Before you take off on your next vacation, be sure you’re ready to go with all your travel essentials. To help get your travels off to a great start and make your plane trip as comfortable as possible, I’ve rounded up my top vegan carry-on travel essentials.
Because let’s face it, there’s nothing like getting on a plane and being uncomfortable the entire flight before reaching your final destination. Especially if it’s a long flight! All the more reason to ensure your carry-on bag is all packed and ready to go with all the essentials to make your trip easier and relaxing.
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Here’s a list of vegan, eco-friendly carry-on travel essentials sure to make your trip comfy, relaxing and stress-free.
14 Carry-On Essentials for Vegan Travelers
In case you don’t already have one, a good carry-on bag is a must. Personally, I like traveling with a backpack. Whether it’s a day adventure, weekend getaway or a long trip, I don’t leave home without my backpack.
It makes it easier to carry and load up your immediate essentials and have them handy for when you need to reach for them – passport, travel docs, vegan snacks, vegan food, water bottle, or anything else you need to keep on hand.
Weekender Travel Bags
For a minimalist approach, a great option would be using a weekender bag if you’re going on a short trip versus a long one.
This eco-friendly, water resistant canvas bag from Lo & Sons is made from recycled plastic bottles and makes it easy to pack your travel essentials including shoes – all in one bag! There is also room to pack your vegan snacks, veggies, or any vegan food you might want to take along.
Other stylish bags is the vegan, eco-friendly Landen Carryall duffle bag from Dagne Dover. It has great storage, is light weight and water resistant. It also fits in overhead compartments so there’s no need to check it in.
2. Carry-On Roller Luggage
If you’re looking to upgrade your carry-on luggage, this hardshell suitcase from the Calpak Hue Collection comes with a front pocket that fits up to a 16″ laptop and other essentials to make it easy to get through the airport check in and TSA.
This minimalist carry-on is made of polycarbonate material and looks similar to the Monos carry-on luggage (another favorite!) except the Monos option comes with vegan leather details, is water resistant, and the front compartment fits a laptop up to 15″ versus 16″.
Another option is from Samsonite’s eco-friendly collection with durable luggage made from 100% recycled plastic bottles.
3. Luggage Tag
Another must is a luggage tag. This cruelty-free vegan leather luggage tag from Kate Spade is cute or this one from Calpak with a portable charger is also a great find. Not only does it make it easy to identify your bag or luggage, it keeps your contact info intact in the event it gets lost in transit.
Having a unique luggage tag that stands out is helpful if you’re checking in a bag to help you quickly identify your suitcase when the belt starts rolling them out in baggage claim.
4. Crossbody Wallet Bag
This travel wallet from Matt and Nat is vegan, cruelty-free, and made from durable, eco-friendly, recycled materials. It fits all your immediate travel documents and up to 12 credit cards.
The Everywhere Belt Bag from Lululemon is also a popular buy and comes in handy for everyday use.
What I love about a crossbody bag is not only that it’s attached to you for easy access, but you can fit everything you need for immediate use like your passport, license, credit cards, or phone – without having to worry if you left something behind or having to shuffle through your luggage for your wallet.
I know for me, it’s important to have everything all in one place or chances are, I’ll end up losing something.
Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
If you prefer a travel wallet you can fit in your backpack, this vegan leather Nautica wallet with RFID blocking technology will protect you from identity theft. The brand also sells a vegan leather RFID women’s crossbody wallet.
If you don’t know what RFID blocking technology is, what it does is reduces the chances of someone being able to scan your credit card or passport information wirelessly without having to touch you or your wallet. This enables them to steal and use your identifying information to create a new credit card or passport. And, all they have to do is stand right next to you!
It’s that easy.
5. Vegan Leather Passport Holder
Instead of randomly just stashing your passport away in your purse, wallet , or carry-on bag, get yourself a passport holder to protect it from getting damaged.
Some great vegan leather options are this RFID passport holder which comes with a luggage tag, this rose gold embossed passport case, or this colorful one from Lilly Pulitzer. All are great options to keep close at hand so you can soar through security!
6. Portable Phone Charger
When we’re traveling on vacation, we tend to use our phones more than usual… For pulling up flight info, scrolling on social media, searching for vegan restaurants for places to eat when you arrive, and so much more.
The cell phone travel usage quickly depletes the battery charge so having a portable charger is an absolute must and not something you want to leave home without. The last thing you need is to end up with a dead phone when you’re waiting for your Uber ride or need help finding your way.
Needless to say, a portable phone charger should be top on your carry-on travel essentials list to pack when planning your trip!
7. Vegan Eco-Friendly Must Have Toiletries
The days of lugging around your luggage packed with plastic bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash are long over!
Making the switch to vegan, eco-friendly, and zero waste products is not only better for the environment but is also light on your wallet – And, a savings at the check-in counter without the unnecessary added weight to your suitcase!
The options for cruelty-free vegan, eco-friendly, and zero waste clean beauty products have sky rocketed over the years and are becoming more popular for traveling – making it easier to pack without taking up so much room in your toiletry bag or carry-on.
Plus, you won’t have to worry about being held back at TSA checkpoints.
While you could easily transition just about all your essentials to zero waste, these are my absolute cruelty-free travel must haves for your carry-on bag.
Shampoo, Conditioner, and Body Wash Bars — Say goodbye to bulky shampoo bottles, conditioner, and body wash bottles. There is no need to add bulk and weight to your carry-on luggage when there are many great options for bars out there.
I’ve been using Viori brand which has become my go-to for shampoo, conditioner, and body wash bars – perfect for your travel bag and hair! Ethique brand also has plenty of great options to choose from including this cruelty-free, vegan, plastic free hair sampler.
Toothpaste Tablets — Forget those toothpaste tubes and start opting for chewable toothpaste tabs when traveling. This invention is a Godsend, takes up very little space, and is so much better for our planet.
Face Wash — When it comes to face wash, I don’t compromise my routine so what I do at home, I can easily take with me on the road or on any trip. Instead of using liquid face wash, I’ve been using this powder herbal cleanser from 100% Pure which is amazing! It not only serves as cleanser, it’s also a mild exfoliant that leaves my face refreshed and feeling clean.
View more cleansers: 17 Best Vegan and Cruelty-Free Face Cleansers 2023
Makeup — Breeze through TSA with makeup powders. My favorite brand is Bare Minerals – they have clean, non-toxic options like this loose mineral powder foundation with SPF 15 for sunscreen.
Deodorant — While there are many vegan deodorant brands, I’ve found this one from Sol De Janeiro to be among my favorites. These vegan deodorant wipes from Pacifica also come in handy and make a perfect addition to your carry-on stash!
Fragrance — If you’re like me, you will also want to pack perfume or fragrance to smell refreshed after a long flight or a night out on the town. For a nice clean, non-toxic scent, a rollerball perfume from Skylar Beauty makes it easy to pack into your carry-on.
I would also recommend you pack washcloths, Poo-Pouri (You never know when you’re going to need it!), and adding in a cool, de-stressing meditation mist to keep your face feeling fresh throughout your flight.
8. Vegan Essential Vitamins
Flights can be draining on the mind and body – most of the time leaving you exhausted and fatigued. With a vegan multivitamin that is clean, eco-friendly, and toxic-free, you can give your body an essential nutrient boost to keep going.
It’s a great way to ensure you get all the vitamin essentials your body needs during your travels. Their Synbiotic+ bottle for gut health is even designed for traveling which you can bundle up with your multivitamin. Something you definitely do not want to leave home without.
9. Reusable Containers and Utensils
Packing your own reusable water bottle, cutlery set or coffee mug not only reduces your carbon footprint while traveling, it ensures you only drink and eat from animal-free products while keeping you away from unwanted germs.
With staffing issues these days, there’s no telling what is truly clean and what has been disinfected or not. Keeping your travels safe from covid or other toxic germs by taking extra precautions, is your best bet. Better safe than sorry!
10. Bamboo Neck Pillow
If you’re packing for a long or overnight flight, this eco-friendly, bamboo eye mask and neck pillow are a must. You may want to throw in a travel blanket too, to help you cozy up and ear plugs to tune out the noise.
Depending on the airline, you may have the option to purchase or “rent” a neck pillow and/or blanket. Flight attendants on board would offer you the option if it’s available but, personally, I would rather bring my own.
Trust me, you’ll thank yourself for making the investment—especially for those dreaded red-eye flights!
11. Comfortable Shoes
Whether you’re traveling in the spring or planning your next winter ski adventure, there are plenty of comfortable shoes to add to your vegan travel accessories!
But let’s be honest, as much as you would love to take a pair of shoes for every occasion, the last thing you want is to get stuck hauling a bunch of shoes you will rarely wear. I’ve done this before and I’ve regretted it.
Now, my shoe packing consists of one pair for a weekend getaway or two to three pairs (at most) for longer trips – But be sure to pack clothes that you can wear with the shoes you are packing.
For starters, wear your most comfortable shoes and clothes on the plane. Depending on what airport your flying in and out of, you may be doing a lot of walking or running if you fall behind on a layover!
My favorite pair of comfy shoes to travel with are Cariuma IBI vegan shoes — they are made from bamboo, cork, and recycled plastics among other eco-friendly materials and are super comfortable. I am in love with these and they go with pretty much anything!
If your itinerary includes hiking, don’t forget to pack your hiking shoes along with a pair of sandals for spring or summer travel. Plan accordingly or you’ll end up buying new shoes on vacation which is great but you’ll end up getting stuck trying to stuff them in your luggage!
12. Compression Socks
Compression socks are an essential vegan carry on essential for traveling, especially during lengthy plane rides or road trips. They not only provide relief from fatigue, but they also help prevent swelling and increase circulation which prevents leg cramps and blood clots — a major plus during long air time!
Wear them under pants and you can’t even see them.
While there are many types of compression socks, the Bombas and Comrad brand carries stylish ones to choose from that work great for all levels and leg types. They’re comfortable, easy on and easy off, breathable, and pain relieving if you struggle with varicose veins. I also love that Comrad sells an ankle compression sock for everyday where!
You don’t necessarily have to wear them on land while on vacation — unless of course, you already have poor circulation at which point wearing compression socks on land would be a great benefit.
Most compression socks today are made from high quality, breathable materials that don’t use by-products from animals such as wool, leather or silk. So you can be sure your feet and legs stay comfortable throughout your travels without harm brought to animals or the environment!
13. Healthy Vegan Snacks
Something you may not be aware of is that you can travel with a food bag (this can be a reusable canvas bag or tote) without it being counted as a personal item. However, the food must be in solid form such as fruits and vegetables, ready to eat sandwiches (in a sandwich bag) or snack bars like Larabars.
If you don’t want to carry a separate bag, you can easily pack your snacks in your carry-on or backpack. Just be prepared to take them out at the TSA checkpoint.
If you would rather eat on board the airline, just be sure to confirm they offer vegan and vegetarian options before you head for the airport so you can ensure you leave prepared. Otherwise, it may be hours before you land — At which point, you’ll want to have a list of vegan restaurants ready to target for your next meal!
Vegan Travel Tips to Consider
Whatever you do, do not leave home without food of some sort. You never know if you will have vegan food options on board the plane, if your meal might turn out bad, or if your trip will be delayed – so don’t forget to pack some vegan snacks, dried fruit, trail mix, or fresh fruit to hold you over.
Another option would be to take vegan meal replacement starter packs which are perfect for keeping your body nourished with nutrients and full until your next meal.
And to prevent dehydration while in the air, be sure to bring an empty refillable water bottle with you to fill up after passing through airport security. Having a full water bottle will keep you hydrated throughout your trip.
Finally, remember that airports often have restaurants and shops that more than likely will have some vegan food options on the way to the gate.