Carry-On Essentials for Domestic Flights

Too Polished Carry-On Essentials for Domestic Flights

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As a perfectionist, packing the ideal carry-on has been my obsession for years. Like being a minimalist, there is so much pleasure in having exactly what you need and not being weighed down with unnecessary items that add to travel stress. I always think of George Clooney from Up in the Air as the height of travel expertise, and I aspire to be the girl that has this travel process down to a science.

Evan and I have a trip to Colorado coming up next week, and I love to plan by making lists. I’ve done a good bit of domestic travel over the past couple of years, so my carry-on bag has nothing more and nothing less than what I need. Keep reading for the travel tips that keep me from forgetting things and all of my essentials for my carry-on!


Plan ahead: I don’t know many people who like packing (I know I don’t) but taking the time to pack and plan the night before your trip will save you stress and frustration on the travel day. Even if your flight is later in the day, traveling has a way of inducing anxiety and stress which could cause you to forget things, no matter how well you prepare. Pack everything you won’t need before the trip the night before, like all of your clothes and accessories. Set aside in one area the things you will need the next day (toothbrush, deodorant, etc.) so that once the travel day comes everything you have left to pack is in one area.

Mentally run through your routines: If I’m ever afraid I forgot something, I will run through my daily routines to make sure no product is missed. For a morning routine, I’ll think: Wake up, get dressed, apply deodorant, brush teeth (toothbrush & toothpaste), wash face (face wash), apply lotion and sunscreen (check for both of those), curl my hair (curling rod and hairspray), apply makeup (makeup bag). I will also mentally run through my shower routines and nighttime routines as these are things that will likely stay the same no matter where I travel.

Do one last check: Before you go out the door and no matter how late you are, check to make sure you have the absolute necessary items for flying. You can do this by placing a reminder sticky note on your door and the check should only take a few seconds. These are things that can’t be easily replaced and could cause you to miss your flight. This includes passport/ID, plane ticket (or cell phone), prescription medication, and a GPS or directions to get to the airport (if you aren’t familiar). Place these items in a spot where they can’t easily fall out or move during transit (back pockets are a no for passports!). Grab a zipper pouch or place your items securely in your carry-on until going through security.

Too Polished Carry-On Essentials for Domestic Flights


This is my all time favorite travel bag! It’s made specifically for travel, and has all of these amazing pockets to make sure your items are organized and protected. There is a sleeve on the back of the bag so you can slide it onto your suitcase handle and don’t have to worry about it slipping off. The nylon material it’s covered in is smooth, stain resistant, and moisture wicking so you don’t have to worry about a thing with this bag.


My necessary items are my Ipad, airpods, solar battery charger, and my Iphone. If I plan to work while I’m gone, my laptop goes in there as well. I know a lot of people prefer over the ear headphones, but I find them too bulky and my airpods work great for me.


I like to come to the airport looking pretty put together, so I do my makeup before. Some people don’t prefer this, but I get a little anxious when I am around a lot of people and I don’t feel my best. My makeup is pretty minimal anyway, so I don’t feel like I am making my skin do a lot of work while we’re flying. I don’t like to bring my whole beauty bag with me, but I do aim for the essentials. Lip balm, facial spray (this one smells so good!), concealer, lotion, sunscreen, a nail kit, perfume atomizer (to freshen up after flight), and a hairbrush.


There is just something about airports that makes me hungry, and we prefer to bring our own snacks to save time and money. These raw peanut butter protein balls are amazing and filling so I don’t have to worry about trying to find something vegan in the terminal. I like a collapsible water bottle because water bottles can be bulky and difficult to fit in a carry-on. A little bit of gum keeps my breath fresh in case I fall asleep on the plane, and it can help your ears when they pop due to the altitude.


Comfort is key always for me, and especially when I fly. I usually wear a sweater, leggings, and sneakers to the airport. Just in case I get cold I bring a scarf and warm socks. I like to have an eye mask and neck pillow on hand if I’m really in need of some sleep.


Our flight is about 4 hours, which is plenty of time to catch some Z’s.  Melatonin helps us fall asleep deep and fast. We also like to bring hand sanitizer, tissues, band-aids (you never have them when you need them), headache medicine, and feminine products.


I get headaches when I read on planes, but usually something lighter like a fashion magazine I can handle. In the event something goes wrong with my Ipad or if the screen gives me a headache, I like to have an easy (and light) read for backup.

I hope you enjoyed this list and tips! Now go out, be George Clooney, and travel like a boss. 

Thanks for stopping by!



Too Polished Carry-On Essentials for Domestic Flights

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