True story: I was inspired to write this post after reading US Weekly on my balcony yesterday morning, latte in hand. AKA: a typical Saturday morning.
I always clamor to read the “What’s in My Bag?” page of US Weekly and then am appalled by ALL THE STUFF that celebrities claim to carry with them on a regular basis. Really – you carry two books, packaged snacks, sunscreen, headphones, a hat, a scarf, a movie and wet ones EVERY DAY? Hmmmm.
It got me thinking about posts and articles I’ve seen that feature a multitude of carry on essentials for flying – many of which I’d personally never actually carry with me only because my handbag would be ridiculously heavy.
Travel Tote Bag: What to Pack
It really is easy to overfill your travel tote bag with “necessities”. I used to cram EVERYTHING into my bag: mini nail polish, face spray, moisturizer, even toothpaste. It would have made for an awesome feature in US Weekly, but it made travel a bit of a pain.
Truthfully, over the years, I’ve found myself carrying less and less when it comes to my travel tote bag, and now I really just carry ONLY the essentials. Here’s a peek of what is actually in my handbag when I’m flying:
iPad: For a long time, I told myself I didn’t need an iPad. As much as I love to shop, part of me is still practical. I have a laptop and a phone, so I didn’t really see the point in spending another $700 on something in between.
Just before a trip to Thailand and Hong Kong a year and a half ago, though, I was DREADING the 15 hour flight, and started singing a different tune about my need to have an iPad.
These days, I’m not sure how I’d ever travel WITHOUT my iPad. I use it for the highly sophisticated and technical purpose of loading up on a TON of magazines. I used the be the gal who swung through the airport shop just before a flight, scooped up 7 magazines, and boarded the plane with a plastic carrier bag with 10 pounds’ worth of magazines. Now I just load up my iPad ahead of time and I can have 7 magazines to read without carrying the weight of any at all. Priceless.
Happy Plugs rose gold headphones: I also never used to see the purpose of novelty headphones. I mean, my phone came with the usual Apple ones – why would I buy anything else? That was until I spotted these rose gold headphones on Audrey’s instagram and, given my obsession with all things rose gold, knew immediately that I HAD to have them.
Apparently, everyone else did, too, because the rose gold headphones were SOLD OUT for the first eight days that I obsessively checked the Happy Plugs website. Fortunately, Happy Plugs eventually sorted out their inventory crisis, and I got my headphones. If you’re so inclined, they also come in 18 carat rose gold for a cool $14,500.
iPhone: Obviously. I searched far and wide for a phone case that I actually liked, and finally landed on this one. Black, white, and a side of rose gold? I’m in.
Sunglasses: I totally feel like I could be the pilot when I bring these on planes. Actually, that’s not why I like them – honestly, it’s because my taste in sunglasses is pretty simple, and you can’t go wrong with aviators, plane or no plane.
Wallet: A wise friend gave me some great packing advice long ago. She said “as long as you have your wallet and any prescription medicine – you’re packed”. Meaning that pretty much everything else can be purchased in case of emergency. So whenever I get stressed from packing, I remember this advice, and it helps.
Gum and other drugstore necessities: Nothing like popping a fresh piece of gum after a long flight and some peanuts. I also always carry blotting papers, since the dry air on planes can send my oily skin into overdrive.
Laptop: Again, Captain Obvious. Many a blog post for The Belle Voyage has been written at 35,000 feet. Typically I actually have TWO laptops with me – one for work, and my own personal one for blogging. The work laptop goes in the outside pocket of my carry on bag, so I’m really only toting one.
Oh and the bag!
Travel Tote Bag: I was saving the best for last. She’s my latest and greatest – and I’ve been waiting for a few years to bring her home. A few birthday gift cards, and a late-night online shopping episode that I thought would SOLVE ALL MY PROBLEMS (as you always think they will) and she arrived on my doorstep. I just couldn’t bring myself to give her back.
But really, I can’t stand standard-issue laptop bags (one of my first posts!), so I have just been telling myself that an all-purpose black tote bag is an INVESTMENT.
And that’s pretty much it! The lighter, the better, in my mind. Often I’ll throw in a scarf as well, as a layer for the plane and to double as a headrest or pillow if I want to try and sneak in a nap.
What else is in your travel tote bag?
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