What’s In My Tote For International Flights

What's In My Carry On For International Travel - The Calm Collective

Wearing: White Linen Pants | Bodysuit | Tote (similar)

Home: Sofa (on sale) | No Bad Days pillow (on sale)

With this month being the month of travel for me (leaving for Ireland TOMORROW!!!) I put a lot of detail into what I take with me in my tote bag – and the bag itself (it’s got to be comfortable on my shoulders, sit nicely on my carry on suitcase, and easily hold all of my necessities.) Two of these trips are international, and what I decide to bring along with me abroad is different than if I’m flying within the US.  I’ve decided to breakdown what comes and what stays, and give you the reasons behind my choices.  I’ve been lucky enough to travel abroad a few times now, so I’ve learned what works (for me) and what doesn’t. Nothing is worse than bringing access things that you just don’t need, and not learning your lesson time and time again ;)  I’ve become such an advocate for packing light, as it can completely change the dynamic in your travel plans. You end up being a bit more adventurous and go with the flow, you’ve got less to lose should something go wrong, and most importantly you’re being kind to your body and not lugging around all of this access weight.  So, lets get started :)


The Tote Bag

I just replace the one in the photo (from Zara) with this one.  It’s a temporary fix until I find one that I love (who knows, maybe I’ll love this one?! It’s being delivered later today), but the shoulder straps on my Zara tote were fraying pretty bad.

My Travel Wallet

I’m so glad I purchased a separate wallet for international travel. It really makes such a difference being able to keep everything in one place.  This is the one that I have.

My Kindle

Reading is something I’ve picked back up, and few things make me happier than this little thing. I wish I would have gotten one years ago.  Also, how cute is this cover I got for it?! (pictured here)

Warm Socks

This is something I read about before I took my first trip to Paris years ago, and I’ve done it every single time.  It completely changes the energy of the flight from stiff, to cozy. Plus it’s a little gross when people take their shoes off airing out their feet or currently worn socks. Switching them out for a fresh pair is the way go to when in a public setting.  I swear by this brand.

Scarf Blanket

These are perfect as they can be used for a blanket or a pillow if you bunch it up.  I loathe being cold, so I’m always preparing myself with things like this.  Also, with these blanket scarves they don’t have to take up room in your carry on bag. You can just drape it over the bag between the straps to leave more room for other things.  This one is perfect and this one is really neutral and would go with anything. The one I have is from Zara, but it’s old.  Very similar to this.

Catch All Bag (x2)

This is a little bag where I put in miscellaneous items I’ll need for the flight.  I bring two (because I’m insanely Type A!) and use one for things that are more cosmetic and the other is strictly food & drink.  Below is what you can find in each bag.

Catch All Bag #1: Cosmetic

Rose Water Facial Spray (the best one, hands down)

Antibacterial Wipes (wipe down the trays, arm rests, basically everything, on and around your seat) I use Wet Ones and you can usually get them in the travel section at any store.

Aquaphore Advanced Therapy (amazing for dry lips and cuticles)

Lavender Oil (little dabs on the bottoms of your feet and temples for stress & good sleep)

Melatonin (5mg – I bring a little baggy and take 1 only after we’ve taken off and have reached desired altitude. My cousin taught me to never take it before take off, as things can go wrong and you may have to deplane)

Mini toothbrush & toothpaste (flights longer than 5 hours and I’m desperate to brush) You can also find these in the travel section at any store!

Listerine Strips (I buy these in bulk since I have them with me wherever I go. Travel or not)

Travel size lotion (keep it unscented so your flight neighbor doesn’t resent you for hours on end)  In the travel section at any store. Aveeno has a great one that isn’t greasy.


Catch All Bag #2: Food & Drink

Single Serving Coffee Packets from Starbucks. This makes me sound like a diva, and I swear I’m not! But I’ve had enough experiences with terrible airplane coffee as well as bad coffee in hotels, so I learned from my mama to always have plenty of these on hand, just in case. On the plane, I just ask for hot water and add it myself.

Goes hand in hand with the coffee, but I always bring plenty of this tea. Nothing relaxes me more than this stuff – its honestly magic.

2-3 of these bars.  They’re super healthy and incredibly filling. This one is my favorite.

Green Superfood packets.  I mix one of these a day in water or almond milk (if available) when I’m traveling and it feels like I’m in on some dirty secret. It has your daily dose of fruits & veggies, and it’s delicious.

Probiotic packets. Same as above – I mix one of these a day with water. Much easier than lugging around an entire bottle of pills and having to worry about keeping them refrigerated.

Some catch all bags:

1 (customizable. I have this one and love it) / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5


A journal and a pen

I love being able to jot down ideas or free-write when I’m up in the air. No interruptions! :) And never forget a pen.. nothing is worse than when it’s time to fill out your custom forms and you have to ask strangers to borrow theirs…

Noise cancelling headphones

I have these, but have started only using these because they’re wireless. It makes a difference, actually. Less cords making a mess of things in an already tight space, and I don’t need to have my phone plugged in. (also amazing for working out) *I also make sure to bring a pair of regular Apple headphones since most planes are equipped for movies, and can’t be synced with wireless headphones. 

Insulated water bottle

I always bring my own along with me. These are perfect.

Sidenote: If I can (which is usually the case), I leave my computer at home.  It’s heavy, and to be honest there is no work that needs to be done when I’m traveling.  I take the time to blog in advance, and wrap up any projects that involve my computer before I leave the country.  This saves me SO much weight and anxiety, as computers are expensive and it’s one less thing for me to have to close up in the safe.  As far as emails go, I can easily do this on my phone – and should clients need me to access any of their files, I can do so by using my Dropbox account.  Also, my camera of course comes with me :) but it’s in my hard-case carry on in it’s own camera case. (say that 5 times fast! ;)

Some tote bags: 

1 / 2 / 3 / 4

So there you have it! My minimal tote bag for international travel. You truly don’t need much – especially since you should just be sleeping to stay ahead of that jet lag ;) x


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