Packing for Hawaii: Airplane Bag


After years and years of being on the road and touring for a living, I have got my airplane carry-on packing down to a science. There are a few things that I need with me without fail to make a flight enjoyable and pass quickly. I thought I’d share a few of my faves, especially since we are leaving for Hawaii next week! Some of these are specific to the trip we have coming up, but I always have some version of each of these with me.

Airplane Bag Essentials

Bag. Headphones. Shea butter. Lip balm. Scarf. Water bottle. Sunglasses. Hat. Camera.

A big ol’ bag. But not so big that it can’t fit under the seat in front of you! Nothing bugs me more than having to get up and get into an overhead bin for something that I left in my carryon. So I always have a big tote with pockets inside for small stuff, and it always goes at my feet.

Tech. Crucial these days! I like to have my laptop with me so that I can get work done. Mr. Lovely always likes to have an iPad. And without a doubt, good headphones are must. These from Frends were a birthday gift a couple years back and they’re brilliant — they cancel out a lot of noise and have great sound (they’re pretty cute too!). We also always carry a headphone splitter so we can watch movies together. And duh I take a camera everywhere!

Water and snacks. I always take an empty reusable water bottle and fill it after I pass through security. I’m sorry, but on a long flight those little piddly cups of water they give you just don’t cut it. And since lots of airlines now charge for everything right down to the peanuts, we bring our own snacks, too.

Product. My skin goes totally haywire when I travel, so I make sure to have a few key products to head that off at the pass. I always keep a tinted lip balm to avoid chapped lips, and a travel tin of heavy-duty cream or balm that can be multipurpose (skin, hair, face, etc.).

Comfy stuff. My favorite airplane trick is to take a big ol’ scarf with you! Seriously, it can be used for a million things — pillow, blanket, window shade (I have even been known to use a scarf in a pinch to wrap around my cold feet. And yes, I washed it after.). It’s also pretty handy to keep a hat in your bag if you’re getting off the plane and heading right out to adventure. Just in case of plane hair, ya know. And sunnies are a must, too — you may be inside but planes can be bright. I hate squinting for hours.

So those are my essentials! What about you? Do you have some tried-and-true pieces that always make it into your carryon? Do tell! xoxo

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  1. So exciting!! the water bottle is my fave. i’ve been wanting to buy one of those for hubby and for me in a while now

  2. Depending on where I’m off to, I pack an outfit in the carry – on because my baggage had been lost too many times to count, and it’s nice to have something clean to wear while they track it down.

  3. Totally agree on the product! I have to have a lip balm and a really good hand lotion no matter what. I usually do a scarf, too (hello makeshift blanket). And I’m totally lusting over those headphones!! Have fun on your trip 🙂

  4. Hope you have a blast in Hawaii, Chelsea! Many of these are always in my carry on bag as well…I always bring a few snacks with me too. And gum, for when my ears start popping.

  5. Empty water bottle. That is GENIUS! My staples are: Book or iPad, throat lozenges & eye drops (too much a/c always makes my throat & yes dry), earphones & lip balm.

    Keep hearing great stuff about that sugar lip balm, gonna have to get me some! I’m a bit of a lip balm hoarder 🙂