9 Brilliant Packing And In-Flight Tips From Flight Attendants

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If you’re someone who looks forward to your trip but absolutely dreads packing your bags and enduring the actual flight to your destination, we have some tips that’ll change everything.

Everyone can benefit from some hacks from the pros themselves — in this case, flight attendants who travel for a living and know a thing or two about how to do it well.

HuffPost spoke to four flight attendants about their top travel tips, plus their beauty hacks and must-haves when traveling.

You need to use packing cubes.

Packing cubes and compression bags aren’t just a TikTok trend. They are, in fact, very useful, and flight attendants themselves recommend them.

“Compression bags will allow you to pack more and take up less space. They allowed me to fit three weeks of clothes for Europe in a carry-on!” said Liz, a flight attendant and TikTok creator known as @Wanderlizst.

“I always use packing cubes,” said flight attendant Serena Chew. “I bought a pack of six from Amazon. They help keep things organized and that allows me to pack more!” Chew also recommends rolling your clothes, to prevent wrinkles and maximize your space.

Check out our favorite packing cubes.

Get waterproof toiletry bags to avoid major leakage.

Imagine reaching your destination, ready to relax and explore, and opening your suitcase only to find a mysterious liquid all over your clothes.

Asimina Plessia, a VIP flight attendant and content creator, recommends a waterproof toiletry bag to avoid spillage.

Similarly, Liz uses zipper-seal bags for approved liquids, which will keep your belongings clean in case the difference in altitude causes them to leak.

Pack your valuables in your carry-on.

If you’ve ever had any issues with your suitcase being lost during a flight, you know how frustrating it can be.

Plessia and Chew both advise that you always keep your valuables in your carry-on. This may include any expensive bags, jewelry and of course money and personal documents. You may also want to pack a change of clothes, just in case your luggage is delayed.

Always pack an extra jacket in your carry-on.

To protect yourself from the cold air on airplanes, packing a very light, but warm, jacket will come in handy, said Plessia. Plus, you can use it at your destination, depending on the weather. Ultra-light down jackets are great, as they can be packed away in their little pouch and work well for layering.

Wear compression socks on the flight.

If you tend to experience swelling on your legs and feet after a flight, Liz suggested getting a pair of compression socks or tights. Apart from reducing swelling, they also help reduce the risk of blood clots during the flight.

This is particularly helpful on flights longer than five hours, where you are likely not moving around that much and the blood flow to your legs is reduced.

Note that, for certain conditions, simple compression socks won’t do — you will need prescription medical ones.

Chew recommends an aisle seat so you can get up and move during the flight and, once you reach your destination, “rest your legs up on a wall to help move around the lymphatic fluid for about 20-30 minutes.”

Pack your shoes separately.

People on TikTok often pack their dirty shoes with their clothes, which will easily make their items dirty and spread germs.

“Put your shoes in a dust bag, or just a plastic bag, to prevent them from dirtying your other things,” Liz said.

Pack an eye mask and earplugs.

Depending where you are flying to — and the time difference from your departing city — you may want to sleep. Plessia said she never travels without an eye mask and earplugs, and Liz highly recommends noise-canceling headphones to block out any noise.

Wear sunscreen on the plane.

UVA rays are way harsher while flying, so applying sunscreen before boarding the plane is vital. Keep your window shade closed, said Chew, and apply a strong sunscreen. If you are traveling at night, there is no need for sunscreen.

“My non-negotiable when it comes to skin care is a great sunscreen,” said flight attendant Benji Patterson. Liz agrees and recommends a good moisturizer with a high SPF to make up for the lack of humidity and protect your skin from the ultraviolet rays.

A final reminder that being kind goes a long way.

“Flight attendants aren’t paid during the boarding process, so kindness goes a long way — we know flying can get super frustrating but we are there to help when the airlines have caused any inconvenience,” Chew said.

Check out 25 more things that flight attendants say make travel more comfortable. See below!

HuffPost and its publishing partners may receive a commission from some purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently curated by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change.

A 3-in-1 foldable magnetic wireless charger

Promising review: “I’m a flight attendant, so I’m constantly on the look out for items that will make my travel days easier, but most importantly, LIGHTER. This by far has been the best investment. My phone, watch, and earbuds are all Apple and all work seamlessly with this product. The magnets are a slower charge then a normal charger, but being able to carry ONE item to charge three pieces of technology at once, is PRICELESS. It’s super easy to throw in my bag when I’m packing up and mindlessly easy to set up when I get to my layover. I would come back and buy this 10 times over again if I could!” — Lissette Nunez

A sturdy, lightweight eight-compartment pill organizer

Promising review: “Flight attendant–approved! These pill containers are simply amazing! The latch and seal on them is very secure due to its rubber gasket around the inside. I put my daily medications in each of the six smaller compartments on one side and then use the larger two containers for vitamins and supplements. I keep this in my tote bag for work and I am not concerned at all about it opening. I can’t tell you how many times some of the other pill boxes I used have opened up, tossing prescription medications into the smallest corners of my bag. Well-designed and well-executed!” — Christina S.

Amazon

A comfy, ergonomic Trtl neck pillow

It also easily attaches to backpacks and luggage handles, weighs less than half a pound, and is machine-washable. Available in four colors.

Promising review: “This is the best travel pillow ever. As a flight attendant, I travel all the time. This makes getting stuck in a middle seat palatable. I’ve used this in cars, planes, trains, etc; it’s great. In fact my sister was so jealous on our last trip to Italy that she kept trying to steal it off me. Ordered her one for Christmas.” — Amazon customer

A luggage drink caddy

Reviewers say it’s ideal for a suitcase that can roll on four wheels! If you have a suitcase that has to tilt while it rolls, just be careful if the drinks are open at the top. Available in 31 colors and other styles.

Promising reviews: “This cup holder is perfect! It helps me a lot! Last time I took a plane with a suitcase and a cup of coffee, when it’s my turn to check my passport and ticket, the coffee cup fell to the ground and coffee sprinkled. It was a nightmare! This time I bought this cup holder, and it did do me a favor! I don’t have to worry about where my cup and phone are! I can free my hands to do other things. I love it so much! Hope you love it too.” — Philip

“Great tool to keep your hands free. I’m a flight attendant and I love this, especially the [hook and loop fastened] ‘quick detachment.’ It’s the best! I had one before that just stretched over the handle and it was a PAIN! This one is great. There’s room for two large drinks and a slim pocket for phone or wallet. Many people see it and ask where I got my clever little caddy!” — Debra G

A TSA-friendly toiletries set

The set includes a zippered bag, four soft silicone bottles with leakproof caps, three compact jars, and two toothbrush caps. Available in 13 variations.

Promising review: “If it wasn’t for me forgetting them in the hotels, I wouldn’t have to buy more. This is my third set and I love these things! I’m a flight attendant and these are easy to fill, use, and pack!” — Raena Hill

Anker

A lightweight, compact, and high-speed portable charger

This highly rated slim option holds about 2.25 charges for iPhone 12, 1.6 charges for Galaxy S20, and 1.2 charges for iPad Mini 5 and comes with a Micro USB cable (to charge the charger) and a travel pouch.

Promising review: “Very handy! I’m a flight attendant and travel a lot. This has come in handy on the airplane and in the airport. Perfect size and lightweight.” — Rae

Amazon

A simple luggage strap to smaller bags or jackets

Promising review: “Definitely what I needed for my luggage as a flight attendant. Very heavy duty and perfect for me. Works great with my extra luggage and lunch bag to hang on my suitcase. Thank you so much. Will definitely buy again.” — Mary

Amazon

A carry-on friendly travel Gillette razor

It comes with one handle and one blade refill.

Promising reviews: “I am a flight attendant, and space is limited in my bag. This is a great product for your travel bag.” — Caitlin Hemphill

“I got this for a vacation and it was great! The little carrying container is awesome, and keeps you from having a weird, loose razor floating around in your suitcase. Plus, the heads are the same as a regular-sized razor, so you can keep using it when that one is worn out!” — Tegan H

A pack of four Apple AirTag trackers

When an item’s misplaced, the app will make the attached AirTag beep until it’s found. You can also attach it to your wallet, keys, pets, and more.

Promising review: “These are definitely worth the money. I put one in my flight attendant bag when ever I have to check it. I put one on my dog and the other on my keys. I was very impressed and surprised by how easy they were to set up. I would definitely invest in these if you have a child. There are keychains you can put them in and put them on their backpacks. 10/10 from me for these!” — Micky D

A popular, versatile off-the-shoulder jumpsuit

Available in sizes S–3X and 36 colors/patterns.

Promising reviews: “It is a favorite among our flight attendant group when we are traveling. We call ourselves the sisterhood of the traveling jumpsuit! I absolutely love it, it’s comfortable, inexpensive, easy one piece, dress up or dress down. I add a belt and it’s perfect! I am planning to purchase more colors!” — Floridagirl0611

A portable door lock

Promising review: “My best guy friend bought this for me and I love it. I’m a flight attendant and am in hotels 4–5 nights a week. Sometimes the ‘locks’ just don’t feel sturdy enough. This device gives me an extra layer of security and allows me to sleep at night. I keep it in my flight bag.” — Emilia Duren

An electronics organizer

Available in four colors and two sizes.

Promising review:

“I am a flight attendant and I LOVE this organizer! I keep my iPad, passport, cords, paperwork, and hand sanitizer in here. It keeps me organized! Definitely recommend to anyone who travels and needs to keep organized.” — amazonislife

A resealable travel-size pack of antibacterial wipes

This contains 20 packs of 10 wipes each.

Promising review:

“As a flight attendant I always need wipes. These small packs are great for putting in your purse and having on the go. The bundle pack is a great value.” — SJ1326

Amazon

A weighted sleep mask

Promising review: “I am a flight attendant and have a wild work schedule. I frequently have to sleep during the day. These are SO comfortable and cool as well. I have ordered and tried out at least 10 eye masks from Amazon and have found these to be the best. They are SO comfortable and do not have velcro on the straps, for which I am thankful, because I usually sleep on my back and am sensitive to the thickness of eye masks which have the Velcro straps.” — SW

Maitland Quitmeyer / BuzzFeed

A mini travel steamer

This mini steamer heats up in about 90 seconds and steams about five garments before needing to be refilled.

Promising review: “This steamer is very compact, easy to use, and well-made. I am a flight attendant so this has helped my life tremendously. I never even pick up an iron anymore. It works extremely well on my uniform and also just to get wrinkles out of my clothes while on layovers. The best part is that it doesn’t take up too much space in my bag. I hate ironing with a passion, so I am so glad that I found this product!” — Amazon customer

A mini, lightweight flat iron

It also comes with a heat-resistant pouch for easy carrying.

Promising review: “This fits perfectly in my toiletries travel bag that I take with me as a flight attendant. Anything that comes in a small size and still works well is perfect for me.” — Kathy S

A collapsible water bottle

It’s lead-, latex-, and BPA-free, dishwasher-safe, and can be used for hot or cold drinks. Available in eight colors.

Promising review: “Just what I was looking for! I’m a flight attendant and was looking for a collapsible water bottle that did not leak. I’ve had this for two weeks now and I love it! Easy to roll up, clean, and drink from.” — Selene Marie

Comrad Socks

A pair of super soft compression socks

Available in sizes S-XL, and many color/pattern combos.

Promising review:

“LOVE THESE SOCKS!! I’m a flight attendant and these have saved my legs.” — Henry L.

A jewelry organizer

Available in two sizes and nine colors.

Promising review:

“I am a flight attendant and am away from home for long periods at a time. This is perfect for traveling! It fits so many things, bracelets, necklaces, SO many earrings, rings, etc. that you will not have to worry about leaving behind your favorite pieces of jewelry because they don’t fit. I looked at many other travel jewelry holders before and this one is the best because it packs so much yet isn’t bulky. Honestly this is like my 5th bag from Bagsmart and I just love everything they have.” — Hope Ayala

Amazon

A compact, carry-on friendly portable espresso maker

It lets you use Nespresso pods and is totally hand-operated, with no battery or electricity needed.

Promising review: “I’m a flight attendant so I travel a lot and spent a lot of money on coffee when I wasn’t home with my Nespresso machine. This has been a GAME CHANGER. Very easy to use and clean. Very travel-friendly!” — Rikki

A reusable and collapsible coffee cup

It’s also microwave-safe! Note that the 12-ounce size does not include a straw, but both the 16-ounce and 24-ounce sizes do. Available in four sizes and in 23 colors.

Stojo is a small biz founded by three New York dads who wanted a better way to get their convenient coffee fix without all the waste. Now they make stylish collapsible essentials in a variety of sizes and colors, including bottles and food storage containers.

Promising review: “I love this cup — I am very glad I decided to get one as being a flight attendant I don’t always find paper cups in the hotel rooms and ewwww, don’t always want to have to clean a mug in the room. Having this is great! I like that it comes with a holder much like the cardboard ring that coffee shops provide — I always use it and it helps the cup be extra sturdy!” — AuthorEP

Abby Kass / BuzzFeed

A waterproof Kindle

Available in 16GB.

Promising review:

“Love it so far ! I am a flight attendant and I love to read so it’s so much easier to have a Kindle instead of carrying around multiple heavy books. The charge lasts what seems like an eternity. And I love that it’s waterproof because I leave to read while on the beach or by the pool.” —Tiffany

A pair of anti-nausea wristbands

To use, put them on both wrists. They help with nausea related to motion sickness, morning sickness, migraines, cramps, and more.

Promising reviews: “FLIGHT ATTENDANT–APPROVED! They work. In my experience, 100% of the time.” — Jessica

“I was skeptical about these but I was quickly all about them when I put them on. I get really motion sick when flying but this weekend I did not get motion sick at all during a four hour flight! I was even able to read my book for a while on the plane without sickness! I have never been able to do that before. I love these and they are now a must-have whenever I travel again. 10/10.” — Rosse

A USB-chargeable mini handheld fan

Promising review: “This is the best little fan ever! Three speeds of pure bliss! I’m a flight attendant and it gets very hot on the aircraft. This little dynamo works great. You can hold it in your hand or set it to stand hands free. It folds up to easily fit in your hand bag. Recharges quickly. Perfect for hot flashes also. Worth every penny!!!” — Mary C. Jones

Amazon

An assistive zipper puller attachment

Promising reviews: “This thing is great! If you have issues with the puller disconnecting, head to the directions, because you probably aren’t hooking it up correctly (I know this from experience). Zipuller saves my life on a weekly basis.” — MoniqueRamsey

I am a flight attendant. Our uniform dresses are so hard to zip up in a hotel room when you are by yourself. This is the best. It works wonderfully and is great quality. I would recommend this to anyone who isn’t a contortionist. Excellent product!!!!!” — L. ward



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