of stuff! I haven’t invested in any Iphone lens but you’re sure making it hard not to 😉 My wish list just keeps getting longer! Do you have a portable charger that you use for your electronics? I have one but am very unhappy with it. Thanks! xo Liz http://www.4evermysweetpea.com

    • 8

      Vicky says

      Ha! Sorry to be such an enabler!! Since you’re into photography, you’d LOVE the iPhone lens! My favorite one is the Lensbaby one…it’s just too much fun and such a fun technique! Of course the downside is that it lead me to wanting a lensababy for my dSLR, too! You what…the only portable charger I have is the one in my wristlet (linked above). The only thing that usually dies for me is my phone. Everything else typically makes it until I get to the hotel, so I just use my regular plugs at that point.

  4. 9

    Amna says

    We have so much in common! YES I’d definitely take my macbook with me! some other things is just simple make-up like coverup, powder, lipstick… I always take cards with me where ever I go! Also my diamond tear headphones… I can’t live without music!

    • 10

      Vicky says

      Ok…I had never heard of diamond tear headphones and just did a google search…those are gorgeous!!! I don’t really care for over the ear headphones though, but I saw them for in ear, earbuds and I’m in love! But, I can’t seem to find them for sale anywhere, wahhh! Thanks for sharing those, though! And thanks for stopping by! Hope we connect again soon! :)

  5. 11


    You are the second person tonight who has mentioned this bag – it looks amazing. Finding the perfect travel bag is hard! I just bought a Kelly Moore bag for the trip I am currently on, but it is not sitting right on my shoulder. Pockets and pouches are the key! I am definitely going to check out #6 – that is a pretty cool case!

    • 12

      Vicky says

      Hi Andi! The Mod case is awesome! And you can even buy various inserts to switch out for specific needs. I hear you on the Kelly Moore bag…it’s so important for a bag to feel good on your shoulder. That can make or break a bag, no matter how pretty it is to look at! :-)

  6. 13


    Love this! I have to travel with our tablet (a must with a toddler!), my laptop, blog planner and a crochet project or two. Oh- and all the chargers that go with everthing! We don’t fly much at all (maybe once every two or three years) so I don’t have to worry about lugging what I pack through an airport! LOL!

    • 14

      Vicky says

      Hi Rose! I thought of that as I was writing this…the fact that I don’t have kids and don’t have to worry about carrying their stuff + my stuff!! My hat is always tipped to moms ;). Yes…a tablet is probably the magic elixir with a toddler!! :-)

    • 16

      Vicky says

      Hi Christina! Thanks so much! I LOVE ‘what’s in my carry on’ posts, so if you do one, I can’t wait to check it out! I know you travel a lot too so I’d love to know what you consider your must haves on a flight! (just saying’ ;))

  7. 17


    Such a great post, I love a good nosey so this is right up my street. Now, I’ve spotted iPhone lenses, did my eyes device me? Where have I been, those are awesome!!! I need, want, love xx

    • 18

      Vicky says

      Hi Amy! I’m so glad you liked this post and I agree with being nosey…love those kinds of posts! I think I am going to do a post soon about iPhone lenses since it seems a number of people haven’t seen these before! They’re lots of fun!

  8. 19


    This is such a great post! I love what’s in my carry on or suitcase type posts! You organize everything so well! I usually kinda just throw everything into a really big purse or backpack. I always bring a notebook with me too! I am always writing lists.


    • 20

      Vicky says

      Hi Ashley! So glad you liked this post! I definitely understand the ‘throw everything in a big purse/backpack’…this is the first bag that has allowed me to be SO organized and I’m loving it!! I’m a total list writer too! I probably have lists for my lists, lol. :-)

  9. 23

    Lori says

    Hi! What a great post – I can’t wait to read your others. So my question… I travel on business and I have a Dell laptop ( I wish I were one of the lucky ones that had a Mac for work ) but need a new stylish but practical laptop bag. You mentioned you traveled with your work laptop so was wondering how big it was? Will this bag fir a 13.5″ laptop?

    • 24

      Vicky says

      Hi Lori! My work laptop is a Dell 13.5, so YES it totally works in this bag!! It easily fit into the laptop pocket so getting it in and out during security was a breeze (I did have a little problem with the tab thingy that holds the pocket closed, but I think it’s because it’s leather and the holes just need to be stretched out a bit, which I was too inpatient to do!). :-)

  10. 25

    brittney says

    Hi! Would your DSLR have fit, had you chosen to pack it? I want to buy this bag but I am concerned about my camera not fitting. I have an Olympus PEN series camera. It’s not huge, but it’s certainly not a point and shoot! Thanks!

    • 26

      Vicky says

      Hi Brittney! Yes…my dSLR would’ve fit had I been creative with packing everything. I still had room at the top of my bag, so I would’ve probably wrapped my camera in a sweater or something to protect it and put it on the bottom. Then I could’ve put everything on top of it. I wasn’t sure what the Olympus PEN was, so I just googled it and you absolutely have room for that!! In that case, I would’ve just put that on top of everything else instead of layering it on the bottom! I have similar mirrorless camera (the Samsung NX300), and it would have no problems fitting. Hope that helps and let me know if you have any other questions or if I can help in any way!! :-)

  11. 27

    Aea says

    Hi I just came across and saw your post. I really want to have the Mod. You mentioned the sale. Would you please tell me how much was your Mod? Thanks

    • 28


      Hi Aea – I don’t honestly remember how much the sale was….sorry! You can see their prices on their website, though for a good idea of what they charge. They do have sales from time to time, so be sure to follow them on social media to find out about them!

  12. 29

    Cryslyn says

    Hi! I have been researching a bunch of bags lately because my current bag is not working. I’m pretty sure the O.G or O.M.G is my answer, but need your help. I always wanted a MK work bag, but could never justify the cost because I didn’t have a “need” for a laptop bag. I have been promoted recently and decided to treat myself to the MK bag that was sitting on my wish list for years – even found it in my desired color, Navy AND on clearance too! After carrying the tote for a few months I found out (the hard way) that there is much more to a laptop tote than just the way it looks. My MK bag looks awesome, but there are so many flaws. My question is: Is this O.G bag suitable to use as a daily work “briefcase” or is it more suited for traveling? I have to carry a laptop to multiple locations during the course of a day and the MK bag did not work. I want to carry something that is low profile (does not look like I’m carrying a laptop/work stuff) and somewhat fashionable. Some of the complaints I have with the MK bag were: too big & bulky; no zipper on top so things would fall out/shift; heavy and uncomfortable on the shoulder; leather is stiff and makes it awkward to carry in tight spaces; handle drop is too short. Can you tell me a little more about this bag in regard to those concerns to help me make my decision? Any help will be greatly appreciated!

    • 30


      Hi Cryslyn! I can completely relate to your issues…usually when I need a bag I have specific things in mind that I need which can make it challenging to find something to work! Both the OG and OMG bags are suitable for daily use. Personally, I feel the OG bag may be a tad too big for carrying to/from the office (unless I worked in NYC where I had to take the subway and needed to carry my gym clothes as well!). The OMG bag is smaller and, which I don’t own that one, I think it’d be perfect for your needs (and I’ve been tempted to order that myself just to use for work!!). Since the bag isn’t leather, which initially annoyed me, it does keep the bag pretty light. I can load up my OG bag when I travel (which is the only time I use it) and it’s never hurt my shoulder or felt too heavy and I’ve stuffed it full, so I don’t *think* the OMG would be too heavy for you (granted what each person considers ‘heavy’ is relative, lol). I’m hugely picky on the depth of the handle drop. I can’t stand it when a bags straps make the bag hard to get on/off my shoulder (esp. in winter with a heavy coat on!) and I can’t easily get into it while on my shoulder to get stuff in the bag while out and about. For the OG bag (and I would feel confident the OMG is the same) that’s never been an issue…the straps are perfect!! I’m pretty sure they have a return policy, so it might be worth ordering the OMG and seeing what you think once you get it! Now, after writing all of this, I want the OMG for work, lol!!
      I don’t know if you saw this post, but I also did a review specifically on my OG bag. The OMG is exactly the same in terms of features, just a little bit smaller, which is why I think it would work better for a daily work/laptop bag:
      If you have any other questions, let me know! :)

  13. 31

    Tamara says

    This is the first carry on packing list I’ve seen that is completely practical and didn’t include $300 bags and $40 organic wetwipes! Haha. Thank you for this post! I realize that it is quite old but it is still very relevant and SUPER helpful! I’ll be traveling to Laos in a week and have been trying to get a feel for what I should bring! So thank you again! Absolutely wonderful!

    • 32


      You’re so very welcome, Tamara! I’m SO glad you found this useful and helpful :). The nice thing about packing tips is that it at least stands the test of time, lol. This is still exactly what I use and pack when I travel! I hope you have an AMAZING time in Laos! That sounds really exciting :).

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