6 Carry-On Essentials For Easy Travel

As we continue "Travel Week," I want to share a few of my carry-on essentials that help make traveling a breeze. Before we hop into the items though, let's touch on why I never check a bag and why you might want to consider doing the same. The first reason comes down to control. In short, I like having control over my luggage I don't like the uncertainty that comes with having my suitcase out of my control. While there are certainly no guarantees, I find that keeping my suitcase close by helps cut down on the likelihood that it can be stolen or damaged. Not only does bringing my bag on board mean that I can keep it close by, but it also means that if my flight or connection is delayed, my bag won't go on without me and end up misplaced in another airport.

Next, I like to carry-on when possible because it helps ensure that I don't overpack. If I only have a limited amount of space to work with, I can't bring too much and really have to think about every item. I find that this approach helps me zero in on what I'll actually use and wear and even motivates me to pick my outfits before I leave. Plus, since I love playing dress up and putting together new outfits, this is such a fun part of the process for me and it helps start the excitement of traveling before I even leave. 

Last but not least, I love how much easier travel is when I carry-on rather than check a bag. Instead of needing to build in time for checking a bag in, I'm able to head straight to security when I arrive at the airport and never have to worry about a checked bag fee - this is especially helpful when traveling internationally. Plus, I don't have to wait at baggage claim when landing and instead I can get straight to enjoying my vacation. 

My first essential is a great carry-on suitcase. It probably comes as no surprise that I've had the same carry-on suitcase for years - since before college - and though it's served me well, it's definitely time for an upgrade.

Currently, I have my eye on this one from Away because it has a hard case which helps protect the contents, has neat zippered pockets on the interior and wheels that rotate a full 360 degrees.

This last one may not seem that important but after spending the last decade using a suitcase that didn't easily turn and struggling with it through airports and unfamiliar city streets, it's a non-negotiable upgrade that I can't wait to have. Plus, this option comes in a variety of colors and is reasonably priced.  


Next up is a weekender bag. If you already have a carry-on suitcase that you love, this probably isn't a necessity but I wanted to include it because I really love mine.

Beyond the aesthetic of a classic duffle, I love that this bag helps bring my fantasies of effortless weekend getaways to life. I love the experience of neatly packing up my weekender with a few of my favorite wardrobe essentials and throwing it in the back of the car and hitting the road for a weekend away.

Even though it's not the most practical piece for long-haul travel, my weekender even accompanied me to Italy on our honeymoon. I wouldn't recommend doing the same though because it was extremely heavy after carrying it for a bit, and it isn't ideal for walking through the rain or other elements. 


Next up are my beloved packing cubes. If you've seen any of my packing videos you know how much I love these cubes for keeping my luggage organized. The set that I have is from Amazon but you can easily find these everywhere these days - I've seen them in Target, Marshalls, TJ Maxx etc. 

Beyond just ensuring that everything I have stays neat and organized, I find that these help optimize my luggage space and prevent my suitcase from becoming a dumping ground - especially when I'm traveling for longer than a few days. 

Another major benefit of these cubes is that they make packing up to go home a breeze. Even though I can certainly keep my luggage tidy without these cubes, I find that these help me quickly survey what I have and ensure I haven't left anything behind. Plus, they keep me more organized throughout my trip so that I don't have to completely repack my suitcase when it's time to head home. 


For years when traveling, I stored my makeup and non liquid toiletries in anything I had lying around. Often times this meant a flimsy gift with purchase pouch or ziploc bag but last year, I received this travel set and haven't looked back. 

Not only are these beautiful and instantly elevate my entire packing experience, but they keep everything organized and fit perfectly into my luggage without taking up an excessive amount of space. I love the smaller bag for my capsule makeup collection and the larger one for my hair care items and other non liquid toiletries.

I'm definitely partial to the set that I have, but you can find something similar from nearly every retailer these days. If you're not sold on this style, you can even use a dopp kit for the same effect. My only tip would be to find a bag or bags with wipeable interiors to avoid permanent stains.


Since I love and use my fancy leather set for my makeup and non liquid toiletries, I use a separate, smaller TSA approved bag for my skincare, shampoo etc. If you really want to reduce what you bring and prefer to only have one bag for everything, this clear TSA approved case is wonderful. 

I love that it's clearly waterproof so you don't have to worry if something explodes inside of it, and that it's large enough to store makeup and toiletries. Plus, the clear exterior makes it easy to locate everything and the flat bottom is perfect for setting it upright on your counter or vanity. 

I've seen these everywhere and you can spend as little or as much as you like to get one that suits your personal needs. 


Last but not least is a travel jewelry case. I had one of these lovely little cases years ago but after moving a few times since college it has gone missing.

Since then, I've been reusing old makeup and jewelry pouches which work well but often result in tangled necklaces, general disorganization and sometimes even misplaced items. 

To fix this problem I would love to pick up a travel jewelry case again. I currently really love this one because it's compact, looks nice and offers different compartments for earrings, necklaces and rings.