Travel Talk: Packing an Overnight Carry-On

I started planning my London trip way back in November and I can’t believe it’s only 13 days away! I’ve put a lot of thought into packing, but I don’t feel totally confident in my choices and there are still plenty of things left to decide on. I’m so glad to have an audience of savvy travelers to ask for advice! Hopefully this discussion will be useful to anyone else planning a summer trip :) (P.S. Where are you going?!)

As much as I want to pick a pretty bag first, I think I need to start with what’s going inside and work my way out. So far the list includes…

  • Photocopies of important papers (tickets, passport, etc.)
  • Huge pashmina wrap (doubles as an airplane blanket)
  • Laptop & charger
  • Kindle
  • Notebook & pen
  • Headphones
  • Neck pillow
  • Change of clothes (nothing that wrinkles!)
  • Toiletry Kit
    • Sleep mask
    • Ear plugs
    • Tylenol Simply Sleep (or similar)
    • Makeup remover wipes
    • Moisturizer (my current favorite is Clinique Moisture Surge)
    • Deodorant
    • Lip Balm
    • Colgate Wisp toothbrushes
  • Makeup Kit
    • Tinted Moisturizer
    • Concealer
    • Powder
    • Blush
    • Brow Pencil
    • Eyeliner
    • Eyelash Curler
    • Lipstick
    • Brushes

Wow, actually that’s a lot more stuff than I thought it would be! And then I have to deal with the added annoyance of putting liquids in a separate baggie. Am I forgetting anything essential?

I’d like a carry-on bag that fits under the seat so I can get to it easily, but I’m not sure a tote bag will work because my laptop is a bit heavy. It’s not a brick or anything, but when I’ve carried it in a tote bag before it got annoying really quickly. I’ve been looking at bags like this, which can roll around alone or be stacked on top of my regular suitcase.

Some of these also have a padded laptop compartment, which is somewhat important to me. Have you ever used a bag like this? Was it a lifesaver or a disaster?



9 Responses to Travel Talk: Packing an Overnight Carry-On

  1. Kirsten May 24, 2011 at 6.16 pm #

    Those tags are adorable!

    Last year I went to New York when it was out winter their summer and I had the same dilemma! I bought a guess carry on bag with a strap so I could have it over my shoulder but also have it on top of my bag. It also was great because it had a cover bit where the zips were so it was harder for people to break in!

    I packed everything I could need i.e. a change of clothes, makeup an limited toiletries if my suitcase went missing in my bag-I don’t know about London but I have heard that bags get easily lost in the US.

    I think you could prob cross a few things off that list because you don’t have many kilos!!

    I hope you enjoy your trip this is a great post!

  2. Larie May 24, 2011 at 6.40 pm #

    If I am checking a bag, I usually pack all of my cosmetics in that, so that I don’t have to go through the hassle of packing liquids in a clear bag. I’ve been thinking about getting one of those Timbuk2 messenger bags with a slot for a laptop, since it is a hassle to take the laptop out of the bag during security. They do get heavy, but I also like to be able to store my carry-on under my feet rather than in the stow-aways – easier to get out afterward! Have fun on your trip!

  3. Jennifer May 24, 2011 at 6.43 pm #

    Wow, sounds like you have everything covered. I used to fly up and down between university and home fairly often and was such a pain dragging my laptop around! All I would say is make sure on the return trip you have some room left if you want to buy stuff in duty free i.e. cosmetics. Is a pain having to carry a load of different bags onto the plane once you are through security. Hope you have a wonderful time in London x

  4. Anon May 24, 2011 at 7.20 pm #

    Don’t forget sunscreen. It has been v hot in the UK recently. I hope that you have a marvellous time in London :-)

  5. Jen W May 24, 2011 at 7.57 pm #

    Wow you’re so organised, writing out a list and everything! I can’t think of a single thing you’ve missed.

    I’ve never used a bag like that before, I actually tend to leave the laptop at home because I’m paranoid something might happen to it on the trip.

  6. Patricia May 25, 2011 at 3.41 am #

    If you don’t find a bag with a padded compartment that you like, get a laptop sleeve instead, it will give a bit of extra padding.
    I’d say it’s going to be hard to fit such a case under a seat. Usually there’s the lifesafer jacket somewhere there, and it’s going to be annoying to bump your ankles all the time on the bag. Well, unless you’re travelling business :P
    Personally I skip having makeup on the airplane, I just feel more comfortable, but this is highly individual.
    I hope the volcano won’t get in the way of your vacations, have a nice time!

  7. leighloves May 25, 2011 at 10.01 am #

    I recently went to tenerife with ALLLL of my stuff in a carry on bag. I thought it would be impossible but they are so good, I went on the ryanair website and got the maximum dimensions (don’t go over this or the weight or you will get charged a hefty amount) and I took a weeks worth of clothes, bikinis and two pairs of sandles haha. I put all of my liquids in a checked in bag for convenience. I’d recommend a carry on case, they are really handy and you just tuck them in the overhead storage, plus you won’t have to worry about breakages or anything. Have fun x

  8. K May 25, 2011 at 7.00 pm #

    Don’t forget the Outlet Converter Plug that you need to plug US devices into European outlets.

  9. Tina May 26, 2011 at 2.40 am #

    Oh, fantastic, have a lovely time in London. I will be going too (June 17-20) so I guess that’s one week after you. Any particular plans? If you want to see the city in a fun way, I can highly recommend “London Walks” ( They are excellent!

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