10 must-have carry-on travel accessories

I’m an expert over-packer, and the travel accessories that go in my carry-on bag are no exception. These go-to items make perfect gifts for your jet-setting friends. Or for yourself if you’re getting ready for an upcoming trip!

Travel accessories to keep you organized

1. A solid carry-on backpack

My new favorite travel backpack. Get it on Amazon.

A solid carry-on backpack is a must for me. I really like this one since it has a lot of compartments but is small enough to comply with the under-seat specifications of many international airlines. The fabric is sturdy and seems water-resistant. And the handles buckle together over the zipper so it’s harder for someone to open without you realizing while it’s on your back.

2. Document organizer and mesh pouches

I love these travel accessories I got in a FabFitFun box awhile back!

I snagged this travel document pouch and these zippered pouches in a FabFitFun add-on sale. The clear pouch is perfect for protecting travel documents in your bag. It’s also a great spot to keep tickets, brochures, postcards, etc. if you like to collect them while traveling.

Mesh pouches are perfect for keeping similar items together in your carry-on or suitcase. Use them to pack a spare pair of socks/underwear, organize electronic cords and headphones, or keep your snacks all in one place.

Get similar: Travel document holder (that holds your laptop too) on Amazon | Zipper pouches on Amazon

3. Cable organizers

Cord keepers are a life saver!

No more tangled headphones. No more mess of chargers in the bottom of your bag. These cable organizers keep all your cords compact and easily packable. They are a must! I like to keep all corded items together in the same zip pouch, but these are great for items you have to throw in different pockets too.

Get them: On Amazon | Leather version on Etsy

Travel accessories for maximum comfort

4. A travel pillow

What’s comfortable in a travel pillow is pretty subjective. Whether you’re a side sleeper, back sleeper, or a can’t-sleep-on-planes sleeper (that’s me!), the pillow you need will vary. I tried the much raved about Trtl pillow and wasn’t a fan. Here’s my pick after a lot of research for its comfy vibes and versatility. Bonus: It’s machine washable for all my fellow germaphobes.

5. Earplugs & an eye mask

Must-haves for sleeping…anywhere.

As I mentioned above, I can’t sleep on planes. I’m lucky if I can sleep in my own bed. So a really soft, comfortable, light-blocking eye mask and earplugs are must-haves for me. I’ve tried many brands of both, and landed on some favorites. Here’s my go-to eye mask, and the most comfortable earplugs I’ve found.

6. A Travel blanket and cozy socks

I am always cold – my constant state of existence on the weekends is “wrapped up in a cozy blanket with fuzzy socks and probably a robe or sweatshirt.” So a travel blanket and cozy socks are an absolute must for me – especially for long flights.

This travel blanket is actually a Harry Potter Hufflepuff picnic blanket I got in a subscription box, but it packs up nice and is a perfect weight. If I didn’t own one already, this would be my travel blanket of choice. You can find fuzzy socks most places, but my favorites are always from TJ Maxx or these aloe-infused ones.

7. Face masks for refreshing after the flight

Florapy masks are my favorite since they’re all-natural, cruelty free, and scented with only essential oils that have great skin benefits!

I’ve very late to the face mask party, but now I can’t get enough of this skin-care must. They’re super relaxing and great for keeping your face hydrated. Sheet masks are also super packable, which makes them perfect to throw in your suitcase or carry-on so your skincare routine doesn’t have to suffer when you’re away from home. Toss one in for the night you land, or a few for vacation-long relaxation.

Find my favorites: Florapy variety pack on Amazon | Budget-friendlier: Miss Spa (Target)

Travel accessories to keep entertained

8. A book & a book sleeve

I don’t travel on a plane without at least one physical book and my iPad or Kindle. To keep physical books safe in a bag, I’m a huge fan of book sleeves. If you aren’t familiar, they’re little fabric pouches lined with foam that keep covers and pages safe from banging around in your backpack. My favorites are from Book In A Sweater and Happy Go Lovely Sleeves, both on Etsy.

9. A travel journal and pen

These spark so much joy!

Document memories from your world travels with a cute and compact travel journal. Journaling is a great way to document where you’ve been over time and remember your favorite local spots, too. I received this journal and pen from two different co-workers who clearly know me very well!

Find similar: Travel journal – Amazon | Travel journal – Target | Get the exact pen here | Or these amazing journaling pens

10. Headphones + a new playlist

This one’s kind of obvious, but don’t forget to pack a pair of headphones! And maybe a spare, for good measure. I love to make a fun new Spotify playlist for trips I’m going on, too (sometimes themed around my destination just for extra fun).

Inevitably, I’ll drag along a lot more than this on my next flight since I’m a seasoned over-packer (I haven’t changed from the elementary-aged kid who filled every car trip backpack to the brim with stuffed animals and activities). But when I boil down my “can’t leave without” travel accessories, these all make the cut.

Have a go-to, must-have travel accessory I’ve missed? Share it in the comments below in case I need to sneak that in the bag, too.


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