Our Editor’s Picks: What to pack for your flight

Putting the right things in your carry-on bag can make a big difference. - Photo by Thinkstock

Cruising may be better than ever … but flying? Well, it’s just not as much fun as it used to be. Here’s what you’ll find in my carry-on bag to help make the journey a little more comfortable:

Spring Green Wrap

Wraps are useful at sea and in the air.
Photo by Chilly Jilly

It's a wrap

I love to travel with a shawl because it’s so diverse — it can keep me warm on a chilly evening and dress up an outfit on formal nights. On my flight, I use it as a blanket, fold it into a pillow, or cover my seat with it. Choose a dark color so you don’t have to get it dry-cleaned often. 


TrueLemon comes in little packets.
Photo by TrueCitrus

Liquid Gold

It’s easy to get dehydrated on flights if you’re not paying attention — and just as easy to end up with sugary sodas and juices. I keep packets of crystallized  lemon juice in my bag so I can get bottled water at the terminal or in flight and mix it myself. I find I drink more that way. TrueLemon.com; from $4.

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle
Photo by Amazon.com

Book It

For decades, I took what I thought would be plenty of books — and always just a tad more than my suitcase could handle — and then panicked when I finished the last one before hopping on the flight home. Now, with e-books, you can load up your Kindle™ reader or iPad® tablet with more books than you could ever carry — and you’ll never get stuck buying the “mystery of the month” at the airport again. Kindle.com; from $69.

Bose noise-canceling-headphones

Bose noise-canceling headphones
Photo by Bose

Sounds good to me

My noise-canceling headphones are great for when noisy people are sitting near me, and they do double-duty when I want to watch an in-flight movie. Tip: I have the over-ear ones, but the in-ear ones take up a lot less space in your bag. Bose.com; from $300.

Box of dried fruits

Dried fruit travels well.
Photo by Thinkstock

Snack Packs

After decades of food writing, I’m picky about food, and there’s nothing worse to me than getting stuck with what’s for sale by my gate or — even worse — on the plane. I like to keep high-quality dried fruit (Turkish apricots, Medjool dates) and granola bars in my carry-on.


Pack a salad.
Photo by Thinkstock


For longer flights, I pick up a sandwich, cheese tray, or salad on the way to the airport. Or, if I have extra time the night before, I pack fresh fruit, nuts, crackers, and single-serving spreads (like Nutella, soft cheese, or almond butter) for an in-flight picnic.

Belkin Rockstar 5-way headphone splitter

Belkin Rockstar 5-way headphone splitter
Photo by Belkin

... and a movie

All too often, the in-flight movie is no blockbuster. Better safe than sorry: Pack a laptop and a couple DVDs so you can watch something you know you’ll like. My husband and I take a headphone splitter so we can watch the movie together; this is a great solution for families traveling with children, too. Belkin.com; from $15.

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What do you pack to ease the pain of flying?

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