A Peek Inside Carmen Wong Urlich’s Carry On Bag

Money is often the biggest stress when it comes to vacations. We always urge you to stay within your budget, look for deals and save for special trips. If you need extra help, check out Carmen Wong Urlich’s book, The Real Cost of Living: Making the Best Choices for You, Your Life, and Your Money. Carmen, the former host of On the Money is no stranger to traveling for pleasure and business. Here’s what she takes in her carry on bag.

I usually carry a giant, silver-grey Martine Sitbon ‘bolsa’ (similar style below). My pages used to tease me, calling it my “Mary Poppins” bag since I can pull practically anything out of it. When I travel, I pack it with enough that I could reasonably be stranded for a couple of days and survive not only personally, but professionally! I’m also a mom to a 4 year old so it’s not strange to find small toys, stickers and snack-pacs in there now and then.

What are some of your favorite beauty products when traveling?

CWU: I cannot go anywhere without hand cream, lip balm and powder. The brands switch in and out but it’s all about keeping the hands hydrated after all the hand-washing I do to combat colds while traveling. Lip balm, because planes are so dehydrating, and face powder because this is one greasy Mama!

What type of music do you like to listen to on the plane?

CWU: Whatever I’ve recently downloaded, which can be a very eclectic mix, though I tend to like mellow tunes from bands like Si Se when I need to sleep on the plane.

Any favorite or recent plane reads?

CWU: I countered my usual money-saving advice and picked up Tina Fey’s “Bossypants” at my last flight—full price! Well worth it – I adore her and she has me howling every other page. One flight recently I managed to make it almost totally through “The Imperfectionists” by Tom Rachman–such a page-tuner. Being a media-gal though, I usually pack more magazines than books — I like to get through ‘WIRED’, ‘Vanity Fair’ and ‘BusinessWeek’ to catch up on stories I haven’t read online.

What type of sweater or wrap do you usually travel with?

CWU: Definitely — I’ve always been a scarf gal so I’m always toting a long, wide scarf that can be opened up into a mini-blanket when I’m cold and scrunched up it’s a great pillow.

Any favorite plane snacks?

CWU: Nuts, nuts and more nuts! Though I just flew Virgin America for the first time recently and I gotta say, fantastic snack/food choices—if the same could be on every flight (including the ability to order on a touch-screen at your seat) I’d be a very happy camper.

Anything else that you always travel with?

CWU: I got my husband one birthday an amazing set of Bose noise-canceling headphones. Well, now I use them too! They make an amazing difference during the flight and are super comfortable.

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