What can Barbie teach you about packing your carry-on? You may wonder why am I asking this question. Trust me, it is not one I thought I would be asking.
Please note: Barbie is a registered trademark of Mattel Inc. I am not affiliated with or authorised by Mattel or Barbie in any way. These thoughts are all my own.
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Miss M is at that stage where ‘Barbies’ is her favourite thing to play. She has a number of them, mostly found at flea markets or gifted to her for birthdays or Christmas. She even has one that is pregnant, which features heavily in her rotation.
And I asked myself, what can Barbie teach you about packing your carry-on? Is she a suitable role model for young girls as far as packing skills are concerned or is it all about style? I decided to find out!
I even decided to purchase the Barbie in question to examine it properly. Miss M had to be there for the unboxing, of course.
Where is Barbie going?
When I saw the set, I assumed that Barbie was going on a long-distance flight for a holiday for two to three weeks. Of course, it’s Barbie, so in my head, she is going to places known for pink. Paris? Toulouse, la Ville en Rose? Schloss Benrath in Düsseldorf or Schloss Drachenburg near Bonn? Amsterdam for the pink tulips? Crete for the pink beaches?
Maybe I am assuming too much given the size of Barbie’s suitcase – I have seen the size of her closet in her Dreamhouse. Perhaps the pink suitcase is her carry-on luggage? If that is the case, she fails on the good traveller role model front.
This Barbie is part of a set, with her sisters, Ken and a friend or two. The set is based on two episodes of “Barbie’s Dreamhouse Adventures” (Netflix), where Barbie and her family go on a family vacation to a tropical island, and she gets to go to a Mermaid Convention with her friends. I asked Miss M which island it was and she said Kangaroo Island. I guess she doesn’t know any others. (I did check) the episodes and they don’t actually name the island).
I guess a tropical island holiday works too.
Barbie and her friends
What can Barbie teach you about packing your carry-on? When I looked at the other dolls in the series, most of them had significantly fewer things in their hand luggage. Is Barbie simply better prepared? Is she a hypochondriac or pessimistic prepper? Are the others not experienced travellers? Or are they just unhygienic?
I also noted that Barbie is quite a seasoned traveller. She has had a career as an airline pilot three times (1990, 1999 and again for the 60th anniversary) and a flight attendant 5 times (1961, twice for American Airlines, once for Pan Am, and again in 1999). She has also been an air force pilot.
With this in mind, it is time to have a closer look at Barbie’s carry-on to see what we can learn from Barbie about packing our carry-on, and what Barbie still has to learn. So what can Barbie teach you about packing your carry-on?
What Barbie can teach you about packing your carry-on, and what Barbie has to learn
First, let’s start with Barbie herself and her outfit. I know, it is not technically her carry-on, but it is still part of the set!
(As I try not to sound like I’m commentating a fashion show..)
Barbie is wearing a denim shirt dress, a great choice for flying because it is normally made of natural fibres. (though the material on the Barbie doll’s dress is anything but natural). While it is perhaps a little too short to preserve modesty during a flight or when bending over to get luggage from the bag collection carousel, the dress looks quite comfortable. The belt would probably have to come off for security scanning, which is a little impractical.
Pack a shawl or light jacket that you can use as a blanket for warmth. Planes temperatures are often turned down to encourage sleep. I can’t see anything that Barbie can put on or use as a blanket for warmth during the flight. I hope she doesn’t freeze! But then again, she probably doesn’t feel the cold being plastic and all…
Sunglasses are great for hiding any bags under the eyes from a long-haul flight (not that Barbie would have any). If you are travelling somewhere warm, make sure you have some in your carry-on as you will probably need them as soon as you leave the airport. Barbie’s planning to use them by the pool.
Barbie has chosen flat white sneakers that are perfect for travelling. She won’t have to concentrate on trying to walk in stilettos with a suitcase when they reach their destination. Sneakers are also safer than thongs (flip-flops or sandals to the rest of the world) and you won’t normally have to take them off to go through security. And the pink stripes…
If you are wearing laced up shoes, don’t remove them on long-haul flights. They might smell, which is unpleasant, and walking around in socks is unhygienic (have you seen the floors of the plane toilet mid-flight?). More importantly, your feet will often swell after a long-distance flight, which can make it very difficult to get them back on. People often want to put their heaviest shoes on to save on checked luggage weight. I know from experience that hiking boots are some of the worst when it comes to struggling to get shoes back on.
Barbie has her hair down. Speaking as someone who had long hair until the week that my Mum died, wearing your hair down is quite comfortable for long-distance travel.
I hope Barbie has some hair elastics hidden in her toiletry bag or first aid kit, to keep her hair out of the way when she reaches the airport. I don’t see a first aid kit though… If you have longer hair, make sure you throw a couple of hair elastics in your carry-on.
So what else can Barbie teach you about packing your carry-on?
Obviously, Barbie’s suitcase is in her signature pink. This is sure to stand out on the conveyor belt and will be easy to spot if there are a lot of suitcases. To personalise the suitcase, there are some stickers included in the set. Barbie gets top marks on this one.
I hope she doesn’t forget the lock! (TSA approved, of course)
Passport and ticket
Of course, Barbie has her passport in a bright pink cover. I am not a fan, as such covers always cause delays.
And she won’t be allowed on the plane without her ticket.
Most countries will require you to remove any passport cover before your passport can be scanned. Forgo a passport cover and use a travel wallet instead! They corral all your travel documents and reservations in one place and it is easy to put out what you need.
What can Barbie teach you about packing your carry-on? Backpacks are great as hand luggage. They are big enough to put what you need in them, but not so big that you will run foul of size restrictions. They are easy to personalize, as Barbie has done, and can be used at your destination, too.
I forgot my neck pillow on our last trip and regretted it about 20 minutes into the first flight.
Many people go without a neck pillow, which is okay, but with the coronavirus and other contagious diseases, or even just nits, you might want to consider taking your own. It does not have to have a smiley face on it.
The Barbie set comes with a toothbrush and toothpaste for her trip. While it is good to keep things to a minimum, there are still a few other things you should include:
- moisturiser (aeroplane air is rather dry)
- moisturising lip balm
- face wipes or a face washer in a ziplock bag (to freshen up)
- saline eye drops and nasal spray
- deodorant and
- perfume (or whatever you prefer)
Of course, I must have forgotten. Barbie does not need any of these things (except for the hairbrush). She does not stink. Ever. She is plastic and so fantastic.
At least I assume the orange bag is a toiletry bag. It could be a makeup bag or even a small clutch (but if that is what it is, I would expect it to be pink).
What can Barbie teach you about packing your carry-on, specifically about packing your toiletry bag? Nothing. I don’t know why she has a toiletry bag in her hand luggage.
Since 2006, when British police foiled a terrorist plot to smuggle explosives on board airlines in soft drink bottles:
- No liquids may exceed 100 ML (exceptions now apply for medications and breast milk/formula).
- All liquids (toiletries) must be in a plastic bag no bigger than 1 litre and
- Your plastic bag of liquids must be presented for scanning at security.
As a seasoned flyer, Barbie should know this. I guess it is difficult to manufacture a plastic bag small enough to be part of a Barbie set.
Personally, I don’t use an eye mask. I find it too disorienting to wake up with one on. I know I am likely to be disturbed anyway, especially if I am travelling with Miss M.
Obviously, Barbie is someone who likes to have things completely dark to sleep and does not like to be disturbed. She has her own face mask – in pink no less. If you are going to take one, make it memorable.
Over the last few years, with the exception of any Samsung Galaxy Note 7s, you can use your mobile phone on most long-haul flights to stay in touch. Make sure you take yours and that your battery is fully charged.
If you have to change flights, download the airport app for your transfer airport(s) to help you find your next flight and anything else you need quicker.
You can otherwise use your phone/tablet for reading, watching a movie or your favourite show – like one you star in – or for music.
If you are travelling with a young child, download their favourite program (in your language) so that you can access it whenever you need. We downloaded Miss M’s two favourite lullabies onto our iPad to play for her when it was time to sleep.
Barbie’ tip: carry your camera and any other sensitive or expensive electronic equipment in your hand luggage.
This is also true for any battery packs you might want to use to prolong the use of any devices or cameras. In fact, these must be carried in your carry-on. Check the power level restrictions for your airlines and airports.
Noise-cancelling headphones are best for you and other passengers, who don’t want to hear what you are listening to. Don’t forget the jack.
If you like to read, but find you often can’t concentrate on flights, take a magazine for some light reading. Catch up on your favourite magazine or, if you are like Barbie, find one with articles about your destination, to do some trip planning during your flight.
What can Barbie teach you about packing your carry-on? Hydration is very important, especially on long-haul flights. It not only helps combat motion sickness but also helps with jet-lag.
Barbie’s even comes with love heart details. That’s just too kitsch for words.
Take a water bottle – preferably not an aluminium one – and refill it after you clear security.
The ‘snacks’ in the Barbie set are stickers, so they really wouldn’t offer much sustenance (not that Barbie needs it). They are also totally inappropriate as airplane foods – messy, melting before boarding, crumbly…
Take snacks on your flight. If you are travelling with small kids, take lots of snacks. Stay away from anything that is mess, smelly or crumbly.
Emotional support dog
This does not really fit with the question of what can Barbie teach you about packing your carry-on, but for some reason, the set also includes a puppy. We know that Barbie does not require a service animal, such as a guide dog, so I can only assume that it is an emotional support dog.
Emotional support animals are not common in Europe. Most European and non-US carriers will only allow service dogs on flights. No other types of animal are allowed and they must be qualified service dogs.
While it is possible to bring your pet dog, cat or ferret to Europe with you, there are some additional requirements that you need to fulfil, some of which depend on where you live. If you live in Australia, New Zealand, UAE, Canada or the USA, for example, the following requirements apply:
- The trip must have a non-commercial purpose, such as to show at a dog show (this must be documented by written declaration)
- You may not bring more than five animals with you (unless you can document that the additional animals are needed for a competition or exhibition)
- The pet must be older than 6 months
- The animal must have a pet passport or Common Veterinary Entry Document
- The animal must have a transponder implanted or a clearly readable tattoo
- The animal must be vaccinated against rabies and have a rabies antibody test
- If you are travelling to Finland, Ireland or Malta with a dog, the dog must be treated for tapeworm less than five days before arriving
- The animal must have a pet health certificate, issued by an authorised veterinarian.
What is Barbie missing?
Now that we’ve asked what can Barbie teach you about packing your carry-on, let’s look briefly at what Barbie forgot to pack.
Apart from some real food (but she is plastic, so she doesn’t need real food), Barbie is not missing much.
She should pack a shawl or light jacket for warmth during the flight and a change of clothes in case her checked luggage gets misplaced. That said, this is Barbie. Nothing bad ever happens to Barbie, not even misplaced luggage.
I would also recommend that she take a few more toiletries, or at least a hairbrush, and some simple first aid supplies. Of course, this is Barbie, she does not need deodorant and never gets sick – she is always the doctor or nurse. But the brush would have been nice.
In her Dreamhouse Adventures, Barbie has her own vlog (she starts each episode filming an episode). I would expect that she would have a few more electronics to go in her carry-on – or could she vlog properly from her mobile?
Finally, I don’t see any jewellery in her carry-on and I know Barbie likes bling, glitter and anything pink. Jewellery and anything else of value should go in your carry-on.
What can Barbie teach you about packing your carry-on?
Barbie’s top 14 tips
Wear comfortable clothes, preferably in natural fibres
Wear flat, comfortable shoes
Pack a shawl or light jacket that you can use as a blanket for warmth during the flight and when you land
Make your suitcase memorable (and easy to recognise)
Pack your passport and ticket and any other sensitive documents in your carry-on
Backpacks are good carry-on
Pack a neck pillow for comfort (and so you don’t have to use the airline pillows).
Pack minimal toiletries – don’t forget a good moisturiser and lip balm
Make any eye mask memorable
Take your mobile phone
Put your camera and any sensitive or expensive electronic equipment in your carry-on
Get some noise-cancelling headphones
Pack a refillable water bottle
Pack snacks, but not inappropriate ones
What can Barbie teach you about packing your carry-on?
Style icon. Favourite toy. Top-seller. Movie star. Role model. Careerist. Now blogger and travel guru. Is there nothing Barbie cannot do? (Short answer, no). It is therefore not surprising that Barbie would have some tips for travellers. However, when I asked what can Barbie teach you about packing your carry-on for a long haul flight, I didn’t expect 17 tips!