My 7 Carry-On Travel Packing Hacks

I have been compensated by ZonePerfect® for this post; however, I am sharing my own thoughts. All opinions are my own. #Ad #ZonePerfectRevitalize

For my day job, I get to travel to a lot of cool places. In the last two years, I’ve visited 9 countries on five continents, so I’ve gotten really good at packing. I’ve also made my share of mistakes, so that’s why I wanted to share my carry-on travel packing hacks so you don’t make the same mistakes I’ve made. These 7 travel packing hacks will ensure you’re prepared for long flights, inevitable layovers and even delayed or missed flights.

1. Get a Universal Adapter

If you’re traveling outside of the U.S. you must get a universal adapter. It is so handy to have one that works in a bunch of different places rather than one for each style of plug. Initially, I purchased one that only worked in the UK, but then I had to buy another one that worked in Europe, South America, and South Africa. It was much more expensive to buy more than one charger. Plus, the universal adapter I use also has USB plugs, so I can charge my phone at the same time as I’m charging my computer, for example.

2. Bring Protein-Filled Nutrition Bars

Whenever I travel, I bring a lot of snacks with me. I bring at least one protein-packed nutrition bar for each day I’m going to be gone. I can’t tell you how many times the security people have checked my bags because I have a major stash of nutrition bars with me. It might sound weird, but hear me out. I carry so many with me because then I know I always have a good source of protein with me at all times. Plus, you just never know when you’re going to be stranded at the airport, or all of the restaurants near you are closed.

Lately, I’ve been taking the new ZonePerfect® Revitalize for Mental Focus bars with me. I especially love the Hot Chocolate Marshmallow flavor. I love these bars because they contain green tea extract which is the equivalent of ½ of a cup of coffee for the energy I need to stay sharp and focused. Plus, they have 11 grams of protein to keep me feeling full longer and they also contain choline, a nutrient, to support brain health. I get the ZonePerfect Revitalize bar in the lunchbox aisle at Target (not in the supplement aisle, I found them where they sell all their other energy and granola bars). You can learn more here.

3. Include a Map

I never envisioned I’d need to bring an old school paper map with me, but on a recent trip to Portugal, I really needed one. My cell phone, although it usually works in Europe, just wasn’t willing to give me any sort of map access. Generally, I download a Google map so I can still view the area even if I don’t have data. However, I forgot to do that before I left, so I was without directions or a map. Sometimes I forget just how attached I am to my phone and how lost I feel if I don’t have constant access to data and internet searches. Well, that’s why I suggest you carry a paper map with you or at least make sure you have offline access to a map. If you don’t know, you can download regions via Google maps and then those areas are stored for offline use.

4. Pack a Multi-Tasking Shawl or Scarf

Airplanes are notoriously freezing. On my recent trip back from Portugal, the vents weren’t working properly. All of the cold air was flooding out from the ceiling right next to me. I layered several blankets on me, but I was so glad I had my shawl with me (similar). I carry it with me on every trip because it packs up small and gives me the warmth I need on airplanes. Usually, I’ll wrap it around my shoulders and around my neck. Sometimes, I even drape it over my eyes to help me sleep on international flights. I also love this shawl because it can be used like a scarf in really cold climates, or worn as a shawl if the nights get chilly.

5. Keep your Valuables in Your Carry-On

One of the biggest mistakes I ever made was not removing my valuable items from my carry-on that an airline made me check. (You know, when they run out of bin space and you’re forced to check your bag?). When I got to my destination, my valuables had been taken from my bag. Now I always carry my valuables with me in my carry-on. For example, I keep all of my jewelry in a little travel jewelry case that I can easily stick in my purse or larger carry-on. Even if I first put them in my carry-on, but then the airline asks me to check my bag, I can grab the valuables in the travel case and stick them into my purse.

6. Keep Your Charger in Your Purse

Most airplanes now have plugs you can use to charge your phone while in the air. Some of my flights have even had USB slots. It is absolutely the worst when you pack your phone charger in your luggage. Then your phone dies before you make it to your destination. I always carry my phone charger in my purse so my phone is fully charged when I land somewhere. You never know when you’ll need to call someone, look up an address, or even snap some travel photos while you’re in route.

7. Carry a Reusable Water Bottle

Whenever I travel, I always carry a reusable water bottle with me. There are a couple reasons why. First, I don’t like to use single-use plastic bottles because they are terrible for the environment. Second, just like having snacks with me, I like to have water with me. Airplanes are so dry and make you dehydrated. Having a water bottle with me ensures I can try to stay hydrated. Plus, I don’t have to purchase water at the airport. Most airports in the U.S. have refilling stations or drinking fountains. In Europe, there aren’t many drinking fountains, but I have found most restaurants will refill my bottle when I ask.

I hope these 7 carry-on travel packing hacks are helpful the next time you travel. I just got back from Portugal and England and these tips always come in handy for me. Where are you headed this summer?


  1. Crazy how much we rely on our phones these days… These are great tips!

  2. It’s so true! I felt so lost when my phone wouldn’t work! Thank goodness my husband reminded me to download google maps in advance!

  3. OMG that adapter is amazing- I hate how big mine is- when I went to Europe I had to bring several different ones with me and it was such a pain

  4. It is the best for traveling internationally! The first time I went to Europe I had so many different ones and then I found this one.

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