Don’t be caught out unprepared.
Intro by Sarah Friggieri, SheSaid Travel Editor & tips by Beth Richards, Kinnon's Owner & Creative Director
You may be inclined to not even bother taking a carry-on because it’s “just another thing to carry”.
Or it’s possible you sit at the other end of the scale and attempt to pack everything – including spray deodorant, a 100ml bottle of your fave scent and even a pair of manicure scissors – not only sending you over the baggage limit but also embarrassingly having to throw items away, as these are actually banned on some flights. Either way, you’re in for a rough start to your holiday.
While doing research for my article on the types of bags you need to take on your next holiday, I came across the Oxley weekender by Kinnon, which claimed to fit three pairs of shoes in just one of its pockets AND fit within the airline baggage limits for carry-on luggage. When she arrived (yes, she – because she’s so freaking divine!), I immediately called bullshit. The Oxley was beautiful, bold and way bigger than I expected.
That weekend I flew to Melbourne, my new Oxley in tow, palms sweating as I approached the check-in counter; I usually book the earliest flight possible to make the most of the day at my new destination, and I wasn’t looking forward to racing back home in peak hour to replace my carry-on or, worse, realise I wouldn’t have enough time and be left lugging everything in my arms while I bid farewell to my beloved new wardrobe staple.
But when I got past check-in and security, a pleased smirk surprised my face – the creators of this masterpiece weren’t just lying to make a quick sale. Right then and there, I emailed to tell them how impressed I was, and who wrote back but none other than Beth Richards, CEO and Creative Director of Kinnon and Lapoche travel accessories.
If there’s anyone who knows just what you need to have in your in-flight luggage so you’re not caught unprepared, it’s Richards. So, without further ado, here is her definitive list of the 14 travel must haves to pack in your carry-on.
1. A functional travel wallet
It’s easy to get flustered at the airport when you’re asked to pull your passport and travel documents out a million times. A travel wallet that has functional spaces for your cards, itinerary, passport and a pen will help keep your travel etiquette intact as you’ll never be the one holding up the queue.
2. Destination currency
While there are ATMs and currency exchange desks at every airport, as a safeguard I always grab some currency for my destination before stepping on the plane. There might be a rare occasion when your card doesn’t work overseas – or, as I learned the hard way in Cairo, you may be required to pay cash for an entry visa before you’re even allowed to get to the exchange point.
3. Reading material
I cannot step onboard without a few good gossip magazines in hand. For me, catching up on all of that trashy celebrity stuff is one of the best ways to zone out and settle in. Plus, don’t you want to be prepared in case the onboard entertainment system crashes?
4. Inflatable pillow
Sleep is a crucial way to kill time on a long-haul flight and disembark recharged, and a comfortable pillow is an essential sleep aid. You can’t always rely on that upgrade coming through or even being given a second blanket to use for head support.
5. A tablet or smartphone
Speaking of entertainment systems, some airlines are moving from headrest screens to an app you can download onto your smartphone or tablet to access their in-flight entertainment package. Don’t get caught out – you will need something to help fill the time.
6. Eye mask and earplugs
These two tiny items that take up no room in your carry-on mean you can sleep when you want, not just when the cabin crew deems it’s ‘lights out’ time. There’s also evidence to suggest that eliminating exposure to light can help minimize the effects of jetlag.
7. Travel toothbrush and toothpaste
Even if you’re up the front of the plane and they’re provided, it’s still great to take your own to use when you arrive at your destination – airline bathrooms at the end of a long-haul flight are not necessarily the environment you want to be brushing your teeth in!
It’s essential to drink lots of water while you’re in the air to avoid dehydration. But even if you do, flying can still leave you feeling a bit second-rate. Having these on hand will ensure you’re not rocking a migraine once you land.
9. Skincare and beauty products
Moisturise, moisturize, moisturize! Nothing dehydrates your skin like a flight, so invest in a multitasking product that you can use on your face, hands and body. I always carry a thick lip balm, too. I don’t like wearing much makeup while I’m flying, but I always carry a tinted SPF face moisturizer and mascara to freshen me up at the end of a flight.
10. Noise-cancelling headphones
There are headphones and there are headphones. These beauties are worth every cent, as they block out the snorers, loud talkers and even the sound of the engines. Once you’ve invested in a pair, you won’t know how you got through a flight without them.
11. Eye drops
A few eye drops at the start, middle and end of your flight will keep your eyes from feeling scratchy.
This item is self-explanatory, really. Better yet, opt for mints in gum form – chewing it will help relieve pressure in your ears throughout the flight.
13. Sanitizing wipes
You just never know when these will come in handy – from cleaning the tray table, entertainment remote or the bench in the toilet to use it as a base for your toiletry bag when you’re freshening up at the end of your flight.
14. Large scarf
The ultimate travel multi-tasker! Accessorize your outfit with a gorgeous scarf that can be used as a blanket if you get a bit cold in flight (which is highly likely!), a pillow, or simply a weather neutraliser for different climates.