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19 Items to Pack in Your Carry-On for Every Flight

From cute passport holders to iPhone power banks to no-mess makeup remover, we've rounded up a packing list of 19 must-have essentials to stow in your personal item carry-on—no matter what destination you're bound for next. Don't get on the plane without them!

Style + Travel Editor | Instagram @jackiehoman |

See recent posts by Jackie Homan & Siobhan Reid



First thing’s first: the personal item-sized bag that will fit the essentials below. We’re all for maxing out our carry-on allowance, and that’s where a spacious, durable backpack proves invaluable. Our go-to: this simple, streamlined pick from STATE Bags. It’s roomy enough to fit everything you’ll need by your side on the plane, and it comes with three pockets and a 17″ laptop sleeve.

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Compression Socks

If you’ve ever walked barefoot through airport security, you know the importance of having a backup pair of socks in your carry-on. On long flights, experts recommend compression socks, which boost circulation and help prevent swelling and blood clots—plus keep your toes nice and toasty in chilly airplane cabins.

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Sometimes, a great concealer and cooling eye gel just won’t hide the effects of a long-haul flight. In those cases, we like to hide behind a pair of dark, oversized sunglasses like these ones from Warby Parker.

RELATED: 18 Essentials You Should NEVER Forget to Pack for a Trip

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Passport Holder

There’s no hard evidence to suggest that a bright, colorful passport holder will reduce your chances of leaving behind your passport on a plane. But given just how fetching this flamingo print is, we’re willing to hedge our bets.

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Eye Mask

We might travel constantly, but falling soundly asleep on a plane remains a talent that has somehow eluded us. Still, an eye mask can go a long way by canceling out harsh light and other distractions. This adorable option from Slip is made from 100% silk and provides complete eye coverage without pinching behind the ears.

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Water Bottle

One easy way to invest in your health and the environment when you travel: use a stainless steel water bottle. There are plenty of great options out there, but our personal fave is this Aurora-inspired pick from S’well. It’ll keep your beverage cold for 24 hours and hot for 12, and it’s non-toxic and non-leaching.

RELATED: What to Pack for a Beach Vacation

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Of course there’s always Instagram, but when it comes to documenting a trip in all of its small, wondrous details, nothing compares to an old-fashioned notebook. This design from Promptly Journals includes meaningful prompts to guide you along the way.

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Cheek and Lip Stain

The cold, recycled air of airplanes is a major complexion-killer. Get your glow back by reaching for a multitasking stain like the Aura from Vapour. Its blendable, pigmented formula adds a pop of color to your lips and cheeks, making you look instantly refreshed on the go.

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Mini Purse

Don’t be the person holding everyone else up as you search for your boarding pass in the bottomless pit of your purse. Instead, sling a small, chic number across your shoulders so that you’ll have all the necessities—passport, wallet, ID—ready at a moment’s notice. We’re crushing on this mini crossbody from Italian brand Furla—it comes in tons of fun colors.

RELATED: The 15 Best Designer Beach Bags to Buy Now

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Neck Pillow

The revolutionary Trtl travel pillow keeps your head in an upright position while you snooze against its hidden internal support system. Half the size of an ordinary U-shaped pillow, it’ll fit right into your under-seat carry-on bag.

RELATED: The Travel Pillow You Need for Your Next Flight

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Under-Eye Mask

We’ve all seen those pics of celebrities donning sheet masks while traveling. But the reality is, economy class and a sopping wet face mask don’t exactly mix. We like to reap the benefits of the in-flight beauty phenomenon by opting for a foolproof under-eye mask instead. Our tried-and-trusted favorite is Tatcha’s Luminous Deep Hydration Revitalizing Eye Mask. It contains Okinawa red algae, honeysuckle, and peony extracts to combat puffiness and dark circles.

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Between engine noise and crying babies, there’s no question that a powerful pair of headphones is a travel must. This chic beige Pampas pair from Urbanears blends style and sound like nothing we’ve ever seen (or heard!) before. The over-ear model was designed for comfort during extra-long listening sessions, and the battery life is set to match—you can listen wirelessly for over 30 hours on a single charge.

RELATED: You Won’t Believe These Noise-Canceling Headphones Are Under $100

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Portable Phone Charger

The deficit of electrical outlets in airports is a major problem, one that is not likely to be solved in the immediate future. For the time being, make do with this lipstick-sized portable charger from Anker. The design is compact as can be, and the power bank has a 3350 mAh battery to provide one full charge for most iPhones.

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Makeup Removing Wipes

If sleeping in your makeup is the ultimate beauty no-no, sleeping in your makeup on an airplane is practically sinful. Not only can it cause acne, plugged follicles, and a lackluster complexion, it can also lead to eye infections and premature aging. To avoid these unwanted side effects, cleanse your skin before your flight with these travel-friendly wipes from Skinfood, available at Soko Glam. They’re packed with nourishing rice bran water that brightens and refreshes skin.

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Hand Sanitizer

To put in mildly, planes are icky. Keep the germs at bay with Elyptol, a hand sanitizer gel that uses natural ingredients—eucalyptus oil and naturally-sourced pure ethanol—to kill up to 99.99% of bacteria and fungi.

RELATED: 20 Things You’re Going to Want to Buy on Amazon This Month

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Travel Wrap

Even in summer months (or on warm-weather destination routes), planes can feel freezing—and there’s nothing worse than shivering for 10 hours on a long-haul trip. Pack one of White + Warren’s cult-favorite travel wraps in your carry-on so that it’s by your side in case the temps drop.

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Dry Shampoo

For an instant refresher once you land, spritz on some of Amika’s Perk Up dry shampoo. It absorbs oil with zero chalky residue and leaves strands shiny, soft, and ready to take on the day.

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Jet Lag Remedy

Call it placebo effect if you want, but over 1,000 Amazon reviewers say that these homeopathic jet lag prevention tablets really work. Made with just five all-natural ingredients, the supplement is designed to combat fatigue, disorientation, dehydration, lack of concentration, and other side effects of long-haul travel.

RELATED: 5 Super Affordable Jet Lag Remedies on Amazon

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We love hardcover books as much as the next guy, but when it comes to travel, an e-reader just makes more sense. Lightweight and waterproof, the new Kindle Paperwhite keeps you ready to read wherever you are. Need a book rec? Right now, we’re loving Educated by Tara Westover and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

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Outfits to Pack for Your Next Trip

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