This last time I was flying back after Miami (that post is coming) was an utter disaster. Long story short, I had a layover in Charlotte, sat on the runway for 4 hours, was made to get off and wait in the terminal, boarded again and sat on the runway another 3 hours. Thanks American Airlines. They finally just decided to cancel everything at 9pm and then whole ordeal began at 1pm. My luggage made it to my destination; however, I was stuck in Charlotte for the evening. Thankfully one of my dear girlfriends lives there so I wasn't completely stranded. Now, originally I wasn't going to be able to leave until Saturday...this was Wednesday! But truth be told--as high-maintenance as you may think I am--I could have managed. It wouldn't have been pretty, but I could have done it. How? Because I am an excellent carry-on packer.
Now, I'm not talking rolly-suitcase, 'all you brought was a carry-on' kind of situation so you already have everything with you. Yes, that's me giving a side-eye to every guy I ever dated who traveled all the time and somehow managed to never check his luggage and would be saying to me right now, "See, Jess, this is exactly why you should never check your luggage." Thanks for the pro tip, Louis, but some of us require a curling iron, body butter, and more than two pairs of shoes for six days. But yes, that would have made things a lot easier. I'm talking like your checked luggag was 49.5 pounds but here's what you should always pack and have on board with you in your super chic carry-on tote (besides all the obvious stuff you should have like your wallet). As long as you pack your carry-on with these essentials, even if you're stranded in a city you won't be totally screwed--providing you have a girlfriend who lends you pajamas and a room to sleep in. Because let's face it, if you're 'lucky' enough to score one of those survival packs the airline provides its filled with a razor and toothbrush that are both so harsh you'll be left bloodied.
BTW, while we're talking travel, this goes hand in hand with another necessary topic...airport etiquette!
What to Pack in Your Carry-On
An external battery: this was life! I arrived in Miami at 5am and didn't depart the Charlotte airport to my friend's house until after 9pm. There's absolutely no way my phone would have survived, and there was no charging port on these seats. This truly kept me from losing my mind.
Glasses: I can't imagine if I had been stuck somewhere with only my contact lenses. Always, always, always travel with your glasses if you wear them.
A shawl/wrap/large scarf: I have an enormous cashmere one I fly with because you never know the temperature on planes and it doubles as a blanket for nap time.
Book, coloring book, whatever!: Something that entertains you long enough that won't drain extra batteries.
Socks/Underwear: Cuz, ya know.
Snacks: something with protein is ideal. I like almonds.
I always fly with a toiletry bag filled with the following:
Prescription medication: I know this is an obvious one, but I can't tell you how many times I'm flying and keep it in my makeup bag that's in my luggage. I was so lucky that I had it with me.
Stick cleanser/facial wipes: I always keep a stick cleanser in my bag because I try to limit liquids. Facial wipes are good too because they can be used for other areas.
Small moisturizer: I love the La Mer sample ones...they're perfect for this!
Hair Tie: The next day is most likely not going to be your best hair day.
Contact solution/case: Planes are notoriously dry so I typically don't fly with my contacts in; however, if I do I make sure to pack a lens case and solution. Another reason to have your glasses! There is absolutely nothing worse than having your lenses stuck in your eyes for however many days. (hiiii, corneal ulcer--not how I got mine, but now I'm extra cautious!)