If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, SPY.com may receive an affiliate commission.
As a former flight attendant, my husband is always well packed and seemingly prepared for any turn of events when we travel for leisure, especially when it comes to long flights.
I often envy how he manages to have a compact bag while still having everything he needs — along with all things I didn’t know I needed as well.
I, on the other hand, used to pack everything under the sun. You know, just in case. This haphazard packing method often resulted in a disaster of several bags I couldn’t handle on my own. That is, until I started taking a page out of his book and learning from his meticulous packing skills and ability to have everything you need — nothing more and nothing less.
Let me start by saying that my husband and I are definitive opposites when it comes to most things. He enjoys more structure and naturally leans into organization. I prefer to color outside the lines, tend to go with the flow, and yes, you guessed it, pack my luggage at the last minute.
Needless to say, the first lesson that I had to learn was preparation. Preparation is key when it comes to travel and when you can’t prepare, it’s helpful to at least have a routine or method of packing in place.
Due to the nature of their work, flight attendants are always, at least partially, packed and ready to go when duty calls. This is something that my husband has meticulously adopted into his personal life. His motto is literally: “stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready.”
While this may not be as feasible for someone who only travels on occasion, adopting a packing method using organization tools and travel hacks such as packing cubes and pre-packing your toiletry bag can be extremely helpful when it’s time to pull out your suitcase. Thoughtful packing also ensures that you’ll have essentials that you may not typically think of such as ear plugs, neck pillows, eye masks, and in-flight entertainment.
I asked my husband for some tips on becoming a more organized traveler, especially for long-haul flights, and got some much-needed advice on important products that you should always have when traveling.
1. Packing Organizers
Organizers are an integral part of simplified packing. Items like packing cubes and toiletry bags give you a place for all of your clothing and grooming products, allowing you to put your hand on these items at a moment’s notice. Organizers also allow you to group things like toiletries together and store them for subsequent vacations meaning that packing for your next trip will be easier than ever.
Compression Packing Cubes for Travel
Packing cubes aren’t quite a necessity but, boy, do they help you stay organized. These little zippered pouches are great for separating and organizing items such as underwear, socks, pants, and tops. I’ve even used them to plan entire outfits so I don’t have to go pairing things or figuring out which top goes with which pair of pants later on. As the name states, these cubes compress down to reduce wasted space and also make it easy to unpack when you reach your destination. Simply pull them out and have all of your like garments together in one spot so you won’t be rummaging through your suitcase to find what you need.
Read More: The Best Travel Accessories in 2022
ZEEMO Toiletry Bag
A fully equipped toiletry bag is a must when it comes to traveling. If you don’t already have one, you need to invest in a good one ASAP. It is literally a lifesaver and will help keep you organized and stocked with all of the things that you need for an overnight stay. A toiletry bag like this can stay packed and ready to go at all times. Keep it filled with supplies such as a travel toothbrush, toothpaste, travel-sized shampoo and conditioner, bandages, contact solution, cotton swabs, and other daily necessities, and keep it in your suitcase so all you have to do is pack your clothing.
Lermende TSA Approved Toiletry Bag, 3pcs
Need to pack supplies in your carry-on? Then, you’re going to want to keep one of these clear toiletry bags handy. In it, you can pack some TSA-sized toiletries as well as other things you may need to use on the plane like a sleep mask or hand sanitizer. Compact and easy to pack in your bag, they are see-through for seamless airport screening.
2. Grooming, Health & Wellness
Self-care is a priority at all times, but even more when you’re flying on a long trip. From the hustle and bustle of security to the cramped and uncomfortable conditions, it’s important that you make your seating area as cozy as possible. You’ll also want to be sure that you’re packed with must-have necessities like a toothbrush, eye mask, travel pillows, as well as a mini first aid kit just in case you need a bandage or antibiotic ointment on your vacation.
Philips One by Sonicare Rechargeable Toothbrush
When packing, it can be easy to forget one of the most important grooming products: a toothbrush. Keeping one, like this Philips One by Sonicare, packed in your toiletry bag is a simple way to prevent this mishap. Philips One rechargeable toothbrush is just wonderful all around. It has a battery life of up to 30 days and comes with a travel case and USB charger for when you need to power up. The sleek and lightweight design makes it perfect for any toiletry bag. Toss it into your travel bag to ensure it’s always with you when flying.
Copper Fit Energy Unisex Compression Socks
When traveling on long-haul flights it’s easy for your feet and legs to become susceptible to gravitational edema. Gravitational edema occurs when you’ve been sitting too long and the fluid in your body begins pooling into your feet. While the condition is typically nothing to be concerned about, it can be uncomfortable and unsightly. Luckily, you can combat the issues with a pair of compression socks. Tuck these into your travel bag or toiletry bag and hop off the plane feeling great.
Mavogel Cotton Sleep Eye Mask
A light-blocking sleep eye mask is definitely a necessity on long flights. This one from Mavogel features a bendable cartilage design that effectively blocks lights coming from the nose area. it’s made with five layers of breathable fabric, making it soft and comfortable to wear.
Alpine FlyFit Airplane Pressure Relief Earplugs
Block out plane noise, the sounds of your fellow passengers, and alleviate ear pressure while traveling with a pair of earbuds. They’re great for moments when you just need peace and quiet or want to sleep, reducing ambient noise with ease. Alpine FlyFit Filters also regulate pressure created by changes in altitude like a valve so you won’t experience pain while taking off or landing. Made of reusable hypoallergenic material, they are sustainable and designed without silicone. Toss these pressure-reliving earbuds into your carry-on toiletry bag for easy access while in flight.
BCOZZY Neck Pillow for Travel
The Bcozzy New Pillow will help you sleep comfortably in any position, even if you’re in the undesired middle seal. It provides doubled support, allowing you to sleep with your head tilted to the front, side, or front and side together. it is lightweight and comes with a carry case with a loop that clips onto your luggage.
Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer, 8-Pack
It goes without saying that airports and airplanes are some of the filthiest places on earth. And with viruses popping up left and right, you’re going to want to protect yourself from germs with an effective hand sanitizer like this 8-pack from Purell. These 1-ounce sanitizers meet TSA standards and can easily fit into your toiletry bag or backpack so you can clean your hands whenever needed.
3. In-Flight Entertainment
Flying long distances can get really boring fast, which is why it’s important to have entertainment options such as headphones, tablets, and books or magazines to keep you entertained. While most airlines offer onboard WiFi, it is sometimes unpredictable and difficult to try to stream using it. That said, be sure to download your music and movies before taking off.
iPad 9 (2021)
First released in Fall 2021, the iPad 9 comes with an A13 Bionic Chip and a large 10.2-inch screen, allowing you to download and watch all of your favorite TV shows and movies while in flight. It comes with an 8MP Wide back camera, 12MP Ultra Wide front camera, beautiful retina display, stereo speakers, and Touch ID.
Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones
Looking for a pair of headphones with long battery life for your next flight? Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones are the only answer. They offer 30-hour battery life with quick charging, and when we say quick charging, we mean 3 minutes of charging will give you 3 hours of playback time quick charging. Designed with industry-leading noise cancellation, you’ll instantly block out background noise while intuitive touch control settings allow you to easily pause, play, skip tracks, control volume, and answer phone calls. These headphones also automatically pause when they are removed and restart when put back on.
4. Power Adapters
I think can only think of a few things worse than you’re phone dying while you’re away from home and have no charger. That said, you’re definitely going to want to stay powered up when traveling long distances so it’s a must to keep power adapters on hand to make sure your phone, tablets, headphones, and other devices are ready to use. These power strips and portable chargers will be a total Godsend while on your flight, at the airport, and in your hotel.
Anker USB Travel Power Strip
You’re going to be grateful to have this travel power strip when traveling throughout airports and hotels, especially if you’re working remotely. It features three AC outlets and three USB ports so you’re able to power all of your devices at once. Measuring less than 2 ½ cubic inches, it tucks nicely into your travel bag without taking up too much space.
Anker PowerCore 13000 Portable Charger
Keep your in-flight entertainment powered up with a portable charger like this one from Anker. It can charge an iPhone 8 up to five times, an iPhone X or Samsung Galaxy S9 three times, or an iPad Air 2 once. Lightweight and compact, it fits into your bag easily, delivering high-powered charging when you need it most.
European Travel Plug Adapter
Traveling to Europe? You’re going to want to keep this US to Europe plug adapter in your bag. Compatible with China, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Hungary, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Netherlands, Turkey, Iceland, Italy, Austria, Finland, and more, this EU power adapter has a phone holder on the top to secure your phone while charging. This flight attendant must-have additionally features 4-in-1 input, offering two USB and two AC ports to charge up to 4 devices simultaneously.