If you know one thing about me, then it’s probably that I love coffee. If you know TWO things about me, then it’s that I love coffee AND travel.

I truly enjoy meeting new people, seeing new places, visiting new coffee shops and collecting mugs from different states. One of the perks of my job is that I get to travel and I’m grateful for it.

But somewhere towards the end of last year, I began to realize that I was experiencing burn out. There was a moment when I was packing my bags again and all I could think about was how much I just wanted to stay home.

Even the most adventurous of us need a break sometimes, I guess!

With that said, I’ve been home for nearly a month now and after spending Christmas and New Year with some of my favorite people on Earth, (AKA my nephews, sister and her hubs) I am thrilled to say that I am ready for another adventure!

This Wednesday, I’ll be back on a plane headed to Portland, Maine for a wedding. I have to say, Madina and Pavel are two brave souls for hiring a FLORIDIAN for their WINTER wedding in MAINE. Only kidding. I got this! (Lucky for them I think the 5 feet of Erie snow has conditioned me to be ready for pretty much anything at this point!)

In the past, I’ve shared some of my travel tips through Instagram but this time, I wanted to share with you my carry on essentials. Whether I’m on a 2 hour non-stop flight or traveling to another country, here is my list of things that always seem to make my travel experience a little better.

The key here though is to remember to put it all into your carry on bag. There’s nothing worse than getting on a plane and realizing that you packed something important into your checked luggage. Been there, done that.

1. A good book:

There’s something special about reading a book in the sky. I never travel without a book. They are especially helpful in those initial moments of departure when you can’t pull your laptop out quite yet.

Tip: If you’re into business books like I am, look around at what other people are reading- specifically the wealthy looking men in suits… or at least that’s what I do.

Here’s the book I am bringing with me this week. It was recommended to me by another photographer and I have a feeling it will be a great one. Have you read it? If you’d like to read along with me, you can get your copy here.

2. Chargers and a car USB port:

Though I’m sure this one is on everyone’s list, I want to add it because I stink at remembering this one. I don’t even want to think about the amount of money I spent on new phone chargers last year. Technically, I always had one WITH me- It was just usually a new, overpriced one that I bought at the airport because I forgot mine at home.

In addition to a charging cable, I always slip a USB car charger into one of the easy accessible pockets of my back pack. This way, I can start charging on the go as soon as I get out of the airport without having to search all over my suitcase for one.

3. Headphones:

If you forget everything else in this list, DON’T FORGET YOUR HEADPHONES. This is one lesson you’ll learn on your first flight with a baby on board. Just trust me on this one. If you’re not using Spotify yet, this will give you a reason to sign up. With the paid version, you can download playlists and listen in the sky without using Wi-Fi (It’s good to be alive in the 21st century!!). If you’re ever catching a red-eye flight, make sure to download this station to help you fall asleep- works for me every time!

4. Cozy socks (or socks in general!!):

If you’ve ever walked through a TSA line, then you know how dirty the floors can be! I get shivers when I see people going barefoot through the lines. Socks to the rescue. Bonus points if they have a funky pattern- TSA officers usually get a kick out of it.

5. Laptop:

I work remotely so any chance I get, I’m usually editing, answering e-mails or posting something to social media. Having a fully charged laptop helps flights go by so much quicker and work gets done. I’m not sure why it is but I always find that I am very productive in the sky.

6. Blanket in the summer time- Coat in the winter:

If I’m flying in the spring or summer, I usually bring a small blanket with me. After a long layover in Dallas last year, I was so grateful to have brought a blanket. The terminal was freezing and while everyone around me was clearly uncomfortable, I was okay! In the wintertime- a coat usually does the trick. It might sound like an inconvenience at first, but a few flights in and you’ll realize how handy bringing a blanket can be. Do keep in mind: Airports and airplanes are places where people travel- and so do GERMS. The first thing I do is throw my blanket into the wash when I get home.

This is me in Amsterdam last spring- waiting for our bus so we could get to Germany. Always with a blanket. PC: Sveta Fenina

7. Vitamin C:

Speaking of germs, bringing vitamin C is something new I started doing last year. Early on in the year, my coworkers started to notice that after every trip I would come home sick. This was exhausting. Because I don’t like the chalky flavor that many vitamin C tablets have, I tried these gummies and now I bring them with me everywhere I go.

Note: If you are traveling in warm climates, DO NOT leave them in the car- they will melt together into one glob. I speak from experience.

Since I started doing this, I get sick less often and my co-workers even noticed the improvement as well!


Traveling is fun. It’s exciting. Its one thing I love so much about my job. But between delays and cancellations, it can get exhausting. Putting some thought into what you bring with you can make the situation that much better.

What’s in your bag? Is there something else I’m missing that I should be bringing this week too? I’d love to hear your recommendations below!

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