Holiday Air Travel Tips

Holiday Air Travel Tips: What To Pack In Your Carry-On For A Smooth Flight

The holiday season is fast approaching and many of us will be flying across the country to visit family and connect with old friends. With so much to do before we leave, (holiday shopping, packing and keeping up with our hectic everyday schedules) we don't need the added stress about our flight so we've created a list of our holiday air travel tips. We've included what to pack in your carry-on; what not to pack and some airport travel hacks. Hopefully these tips will ensure your flight is smooth sailing instead of a bumpy ride. Before you know it you’ll be ready for takeoff and relaxing with a good book in one hand and a glass of bubbly in the other!

Carry-On 101

Carry-On Bag

holiday air travel tips
There are a few important factors when choosing a carry-on bag; it’s functionality, color, size, and style. You’ll want to invest in one that’s of good quality and that’s going to hold up for a long time. Choose dark colors because no matter how good you take care of it, overtime luggage accumulates scratches and marks.
Hotbox Studded Wheelie
 Henri Bendel - $650

Luggage Tag

holiday air travel tips
People often think that since their carry-on isn’t leaving their side they can skip putting a luggage tag on it. That’s a huge mistake. When people are traveling and in a rush anything can happen. Someone can accidentally grab it, it could get separated from you and then confiscated by TSA; or it could be stolen or lost.
"Why Hello There" ID Clip,
Kate Spade  - $24

Wallet

Holiday Air Travel Tips
A stylish wallet is essential when traveling and should never be packed in with your checked baggage. Instead, find a hidden slot in your carry on so that it’s safe and with you. Imagine your suitcases getting lost and you land without your license, credit cards, and money.
Stacy Leather Continental Wallet
Kate Spade - $100

Passport Holder

holiday air travel tips
Even if you’re flying within the United States, it’s easier when you’re going through security to whip out your passport and be on your way than to dig through your carry-on, find your wallet, and get your license out.
West 57th Stud Passport Cover
Henri Bendel - $68

 Travel Organizer

holiday air travel tips
One of the greatest ways to stay organized is purchasing a document holder. It can hold your flight tickets, itinerary, luggage stickers, any hotel or car rental reservations, and important phone numbers.
RFID Blocking Travel Organizer
The Container Store - $19.99

Comfort

Blanket and Eye Mask

holiday air travel tips
Depending on the time and length of your flight a nap maybe in order so that you land feeling refreshed. Planes offer blankets, but eww! Who knows the last time they were washed! Instead, bring the comfort with you by investing in a plush blanket, and eye mask.
Cashmere Jersey Travel Set (3pc)
Sofia Cashmere - $175

Sweater

Even when it’s warm out flying can get chilly. To make sure you’re comfortable throughout your flight, pack a lightweight sweater that you can throw on, and that can easily fold up and go in your carry-on.
"I Need A Vacation" Cozy Sweater
 Wildfox - $202

Neck Pillow

holiday air travel tips
No matter if you’re flying first class or economy the seats are uncomfortable. Adding a neck pillow whether it’s just to relax or take a nap will sure help. When you’re trying to sleep and you hit turbulence every bump is going to wake you up. Adding a neck pillow will fix this.
Tip: Choose one with a snap closure so you can hang it on your carry-on when you’re not using it.
Travel Smart Neck Rest Pillow
Conair - $9.99

Sunglasses

holiday air travel tips
Sometimes we get a neighbor that chooses to leave the window shade open as the direct sunlight smacks you in the face. Put your dark sunnies on and problem solved!
Post Punk Sunnies
Spitfire - $39

Earplugs

holiday air travel tips
There are many benefits to bringing earplugs on board. They will help drown out noise but most importantly they can help protect your ears from the atmospheric pressure variations that we all experience.
Earplugs with Case
 The Container Store - $5.99

Tech

Portable Charger

Tri-Coastal Design Pom-Pom Portable Charger
Not all fights offer a charging port at your seat (check your itinerary for the USB logo or outlet logo). Before you leave for the airport charge your USB portable charger to have as a backup. There is nothing worse than landing and needing to call for a ride or use Lyft and having a dead cell phone.
Flamingo Charging Pom-Pom
 Tri Coastal Design - $15

Earbuds

holiday air travel tips
Leave the bulky headphone set at home. Earbuds are just as efficient and take up a lot less room. They’ll come in handy when you want to drown out screaming children or neighbors that feel like sharing their life story.
Tip: Before you leave, download your Spotify playlists so that they're available offline; otherwise you’ll only be able to use it when you have Wifi.
UrBeats InEar Headphones
 Beats by Dre - $74.95

Laptop Case

holiday air travel tips
It goes without saying, a good quality laptop case is essential in protecting your laptop from bouncing around mid flight and a stylish laptop case is even better. Since it should never be packed in your checked baggage, pack it in your carry-on. If you have an iPad,  use that on the flight since laptops can be heavy and take up a lot of room.
Over The Rainbow 13" Laptop Case
Skinny Dip - $50

iPad Case

Just like laptops need protecting, so do iPads. Invest in a good quality and stylish case since they will endure a lot.
Tip: To watch movies, try Plex Media Server or download a movie or two on iTunes the night before.
Gold Rush iPad Air Folio
 Skinny Dip - $30

Tech Organizer 

holiday air travel tips
Wires and cords thrown into your bag can get tangled and even break. Having a place to neatly store them is essential in staying organized in the sky.
Tip: Make sure all your electronics are fully charged before you leave your home.
Travel Grid-It Tech Organizer
 The Container Store - $14.99

Beauty and Small Essentials

Makeup Bag with Samples

holiday air travel tips
Pack only the essentials in your makeup carry-on (facewash, moisturizer, lipgloss, lightweight foundation, mascara, blush, concealer, and bronzer) and leave the rest for your checked baggage.
Tip: Chances are if you’re into beauty products you accumulate samples throughout the year. They are often given out when we order products online, or shop at the makeup counter. Pack those because they’ll take up a lot less room, and if you get stranded, you won’t be without your beauty essentials. Bonus: You will get to test out out a bunch of new products.
Ocean Makeup Bag
 Skinny Dip - $20

Medication Holder 

holiday air travel tips
Having a case to put Tylenol, Dramamine, heartburn medication and any over the counter pills will make you feel more at ease.
Tip: Take Dramamine 30 minutes before takeoff to prevent motion sickness.
West 57th Studded Pill Box
 Henri Bendel - $58

Face Wipes

Holiday Air Travel Tips
Flying dehydrates your skin, so you shouldn’t fly with the same amount of makeup you’d use for everyday life. Keep it minimal. However, that’s not always possible. Sometimes we need to catch a flight right out of work or coming from an event. A good solution is once you board, go into the restroom and remove all the heavy foundation.
Tip: Drink a ton of water before you leave and while you’re in the air to stay hydrated.
Greek Yoghurt Cleansing Makeup Removing Wipes 
Korres - $15

Dry Shampoo

bare republic
We already know that using dry shampoo adds volume and refreshes your hair but it’s also a great addition to your carry-on bag. When you board your flight (and especially if you have a connecting flight) you never know if you’re going to make it to your destination on time. Let's face it, very few hotels offer good hair care products so packing dry shampoo in your carry-on can make a world of difference.
Eco-Active UV Protecting Dry Shampoo
Bare Republic - $13.99

Travel Size Toothbrush and Toothpaste

holiday air travel tips
It’s always a good idea to pack a small toothbrush and toothpaste. They will come in handy if you want to refresh after a long flight, your luggage gets misplaced, or you get stranded overnight. By having them with you you’ll be good to go...or at least have healthy gums.
Travel Toothbrush and Toothpaste Kit
Dental Source / Crest - $5.99

 

Hand Sanitizer 

holiday air travel tips
If you could bring only one carry on item, make sure it’s hand sanitizer! Planes are filled with germs, and not to gross you out, but check out @passengershaming. Some people are disgusting and seem to think that the plane is their living room (and a very gross one at that.) Flight attendants don’t always have the time to properly clean between flights so take matters into your own hands.
Tip: If you’re a germaphobe take the first AM flight out because the planes are cleaned nightly. Also, ask the flight attendant if they can wipe down your tray.
"Say It" 5-Pack PocketBac Sanitizers
Bath and Body Works - $6

Emergency Kit

holiday air travel tips
The Shemergency Kit will have you covered. It has 17 essentials for the girl on the go! Hair spray, emery board, tampon, lip balm, clear elastics, stain remover, nail polish remover, deodorant towelette, earring backs, safety pin, bandage, pain reliever, double-sided tape, breath drops, mending kit, dental floss, and clear nail polish. Having all this included in a small, glitter bag, is a win-win.
Tip: Before going through security take out any liquids and put them in a clear quart sized bag.
Glitter Miniemergency Kit
 Pinch Provisions - $20

 Travel Jewelry Case 

holiday air travel tips
Leave the costume jewelry for your checked baggage and keep anything of value with you in a small jewelry case inside your carry-on. You wouldn’t want anything to happen to your 24 carat gold necklace or your favorite vintage ring.
Caroline Travel Jewelry Case
 Wolf - $69

Lip Gloss

Airport Travel Tips
Just like flying dehydrates your skin, it does a number on your lips. If you feel the need to apply lip gloss more often when you’re in the air, you’re not alone.
Flower Balm Lip Stain 
Winky Lux - $14

Entertainment

Games

holiday air travel tips
There are copious amounts of apps you can download that will keep your entertained, but if you’re trying to save your battery these game pads are perfect! Each pad comes with twelve sheets and there are five different games you can play: Hangman, Categories, Tic-Tac-Toe, Fortune Teller, and Dots and Boxes.
On-The-Go Game Pads
 Knock Knock - $9

A Good Book

holiday air travel tips
Flying can be boring so pack some things that will keep you entertained. A good book is essential in a comfortable flight. We chose, The Wild Woman's Guide to Traveling the World: A Novel by Kristin Rockaway. What's a better time to read about traveling then when you actually are?
The Wild Woman's Guide to Traveling the World
Kristin Rockaway - $9.10

Snacks

holiday air travel tips
Sometimes plane food can really suck and unless you’re flying first class you’ll need to purchase your food. Always pack a few light snacks, especially Sugarfina Rosé All Day Champagne Gummy Bears.
Rosé Gummy Bears Cocktail Kit
Sugarfina x W&P Designs - $25

 

 

Carry-On Cocktail Kit

holiday air travel tips
A cocktail and flying go hand and hand, but why have a boring Vodka and OJ when you can create your own cocktails. W&P Designs offers cocktail kits to make a Gin & Gonic, Moscow Mule, Bloody Mary, Margarita, and more...We’ve chosen the Champagne Cocktail Kit to complement your champagne gummy bears!
Tip: If you’re not flying first class (where alcoholic drinks are free), you can bring your own as long as they’re in 3.4 oz. bottles and under 70% alcohol.
Champagne Carry-On Cocktail Kit
W&P Designs - $25

Gourmet Gum

holiday air travel tips
When you're flying, there’s no way to get rid of the ear popping caused by the change in altitude. Chewing can gum help. Sure you could pick up some basic bitch gum in mint or cinnamon, but why when you can chew gourmet gum? Project 7 makes delicious flavors like champagne dreams, s’mores, birthday cake, Girl Scout cookies, churro, pumpkin spice, and cotton candy. These are all available at Target.
Champagne Gum
Project 7 - $1.19

Don't Forget...

Reading glasses, contacts, prescriptions, keys, ATM/credit cards, important phone numbers, and a change of underwear (especially if you have a layover).

What Not To Carry-On

All your makeup: Pack the basics in your carry-on and leave the big and bulky stuff for your suitcases.
Liquids or Gels Larger Than 3.4 Ounces: TSA has a 3-1-1 liquids rule, which means you’re only allowed to have one quart-sized clear plastic bag.
Heavy books; or anything that is heavy for that matter.
Scissors, weapons, nail clippers, anything flammable (duh!) Here’s a list of what you can and can’t bring courtesy of TSA.

More Holiday Air Travel Tips

Check to see if Wifi is available and buy a day pass before you leave home.
Through your airline set up flight notifications for yourself and for whoever is picking you up. This way you’ll both know ahead of time if there are any changes to to your flight.
Download your boarding pass to your phone but still print out a copy to have as backup. You can do this by downloading the airline’s app. After you check-in the passes will be sent to your wallet in your phone.
If you’re a part of an airline loyalty program, arrive at the airport at least 2 hours prior to takeoff and get on standby. This way you’ll have a better chance of scoring a first class seat. Even if you’re not a part  of one, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Have a short layover with a connecting flight? Check the airport map to see how far away you are from the connecting gate and the best route to get there.
Choose your seats right after you book your trip. You can also use Seat Guru to find which seats are the best based on customer reviews.
 Editor’s note: Holiday Air Travel Tips is and updated version of last years article Carry-On 101 with new and improved travel essentials and travel hacks.
Kristie

Kristie

My life consists of writing, shopping, music, spending time with my boyfriend, working out, traveling and macaroons from Bottega Louie.

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