Travel Essentials For Your Carry-On & Checked Luggage


With spring and the warmer weather comes vacation season! Whether you enjoy jet-setting to a tropical location or tripping to the mountains for some camping, traveling to new places is a great way to spend the spring and summer months. For a little R&R, sightseeing, and food-indulging, Greer and I are flying to Miami this week. I know not everyone is a fan of flying, but I love flying — there is just something about it that makes me happy. Part of that happiness stems from packing…I know. I know. I sound like a crazy person. Who actually likes packing? Well, this girl does and I know how to pack well, too! Since I am rounding up the essentials for our vacay, I wanted to share with you some of the essential items to travel with in your carry-on and checked bag that you may not normally think about.

Checked Bag

Compression Bags

My favorite essential/tip for my checked bag is to use compression bags. Compression bags are perfect for getting the most room out of your bag. For our trip, I used the Sharper Image Compression Bags and they are so easy to use. I simply rolled all of the clothes to maximize the space in the bags, used the zipper seal to close it, and rolled the bag towards the bottom of the bag which has little holes to remove all the air. The best part is that you don’t need a vacuum. These compression bags saved us so much room in our bag. If you are an over-packer (guilty as charged!), I highly recommend you pick some compression bags up before your next trip.

Purchase the Sharper Image Compression Bags – 2pc

travel essentials for carry-on and checked luggage

Linen & Plastic Bags

More bags, I know. I may seem like a crazy bag lady, but I promise I am not! I use this Lively linen bag that came with a recent purchase from It’s perfect for all of my undergarments and bathing suits. I also pack a few plastic grocery bags. Although not the trendiest travel item, they are ideal for putting dirty clothes or wet bathing suits in. Long story short, utilize all types of bags inside of your suitcase. You’ll be glad you did.

Visit for fashion-forward, yet comfortable undergarments, swimsuits, and use the code AMB-Oakandjames for $10 off your first order!

travel essentials for carry-on and checked luggage


The items I bring on my carry-on depend on how long my flight is and where I’m going. These are the items I’m always glad I have on hand, plus a few fun tips.

Hand Sanitizer

Does this need an explanation?! Planes are germ bubbles and I need to have hand sanitizer in my bag. I recently found this Purell Naturals Hand Sanitizer and I love it. It has a handy little pump instead of having to squeeze the bottle and it has a subtle scent.

Purchase the Purell Natural Hand Sanitizer, 2 Ounce

travel essentials for carry-on and checked luggage

Rose Water Spray

Flying and the plane’s atmosphere can really dry out your skin. To combat any dryness, I like to keep a hydrating rose water spray on-hand. This one from Mario Badescu is travel-size, refreshing, and keeps my skin feeling healthy.

Purchase the Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater, 8 oz.

travel essentials for carry-on and checked luggage

Makeup Remover & Moisturizer

In case I want to remove my makeup during the flight, I like having some makeup remover in my bag. If I remove my makeup, I always want to follow-up with a moisturizer to keep my skin in check. I grabbed a sample of the Bliss Makeup Melt and the Bliss Drench & Quench for the plane ride. Bliss recently released new products at Target, so I’m excited to give these affordable and easily accessible skincare items a try.

travel essentials for carry-on and checked luggage

Lip Balm

Going along with the same moisture conversation, I like to have a lip balm with me on the plane. I bought the Hawaiian Tropic Sunscreen Lip Balm with SPF 45 for the trip and I have been using it for a week or so and already love it. It will be perfect to keep with me on the beach as well to protect my lips from UV rays.

Purchase the Hawaiian Tropic Tropical Sunscreen Lip Balm, SPF 45+ 0.14 oz

travel essentials for carry-on and checked luggage

Face Mask

If you want to do a little pamper session on the plane, bring a sheet mask. Personally, I wait to do my mask till I’m at the hotel, but go ahead and freak out/maybe impress your fellow passengers with your 10/10 plane skincare routine. For an awesome mask at an affordable price, use any of the Avatara sheet masks at Target.

Purchase the Avatara Wake Up Face Mask Set

travel essentials for carry-on and checked luggage

TIP: Bring a wrinkle-releaser spray, especially if you’re hotel won’t have an iron. I always bring the Downy Wrinkle-Releaser Plus with me on any trip. I simply spray it all over my clothing item, hang it up for a few moments, and the wrinkles disappear. This is ideal for items that can’t be ironed; however, it can be used with an iron to help the iron’s performance.

travel essentials for carry-on and checked luggage

TIP: If you can, bring any fragile or easily damaged items in your carry-on. Since your checked bag will likely get tossed around like a rag doll, bring any fragile or easily damaged items in your carry-on. For example, I always bring my sunglasses and hats with me on the plane.

travel essentials for carry-on and checked luggage

TIP: Try to pack as many travel-size toiletries as possible instead of full-size products. They make travel-size products for a reason, so utilize them! They will last you the entire trip and be lighter in your bag. For example, I packed a travel-size of the Not Your Mothers Clean Freak Dry Shampoo. It’ll be perfect for the trip.

travel essentials for carry-on and checked luggage

TIP: Pack an extra pair of clothes and a handful of toiletries in your carry-on, just in case. The travelers worst nightmare — the lost suitcase. If this happens to you, you’ll be grateful you packed an extra pair of clothes and essential toiletries with you in your carry-on. Personally, I always bring my makeup with me in my carry-on, because I am not trying to replace all my makeup! Makeup lovers — you’ll understand.


Hopefully, this essentials list helped you remember an item or two for your next trip! Let me know what your travel essentials are!

Safe travels –

Oak & James

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