Melody's Carry-On Packing List

Melody's Carry-On Packing List


Luke and I adore travel of any kind. From weekends in ATL to trips abroad that are years in the making, travel dreams are often one of the last things we talk about at night.

So many of you are more versed in travel than we are. We’re truly in awe. But I’ve said to you before that we take pride in educating ourselves thoroughly about travel and specifically about our destinations. A big chunk of that for me is preparation of a packing list. What do people wear in Rome in the fall? Or Nashville in June? I love blending in seamlessly with the culture so I can get the fullest immersive experience. Dorky? Massively. Beneficial? Um, yeah.

For California (2016), Italy (2018), Dominican Republic (2019), and all the more localized trips in-between you better believe that I have a packing list raring to go. It helps me get in the right headspace.

This list began specifically for to our trip to Italy as a married couple but it is easily adapted to other unique adventures, such as my media trip to DR without Luke back in March.

I will continue to edit as we gain more experience and hear tips from others!


Originally for Italy in fall 2018 for two weeks (with access to washing machines).

All fits in one 22” hard-side roller bag + a weekender bag that slides over the handle.

Wear to airport - bulkiest items

  • Hat: Avoids crazy hair situations upon arrival. Packable wide-brimmed felt hat (cold weather) or denim ball cap (warm weather).

  • Shoes: Leather ankle boots with socks (TSA-ready slip-ons).

  • Outfit: Turtleneck (or tee in warm weather) under neutral maxi dress. Warm but removable layers.

  • Scarf: Usually only practical in cold weather. Large square one so it also doubles as blanket.

  • Raincoat/cardigan: Keep in easily-accessible space in personal item. Wearing it while making mad dashes in the airport isn’t practical, but you might want it as an extra layer on the plane or upon arrival at the destination.

Weekender bag - “personal item” | link

Use outside pocket for quick access items.

Scented dryer sheets for fresh smell and preventing static.

TSA resources: “What can I bring?” | 3-1-1 liquids rule

  • Glasses + lens cloth + case

  • Document folder: Passport (plus color copy stored in roller bag), driver’s license, printed tickets/info, emergency contact addresses/contact info, final destination addresses/contact info. Plus cash and debit cards.

  • TSA liquid bag: All travel/tiny-sized in clear quart bag according to their regulations and packed easily accessible for TSA lines.

    • Chapstick, eye cream, breath spray, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, shave cream, face wash, toothpaste, lotion, Poo-Pourri, eye drops, face moisturizer, contacts/solution, perfume, Lysol spray, Germ-X, Tide sink laundry packets.

    • Pack one or two uses’ worth of specific skincare toiletries and restock shampoo, conditioner, and body soap abroad. Find out ahead of time where locals purchase these!

  • Non-liquid toiletries: Keep easily accessible for quick refreshes in airports.

    • Comb, solid deodorant, toothbrush/cover, hair ties, razor with cover, face wipes, feminine products and hygiene, dry shampoo powder, q-tips, nail clippers, tweezers.

  • Personal medicine: Rx, Tylenol, Aleve, antihistamines, chewable Pepto, sleep aid, motion sickness (regular + non drowsy), vitamins, Emergen-C, alcohol swabs.

  • Small First Aid kit: Kept in Luke’s backpack to take with us everywhere.

    • Bandages, gauze, Neosporin, itch cream, alcohol swabs, lots of pain/stomach/allergy meds, Emergen-C, cough drops.

  • Tech/devices: Organized and easy to get out during bag checks. (Cord tacos and see-through pencil bags are your friends. Consider a tech roll.)

    • Phone & its charging cable

    • Mirrorless camera, two small lenses, batteries/cord, 128GB memory card

    • Headphones + accessories in its bag

    • Small bluetooth speaker + charger

    • Portable phone battery and its cord

    • Global outlet adapter

    • Multiple outlet USB splitter

    • Headphone splitter

    • iPhone-to-minijack adapter

  • Makeup bag: Liquids and gels taken out.

  • Snacks: Jerky, nuts, favorite protein bars, some high-quality chocolate bites, mints/gum. (Some places may want food taken out during bag checks.)

  • Water bottle: Empty, not glass. Bonus points if it’s collapsable.

  • Neck pillow

  • Earplugs

  • Sleep mask

  • Extra cord tacos

  • Good (lightweight) book or podcast downloaded on your phone

  • 2-3 other pencil cases for organization

Samsonite 22” hardside roller bag - “carry-on luggage” | link to similar

Tips: This is a small bag but you absolutely can still overpack. For best fit use packing cubes & roll clothing. Pack heaviest items at bottom by wheels. Dryer sheets for good smell. Leave space for souvenirs.

Loose rule: Aim for two pairs of pants, three tops per pants, one coat, one dress, and accessories. Create 5-6 outfit combos with as little as possible. Accessories are your friends when mixing up outfits. No one except you knows you’re wearing the same outfit as yesterday.

Bonus: Take photos of you wearing favorite outfit combos so you can swipe through them on your phone rather than change clothes 47 times when getting ready in a hotel.

  • Bottoms: Fav blue jeans, black jeggings, pair of yoga/athletic pants

  • Dresses: black maxi dress

  • Tops (and sweaters in cold weather): Grey tee, black tank, black sweater, grey sweater, green cardigan

  • Outerwear: Columbia raincoat (I never go on a trip without this), Patagonia pullover

  • Shoes: Adidas sneakers, Clarks leather ankle boots (I waterproofed both.)

  • Socks: Crew x5 (wool in winter), ankle x5. (All rolled up inside shoes.)

  • Jewelry: Wedding ring/band, simple earring studs, long locket, short necklace, resin hoops, gold hoops. (All stored in small travel jewelry bag.)

  • Sunglasses + case

  • Hair accessories: Scrunchies, bobby pins, other pretty clips, 1-2 bandannas

  • Intimates: Tops x3, bottoms x8. (Breathable, comfortable material for both.)

  • Mesh laundry bag

  • Empty packable bag: I take a large crossbody purse or my Hershel backpack for use on the ground in a destination. Either packs flat when empty. (Super beneficial if you choose to check your hardside luggage on the return trip because because you bought lots of souvenirs, etc.)

  • Reusable grocery bags: For local markets and groceries. (I always second-guess this item but I use them without fail.)

  • Lots of empty ziplocks, various sizes: These come in handy in so many random ways.

  • Disposable grocery bags: For trash, shoes, wet clothes, etc.

  • Travel candle + match book: Random luxury item but it adds warmth and home and a good smell if you have space. (Allowed one matchbook per person in carry-ons.)

Buy once there

  • Small container of laundry detergent.

  • Any toiletries we couldn’t fit. (Again, find out where to purchase these things before leaving.)

  • Fruit and snacks.

  • Local art, food, and useful, beautiful souvenirs! (Consider mailing some home.)

What are your favorite must-haves for travel? We’re dying to know. Tell us your favorite travel hacks. Comment below!

Learning the Enneagram

Learning the Enneagram

An Ode to Strawberry Shortcake (and Bisquick)

An Ode to Strawberry Shortcake (and Bisquick)