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

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 the dreary days of February in full swing, we are all wishing for a vacation. If you are one of the lucky ones who has a trip planned and booked, your mind has probably turned to your packing list as long as a CVS receipt. We talked to the people who have literally made flying their job — flight attendants — to get their expert recommendations.

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Cindy Kowalewski, a private flight attendant with 10 years of experience, 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.


Bucky 40 Blinks Eye Mask

Save $6 with coupon
The polyester and foam sleep masks are lightweight, comfortable and washable. Available in 17 colors, from a shiny plum to black to the pretty sailor blue shown here.
$11 at 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.


La Roche Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

Formulated with dermatologist-recommended hydrating ingredients like ceramides and niacinamide, this lightweight and oil-free moisturizer work for normal, dry and sensitive skin. Plus, it leaves out any of the stuff you don't want — parabens, allergens and fragrances.
$26 at Target

"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."


Laneige Lip Mask

This mask contains the ultra-hydrating ingredients of coconut oil, shea butter and muramura seed butter to help your kips feel smooth and flake-free by the time you reach your destination.
$24 at Amazon

"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.


Hoka Mach 5

There's a reason why Hoka sneakers have become a favorite of people who are always on the go — they are incredibly supportive and comfortable. The popular Mach 5 model comes in seven colors, from light lavender to bright yellow with turquoise accents to classic black (shown here).
$140 at Zappos

"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.

CHI Steam

CHI Handheld Garment Steamer

$44$49Save $5
Weighing in at just one pound, this steamer is made for taking with you — it even comes with a travel bag. It heats up in less than a minute so you can give yourself a quick once-over before you arrive at your destination — or before you head out of the hotel for an early sightseeing tour.
$44 at Amazon

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

"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 four colors!).


Herschel Travel Organizer, set of three

This set of packing cubes is perfect for storing and separating clothing in your suitcase (think shirts from socks or clean from dirty). Each set has one small (7" x 10.5" x 3") one medium (9" x 12" x 3.65") and one large size (12.75" x 16.75 x 4.5") zippered pouch. Available in light rose, black (shown here) and a black-and-white print.
$40 at 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.


Longchamp Large Le Pliage Tote

Longchamp's water-resistant nylon and leather tote cleverly folds small for easy packing and then unsnaps once you need it. That, plus its roomy size and classic good looks are what have turned it into a cult favorite among frequent travelers.
$155 at Nordstrom

"For an everyday travel bag, I cannot live without my Longchamp. It’s waterproof — 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."


Away The Carry-On

By now you've probably heard of Away luggage because of its unique ejectable USB phone charger that's TSA approved. The carry-on model is small enough to fit into the overhead bins of most major airlines but it's still large enough to hold plenty of clothes for a short getaway thanks to its special interior compression system. Available in seven colors.
$295 at 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."

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