Watch this so you don’t make the same mistakes I did.


As well-seasoned insurance travelers, our Elevate speakers have banded together to bring you the most awesome guide on packing the most perfect Carry-On.

Aren’t they legit?

I have a new appreciation for traveling for work. I used to be a giant cluster at the airport scrambling to make things fit, take shoes off, put them back on, all while handling laptops and MacBooks. I have learned after a year of consistent insurance related travel that when done right… it makes all the difference.

It was roughly about 5 months ago that this fine looking lady walked into my life #BleeckerBlush

 This is the reason I am a successful traveling insurance agent and I recommend it to every female insurance agent who travels or just simply has the need to carry their work around.

Here is a list of must have’s in my bag when I travel:

  • Backup Phone Charger
  • 15 inch MacBook Pro Chargers galore
  • My Daily Greatness Business Planner
  • Sour Candy (usually sour patch kids or sour skittles)
  • Lots of Pens
  • Lipstick
  • Travel Coffee Mug (usually empty if it’s in my bag)
  • Bobby Pins
  • A Random Kids Toy (because I am a mom of 4 and they seem to follow me everywhere)
  • Wireless Headphones
  • Peppermint Essential Oil

– Erin

I love to travel!

Long-haul and quick trips, I take at least thirty journeys a year. Here’s my list of travel essentials to promote healthy, restful, and enjoyable travel:

  • Yoga clothes
  • Kindle
  • Basic black clothes and shoes. Dressed up with colorful jackets, scarves, necklaces.
  • Lots of plastic bags to carry fruit, snitched cookies for an evening treat, leaky anything.
  • Earplugs
  • More Yoga clothes
  • Granola bars


*Note: Syd here. I have no idea if the left picture is actually a yoga shirt Emily would wear. But I thought it was hilarious.

– Emily

Having traveled for years my Holy Grail is finding the balance between packing & carrying the LEAST POSSIBLE essentials, with having a few extra things that make the often-taxing drudgery of traveling just a bit more fun.

Here’s my go-to content for the perfect travel bag:

  • Pics of my granddaughter to remind me why I do this…
  • Microsoft Surface Pro 3, and VGA-to-mini adapter
  • Wireless remote for presentations (don’t forget the fresh AA battery…)
  • Bose noise-cancelling earbuds – Mostly for the tunes, but also to drown out that dude snoring on my shoulder.
  • A couple ‘o pens (NOT the kind that leak inconveniently due to changes in air pressure)
  • Hand lotion, mints, gum
  • Multiple chocolate treats throughout the trip. You know; reward, encouragement, my chocolate addiction.
  • Small water bottle to help stay hydrated.
  • Neosporin. Just because.

– Ron

As a weekly air traveler at any point in time, I feel like Mary Poppins (but I need that flying umbrella).

Here are my common travel accessories:

  • Bag With All My Cords (I hate cords sticking out of my bag).
  • $35 Sunglasses (Because I will lose them monthly #NationalRentalCarDonation).
  • Dry Shampoo (Let’s be fair, air travel is not known to produce movie star quality hair).
  • Smart Water (I am a water snob but I like that the goldfish behind the label tells me nice things).
  • Business Cards (Some actually in usable condition).
  • Ipad (that is most likely dead because I’m a horrible charger).
  • Felt Tip Pens (the only ones I use).
  • An Agency Assessment (I never look at the anonymous staff surveys until I get on a plane. I want all the responses to be fresh in my head).
  • 2-15 Lipsticks (depending again how many I donate to the Airbnbs or Marriotts I stay in).
  • Some combination of Flonase, Claritin and Benadryl (Im 100% known for terrible allergies).

*Note: Syd here. That amazing contraption above is called a Cord Burrito (from Jansport). Not sure if it’s what Kelly uses, but I thought it was amazingly delicious.

– Kelly

My carry on is a two-piece that zips together for one awesome experience. Thanks, IKEA!

However, I will just share what’s in my small back (aka backpack):

  • Pre-Workout Energy Mix Packet (got to stay buff on the go:)
  • 13 MacBook Pro and Charger
  • Phone Charger
  • Old Gum
  • Random Paper
  • Portfolio
  • Headphones
  • Book or Two
  • Pens and Highlighters
  • Journal


– Brent

Parking. Traveling is an art form. It can only be done well when you do it often. I fly around approximately 10-15 times a year. So knowing the ins and outs of air travel is important! It all starts with parking the car. I used to park in the economy section and take a shuttle to the terminal. This is a rookie mistake! I now always pay a few bucks more for the covered parking. Being able to walk to the front door and not get on the bumpy shuttle is worth it. I also always skip the check in line by checking in to my flight early and printing my boarding passes. I like to get to the airport early. This allows me to walk around and explore, but more importantly than that, it allows me to get to my gate early to grab up any phone charging stations before the late arrivals do.

Fanny Pack. I am a minimalist when it comes to travel. When I am not traveling with children, I keep it light and tight! For starters, I never leave home without my fanny pack. Besides being incredibly resourceful, the fanny pack has an aura about it. I constantly catch men, women and children feasting their eyes on my midsection, hoping to get just a glimpse of it. It has the perfect combination that says “I care about the way I look, yet, I am efficient and always plan ahead”. Nothing says “Alpha Male” like a fanny pack.

The Boring Stuff. I also make sure I have the usual stuff. This includes the phone charger, and the portable phone charger. I make sure my phone is set to selfie mode, because you’re not really traveling, unless you post a selfie at the airport. I make sure I always bring at least 3 extra pair of underwear (in case the flight is bumpy). I also like to bring my backpack on the plane. This is where I keep books, notes, or mobile devices. I also have a hard bound notebook that is orange (after my agency) and in this I write. I dream in written form ideas and things that I think would be awesome to do.

#Kewl Headphones.  I also bring with me my BEATS headphones. This is because I want to look like a complete tool on the plane, but I also don’t want to hear the other passengers talk about their family members new deadbeat boyfriend, or their new coworker who always brings left over seafood to the office and heats it up in the microwave. The headphones keep the noise to a minimum.

The Neck Pillow. If the flight is over 3 hours, I like to bring a neck pillow. I also like to walk around the airport prior to the flight wearing said neck pillow. This again is all done in an attempt to bother those around me. Do I need to wear it? No…does it piss people off around me? YES!

*Note: Syd here. I don’t know if Nick endorses the above fanny pack. But let’s be honest…why wouldn’t he?

– Nick

Sitting at the very glamorous airport in Madison, WI heading back to the ATL for one night at home in GA, before heading back to NC in the morning.

Here’s a list of what is current in my carry on:

  • MiFi
  • Beats wireless headphone (with my Bob Marley wire headphones as backup)
  • Head/neck pillow
  • Green apple
  • A couple of cliff bars (crunchy peanut butter)
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Small first aid kit
  • Deck of playing cards
  • Flashlight
  • Charging cords for iPad, MiFi and cellphone

And my carry-on is a medium sized, backpack. Nothing fancy.

– Aubie

I’ve always admired, no, been fascinated by fellow travelers that either a) walk on to the plane with only a book or b) look absolutely as crisp and fresh when they walk off the plane as they do when they walk on. How do they do that? What’s the secret?

I’ve tried the minimalist approach – not for me. I need my stuff.

I never figured out the ‘crisp’ look so I reoriented to comfortable professional.

My solution? A backpack. I need compartments to keep me organized and shoulder straps because my dang bag is heavy! The electronics are killing me! Men can get away with a backpack and a suit – somehow it looks stylish without looking out of place. Unfortunately, women’s backpack are more like purses and not built for the traveling professional women. There weren’t a lot of options so I used a Swiss Army one that had the features I needed.

Let’s just say I lost style points when I tried it.… but I loved it… I could scramble from concourse E to B without breaking my shoulder.

It took a while, but eventually I found a professional-looking soft briefcase with a hidden zipper and…. wait for it….shoulder straps! Yes! I found my perfect backpack/briefcase that fit all my stuff.

Once I had the right bag, the key to travel success was what stays in my bag. When I’m getting ready to leave, the only thing I need to remember is my laptop, iPad and files. Why? Because what’s below is always in my bag:

      • Water bottle
      • Zip lock bag of connecters, cords and chargers
      • Sinus & cold medicine – long story
      • Gum, Mints, Protein Bars
      • Lip stuff, eye drops, ibuprofen
      • Sanitizer
      • Ear buds
      • Composition book


– Kiki

I used to love business travel. Not anymore. Today, it’s like Operation Desert Storm. I get on my game face as I approach the airport. I’m an army of one and my enemy is The General Population.

Airports are a mashup of basic training, corporate cafeteria, Wal-Mart and the county fair. With everyone on edge, it’s no wonder you frequently hear shrieks. Oh, ja…I’ve got lots of stories. Dulles Airport here in DC is a show. Next time you’re in town, I’ll meet you there with a cooler and a couple of lawn chairs. We’ll have a blast.

Boarding a plane sure is fun, huh? Ten years ago, I would hover at the jetway like a puppy dog. I wanted to get on the plane first, and there were only so many first-class seats. Today? I get on the plane last. That way, everyone else is calm(er) – and seated. I no longer get hit repeatedly by Italian suitcases , backpacks and roller bags. And no sweaty armpits in my grill. Although occasionally someone does get dragged kicking and screaming off the plane – PS here’s my take on that.

I always check a bag if it’s an overnight trip – free on United (I hate ‘em but they own me) and Southwest. I’m not playing a game of Twister with the overhead bins. For my carry-on bag:

      • First, The Bag (simple, a backpack like this).
      • Blue Cheese-Stuffed Olives (for my martinis – airport bars rarely have them).
      • Worx 20V Cordless Driver (essential tool for removing artwork from hotel walls, although the TSA dudes keep taking it out of my backpack).
      • Chargers (duh).
      • Wraparound Oakley Sunglasses (key when I need to pretend I’m sleeping).
      • Baseball Hat (for bad hair days).
      • Gum and Mints (offset the garlic fries).
      • A Novel/Bid-Ness Book (currently reading The Advantage, by Patrick Lencioni).
      • American Express Card (I don’t leave home without it).
      • Floss (^^ditto).

– Peter

As someone who was once terrified to fly, traveling for me has become more and more fun somehow ?

When I travel, I’m kind of OCD about the whole process, especially getting through TSA. I wasn’t born with patience, so I don’t ever want to be the person in line who has all their items rung up and bagged, and still hasn’t taken their wallet out yet to pay. Like the person in the TSA line who is holding up 40 other people (LOL).

So when I get to the airport, I make sure I’m not wearing a belt, my shoes are untied, my laptop is out of my bag, and there is nothing in my pockets. I’m trying to get through that line as fast as possible!!

Speaking of bags, I used to just use my Nike book-bag until my kids surprised me with an evecase bag for Christmas. It’s a multi-function bag that can function as a book-bag, briefcase, or over-the-shoulder carrier, and it’s awesome! Perfect for my MacBook Pro and other gadgets I take with me! Plus it fits under the plane seat so easy!

Speaking of which, before I head out, I always download enough podcast episodes to my phone to get me through the flight. I’m super into marketing and conversions, so these days I’m listening to the Conversion Cast, Post Status, The Active Marketer, The Marketers Mind, and Authority Hacker.

I also usually have a few music albums downloaded from Spotify in case I’m not in the marketing mood (which is rare). I’m a big hip-hop R&B guy, so I have a lot of old school and new school stuff in my playlist. Honestly, I’m cool with anything that gets my head nodding to a beat!!

By the time I land, I’m either ready to map out some complex marketing funnel, or hop on some stage and lip-sink to some James Arthur!

I’ve also been known to sing (not-so-under-my-breath) on planes…to the point where people look over at me. I think it’s kind of my coping mechanism for wanting to claw my way off the plane to safe ground 🙂


– Chris

I’m on the road seemingly every other week, so I’ve gotten things down to a science at this point.

Most of my trips are short jaunts to keynote conferences or conduct training programs for carriers, agencies and associations. So, I travel light. Really light!

My most important carry-on is my Brenthaven Laptop Bag. Here’s what’s hiding inside…

      • 15″ MacBook Pro (Retina)
      • Countless “Dongles” and Adapters (to connect to just about anything)
      • Power Cords
      • A Special Cloth To Wipe Off My Screen (smudges drive me nuts!)
      • Hand Sanitizer (my wife works in the infectious disease field – yuk!)
      • Remote Control “Clicker” (to advance my slide deck)
      • Bose QuietComfort Headphones (great at blocking airplane engine noise)
      • Magazines (usually AOPA and EAA – I’m a private pilot and read about airplanes while flying on airplanes – go figure!)
      • …and some sort of snack I pick up at the airport before departing

By the way, TSA Precheck is totally worth it! If you travel at all, enroll.


– Jeff


Good luck packing that carry-on.


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