Carry-on Bags and Day Packs

Carry-ons:

Unlike most people who are trying to save money by packing ONLY in carry-ons, I’m not a huge fan of the carry-on bag. I hate struggling with an overstuffed rolling bag or backpack, manuvering it down a too tiny airplane aisle, only to have to then fight for precious space in an already overstuffed overhead compartment or shove it under the seat where it will take up every inch of my leg room. I don’t carry much onto planes anymore.  Instead, I pack a suitcase with most everything I’ll need and I check it. Once I’ve dropped it off I can walk, pretty much relaxed and hands free, for the rest of my flight.

sb440_lgMy carry-on bag doubles as the day pack I use when sightseeing. Once I reach my destination, I repack the bag, taking out the “plane stuff” and putting in the things I’ll need for day tripping.  I’ve been using a fairly small bag — a Vaultpro Gateway Handbag — because I don’t like lugging a huge, heavy bag around all day when I’m touring anymore than I like lugging bags through the airport. It’s a crossbody bag so I can be hands free and this one won extra points with me because it has a rare water bottle compartment.  I also have a SMALL Travelon backpack that I use from time to time.

I buy trial sized items or repackage things into the smallest packaging I can find and I pack the bag with just those things I expect to use or wouldn’t want to be caught without. I replenish our supplies as we use them from extras I have stashed in my toiletry bag.  Let’s face it, most places we are day tripping you don’t need to carry a whole lot because if you do get desperate for something, you’re never that far from a drug store. A drug store OR a fellow tour group passenger willing to share an aspirin or a snakebite kit just because she’s so proud and anxious to show that she has gotten everything but the kitchen sink into her 75 lb. designer tote. Don’t get me wrong.  I love the gals carrying everything but the kitchen sink. You never know when you might need a snakebite kit.

My Carry-on Packing List (for two):

  • my passport wallet (Doc carries his own)
  • mini first aid kit with bandaids, tweezers, antibiotic ointment, trial size aspirin, roll of Tums, and (2) imodium tablets
  • prescription medications
  • compass (only because it is always hooked to the outside of my bag)
  • watch (also hooked to the outside of my bag)
  • utility hook (great for hooking things to the outside of my bag! — Or to a belt loop)
  • emergency whistle (just because I’ve carried it for eons)
  • a couple of safety pins (one small and one larger)
  • dollars for tipping
  • (2) travel sized toothbrushes
  • trial sized toothpaste
  • trial sized hand sanitizer or trial sized wipes
  • (2) eyeglass cleaner towelettes — individually wrapped
  • comb
  • hair pin
  • lip balm/lipstick
  • powder compact
  • nail clippers
  • camera
  • cell phone
  • note pad
  • pen
  • paperback book
  • Doc’s crossword puzzle torn from the morning paper
  • trial size tissue pack
  • snacks (although you usually get plenty on the plane.  I take no more than a granola bar or two. Just enough to alleviate Doc’s fear of starvation)
  • (2) Neck pillows (only if it’s a long flight and no, they don’t actually fit into the bag)
  • ear plugs (long flights only)
  • eye guards (long flights only)
  • anything valuable (I rarely travel with anything valuable)
  • I also carry on my netbook in its small, separate bag.

Day packs:

Once we get to our destination I remove all the “flight only things” such as the eye guards and paperback and I repack it with our daily sightseeing gear. This is my basic packing list for wandering around a city all day. It serves the two of us. If you’re a solo traveler or a family, you’d adjust quantities accordingly.  You’d also use common sense and adjust it based on your own needs and destination.  For example, you’d need more sunscreen (and a towel) if going to the beach or more insect repellent (and a snakebite kit) if spending a day in the Amazon.

Day pack packing list: 

  • passport wallet (otherwise, I wear it under my clothes)
  • mini first aid kit with bandaids, tweezers, antibiotic ointment, trial size aspirin, roll of Tums, and (2) imodium tablets
  • prescription medications that you’ll need during the day
  • compass (hooked to the outside of my bag)
  • watch (also hooked to the outside of my bag)
  • utility hook (great for hooking things to the outside of my bag! Or to a belt loop.)
  • emergency whistle (just because I’ve carried it for eons)
  • a couple of safety pins (one small and one larger)
  • dollars for tipping
  • (2) travel sized toothbrushes
  • trial sized toothpaste
  • trial sized hand sanitizer or trial sized wipes
  • (2) eyeglass cleaner towelettes — individually wrapped
  • comb
  • hair pin
  • lip balm/lipstick
  • powder compact
  • nail clipper
  • camera
  • cell phone
  • note pad
  • pen
  • trial size tissue pack
  • (2) disposable rain ponchos
  • (2) small travel umbrellas that clip to the outside of the bag (only if rain is in the forcast.  For unexpected downpours we use the ponchos).
  • (4) insect repellent — individually wrapped towelettes
  • (3 oz) trial sized sunscreen —  (We put on sunscreen each morning before leaving our room so we carry just enough to do some touch ups)
  • a few moleskins (these are pads that you can buy at a sporting goods store to place on your foot if you feel a blister coming on.  Nine times out of ten they’ll prevent the blister).
  • small binoculars (while my Vivitars aren’t good enough for a wildlife watching tour, they are good enough for just an occasional look at something in the distance.  And they were cheap, are lightweight, and I won’t cry if I lose them).
  • water bottle (plus Doc will use the utility hook to hook an extra water bottle to his belt loop)
  • extra camera batteries and SD card
  • head scarf (good for more than just covering your head)
  • that day’s maps/tour guide
  • sunglasses
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