What are the TOP 10 things I should pack in my carry-on?

Welcome to my first blog post! I leave today on the first of many post-high school adventures.  I will be living at Stanford for the next 6 days attending the Global Citizen Pre-Departure Training. In one week, I fly to Quito and will be living with a temporary host family for three weeks.  We will spend our days attending language, safety, and cultural immersion classes. I do not know what city I will end up in, what my apprenticeship will be, or who my host family is until mid-September.  

Weather in Ecuador can range to very cold in the Andes (Quito is the second highest capital in the world) or tropical at the coast.  My internship could range from working in a government office or working with animals at a wildlife preserve.  The host family I live with could be large like mine or small.  Packing took some creativity.  I packed and repacked.  I’m leaving behind more than I want to.  I’ve whittled down to what feels like essentials and still took out more to meet the 50 pound weight requirements. I realize I can buy socks there too.

I have asked travel experts what their carry-on essentials are when they travel internationally. I have combined their suggestions with my own to create my TOP 10 list.

  1. Snacks

Unanimous vote by all travel advisors.  It makes sense if you pack your own because you don’t have to rely on the airline’s peanuts or pretzels.  You can pack exactly what you love and enjoy it on your long flight.  I have on-hand dried mango and dark chocolate covered espresso beans from Trader Joe’s.

  1. Technology

Always pack your laptop/tablet/phone/camera in your carry on for safety reasons.  It is also a great excuse to watch some Netflix in the air if you planned ahead and downloaded the episodes at home. Harder to do if your power is out all day from Hurricane Harvey.  Bringing your own entertainment is a great way to save money by not having to pay for a movie on the plane.

  1. Vanilla Chapstick

It is a very soothing flavor of chapstick which helps prevent your lips from being chapped from the harsh, dry air in the airplane.

  1. Copy of the New Yorker

Bekah, Journalist and Travel Writer, suggested I should take a copy.  The magazine is full of the perfect length articles for takeoff and landing when you can’t use tech.  I am picking up a copy at the airport.

  1. Big Scarf

I get cold on planes.  The scarf can double as a blanket.  Haley’s suggestion is brilliant!

  1. Change of Clothes

It happens.  Luggage gets left behind at the airport or worst, lost.  Mrs. Velasco put this to the test recently on her way to Italy.  I have 5 days worth of clothing so I don’t have to open my big suitcases until I get to Quito.

  1. “Silver” Wedding Band

Please do not be alarmed if you see me wearing a wedding band in a few photos.  I’m not planning on eloping with a local.  An alum of the same program suggested I wear one to help with safety issues if I am travelling on the weekends around Ecuador.

  1. Heaviest Items

Chacos, 2 books, 8 coloring books, chocolate chips, journal, gifts for my host family.  No one weighs your carry-on so I have purposely put those items in my backpack.  I’m maxed out at two suitcases, a carry-on, and a backpack.  And I will be wearing my heavy jacket and hiking boots on the plane.

  1. Important Papers

My plastic sleeve contains immunization records (lots of extra ones for this journey), visa, passport, plane reservations, medical insurance, and random photos my mom is sending with me of our family.

  1. A Tile

I attached a Tile (a small one inch tracking device) to my laptop and put one in my wallet.  Not sure if I’ll need them, but for now if I leave my purse somewhere, I can easily find it by tracking it on my phone.  Handy!  Too bad I can’t attach this to my Invisilign retainer.

Thank you to Bekah McNeel, Monica Velasco, Travel Consultant/Agency Owner, AzulBlue Journeys, and Haley Beham, Marketer for Ker & Downey  for all your suggestions!