How to Perfectly Pack Your Carry-On Luggage

Long plane rides can be less painful if you pack your carry-on case with all of the essentials to stay comfortable, healthy, glamorous, and entertained. After a decade of travel, and more flights than I can count – I discovered the absolute essential things to travel with and how best to pack them.

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The Perfect Carry-On Case

I found the perfect carry on after years of trial and error. For your dream carry-on, you want something that is small, but equipped for travel with a hardshell to avoid getting smashed, 4-wheels for ease, a place to keep your laptop safe, and lots of interior pockets to keep things organized. It’s called the Monos Travel Carry On Pro. It comes in ten colors, has a hard shell made of Aerospace-grade German polycarbonate, has a 100 day trial and is guaranteed for LIFE. Yes, your entire life.

I love also this case because you can get a luggage cover! Perfectly tailored for Monos suitcases, the Luggage Cover slips over your luggage like a glove, and provides head-to-toe protection from all the dirt, scuffs, and scratches that usually come with checking luggage – ensuring your pale pink case stays beautiful forever. They are made with eco-friendly, recyclable PEVA.

What to Pack 

Think of your carry on as your “in-case of an emergency kit.” Pack the essential things you want easy access to on arrival or would be in real trouble without in case your luggage would get lost. The monos case has 3 different storage areas: front, left, and right. I’ll tell you what I put in each.

In the Front Pocket

The Front Pocket has interior pockets and zippered pouches for your in-flight tech entertainment. There is a decided pocket for your laptop, protected by Aerospace-grade German polycarbonate hard shell.

I also slip in my favorite reading for the plane – if you’re bringing a guide book, or a magazine, stick it in your carry on so it’s not weighing down your purse.

all chargers for electronics — I organize in the zip pockets, along with my spare set of keys. There is a decided pocket for your laptop, protected by Aerospace-grade German polycarbonate hard shell.

house keys I keep safe and stored when I travel, not in my purse. That way I don’t risk losing them.

I pop my sunglasses in here once I get to the airport.

On the Left Side

camera – any electronics you won’t need in-flight but wouldn’t want to risk getting stolen putting in your checked bag, zip into this pocket.

noise canceling headphones – You don’t want your sleep disturbed because of the adorable, but crying, newborn baby in the row behind you.

makeup bag – I wear no makeup on the plane to keep my skin as happy as possible, but I keep a small kit of make-up in my carry-on luggage so I can do it either at the airport when I arrive or when I get to where I’m going. I also like to have this with me so I don’t risk any powdered blushes or eyeshadows cracking during travel. 

mini essential toiletries – I always pack a tiny kit of travel sized face wash, perfume, face lotion, hand lotion, toner spray – anything I might want to feel fresh on the plane or for a quick fix on arrival.

plane snacks – I always keep an emergency snack with me, usually cashews or almonds. I also will now travel with my new favorite microdrinks from Waterdrop to drop into my water, so that I stay hydrated in flight!

travel journal and pen – I always keep this with me so I can start writing on the plane.

On the Right Side

jewelry – I always keep this in my carry-on case just in case my luggage were to get lost or stolen. The monos bag has a convenient zip pouch in the closed compartment that hides it from view.medications – any prescription that you need to take daily, you can’t risk not having. I keep them in a neat little pouch.arrival outfit – This is my secret to looking flawless on arrival I pack an outfit for arrival so that I can change out of my travel outfit at the airport when I arrive. I travel in something comfortable, but then pop on my fresh clothes in the airport bathroom and arrive at my destination in style. Don’t forget any accessories you need too – like a little purse, a lightweight scarf/hat, sunglasses, etc. The Monos bag comes with slipcases for shoes and laundry, so I slip my arrival shoes into one of those so they don’t get my clothes dirty.

Any other must-have items. – This depends on where I’m going. If I’m heading somewhere tropical, I pack my swimsuit, sunscreen, and cover-up so I can go right to the pool if my room isn’t ready. If I’m heading to London, I stick an umbrella in my carry-on, because chances are it’s going to drizzle at some point. Think outside the box here!

Once I zip this side closed, in the flat pouch on top, I stick thank you notes, postcards, and any papers I need for my trip. This keeps them from getting bent in transit, and keeps them safe from getting lost or stolen.

The case also features a built in compression pad on this side, so once I’ve zipped up, I pull the straps and stick a light jacket on top, just in case I need another layer. Then I zip up. The bag does have a Lockable YKK reverse coil zipper, if you want to be extra secure in flight.

other tips before you head off….

  • call your bank – let them know you’re going abroad so they don’t suspect fraud when they see a $100 charge at Laudree. Macarons aren’t cheap my friends.
  • copy your passport and leave it with a friend or family member. I also send that person my flight details, again, just in case of an emergency. 
  • take out some local currency. You’ll always be happy to have some cash on you right away for taxis, snacks, or tips in the event they don’t take credit somewhere.