What's In My Carry-On + Last Minute Christmas Gifts

in , , by The Classic Brunette, 1:51:00 AM
The weekend before Christmas is always one filled with traveling. It doesn't matter if it's just a short road trip to Grandma's or a flight home to see friends or loved ones, there's always some distance to cover! I flew home a a week early, but I know many of you that are traveling today, tomorrow, or on the 23rd to get home to your families in time for the holiday. I thought it would be the perfect time to share a little about what I usually pack in my carry-on during this travel-packed time of year, as well as some last minute Christmas gifts because I also know that most of you aren't done shopping!

My Outfit: Top: Urban Outfitters | Jeans: Old Navy | Necklace: Sequin (c/o) | 
Packed Items: Cross Zipper Boots: Zooshoo | Plaid Scarf: Old, Similar | Purple Sweater: Target | Jeans: Old, Similar | Sunday Shirt: Marshalls, Similar | Cut-out Sandals: Nordstrom Rack (sold out), Similar | Pink Wallet: Old Kate Spade, Similar | Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray (c/o) | Hat: Old, Similar | Carry-on Bag: Delsey

The first thing about packing smart, is wearing your bigger items. If I'm going on a plane, I'll typically only bring my carry-on and try to fit everything in there or my purse. That means my bulkier items, like scarves, tall boots, a heavy sweater, etc are worn onto the plane to save space. Cars are a different story, as most likely you'll have more space! Here's my list on what I typically pack in my carry-on bag when traveling home for a few days:


DUH. This is an obvious one, but I wanted to break my choices down a little further so that you can utilize your carry-on space as best as possible! If I'm traveling for a weekend or even a few days, I'll typically pack 5 outfits. Normally this means a pair of leggings, a pair of jeans (wearing one of these), and three different tops ranging from comfy to more dressy (including the one being worn on the plane), and one dress. This gives me a few options, especially during the holidays when there are different parties and events going on. I also like to pack two pairs of shoes along with the ones I'm wearing, however if I can get away with two pairs total that's even better!


Jewelry is always a little troublesome when packing. I'm lucky that this carry-on has inside pockets that are perfect for tucking jewelry into, however I'm still paranoid that all my little chains and clasps are going to twist together. I've learned that finding a nice little jewelry bag to put all your necklaces, bracelets, earrings, etc into is the perfect way to keep things from getting tangled or getting lost!


I wish I was one of those people who could sleep on planes, but I'm not! So to keep myself busy I pack a book that I love! Right now I'm currently reading The Great Gatsby, one of my all time favorites. And since I'm apparently living in the dark ages, I pack a few DVDs to watch when I get to my destination as well. 

Toiletries/Make Up

If you don't have a toiletry or makeup bag, you definitely need to get one. For trips that I'm only using a small bag like this, I'll combine my toiletries and makeup into one bag to save space. Pack your makeup and skincare essentials, and then a few fun extras just in case you feel like adding a little flare to your makeup look one day!

And I'm not going to lie, I always forget to pack one thing or another, so if you can, leave a little extra space for those items! 

Now for those last minute gifts that I know you are waiting for!

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday! 
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  1. I'm headed on a trip for NYE and trying to only pack a carry-on, so this is so helpful!! Safe travels for Christmas!!

    xoxo A

  2. I love your top! Do you think it could work as a cardigan too?


  3. That purple chenille sweater looks so nice; I need to check out Target -- after the holidays haha. I love to travel with just a carry on bag so these tips are spot on!

  4. I'm headed to Michigan to meet my boyfriend's family for Christmas this year. I don't know if I'm more nervous about meeting his family or the weather! I definitely plan on wearing my biggest coat to save on luggage space.

  5. Love that sweater! And great list for a carry-on - I always pack just a cary-on for shorter trips!

  6. I want that SUNDAY tshirt you packed! It's sooo cute! I also definitely want the The Year of Cozy Book! Looks so fun and right up my alley! Great post :)

    xo, Taylor (www.tayloramead.com)

  7. Tips were on point. I used a lot of these sort of tips when I went on a plane for the first time last year. They definitely save you space.

  8. These tips are spot-on! I tend to be an overpacker but sometimes I just don't know what I'll want to wear :P

  9. I'm so bad at packing!! I always end up bringing SO much of the wrong things and forgetting important items like underwear!

  10. All great tips! I'm a last minute packer so these are awesome!

  11. These packing tips are great! Wearing the bigger items on the plane is a great idea!

  12. Your last minute gift ideas are perfect! And I love how neatly packed your carry-on is LOL! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas girlie. xoxo

  13. Great tips! I'm not traveling this holiday season which kind of makes me sad! Also love your last minute picks!

  14. I just love that Sunday shirts. So cute and accurate!

    xoxo, Paige


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