Life·9 min read

13 Essentials to Pack When You Need to Fly

Skimm Picks Flying Guide Header
Design: theSkimm | Photo: Dagne Dover, Uncommon Goods, Day Owl
Mar 3, 2022

This post was originally published in June 2020 and has been updated.

If it's been a while since you've seen the inside of an airport and you're concerned about traveling as safely as possible, it's important to be prepared. So let’s talk about the basics. Like packing hand sanitizers, tissues, disinfectant wipes, and a mask. These items are a must. 

But there are also products that’ll help you, well, touch fewer things. And make the whole experience easier. So while you’re focused on getting from point A to B, we’re here to set you up for travel success. 

For more info, check out tips from the CDC before you book a flight. 

A travel neck pillow because leaning your head against your hand is no longer an option…

This one will provide support, but can be rolled into a ball once your flight is over. It’s also lightweight, so adding it to your carry-on will be no big deal. To clean, just remove the cover and wash. Sweet dreams. ($60, Uncommon Goods)

Buy it


A TSA-approved pouch for when you want lip balm, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes close by…

Say hi to your in-air travel buddy. This pouch is clear, making airport security and quick grabs a breeze. No rummaging necessary. Especially while the seatbelt sign is on. ($7.99+, Amazon)

Buy it


A carry-on with lots of pockets…

Enter: one bag that can hold everything. Literally. It’s got a shoe bag, laptop sleeve, key leash, exterior phone pocket, and mesh pouch. Oh, and a luggage sleeve. And it’s made from durable neoprene. Impressive. ($110+, Dagne Dover)

Buy it


Silicone bags for packing all your fave snacks…

These are leakproof so you can pack fruit, chips, and nuts. Or candy and chocolate if that’s more your style. Either way, they’ll keep food fresh until you decide to eat. Dig in. ($25.97+, Amazon)

Buy it


A KN95 mask to keep yourself and others protected…

Don’t forget it. Wearing a mask during a flight is a must. This one is four-ply and fluid-resistant. High-stretch ear loops and an adjustable nose bridge will keep you extra comfy. Do good, stay safe. ($29.99/20 pack, Blue Bear Protection)

Buy it


A no-touch door opener to keep your hands germ-free…

Consider it the new alternative to using your hands. This keychain is shaped to fit around door handles and can be used on ATM keypads and elevator buttons. Aka  your new go-to tool you can always keep in your purse. ($4.50+, S3Holding via Etsy)

Buy it


A travel cup for when you wanna stay hydrated while up in the air...

This bottle is collapsible and made of durable silicone. It’s dishwasher-safe and easy to tote around. Boom. ($25, Food52)

Buy it


A tray-table pocket cover for your traveling library…

BYOP. Bring-your-own-pocket. This one attaches to the tray table and can hold all the belongings you want mid-flight. Breathe a sigh of relief because you won’t need to touch the seat in front of you. Phew. ($24.95, Amazon)

Buy it


A foldable tray table perfect for in-flight snack time…

Let’s be clear: Snack time is a must. Especially if you’re flying with kiddos. This travel tray has raised sides so no grape goes tumbling off if you hit turbulence. No snack left behind. ($35.99, Amazon)

Buy it


A flexible tech stand that can be molded to fit your phone or tablet…

When you wanna watch a movie to help pass the time, you’ll be able to stay hands-free. Just fold, place, and get streaming. Time to sit back and relax. ($9.75, Amazon)

Buy it


A vaccine card holder that will protect all your important documents…

Time to keep the travel essentials all in one place. This holders double as a passport case so you can easily access your vaccination card while you travel. There's also extra room cash and credit cards. We're obsessed with the rose gold one. Let’s fly. ($9.99, Amazon)

Buy it


A tech organizer to keep your accessories all together…

This pouch will keep everything in one place: wires, adapters, and random must-haves like lip balm. So you don’t have to fumble while the seatbelt sign is on. ($29, Day Owl)

Buy it


A foot hammock that hangs from the back of a seat…

Plane chair or comfy recliner? This hammock is made of plush memory foam, so it’ll feel like your feet are resting on comfy pillows. So you can catch some extra Zzz’s…and prevent lower back pain, muscle stiffness, and leg swelling. Just adjust the straps, hang, and place your feet in the footrest. Time to count some sheep. ($19.99, Amazon)

Buy it





PS: These are editorially selected, but if you purchase, theSkimm may get something in return. PPS: If something’s out of stock, oops, it was there when we published. And we apologize for any shipping delays due to COVID-19. Thanks.


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