10 Travel Pros on the One Item They Never Board a Plane Without

Pack smarter.
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Whether you’re a veteran jet-setter or a “one big trip a year” type, you’ve probably established a travel routine of sorts: The outfit that promotes max levels of comfiness, the snacks for when plane food just won’t do, the movies/books/podcasts/word puzzles that are guaranteed to keep you occupied for the longer legs of a journey. 

For the lucky few who travel for a living, perfecting their up-in-the-air rituals is just a part of the job. They must have their regimens down to a science at this point, right? So we picked the brains of the most stylish explorers we know to get the scoop on the one thing they always have on hand.

A hydrating mask

Lifestyle and travel photographer Ana Linares counts on this ultra-nourishing and exfoliating face mask to keep her skin in check after a long flight. 

Selling point: “It gives me the perfect glow after a long flight and helps keep my skin hydrated. Plus, it’s packed with vitamins and antioxidants.” 

A towel-turned-blanket-turned-scarf

EAU CLUB’s founder Emily Bibb is all about practicality when it comes to her travel musts, and this naturally dyed, stone-washed linen towel fits the bill.

Selling point: “Aside from being the perfect beach towel, you can style it as a wrap, shawl, or travel blanket—and since it’s compact, it never leaves my bag!” 

A reusable water bottle

Here Magazine’s editor in chief Ally Betker is always on the go thanks to her role as the editorial director at Away, and this collapsible water bottle is always by her side.

Selling point: Hydration is key on long flights and busy work trips, and I love that this one is lightweight and doesn’t take up much space in Away’s Everywhere Bag (which I also never travel without!). Plus, 10 percent of que’s proceeds are donated to The Rainforest Trust, which acquires and protects land in the Peruvian Amazon forest.” 

Luxe hand cream

Who What Wear editor in chief Kat Collings combats dehydrated skin with a fragrant lotion that instantly recharges and moisturizes. 

Selling point: Fun fact: Humidity levels on planes are about half of what we’re used to, so it’s not your imagination that your skin feels more dried out than usual on a flight. I usually feel it the most on my hands, and as a consolation prize after using the horrible plane restroom, I like to re-moisturize with this luxurious hand cream. It has clean ingredients, appealing packaging, and smells divine.” 

Packing sleeves

Summersalt’s cofounder Reshma Chamberlin is on a plane nearly every week, traveling to far-flung locales such as India and Africa. She always has her first aid essentials with her: melatonin, Emergen-C, a W.H.O.-approved electrolyte formula, and some Indian herbal remedies for everything from an upset tummy to fatigue. To keep it all organized, Chamberlin stores her custom emergency kit in a compact set of packing sleeves. 

Selling point: They’re water-resistant, and if something spills inside them, it stays put and keeps the rest of my handbag from getting messy.”

A do-it-all ointment

Travel and lifestyle photographer Melissa Lee, who splits her time as a neuroscientist, knows that frequent trips can be really harsh on skin, especially when it comes to more sensitive areas like our lips. Lee was introduced to Lucas Papaw ointment by a friend and has been buying it in bulk ever since. Wherever she is, she applies it as a lip mask before she goes to bed.

Selling point: “It’s great as an everyday chapstick, but it also works well as an ointment for cuts, mosquito bites, burns—all those miscellaneous little bumps and scrapes that you can pick up when you’re out exploring.”

A reader on-the-go 

Travel blogger Lauren Wells spends a fair share of her time up in the air and she never goes anywhere without her e-reader.
Selling point: “While I do love the feel of a paperback, the Kindle makes bringing books along so much easier. And nothing says relaxation quite like a good book!”

Portable chargers

There’s nothing worse than running out of juice mid-trip, without a reliable power source in sight—hence why travel photographer Elena Shamis makes sure she always has one on hand.   

Selling point: As a content creator, I always need to make sure my phone is fully charged so I can capture stories for my Instagram. You never know when you’ll run out of battery, and not all planes are equipped with USB plugs.”


Dame Traveler’s founder Nastasia Yakoub never leaves home without a pocket notebook for writing out to-do lists and jotting down quick memories.

Selling point: My Rifle Paper pocket notebook comes in so many prints and colors and is light enough to throw in my bag without adding any extra weight.” 

Noise-canceling earbuds 

For Bon Traveler’s founder Jessica Wright, getting enough sleep to wake up well-rested at her destination is crucial. The Bose QuietComfort headphones are a game changer when it comes to catching z’s on long-haul flights.

Selling point: Some light music drowns out any background noise, so I can grab a few hours of sleep and land rested.”

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