Packing Survival Tips For Long Flights

Prepping for a holiday trip? Here are our high-flying go-tos.


Last month, we took a jaunt to the Big Apple for a taste of New York Fashion Week, and now we like to fancy ourselves a bit more stylish, a bit more city-smart and way wiser. A couple of our lessons learned?

A) There are a lot of reasons to get excited about HONOLULU Fashion Week, which will boast shows by NYFW producer Lynne Hanzawa O’Neill and NYFW participating designers Todd Snyder and Lie Sangbong—not to mention a ton of local Hawai‘i ones who will show they can hold their own next to these international houses.


B) Getting anywhere from our little island chain is freaking arduous, especially with all the stylish baggage we had to tote (hey, looking cute and packing light are mortal enemies). When it came to our carry-on, though, we tried to keep it as pared-down as possible, with only the essentials. In fact, we’ve developed a slew of must-pack key items for surviving the schlep to the Mainland.

No more tripping.

Get a handle on things
What we’re looking for is an easy-to-carry bag that’s light and roomy enough to throw our purse in (because the last thing you need when you’re going through security is another bag to tote about). Keep electronics easily accessible on top in this retro, Pan Am-inspired baby from Hawaiian Airlines. It meets all the criteria, is totally on-theme and has a sling strap, handles and even pockets for your water bottle. Plus, we love repping the 808 state!

Pack your beauty kit smart
Airplanes are a beauty disaster, so come prepared. A hydrating facial mist (Local alert! Try this Mana Mist.) will rejuvenate your glum skin. Oil blotting papers, like these from Shiseido, weigh practically nothing and are a godsend when you need them. Battle hair oiliness with dry shampoo, like this citrus-y LUSH one, or perk it up with this adorable, travel-size texturizing Surf spray from Bumble to Bumble.

Think about drinks (and snacks)
TSA spoilsports will confiscate your water, but keeping an empty on you for fill-ups post-security is a real lifesaver. Ask the flight attendant to top it off (since those in-flight water cups are built for a 2-year-old's thirst) or do it in the terminal beforehand. If you can snag one on the way to your gate, an ice-cold coconut water wouldn’t hurt, either. It replenishes your electrolytes while keeping you hydrated. Plus, it’s a delish way to wash down some snacks. We prefer to make our own ultra-flavorful ones to compensate for the way airplanes magically seem to make everything taste blah. Try these.

Prep your phone
Podcasts can be so necessary when you’re trying to kill time, and having an up-to-date music list is so key. Other must haves are e-books, (download them at home first), a budget app (those vacation cocktails add up and you don’t want to be hit with an unpleasant surprise when you come home) and Wallet (a great way to keep your boarding passes tidy in a no-paper, no-losing, no-mess way). Also, the last thing you want is your phone—aka lifeline from boredom—to die mid-flight. Do yourself a favor and invest in a portable charger or external battery. This Free People one doubles as cute.

Wipe out
There are a million reasons wipes are key. They’re refreshing and cleansing. They get rid of gross airplane germs (or, at least, they feel like they do). They perk up your sad, tired skin. They are disposable, so they can be used in the airport after the flight, in the airplane bathroom or even in your seat in 1.5 seconds and almost zero mess. We love these teeny packs from Pacifica, which come in a variety of moisturizing, exfoliating and energizing versions. (Pacifica even makes full-size deodorant wipes for you guys who are really roughing it.) 

Bring a friend
This cute-as-a-button whale magically folds out into a neck pillow. And, even more valuable, it’s something to snuggle with when the annoying French couple next to you is all adorably sleeping in each other’s laps and your only cuddle buddy is the cold, cold window. 

Adjust your makeup routine
Keep your makeup light, with a tinted moisturizer that will hydrate you and give you some coverage (we like that this BareMinerals one is kind to our skin). Eleven hours of wearing makeup while you’re cramped in economy won’t do your look or skin any favors, so take a quick trip to the loo on your way to baggage claim and do you primping there. A sheer, matte powder, like this handy Clinique compact, will help battle oil and add a fresh finish, and we’re totally nuts over the lively, dewy infusion that this Givenchy blush adds with just a couple of dabs.

And, when all else fails: Nyquil.