Thu. Sep 28th, 2023
A flight attendant shares her top 10 items to always pack

Summer travel is still in full swing, with many people trying to fit in with epic vacations before school starts again. If it’s been a minute since you’ve been on vacation, it’s understandable to feel a little rusty about the whole thing — and what you’ll need.

Quick overview

  • Stylish and efficient

    TOTWO laptop backpack for travel

  • organizational system

    AmazonBasics Travel Organizer Cubes Set of 4

  • Small antiseptic

    Lysol To Go Disinfectant Spray

  • In-flight hydration

    Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Moisturizing Roll-On Stick

  • Protein on the go

    88 Acres Granola Bars

  • Extra power

    portable charger ball

  • Get ready to hook up

    Newvanga travel adapter

  • sleep well

    Jimoo Natural Silk Pillowcase

  • Pashmina ready for packing

    Riiqichy pashmina shawl wrap

  • Double-duty puffer coat

    Weatherproof puffer jacket / travel neck pillow

See 5 more

No problem. We enlisted a true expert in the field—a former flight attendant with many miles under her belt—to help. Sakkara Barnwell has traveled to 14 countries across 4 different continents, and has some serious experience when it comes to goods that can make or break a trip.

Whether you’re visiting your mom in Florida, heading to a national park or taking the Europe vacation of your dreams, you’ll benefit from her wisdom and product selection below.

So pack your hand luggage, fasten your seat belts and use these trip-diversion tips!

Packing colleagues


The large capacity backpack has several functional pockets and compartments to keep your belongings well organized while on the go.

$30 at Amazon

With restrictions on carry-on size, it can be difficult to find the perfect personal bag for trips. But our experts may have perfected it here: Totwo Travel Laptop BackpackBarnwell’s favorite travel bag. “It has convenient laptop storage, a dedicated space for easy access to a portable charger, and pockets, pockets, pockets!” Says. “This is the perfect way to pack a lot and keep it organized.”


A travel lover’s secret weapon against bag clutter, this set comes with four cubes of different sizes.

$24 at Amazon

Barnwell depends on packing cubes To keep the inside of her bag organized. Packing cubes provide a place for everything and keep everything in its place. The large cube size, at just over 17 inches long, is just right for holding (and merging) a pile of clothes. The smallest of them can trap randoms like charging wires. It’s a much better use of the bag drug. Plus, the cubes dump So Much easier! “Everything (stays) compact and organized and does it in a neat way… No more (packing items in) Ziplocs for me!” says Barnwell.

Trip essentials


This travel size disinfectant spray comes in a pack of four.

$8 at Amazon

Using sanitizer is a simple way to reduce stress while traveling in 2023 (or anytime, in fact). For ease and convenience, Barnwell recommends Lysol to go. “I trust airlines maintain optimal hygiene, but what if they miss a spot?” says Barnwell. For every stain – even smooth surfaces – there’s Lysol!


“I am totally obsessed with this lotion!” Rave Barnwell. “Airplanes are the driest in the cabin. Add to that frequent hand washing and you’re left with dry, gray hands. Your skin will inevitably suffer.” To combat this cycle, Barnwell trusts Palmer’s Cocoa Butter. “Palmer’s keeps my skin silky smooth, hydrated all day long and as a bonus, it smells absolutely amazing!” These small, travel-sized pieces are perfect for your purse, purse, or backpack.


These bars are made with simple ingredients to lock in the nutrition: a blend of organic sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and flaxseeds.

$25 at Amazon

Nutritious snacks are important for maintaining stamina through the stresses of airport navigation, layovers, rental car lines and whatever else your flight throws at you. Barnwell’s favorite: 88 Acres Granola Bars. “They have simple ingredients, great flavors, 6 grams of protein in each, and they’re individually packaged so I don’t have to touch them to eat them.” (You know, in case you didn’t get a chance to wash your hands at that moment.) “An added bonus is that they don’t contain nuts or gluten, so you don’t have to worry about irritating anyone.” Smart when you’re seated closer to your fellow passengers.


“Nothing is worse than getting to the airport and not being able to access your perfectly curated Spotify playlist because my phone is dying… well, nothing but getting off the plane and having to run for outlets so you can charge enough to order an Uber!” Barnwell says. We can relate. To stay worry-free before, during, and after your trip, make sure you’re ready with a file Mobile phone charger full of juice like this.

This model can fully charge any phone at least 4 times or iPad 2.5 times! It fits easily in your handbag and can also charge two phones simultaneously, so your travel companion can get a little boost, too.

Destination necessities


This adapter can be used in more than 150 countries.

$15 at Amazon

As you probably know, many countries have different outlets than the United States does (much like how everyone else uses the metric system). Barnwell is always ready with her Universal adapter. “Realizing you can’t plug in your hair dryer or cell phone when you get to another country…not cool. This universal adapter fits all the sockets in the world and keeps your phone from frying! I never leave the country without one.” This is arguably the most important item on this entire list!


Made from natural silk, this smooth and soft cloth won’t absorb oil from your face so it stays damp.

$20 at Amazon

Keep your hair and skin happy for the duration of your stay with a Natural silk cushion coverWhich Barnwell swears by. Hotel mattresses tend to be hard and irritating to my face. This lightweight silk pillowcase keeps my curls at bay! Since you’ll be spending a third of your flight (and your life) napping, we recommend getting a couple of these to make every minute amazing.


Carry comfort wherever you go with this extra large soft scarf.

$18 at Amazon

With limited packing space—especially if you’re trying to pack light—the versatility items are treasures. Right pashmina He can make or break a trip. “It’s big enough as a little blanket when the plane’s cold. It’s a shawl when I’m in more conservative country. It’s a scarf that keeps me warm on chilly nights. And just in case, it can serve as a lounge on the beach,” Barnwell shares. She loves this fringed pashmina option for its versatility and style.


Lightweight, packable and the perfect layering piece for cooler destinations that does double duty as a pillow.

$70 at Amazon

Speaking of versatile items, MacGyver will be at your destination with this one Packable travel neck pillow / puffer jacket. “This was a definite game-changer for me,” Barnwell said. “Your neck pillow fits snugly on an airplane so it stays tidy.” They are well suited for hiking or sporting hikes where temperatures can be unpredictable.

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