What’s in your Carry-On, Charlie Burness?

This month’s ‘What’s in your Carry-on?’ guest feature comes from native Londoner and serial traveller, Charlie Burness. Charlie is currently travelling Southeast Asia, her home away from home, after a brief stint working in Australia. You can read all about her adventures on her blog, Burnessie.
WIYCO Charlie B
Charlie Burness - Compulsory Items


  • Laptop: I’m still paying this bad boy off so I would never leave it in the hold, and I’m pretty sure you can’t do that anyway? On short haul budget flights without entertainment I may watch a movie on my laptop, on long haul it’s likely I’ll do a bit of writing or photo editing in between the blockbusters and those little bottles of wine.
  • iPod/Earphones: I find it easier to sleep on planes if I’m listening to music, so my Sleep playlist is a must.
  • iPhone (not pictured, because I needed it to take these photos…): As if this ever leaves my side.
  • Camera: As you may have guessed by now, I never leave valuables in my check in bag so this always comes with me in hand luggage.
  • Passport: Pretty necessary for most flights.
  • Water: I drink a lot of water. As in 5 litres a day on average. And that’s when I’m not on a dehydrating flight. I hate it when you get a small plastic cup of water on a flight as that’s about a gulp for me, so I always carry a 1-1.5 litre bottle of water with me and ask the stewards to refill it when I’m done (they love me…). I also tend to have a few wines on a plane journey as I can get nervous, so water is a must to counter balance!
  • Back Up Charger: As anyone with an iPhone will know, the battery lasts about seventeen minutes, so I’m rarely without my Anker charger and iPhone cable.
Charlie Burness - Beauty Essentials

  • Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream: The pressurised cabin on flights is full of air that zaps your skin of any hydration. A vital for my handbag at any time, but an absolute must in flight. My lips often get dry and chapped on a flight, and if I’m taking an overnight flight, I’ll whack a bunch of this stuff on my face after I’ve taken my make up off so my skin is moisturised within an inch of its life in the morning. It’s sticky and it sounds weird, but it does work.
  • Hand Cream: Again for dehydrated skin – 8 hour cream is far too sticky for my hands, so hand cream comes along as well. Oh, the thrill.
  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste: Regardless of length of flight, I’ll brush my teeth before I land on a flight or before I go collect my baggage to help feel fresher after being enclosed in a small space of recycled air.
  • Make up bag: I won’t take all of my make up on a flight if I can help it, just a few things that make me feel more human on the other side. But then my make up collection isn’t that big anyway so most of it finds its way in!
  • Face wipes: As a rule I don’t use face wipes to cleanse as I don’t think they do a great job, but I bought these for ease the other day and do think they’re a good bet for travelling. A small travel size pack is preferable.
  • Mirror: I bought this from Muji for around six quid years ago and it is PERFECT for travelling. Flat, sturdy, stands up or hangs over hostel bunk beds.
  • Deodorant: I try not to smell.
  • Paracetamol: For those post wine headaches.
  • Windeze: Right, sorry, but the fact is a pressurised cabin makes you bloat. You bloat and you get gassy and it can be severely painful, so Windeze comes with me and makes life more comfortable after a flight.
  • Rehydration Sachets: Just in case your stomach starts to feel dodgy. Nothing worse than having the shits on a flight.
  • Hand Sanitizer: To clean up before a meal without having to go all the way to queue for the loo, and vital for the other side.
Charlie Burness - In-Flight Necesseties

  • Socks: These would usually be my White Company cashmere socks but…I left them on a plane between the Philippines and Singapore. Don’t do that. I often wear flip flops on a plane so comfy socks are a must to get cosy during the flight as I have terrible circulation.
  • Hoodie: Cosy, wards off any chill and a great comfort, especially on overnight flights. A hoodie is better than a regular jumper in my eyes as you can draw the hood tight to block out any light and also look really fetching at the same time.
  • Scarf: It’s chilly but not cold enough for a hoodie – aha! Doubles as a light blanket.
  • Cushion: Ok so most people have those neck pillows you get in Boots and WHSmith in the airport, and I do think they are good for helping you to sleep. My cushion is actually a purchase from Ubud. Long story short, I thought it was a crochet bag that was padded out in the shop…the receipt said it was a cushion. I’ve bought some ridiculous things backpacking, including a paper parasol, but a cushion was up there with the most unnecessary, or so I thought. Turns out to be perfect for travelling with and now I can’t imagine not taking it with me.
  • Book: I take a lot of long haul flights and apparently movies, my iPod and laptop are not enough for me: I like to have all entertainment options available, so a book comes along too.
  • Notebook and pen: I write and make lists all the time, and being stuck in a seat for anywhere from 2 to 12 hours on average is a prime time for me to jot stuff down – often making lists of recommended restaurants or street food stalls from the in flight magazine.
Charlie Burness - Other Side
  • Hotpants: I usually fly in leggings or similar, so I have some shorts on hand for arriving in the sun. Or viva versa if I’m on my way home!
  • Fresh underwear: On long haul flights I will always carry fresh underwear to change into before landing to feel fresher.
  • My Norwich and Peterborough card: this current account allows me free cash withdrawals and card usage anywhere in the world. I have saved hundreds over the years. I never take currency with me, but head to the ATM with this as soon as I’ve got my baggage, then I’m truly ready to go.
  • Sunglasses: With any luck I’ll be needing these as soon as I leave the airport!

What's in your carry-on, Charlie Burness?

Thank you Charlie for your contribution this month! If you want to hear all about Charlie’s adventures, head over to her travel blog, Burnessie.

If you are a seasoned backpacker and would like to share what’s in your carry-on, please get in touch! You can tweet to @HeelsInBackpack or email HeelsInMyBackpack@hotmail.com.

2 thoughts on “What’s in your Carry-On, Charlie Burness?

  • 31st March 2016 at 5:22 pm

    Hi, what size mirror did you get from muji, the medium or the large? I’ve bought both sizes but am unsure what would be best to carry around. Thanks X


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: