Get ready for takeoff! Flight attendants share their go-to travel products

·4 min read

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Travel-sized garment steamer, pink suitcase, black packing cubes, black purse, blue sleeping mask
Never leave home without these flight attendant-approved travel essentials. (Photos: Amazon, Away, Herschel, Nordstrom)

With flights back to full capacity, travel restrictions lifted and summer vacations on the way, you may already be dreaming about your next travel destination. But before you can touch down in paradise, there's a list as long as a CVS receipt of things to pack and do before you jet off. We talked to the people who have literally made flying their job — flight attendants — to get their expert recommendations.

With 10 years of experience as a private flight attendant, Cindy Kowalewski has traveled to 100 countries including Seychelles, Myanmar, Maldives, Slovenia and many more.

Valerie Fraser is an in-flight crew member, photographer and foodie who catalogs the best dishes for every layover and leisure trip on her secondary Instagram account @flightattendantfoodie.

Now let's get ready for takeoff with their tried-and-true must-haves.

In-Flight Essentials

Bucky 40 Blinks Eye Mask in blue with Velcro strap
The molded foam won't smear your makeup or leave behind creases. (Photo: Amazon)

"My must pack items are an inflatable neck pillow, Mack’s Dreamgirl earplugs, a big warm scarf that can double up as a blanket, and a sleeping mask. I love Bucky 40 Blinks Eye Masks, because they have molded cups, cute colors and patterns, and are so comfortable," says Kowalewski.

$12.50 at Amazon

Tube of La Rocke Posay double repair face moisturizer shown with smear of cream behind it.
The ceramides in this cream will help your skin retain moisture. (Photo: Amazon)

"Flying can dehydrate your skin like no other, so I have to have a good lotion on hand," says Fraser. "One of my favorites is from La Roche Posay."

$20 at Amazon

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask
This hydrating lip mask smells like berries.

"I always bring a hydrating lip balm when I fly. A flight attendant friend just gifted me the Laneige lip sleeping mask and I really like it," Kowalewski says.

$22 at Sephora

Hoka One One Mach 4 Running Shoe in mint green with light gray sole.
Fun colors make simple outfits appear trendier. (Photo: Nordstrom)

"I always pack: extra underwear in case of delays, a swimsuit for sunny destinations and a pair of leggings, so I can run downstairs at a hotel without putting on a full outfit. I also make sure to pack a comfortable pair of sneakers for walking," says Fraser.

$130 at Nordstrom

Chi Steam Handheld Garment Steamer that is black and has gold steam vents toward the top and a power button in the center.
Get wrinkle-free duds from a tool that's about as small as a curling iron! (Photo: Amazon)

"I keep a mini steamer in my bag when I travel, because hotel irons aren’t the best," Kowalewski says.

$49 at Amazon

Rag & Bone Straw Panama Hat in white with black band above the brim.
This hat comes in two sizes so you can find the best fit for your noggin. (Photo: Nordstrom)

"When you’re really on the go, Panama style hats can hide a lot of things—especially that unwashed, messy hair—and will still make your outfit look fab! Rag & Bone has an exceptional one," says Kowalewski. For a more affordable option, try Nordstrom's $39 version (It comes in three colors!).

$230 at Nordstrom

Black floral soft nylon zippered cube with mesh top.
This set of three packing cubes will keep all your clothing organized within your suitcase. (Photo: Herschel)

"I really love my Herschel packing cubes. The set I have comes with a wet bag too, which is perfect for when I have a bathing suit that didn’t dry completely," Fraser says.

$40 for three at Herschel

Longchamp Large Le Pliage Tote
This bag rolls up for easy storage or packing.

"For an everyday travel bag, I cannot live without my Longchamp. It’s water proof — and with travel something always explodes in my purse — so it’s easy to clean up," Kowalewski says. "Be sure to pack your carry-on with possible delays or detours in mind. Bring a snack, refillable water bottle, change of clothes and a great book."

$145 at Nordstrom

Light pink hard sided rolling Away Travel suitcase with black handle and wheels.
Key features of this bag are a built-in lock and removable USB charger. (Photo: Away)

"I love all the colors of Away luggage," says Kowalewski. "I have pink and it's easy to spot when it comes through the baggage carousal because it's unique. The lie-flat design and two compartments easily separate my clothes to stay organized."

$295 at Away

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

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