What I Pack in my Carry-On Bag and Backpack



Travel to Scotland Guide - What to Pack in your carry-on bags. Helpful guides, tips, and advice on packing your travel bag to help make your trip stress free

I carry a backpack and carry-on wheelie bag through an airport. Bags with wheels are much easier to use as there is often a long walk between terminals. If you find walking difficult you can ask the concierge for a shuttle to take you to your gate. Make sure you can handle the weight of your bags as you will need to lift them up into your overhead compartment.

I pack a smaller sling bag in my wheeled carry-on or backpack to use at my destination, although the backpack works, too. The smaller bag is good for nights out when I don't want to carry the backpack. I don't carry a handbag in the airport since it would count towards one of my two carry-on items. But if you need to access it on the flight, pack it in the carry-on to go through security and boarding, and take it out once on board. If you have a lot of things in your backpack it can be handy to have a smaller bag to keep your passport, wallet, etc easy to grab.

Always check with the airline though as some of the smaller airlines only allow 1 carry-on and are very strict, in that case, the backpack would go inside my carry and I would keep the weight in mind.


This may sound like a lot but most of it takes up very little room and I have used everything on every trip I've done. I have a good quality Samsonite backpack now as I found the cheaper ones only lasted one trip. 

  1. A Travel Passport Wallet with local currency, travel documents, insurance documents, contact details, debit, credit cards, and a pen, it is compact but fits everything in one place
  2. Water bottle. I Take an empty water bottle (preferably with a built-in filter) and fill it from water fountains once through security and when on the plane ( in the side pocket)
  3. Essential Oils and immunity boosters in a small pack. See below for what I take. See below for what I take.  
  4. Snacks: Dark Chocolate makes travel less stressful. Snacks like muesli bars, nuts and dried fruit, chocolate, and mints. Banana is great but checks with the airline if fresh fruit is allowed 
  5. Toiletries in a small bag I take hotel-sized shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste and toothbrush, lip balm, body lotion, dry shampoo, deodorant, comb, sanitizer & essential oils (in case the bag goes missing). Pack any liquids in a small zip-lock plastic bag - they must be under 100mls - details should be on your ticket info. I carry this in my backpack so I don't have to open my carry-on suitcase going through security.
  6. Travel Tissues - handy for sniffles and can double as loo paper which is often missing from public loos 
  7. Hand wipes come in very handy you can get anti-bacterial ones too,
  8. Nails -Nail Files and nail clippers -nail scissors will be confiscated along with any sharp objects so pack them in your checked luggage
  9. Laptop, iPad, etc or Kindle/book -Great for documenting your trip, keeping in touch with family and friends, listening to audible books or music, can store travel documents on your notebook or iPad. Helps to amuse yourself on long flights and stopovers. If expensive add it to your insurance.
  10. Notebook and pen Great if you think of something you need to do or to jot down notes or keep a record/diary of your travels. Handy if you meet someone whose details you want to keep. You can also use the notes section on your phone.   
  11. Travel pillow -Some airlines provide blow-up neck pillows and small pillows but I find the travel pillows to give much more support. It depends on how you sleep and which style is best for you.  I did try the neck wrap ones but I didn't personally like them. Some budget airlines don't provide any. Use a travel strap or clip to tie it to your backpack.
  12. Earplugs are great to block out noise on the plane and if you have a roomie that snores, I use the silicon ones or Noise-canceling headphones for on the plane.
  13. Valuables I always take any valuables in my backpack just to be sure, although I never take any expensive jewelry and I keep what I take to a minimum.
  14. A book. I prefer an actual book to a kindle but I take one I am happy to leave behind and leave it in my accommodation for the next ones to come along. 


  1. A Scarf or Sarong -Depending on what climate I'm going to, can be used as a blanket or for warmth on the plane, and when you arrive, can cover messy hair and dress up an outfit.
  2. Medications -Of course, you should always bring any medication you require in your carry-on. Keep in mind that you may be required to show proof of prescription for some medications. I usually bring a small pill case for general ailments such as headaches, nausea, and allergies. If you carry really strong medication or have a medical condition it's a good idea to have a letter from your Doctor.
  3. Clothes I take a change of clothes etc in my carry-on just in case my luggage goes missing or I need to freshen up at the airport
  4. Camera, lenses, batteries, charging port and cords and memory cards, etc. Be conscious of how you pack these as when the bag is scanned it can look suspicious. I got stopped at an airport check-in in India and it was because they saw the batteries and cables in my backpack. Add to travel insurance if valuable.
  5. A universal travel adaptor
  6. A small travel torch comes in handy. Especially if you need to find something in the middle of the night. You can use your phone light if needed.
  7. A small cosmetics purse or pencil case to store your phone charger and power bank etc. I have an electronics case made especially for the purpose and it's great.  
  8. My travel luggage scales. You cant pack them in your checked suitcase as they have a battery.  You can find travel scales here. 


This seems like a lot but the bottles are tiny and fit into a small wallet that's only about 7 cm x 5 cm x 2cm and they come in very handy. I don't take full bottles of the vitamins, I take one bottle with enough of each for the trip. 

  • Tea Tree for soothing insect bites, sores, and sunburn. It kills germs and is an effective insect repellant. Can be used as sanitizer alone or mixed with water.
  • Peppermint -Stimulant so gives you a pick me up if you are feeling fatigued, reduces headaches, reduces congestion. Is an anti-inflammatory so reduces pain, and soothes sore muscles. Can be used as an inhalant - a couple of drops in your hands or on a tissue, cup over mouth and breath in or mixed with water and put in a spray bottle as a body mist. On a washer in the shower at the hotel and hot water and breath in to reduce congestion.
  • Lavender is a great oil with lots of uses -sunburn or other burns, wounds, and skin irritations. Improves sleep and reduces stress and headaches.
  • Frankincense - mixed with a carrier oil relieves dry skin and alleviates stress, headaches, and fatigue. Helps discharge toxins if you have sampled the airline bar too.  

Immunity Boosters:  supplements like:

  • Echinacea is a natural antibiotic that reduces the chance of catching a cold and reduces the duration if you already have one
  • Magnesium is a mineral many of us lack, it contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue and ensures normal energy release. It also aids in decreasing cortisol which is the stress hormone that keeps you up at night, by helping your muscles relax which may just make the upcoming flight more enjoyable.   
  • Easy Sleep or Valerian - natural sleeping tablets. Promotes a restful night's sleep and improved sleep quality. Beneficial for sleeplessness caused by nervous tension, stress, and mild anxiety. Non-addictive herbal formulation.
Travel to Scotland - arriving at your destination

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