all about packing, part two

December 8th, 2013 / by / in: packing / 3 Responses


This is a continuation of my last entry about packing — it’s all about my carry-on purse/bag. I find it easier to bring two separate bags, one as my actual carry-on suitcase, and one as my “personal item” as the airlines like to call it.

Above are three carry-on purses that work for a variety of situations. I do often bring a smaller bag than these (my Marc by Marc Jacobs Natasha is a favourite because the hidden back pocket is perfect for holding passports), but then I have to put my laptop in my larger bag, which I don’t love doing.

I’m trying to get away from bringing leather bags (too heavy) as I streamline my travel life, so two of these are non-leather options I’ve bought recently. All three bags fit my general requirements of a carry-on purse: must be black, must have a long strap and a short strap, must be able to be worn cross-body, must have exterior pockets.

The first bag is the Banana Republic Jenny Tote. It’s the largest bag of three so it holds the most stuff. But because it’s the largest, it’s too large to be used as an everyday purse while I’m travelling so it’s limited to airport-use only.

The second bag is the LeSportsac Heather Hobo*. The best part about this bag is that it is VERY LIGHT. You can scrunch it up and stuff it in another bag. But it also holds a lot of stuff and it zips shut, which is nice and secure. However, this bag is the ugliest of the three.

The last bag is the Marc by Marc Jacobs Preppy Leather Hobo. I like it because it’s similar to the Marc by Marc Jacobs Hillier bag (which I have and I love), but it has a bunch of exterior pockets. The disadvantage of this bag is that it’s heavy and it holds the least amount of stuff out of the three bags.

* RANDOM: Did you know that LeSportsac is owned by a Japanese company? That’s why Japan gets the best patterns.


And what’s in my carry-on bag, you ask? This stuff:

  • Wallet
  • Laptop
  • Camera (it goes in that red Hello Kitty bag)
  • iPhone
  • Kindle
  • Cords and headphones (my electronics stuff goes in that cream-coloured pouch)
  • Passport
  • Liquids
  • Jewellery
  • Medicines
  • Emergen-C
  • Wet wipes
  • Dry shampoo
  • Wisp mini toothbrush thingies
  • Kleenex
  • Glasses
  • Cashmere slippers (or a pair of socks)
  • Face masks
  • Scarf (Virginia Johnson is my favourite)

Optional, but not pictured:

  • Eye mask for sleeping (I have a Hello Kitty one)
  • Travel blanket (I only bring this sometimes if I’m flying long-haul economy, business class usually has decent blankets)
  • Magazine(s)
  • Water bottle (purchased post-security)
  • Gum (purchased post-security)
  • Earplanes (I used these on a recent flight when I was sick — they worked well and my eardrums did not rupture so I bring them along just in case I get a cold or other sinus-related sickness)

Things that other people bring but I never do:

  • Neck pillow (I know some people swear by them, but they look stupid and take up a lot of space)
  • Food (NEXUS rules)
  • Noise-cancelling headphones (too bulky)
  • Sleep drugs (I don’t want end up running around naked on the plane or something)


Here’s my liquids bag. I use this one from Sephora, but a plain old Ziploc works just fine. (If I use a Ziploc, I bring a couple extras with me because they tend to disintegrate during repeated openings and closings on long trips.)


Here’s what’s inside (it tends to vary a bit by trip but this gives you an idea):

  • Tide pen
  • Tide packet for sink-washing clothes
  • Japanese eyedrops (they’re pink and minty-refreshing)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Perfume samples
  • 21 Drops headache oil
  • Smashbox face and under eye primer
  • Urban decay eye primer
  • Tiny Etude House hand lotion
  • Bumble and Bumble Straight
  • Downy Wrinkle Remover (essential!!)
  • Mini Vaseline tin
  • Mascara
  • Biotherm Travel Recharge moisturizer
  • Ole Henriksen face serum
  • Toothpaste

You will notice that I didn’t bring shampoo or hair conditioner. I sometimes do, and I often don’t. If I do, I tend to just bring shampoo. Because I have long hair, it’s easier to just buy a (large) bottle of conditioner when I arrive.


I have a small case that I use to carry things like makeup, drugs, bandaids and a mini deodorant. This goes in my everyday bag as well. I usually bring Advil, Lactaid (I never seem to bring enough… there’s so many dairy products in this world), Tums for Mike, Imodium (have yet to use it, but it’s good to be prepared), Pepto Bismol tablets, Benadryl, some kind of cold medication (but nothing with pseudoephedrine because it’s illegal in some countries), and melatonin.


The other side of the case holds makeup, a nail file, tweezer, a mini solid perfume, and a pen.


Other airplane essentials: Stila hair refresher (the best dry shampoo), anti-bacterial wipes (good for wiping your hands and your probably germy tray table), Wisp disposable toothbrush thingies (why can’t I find these in Canada?), and my #1 all-time favourite lip balm, Fresh Sugar Rose. I will buy this lip balm forever until I die.


I also carry a package of Japanese face masks. Yes, you may look like a big weirdo unless you’re on a flight to or from Asia, but you probably won’t get sick and they help with dry airplane air. Also, these ones are pink!


I always carry around Emergen-C. I love Emergen-C. Its effects on my health may be psychological, but I don’t care.


A small fabric bag to hold any jewellery I may be bringing.


White + Warren cashmere slippers. They come in their own nice silk bag for travel.


My awesome passport case from Flight 001.


The most important thing for travel: a passport.


I keep my passport in a little pouch that also holds my NEXUS card, along with various other travel-related cards (airline and hotel cards, transit cards), receipts (for customs), and boarding pass stubs.

And that’s it! Between this entry and the first one, you now know pretty much everything that I bring along on a trip. Hopefully it’s helpful with your own packing, and maybe it will inspire someone to try carry-on only travel for themselves!

3 Comments to all about packing, part two

  • Christine says:

    Hi Melissa – where did you find that travel size bottle of Downy Wrinkle Release? I haven’t seen a bottle of this in Toronto in forever! Maybe I’m looking in the wrong places.

    • melissa says:

      I almost never see it in Toronto either. had the larger bottles in stock awhile ago and I bought five or six of them. The mini bottle I bought in the US at some point and I just keep refilling it. Since I can never find it in Canada, I have also paid to have it shipped from (Sorry this isn’t more helpful.)

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