All In Hand – A Travelling Girl’s Guide To Hand Luggage


I travel about twice a month. Typically for business. My packing is like a well oiled machine. I tend to leave it to last minute but it’s so automated that I probably could do it in my sleep instead of leaving it to last minute and use the time to catch some zzz’s and get my bags packed at the same time.

After years of international travel I’ve whittled my carry-on luggage down from a weekender and an over sized bag filled to the brim down to a cute tote that I can take anywhere.

My personally crafted bag of tricks:

My personally crafted bag of tricks

1.  Navy blue satin style tote from Henri Bendel – full of pockets, great for storing all my little items that I need to have to hand

 2.  iPad 2 –16gb 3G  – Along with the usual things to do on an iPad (music, movies, games) on international flights there is no wifi so I love using Zite which is a custom magazine tailored to my interests. Although I need Internet access to browse the pages, I can save articles on my Zite account to read once I’m up in the air. (Instapaper is also another great app to save articles to read for later) I also poach books via my Kindle app from my Fiancé. He has over 200 books on his kindle and my app allows me to share and download any of his books which I can read offline.

3.  iPhone  – 16gb 3GS  – I use AT&T for my iPhone service so it’s my #1 go to while in Europe since I get roaming and a reliable back up for my camera/flip cam (not shown). While in the US I also carry my Blackberry, but to be honest, since it’s Verizon it’s pretty much a dead weight to me outside of the US.

4.  A Cobra inflight pack – all the gadgets I need to be able to charge my devices on the plane’s dc cigarette power outlets. This little pack runs around $50 (if you buy at an airport like I did but I’m sure they are cheaper on Amazon).

5.  Zicam – my equivalent of airborne. I know it doesn’t work the same but it definitely keeps me healthy when travelling on a flight. I read an article that said you can be affected by a passenger’s sneeze or cough up to 2 rows behind or in front. I don’t know how accurate that is but having Zicam with me when I feel a sore throat or tickly cough start up has never done me wrong.

 6.  Nivea Visage – cleansing wipes. I haven’t been able to find these in the US so stock up every time I’m back in the UK. I predominantly use these as a quick and easy make up remover when travelling but they’re also great at keeping my skin fresh and moisturised on a long haul flight. Since they’re not classed as liquid i can carry a whole packet and not worry about the size. Similar wipes in the US such as Nutrogena or Biore do equally as good a job. I just prefer the scent and fresh feeling of Nivea.

7.  Books – although I appreciate the ease of reading on my iPad I still like to carry an ‘old fashioned’ book with me. For the 30 mins at the start and end of a flight when electronics aren’t allowed and if/when my ipad juice runs out. I’m currently reading The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk. A light read for those of us in the marketing/customer service world.

8.  Belkin head phone splitters (approx $20) – my Fiancé and I occasionally like to watch films or TV together (on the iPad) inflight so this little gadget is a great update to having to share an ear bud with your co-passenger.

9.  Scent – after a 10 hour flight stuck on a plane just a simple freshen up and spritz of scent before arriving at your final destination does wonders for not feeling like a boho when you greet your family and friends in the arrivals lounge. (Gucci – Envy Perfume – delicious summer scent of grapes and citrus)

10.  Carmex – I’ve tried every chapstick from budget to luxury and nothing has repaired my chapped lips better than Carmex. (approx $2)

11.  Mini nail file – For OCD girls like me, if I can’t fix a nail snag immediately I’m likely to ruin my nails trying to fix it sans file. Not pretty.

 12.  Warmth Luxe socks. If you arent lucky enough to be in Business or First class then I recommend a warm pair of socks (especially if you are travelling in flip flops or open toed shoes). If you are by the exit rows it’s usually colder on the toes and these socks feel amazing. I also carry a pashmina with me (not shown) which doubles as a blanket. The snob in me can’t stand the smell or the possible hygiene issues I think up when it comes to multiple-use inflight blankets.

 13.  Nivea hand cream – I carry this travel size tin everywhere I go. One of the most important beauty regime’s you can stick to on a flight is moisturise, moisturise, moisturise.

 14.  Watch – long haul flights take a toll on your body and your mind. I try to trick my mind by adjusting my watch during the flight to my new time zone and get myself on that time zone as early as possible so when I land I can be on my feet and awake to make the most of the day ahead of me.

15.  Obviously passports are a must. I love using a passport cover a) because it protects my passport from wear and tear ( UK passport immigration make you order a new passport when it’s looking tatty so this will help save money and hassle from the immigration officers) and b) it makes it so much easier to find my passport when I know I’m looking for a bright blue cover.

His & Hers passport covers: His – Original Penguin – tan leather (approx $40). Hers – Henri Bendel cobalt blue faux snake skin (approx $60)

16. Water bottle – You can’t take a bottle of water through security but I definitely advise grabbing one at the concession stores before boarding. Airlines are getting better at making sure they hydrate passengers but it’s still not as good as it should be and to be honest if you are a water snob like me, the water is pretty nasty and the smell of those plastic cups can be off putting. I always try and travel with a bottle of Fiji ( I know, I know I’m  a snob)

My next wish list item is a pair of Bose noise cancelling headphones – I first was introduced to the wizardry of these delights during a long haul flight where I was upgraded to First Class and realised how wonderful they really are at blocking out all that in-flight noise that you don’t even notice until you are trying to listen to your music or watch a movie (or trying to block out those annoying passengers). So, they will be my next travel toy.

I tend to have to haul items for my Fiancé too so fortunately I have space for his gadgets as well. Although that doesn’t stop me hinting that a new bag wouldn’t go amiss.

All in all it’s a pretty manageable load to have in hand for in-flight entertainment and well-being.

Happy Travels


5 responses »

    • thank you – yup, ive learnt that carrying the whole world in my bag ‘just in case’ leads me to needing a neck massage by the time i get on the plane and stuffing things in to the overhead, never to be touched again until we land!


  1. since you like moisturizing, the best lotion ever is Cetaphil. you guys dont have it over here so i’m going to have to ship some over because now my boyfriend’s addicted to it too. a bit pricey but well worth it.

    also available at Target or Walgreens 🙂


    • Oh I don’t think I’ve used that. I can’t live without Jergens Shea butter lotion. Best one I’ve found so far. It’s funny what you end up shipping. I’m always bringing back the Nivea wipes, pizza express salad dressing and chocolate.


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