Are you stuck on what to get that traveller on your list? Get a little inspiration with these 10 carry-on accessories I can’t travel without!
With the holiday season once again upon us (and world travel around the corner 🤞) I thought I would share the items that make my trips that much more enjoyable. From taking the world in with my favourite camera gear to blocking out the world around me with noise-cancelling tech, here are my favourite carry on accessories that I can’t travel without.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
The first thing I absolutely can’t leave home without when I travel is noise-cancelling headphones. Not only do they drown out the cabin and engine noise on planes, but they are 1000 times better than what airlines hand out for their in-flight entertainment systems.
I have the AirPod Pros and always have them on me, flight or not. When I do fly, I bring along a Bluetooth adapter so that I can connect to the in-flight entertainment system. On longer flights, I bring my Bose Quiet Comfort headphones as they can plug directly into in-flight entertainment systems, are more comfortable, and have better battery life than the Air Pods. They do take up more space so consider this if you’re looking to pick up Bose over-ear headphones over Air Pod Pros.
Audio Splitter Cable
While talking about headphones and travel, I should include this compact audio splitter. It’s great to pack if you’re travelling with a partner and want to watch a show or movie together. Erin and I travelled on a sleeper car in Thailand and utilized this splitter so we could watch movies on a laptop without disrupting the sleeping passengers within earshot.
Speaking of laptops, similar to my AirPods, I rarely leave home without my MacBook. On top of watching shows or movies, it allows me to do a little work while on the go including editing photos and updating my websites.
I am currently using the MacBook Air M1 and it’s literally the best device I’ve ever owned. It’s more powerful than my last MacBook Pro and lighter, making it super easy to pack with me. On top of that, the ergonomic clamshell shape is so much better than my old pro for typing.
Next up on this list of my favourite carry-on accessories that I can’t travel without is my Nintendo Switch. Now I know there are plenty of games you can play on your phone but there’s just something about having the real thing. Plus, with its kickstand and detachable controllers, it makes travelling that much more fun with a companion.
I recently upgraded to the OLED model from the original and the better battery life is fantastic. I killed over half my four-hour-plus flight home from Toronto playing Metroid Dread and still had plenty of battery to spare. Don’t forget a travel carrying case!
Similar to games, smartphone cameras have become incredibly reliable for taking pictures. That said, for next-level photos, a proper camera is required. Thankfully, Mirrorless Cameras offers the best between pro-level photography and compact size.
I have long used Olympus cameras (almost all photos on this site and on my Instagram page are taken on Olympus cameras) and am currently using the OM-D E-M10 Mark IV. Although it is the entry-level model in the OM-D line, it packs the same sensor and innards as the upper-end professional models. The kit comes with a super-compact 14-42mm pancake lens and is a great starter kit. That said, you can pair countless Olympus and Panosoinc lens covering every aspect of photography.
Stay tuned for a full breakdown of the lens in my kit along with my recommended setup for travel photography with the OM-D M10!
I’m going to age myself here but I tried compression socks a couple of years ago while flying and I will never go back. They help with circulation and make your feet feel so much better at your destinations. Arrivals after long flights are filled with long walks navigating foreign airports. Wearing compression socks on your flight can help ensure you are up for the task. On top of that, they are an easy addition to any flight and comfortable to boot.
Speaking of arriving alert, this next carry-on accessory will also help with that. Although meant to cure a hangover, I have found taking a Blowfish tablet upon arrival perks me up and keeps me going. This is thanks to the “pharmaceutical-grade caffeine” and H2O for hydration.
So this may be old-school and probably aligns with my compression socks, but I prefer writing with pen and paper vs. typing on a laptop. This is typically limited to writing content but I often write out lists and plans as well on the plane to ensure my bases are covered once I land. My notebooks of choice are Moleskine Classic lined with soft covers. These are compact and easy to tuck away in my travel backpack.
Last up on this list of my favourite carry-on accessories are my trusty travel bags. Makes sense to include what holds it all together don’t you think?
For my camera, electronics, and books, I use a PKG Durham backpack. This Canadian company makes stylish bags and accessories that are also incredibly functional. This bag includes plenty of pockets to store everything included on this list and more. It also includes a quick-access laptop sleeve making getting through security a breeze.
Carry On Bag
For my carry-on bag, I’m currently using a Herschel Novel duffel bag. This Vancouver based company is known for their backpacks however this duffle bag is the perfect companion for a weekend to a weeklong trip. It is simple yet functional with a separate shoe compartment.
From a portable game system to noise-cancelling headphones, these are my absolute must-have carry-on accessories. They have helped me make the longest of flights and trips that much better. Is there a travel accessory I missed on this list let me know in the comments below!