International travel is one of the few places many of us still check a bag. Some items are best to carry on due to the risk of losing a checked bag. Others provide comfort during long overseas flights. Carry on two bags. One is your official carry-on. The other is a personal item. I recommend a larger zip top tote and a zip top purse that works with every outfit. The zippers deter theft and prevent lost items on security conveyors.
Official Carry-On List
Cashmere scarf: A scarf doubles as an extra blanket on the flight and as a fashion accessory. I find cashmere to be more elegant for day to evening while retaining the warmth factor. As an accessory, I was able to change the look of an outfit I wore multiple times.
Clutch with your makeup items: As a makeup bag alternative, a clutch can be emptied on evenings when a small purse is desired. Instead of traditional cosmetics, I pack solid perfume and Nars multiple sticks. The perfume doesn’t need to be claimed as a liquid. The multiple sticks prevent cracking of powders during bag handling. No brushes are required as the creams easily blend with your fingers.
Electronics: On a recent trip to Europe I left my cell phone at home. It was nice to be unplugged for two weeks. Instead, I brought my Nook. An electronic reader can serve multiple functions. My Nook was loaded with music, podcasts, and books. Remember your digital camera, headphones, and chargers for any electronics you choose to bring.
Filling Snacks: Trail mix, protein bars, and nuts are recommended. I prefer raw almonds and LUNA bars. Once through security I like to buy a piece of fruit. Fruit + almonds make an excellent in flight pick me up.
Quart Size Zip Lock: Load the zip lock with any liquids and make sure they are less than four ounces. Mouthwash, toothpaste, and contact solution are recommended.
Personal Item List
Medications: Include vitamins and any prescription medications, preferably in their original containers. Remember that birth control and other time sensitive meds may need to be taken at a different time due to a new time zone.
Eyewear: Eyeglasses, sunglasses, and extra contacts will keep your eyes happy.
Quick Bites: Mints, gum, powder packets to flavor water, wrapped tea bags, and hot chocolate packets prevent snacking between meals and popping ears. The drink mixes allow you create a delicious beverage from universally available water.
Jewelry: Better yet, wear any valuable jewelry including a watch. I’ve found many hotels in Europe with no clock in the room. I liked having no alarm, but disliked asking for the time.
Pen: You won’t be competing for pens from the flight attendants to complete your custom form.
Identification: Obviously, bring your driver’s license and passport. In addition, bring a photocopy of each. It will be much easier to prove your identity in the event the original is lost.
Money: Bring currency for the country to which you are traveling. Exchanging to Euros was quite easy for me at a local U.S. bank. Call your credit card company to prevent cancellation of the card due to “fraudulent” international charges.