After 2500+ days at sea and countless flights I believe what you pack in your carry on can make or break your trip. Especially if you are flying over seas or you have connecting flights. These days it's just not that uncommon to get bumped, lose your luggage or have your flight cancelled and what's in this bag is all you will likely have at your disposal.
Having just returned from Europe where I had both my luggage lost on the way there and a cancelled flight on the way back I watched 100's of people in dismay because they didn't pack a smart carry-on. Sure, I would have loved to be on my way home but because I packed a great carry-on bag I was ready to see the sites and my attitude was not one of dismay it was a mere normal inconvenience of not owning my own private jet yet.
Here is what I pack in order to keep myself looking fresh & feeling good.
Start with medication, anything you take regularly or need intermittently, you should pack at least a few tablets in your personal item. Consider packing any sleep aids like melatonin, ear plugs and a face mask. You never know where you might have to shut your eyes when your flying, sometimes the time zones are different and these items can really help make you more comfortable in unfamiliar environments.
Fly in style AND comfort. Think about interchanging the outfit you're wearing on the flight with the other items in your bag.
I recommend stretchy pants or a stretchy skirt, basic black top (black is best for it stains the least and is easy to match) and wrap a black long sleeve cover up or shawl around your waist for the times that it gets cold on the plane and to double as a swimsuit cover up.
Wear comfortable black flats that you can wear for hours without pain.
I also pack my running shoes and one work out outfit that can double as pajamas, as well as a pair of socks and extra undies. When you have to stay at a hotel there is nothing better than a work out to rejuvenate the body, and if they lost your luggage finding sneakers and a sports bra is next to impossible.
I wear a hat while traveling that can double as a sun hat and I bring sun glasses in a good solid case for travel. I pack one simple black dress, this way I still have something nice to wear if I want to walk around town at night or they lose my luggage and I'm hosting a cruise.
Pack a bathing suit, if the place has a pool you're all set, but this is not an easy item to find when you are in a pinch, it takes up no room and you can use the black cover up you wore on the plane. I pack a few pieces of jewelry to "dress up" the dress and the shoes I wear also coordinate with the dress that I bring.
Pack a lipstick, blush, eyeliner and mascara along with the an FAA approved size lotion. Don't bother with razors, deodorant or a tooth brush because if they delay you over night or they lose your luggage the airline gives you a kit that includes those items.
I hope these tips help all the ladies have better lay overs and less stress when luggage is lost and flights are delayed!