I love packing my carry-on bag for the plane, not only because I like being super organised, but because it’s when I first start to get excited about heading off on a summer holiday. If you’re often rushed in the lead up to a trip, it can be easy to forget something important. That’s why I like to lay everything out on the floor first – I then leave it that way until right before my taxi arrives for the airport. That way I can add to my carry-on bag essentials as get ready. One thing I never forget is a bikini, but we’ll get to that later.
If you have an island hopping adventure coming up, here are all the essential items you need to fill your carry-on, so you can arrive at your tropical destination happy, refreshed and ready for summer adventures.
Your carry-on bag comes down to personal preference. I also take a camera backpack as carry-on, so my tote needs to be able to pass for a handbag. This one from Country Road is about as big as you can get away with – it fits EVERYTHING, including my Macbook.
Exact match: Country Road ‘Mirror’ tote.
I can’t go anywhere without my Macbook, while I travel with it for work, its role on the plane is exclusively for entertainment. You never know when you’re going to get an old plane that has a communal TV screen. Plus, sometimes you want to watch your own curated selection of movies and TV shows.
Other than your passport and your actual bag, your headphones are the next more important carry-on essential. Unless you’re up the front of the plane in business class, the little disposable headphones they give you are not going to cut it. Bring your own and block out your noisy neighbours with some cool tunes or a new release film.
Exact match: Nixon ‘Trooper’ headphones in white
A headphone splitter allows you and your buddy to both watch the same thing by sharing the headphone jack on your laptop, phone or tablet. When you’re doing long haul trips where battery life needs to be rationed, this is going to give you double screen watching time across all your devices combined.
Invest in a really good charger to keep your devices powered for as long as possible. Look for a charger that allows you to charge multiple devices at the same time and one that’s small enough to carry in your handbag while you’re travelling.
It’s important to stay hydrated not just while you are flying, but also before you board your flight. Cocobella is my favourite packaged coconut water, so I always drink it before I head through departures.
Grab a Turkish towel for your carry-on and use it as a scarf, blanket and eye mask on the plane, and as a sarong when you reach your tropical destination.
Exact match: Delightfully Turkish scarf in ‘fresh candy grey’.
Notebooks and Pens
Being up in the air without Wi-Fi (or at least without a strong internet connection) is a great time to disconnect from social channels and your online life. It’s often a time when you get ideas or make plans, whether it’s to do with your career, your love life or just what you plan to do at your next destination. Having a notebook is a quick and easy way to jot down your thoughts without worrying about wasting precious battery life on your devices.
No one likes cold tootsies on board, so make sure you pack your favourite pair of socks. My ultimate plane socks are a pair I picked up at the markets in Hobart, Tasmania. They are made out of Australian Merino wool and are thick enough to provide a strong barrier between you and the aisle floor.
Give your eyes a rest from looking at screens and get back to basics with some good old fashion magazines. I’m a sucker for trashy gossip magazines and Aussie Vogue.
Your make-up bag is a vital part of your carry-on kit. Stock it with tissues, make-up remover, moisturiser, lip balm, hand sanitiser and anything else you might need like contact lenses and solution.
Exact match: Country Road floral cosmetic bag.
If you wear contact lenses like me, nerd specs are a crucial addition to your carry-on bag. I once dropped a pair of Chanel glasses down the side of my massive business class armrest somewhere between Bangkok and Sydney – I was so excited to be drinking champagne in my ridiculously comfy seat on the upper deck of an A380 that I barely even noticed the crunching sound as I reclined. Since then I take multiple pairs of glasses on my trips – one pair in my carry-on bag and one pair in my check-in luggage.
Exact match: Oscar Wylee ‘Oxford’ glasses in ‘tabby tortoise’.
Even though my luggage has never ever gone missing, I have a fear that one day it might and I may end up arriving on a tropical island without my favourite bikinis. That’s why I always pack at least one in my carry-on, that way even if your luggage does get misplaced, you can wait it out on the beach while working on your tan.
Exact match: Ginja Swimwear ‘shimmy tri’ bikini top in white.
Air-conditioning can cause chaos with your sinuses so make sure you have a handy pack of tissues within reach. And if you’re going to have a sneezing fit it may as well be into tissues with a leopard motif.
Exact match: Printed pocket tissues in ‘leopard’ (purchased from Sephora Australia).
If you love having a window seat so you can take photos of the amazing sunsets, sunrises and cloud formations as you fly, take a camera in your carry-on. My phone is always flat and on take-off some airlines still require you to switch your phone completely off, and not just to flight mode.
There is no place on earth where you will you ever use as much lip balm as on a flight. With the air super dry, you’re going to want to keep some in your pocket at all times. The plane can be a bit germy, so go for one that you don’t need to stick your finger in to apply.
Exact match: Ecoya lip balm with macadamia oil.