Tiny TSA-friendly products that will make your inflight experience more comfortable

Banu Ibrahim
April 10th, 2018

Story highlights

  • The right carry-on products can make long-haul flights more bearable
  • Our favorite essentials include hydrating skin care products and ergonomic pillows

Between cramped seats, dry air and noisy passengers, flying can be anything but an enjoyable experience. But if you have the right essentials in tow, like hydrating skin care products, a compact ergonomic neck pillow and noise-canceling headphones, long-haul journeys can be more bearable. Heck, they might even be straight-up comfortable.

The idea is to pinpoint what makes you uncomfortable during your flights and pick top-rated products that will help alleviate your pain points. Take, for example, the harsh fluorescent lighting. You can block it with a silk eye mask that will feel delicate on your eyes, while still being solid enough to keep out those annoying rays.

With spring and summer vacations on the horizon, this is the perfect time to prep your carry-on case to be full of ultrasoothing and comfortable essentials. And to help get your packing started, we've compiled a list of some of our favorite, top-rated products in the tech, clothing, skin care and lifestyle categories that fit the bill.

They come TSA-approved in size and weight, for easy and convenient transportation. Get ready to sit back and (seriously) relax on your next flight.

Note: The prices below reflect the retailer's listed price at the time of publication.

Slip Pure Silk Sleep Mask ($45; nordstrom.com)

Nothing gets in the way of some shut-eye like bright fluorescent lights. The simple solution is an eye mask that will block out those harsh lights. For extra comfort, consider a silk mask, like Slip's Pure Silk Sleep Mask. It's made of Slipsilk, a type of silk that was developed and refined over 10 years to help provide you with the best sleeping experience possible. It's the same material that's in Slip's top-rated M_LINK-1522956424492_438-M_LINK, which promises anti-aging benefits. Silk's fibers reduce friction, which ideally helps avoid stretching and tugging delicate skin. It not only will block out those pesky lights on planes, but will give your eyelids a first-class treatment while you catch some zzz's.

Travelrest Ultimate Memory Foam Travel Pillow ($32.95, originally $59.95; ebags.com)

Any frequent traveler knows just how handy a travel pillow can be. These ergonomically designed essentials help cradle your head and give you a sense of support in an otherwise stiff seat. That being said, not all travel pillows are created equal. One design that goes above and beyond is Travelrest's Ultimate Memory Foam Travel Pillow, which is made of sensitive memory foam that can provide support to your neck, shoulders and head. It also features a contoured shoulder cutout and a nonslip back to keep the headrest in place. It can easily compress into a tiny carrying case that fits in the palm of your hand, so you can save space for the more essential items, like your clothes and tech gadgets.

Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Canceling Headphones ($349.95; bose.com)

Standard headphones have nothing on active noise canceling ones. ANC pairs produce sound waves to cancel out incoming ones, ideally resulting in no external noise at all. That means while you're flying, the only thing you'll be hearing is your favorite movie or playlist, and not the noisy passengers around you. A gold standard of headphones is Bose QuietComfort 35, which is known as one of the better ANC pairs out there. This device is best known for its world-class noise cancellation that you can adjust based on three distinct levels. It's made of soft materials, so the headphones are super comfortable to wear for long periods, like international flights. The headphones have 20 hours of battery life, so you'll never have to worry about running low on battery even during your longest journeys. As an added bonus, the QuietComfort 35 now has Google Assistant built in, so that you can play music, receive texts and more, completely hands-free.

Patchology On the Fly Kit ($20; patchology.com)

Hydration is key when you're flying. That's because an aircraft's air filtration system can cause humidity to drop as low as from 10 to 20%. It's why your face and lips will suddenly feel parched. Although it may look a little silly to your fellow passengers, putting on a sheet mask can seriously improve how your skin looks and feels while you're in the air. That's because sheet masks trap moisture into your skin, allowing serums and other hydration products to seep in. They also help give you that immediate glow and illumination. We're fans of Patchology's On the Fly kit, as it features four distinct hydrating gels (two for your face, one for your undereyes and one for your lips) that need no more than a few minutes to work their hydration magic. When we tested the product, we were impressed with the immediate results as well as how long our skin retained the moisture. A tiny carrying case makes it easy to tuck it away in your carry-on bag, so you can pamper yourself 10,000 feet in the air.

The Carry On Cocktail Kit ($19.99; modcloth.com)

Maybe the trick to making you feel more comfortable is having your favorite libation with you in the air. While the menu options may be limited on board, keeping a Carry-on Cocktail Kit with you can help you create your favorite drinks with ease. This kit specifically features margarita mix, rimming salt, metal jigger and bar spoon (all of which are TSA-approved in size). Simply supplement the kit with a splash of tequila and ice on board, and voila, you have your favorite beverage as you fly to your next location. Hey, sometimes being comfortable is all about the little things.

Allbirds Wool Loungers ($95; allbirds.com)

The eco-friendly shoe company Allbirds is the source for what's been dubbed "the world's most comfortable shoe." Many of its kicks are made out of super cozy merino wool, which is soft and itch-free on the inside and dirt-resistant on the outside. This makes a number of its designs, including its Wool Loungers, a must for travelers. The loungers also feature a padded insole that's known for its moisture-wicking properties, as well as a lightweight sole that helps give you a natural weight distribution as you walk. The result is uber-comfortable shoes that feel just as cozy as slippers, but look stylish enough to wear well beyond your plane ride. Sounds like wins all around to us.

Dr. Scholl's Compression Socks (starting at $9.55; walmart.com)

Compression socks aren't just great for muscles during exercising. These socks, which are designed to help promote blood flow and quell swelling and even blood clots, are just as useful for long-distance traveling, especially when you'll be immobile for a large majority of your journey. The socks help stimulate blood flow to keep you comfortable and less achy while you're sitting in your seat for hours on end. Dr. Scholl's socks, specifically, are also approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association, to help ensure your legs are getting the support they need while you're traveling. As an added bonus, these pairs are under $10, making them as affordable as they are practical.