7 Things Always in My Carry-on 

I travel a lot. 90% of that travel is international. Usually to places that are not just one flight away, but at least two or more. Getting to Ethiopia, Zimbabwe or Ukraine is not a very quick journey. It usually takes a full 24 hours from door to door. 

That being the case, I really take seriously what I allow into my carry on luggage. You cannot always count on checked luggage arriving on time to places like Addis Ababa (you should see their wall of uncollected bags in Addis – wow!) 

Therefore, I make sure to pack my carry on wisely… and since most of my trips are only 7 days, I usually only pack a carry on. Most of the time I check a large bag to bring things to ex-pats and bring home coffee. Lots of coffee

People sometimes ask me for advice on good luggage. Bear in mind that I fly over 100,000 miles a year, so my choice is a little more expensive. I carry on a Briggs and Riley Domestic Expandable Upright on all my international trip. For short, domestic trips, I usually steal my wife’s TravelPro Maxlite

With my carry-on, I bring the single best travel bag I have ever owned. Seriously, I have an unhealthy affection for this thing. It’s the Maxpedition Sitka in OD Green. On the outside, I stuck a LaRue Tactical Dillo morale patch, just so all the foreigners know I’m from the Republic of Texas. 

The Sitka fits almost anywhere, and has more useful storage than I know what to do with. The best feature is how you can sling it over one shoulder easily. Whenever I need to get something out, I just rotate the bag forward on my stomach and have full access to remove my laptop for security, or get my passport out. 

SO, here are 7 things I carry-on when I travel: 

  1. Bose QuietComfort 20 in-ear, noise-canceling headphones. …these babies are the best. Why I like them more than over-ear models is that I can sleep with them comfortably in my ear on those jet-lagged nights in Africa, where dogs only seem to bark between 11pm and 5am. 
  2. Oral-B Glide Mint Floss. …I cannot even begin to tell you how seriously I take having this with me. Airline food is notoriously subpar, and one time on a flight from DFW-London, I got a piece of beef stuck in my teeth that hurt so bad I couldn’t eat until I removed it. For 6 hours on the flight, I tried to get it out unsuccessfully. I vowed never to let that happen again, and I probably use this floss 3x on each trip I take. 
  3. Burt’s Bees Original Chapstick. This one is a no-brainer. Planes dry you out fast. I put this on about 10 times per flight, it seems. 
  4. 6 foot iPhone Charging Cord. First, it’s ridiculous that the stock iPhone cord from Apple is only 3 feet. Second, African hotels can place outlets in some WEIRD places. Having a long cord to charge your phone close to the bed is a must. 
  5. International Travel Adaptor. There’s nothing worse than laying over in the UK and realizing you only have a European style plug. This baby takes the worries away. 
  6. 9.7″ iPad Pro with Apple keyboard.  Reading books on this thing is the best. The dynamic light-sensitive feature of the display makes the perfect color screen for reading in oddly-lit places – like airplanes. And I love that the Apple keyboard doesn’t need batteries, and I could spill an entire can of Coke on it during turbulence without breaking it. 
  7. 13″ MacBook Pro. This one sort of speaks for itself. My laptop is my lifeline to the work and personal world. I like the iPad keyboard for typing, and it works okay… But when you have to knock out a long update email to the home office, it’s gotta be typed on a laptop (for me!)

So there you go. Now you have a window into my world of traveling. The only thing I wish was on this list was my everyday Second Ammedment device. But apparently you cannot take those on airplanes. Meh. 

Happy weekend, y’all! 



Add yours →

  1. No extra set of underwear? No deck of playing cards? sad. just sad.


  2. Thanks for the practical advice! Very helpful 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Since you mentioned bringing back coffee… on a real note I am down to my last two bags of Ugandan Coffee.


  4. J. B King "international man of mystery" August 27, 2016 — 12:55 am

    Thanks for the advice. I find that my surface pro 4 replaces my laptop and my iPad. But I do have a question, is it the same piece of floss each time, or do you change floss with each plane?

    Liked by 1 person

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