As much as we love everyday carry gear, not a lot of it is terribly travel-friendly. Especially if your travel includes hopping on a plane. The TSA guidelines for what you can and can’t bring in your pockets or carry-on luggage are just as stringent as, say, a courthouse. That means, when you fly, you’d better leave at home anything that could be construed as a danger to anyone onboard your flight. No knives, no tools over seven inches, no liquids in excess of a couple ounces, etc. And we wouldn’t want to take any chances with our gear being confiscated – even if we thought we could.
Instead, we’ve gathered together a list of items here for you that not only meet the TSA’s requirements for airplane-safe items, but they’re going to be helpful to have over the course of any airport-necessitating adventure. Because – let’s be honest – very few people enjoy the whole experience and it’s a far better endeavor to cover all your bases and make the situation as painless as possible. That means staying comfortable, keeping your electronics charged, fueling yourself up, and more. Here are 20 everyday carry essentials that will both ease your journey and make it through the Transportation Security Administration checkpoints.
Kiehl’s No-Shine Lip Balm
From cabs and shuttles to terminals and planes, the whole air-travel process is riddled with dry environments and stale air. And that can do a number on your lips, leading to them to become chapped and potentially painfully cracked. Circumvent that problem with this moisturizing lip balm from Kiehl’s. Because nothing can ruin a vacation more than abject discomfort.
Aēsop Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash
Just as sure as the air is dry, airport and airplane counters, chairs, door handles, etc. are riddled with every manner of germs from all around the globe. And rather than depend on the facilities to have something with which to wash your hands, you should keep this rinse-free hand wash from Aēsop on your person. Less harsh than your typical alcohol-based hand sanitizer, this gentle formula will kill unwanted bacteria without drying out your hands.
Word. The Adventure Log
There is documented scientific evidence to support that physically writing things down is more tied to memory than, say, punching notes into a phone. So, if you want to keep track of your exploits in a way that’s both viscerally satisfying and a good deal more likely to imprint into your long-term memory, you’ll want to carry the Word. Adventure Log. These 48-page notebooks come in packs of three and feature a handy organizational system to help you keep a record of your travels in a handwritten format.
Cocoon Grid-It Organizer
Rather than just lumping all of your carry-on items into a pile at the bottom of a bag, keep them organized, easily reached, and protected in the Grid-It Organizer from Cocoon. This MOLLE style organizing pad is versatile enough to carry all of your small items in endless configurations within its rubberized woven elastic grid. And the whole thing slips easily into any standard backpack or weekender bag, making it very security-check friendly.
Bratpacker Gear Travel Medical Kit
Whether you’re going off on a leisurely weekend adventure or heading for something a little more rigorous, it’s better to be prepared than not. And that means carrying with you some kind of first aid kit. This lightweight 1.6 ounce one, from Bratpacker Gear, is made specifically for travelers by travelers, is compact (4×6 inches) so as to take up as little space in your bag as possible, and is totally waterproof to protect all of its contents – which are helpfully listed on the exterior of each pack. And it comes with a 100% money back satisfaction guarantee.
HoodiePillow Travel Pillow
Sometimes, when you’re traveling, you just want to conk out for a while. But your standard sleeping gear isn’t exactly travel-friendly and, let’s be honest, who wants to use the airline-provided pillow? This 80% cotton and 20% polyester neck pillow is inflatable (so it can be folded into a much smaller format than a normal pillow) and it comes fitted with a drawstring hoodie. That means you can catch some Zs on that red-eye without worrying about your neighbor’s obnoxious book light. It’s also an excellent deterrent if anyone on the flight tries to get too chatty.
Whether you’re a globetrotting wunderkind or simply on a weekend getaway, a pen is an indispensable tool to have on your person, but that Mont Blanc you bring to business meetings isn’t exactly the most pocket or travel-friendly piece. So, you should affix the PicoPen from Tec Accessories to your keychain and call it a day. It’s small enough that it won’t get in the way of your other gear, but it’s also a well designed and functional object that will be there when you need it – whether it’s for scrawling a check, writing down directions, or signing autographs.
Nomad Apple Lightning Key
Nowadays everyone depends on their electronics to get them through the day in one way or another. If you’re trying to keep up with emails, maneuver your way around an unfamiliar city, or just staying in touch with a loved one, nothing drains an iPhone battery like constant use during travel. Luckily, most airports provide USB power ports into which you can plug your phone. But, rather than carrying around an easily-tangled cord, you could just slide the Nomad Lightning Key onto your keychain and have a more travel-friendly way to plug in your phone. And don’t worry about the contact points getting messed up, either, because they are scratch-resistant.
Hydro Flask Vacuum Sealed Water Bottle
Staying hydrated is an important part of keeping yourself healthy while you travel, but bottled water is as expensive at airports as it is anywhere. So, instead of spending all your green on bolstering the Nestlé brand any further, pick up a double wall, vacuum insulated, stainless steel, reusable water bottle from Hydro Flask and fill it up at a fountain. These BPA-free canteens will keep your beverage cold for up to 24 hours, hot for up to 6 hours, and they come with a lifetime guarantee. And the brand will donate 5% of every purchase to a charity of your choice.
The Carry On Cocktail Kit: The Old Fashioned
Nothing helps ease the stress of flying quite like a stiff drink. But why relegate yourself to the offerings of the airline when you can craft a cocktail worth drinking yourself? The Carry On Kit has everything you need to make a top-notch on-the-go Old Fashioned, except for the booze. Simply acquire a mini-bottle of your choice of bourbon from a flight attendant, use the included spoon/muddler to add the ingredients in the order stated on the recipe card, and watch your troubles melt away.
Mini Stash Cash-Can
While losing your luggage, phone, or wallet in the span of travel is a tremendous misfortune, the only thing worse is realizing that you have no money with which to purchase transport, food, or otherwise. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep a Mini Stash Cash-Can affixed to your keychain. This waterproof container attaches to any standard keyring and the design prevents it from falling off unintentionally. It can carry one rolled up note of the denomination of your choosing, is made in the USA from solid brass, and hardly takes up any space at all.
Illuminex-1 titanium flashlight
An EDC flashlight is a handy tool to keep on your person at all times, but it is even more important in the case of airplane-based excursions. With the likelihood that you’ll be keeping everything within the confines of a single bag, it can be frustrating to dig through your bag’s shadowy stuffed pockets in order to find your electronics, reading materials, lip balm, or otherwise. Ease some of your troubles and pick up this brushed titanium flashlight from MecArmy. It is the world’s smallest mini-USB rechargeable flashlight, has a maximum output of a whopping 130 lumens, and has a battery life of up to 6 functional hours.
Mophie Powerstation Portable Charger
Unless you are some kind of vulture person waiting in the wings to swoop on any available outlets, the competition for charging stations at airports can be stiff. And, if you’re up in the air, you might realize that not all airlines provide their passengers with outlets. Avoid such frustrations by carrying with you Mophie’s Powerstation. This pocket-sized portable charger, which is made from anodized aluminum and has LED indicator lights to inform you of its power levels, offers up to 2x additional battery. And it weighs a hardly-noticeable 4.2 ounces.
The TSA tends not to like multitools, as they can easily be used as weapons. And that’s understandable, as many of your standard folding multitools come equipped with sharp accessories like knives, scissors, and even needle-nose pliers. Instead of trying to comb through the TSA guidelines to figure out if you can bring any of your normal ones on the plane, get one that you already know is TSA-compliant, like the Cha-O-Ha EDC Card. Made with military-grade S35VN blade steel and with over 30 functions, this handy card works great in a pinch whenever you’re somewhere you can’t carry your favorite Leatherman – like a plane, for instance.
Owen & Fred Stay Sharp Shaving Kit Bag
What’s great about Dopp kits is that they both keep all of your toiletries in a single organized location and they protect the rest of your things from intermingling with your grooming supplies. This one, from Owen & Fred, is one of the best. Made from ballistic nylon, 18-ounce duck canvas, and featuring a 420 Denier black nylon liner and a #10 zipper, this blacked-out bag is sleek, sturdy, and capable.
Bellroy Travel Wallet
We don’t think anyone will deny that Bellroy knows wallets. You might not, however, be familiar with the extent to which their expertise goes. This offering, their Travel Wallet, was designed to be the perfect pocket companion for the modern day jet-setter. And it is superb. Made from premium vegetable tanned leather, this 10 card capacity accessory has enough room for all of your normal wallet items, but also has a special compartment for bills, tickets, and/or your passport. And if that’s not enough to make you want one, it also comes with a reusable micro travel pen and refills.
Ray-Ban Clubmaster Folding Sunglasses
Unless you do all of your traveling in the dead of night, a pair of sunglasses is a useful thing to keep on yourself. Not all, however, are the most airplane-friendly. Not the case with these folding Clubmaster Ray-Bans. Made to fold down into a much more compact format, these glasses expand into a full-sized pair of stylish glasses like we’ve come to expect from the legendary brand. Whether you’ve got limited pocket or bag space, these glasses are the best option for anyone unwilling to compromise their style.
Spirit Of St. Louis Chronograph
Getting to the airport and onto a plane is, quite obviously, a time-sensitive endeavor. As such, it isn’t always convenient or quick to pull out your phone every time you want to check a clock. Instead, you should wear a wristwatch. And what better watch to attach to your wrist than one inspired by the legendary aircraft flown by Charles Lindbergh? This stylish aviator timepiece was designed to showcase 1920s style, is a fully-functional chronograph, features a date window, and comes with a comfortable suede band.
Bose QuietComfort 25 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Whether you have an extra long flight or a hellish layover, a pair of good headphones can ease some of the pains of aerial journeys like few other things can. These Bose QuietComfort wireless headphones – which were designed specifically for use with Apple products – but are compatible with Android, Windows, and Blackberry, as well – will cancel out the surrounding environmental noise and let you enjoy your choice of audio in peace. They even feature an onboard microphone so you won’t have to take them off if you happen to need to make a call.
Alchemy Equipment AEL008 Carry On
Of course, if you are going to bring all your accompanying gear on the plane with you, you’re definitely going to need a vessel in which to put it all. Well, there’s little out there as equipped for the job as this backpack from Alchemy Equipment. Made specifically to meet the criteria of the International Aviation Transport Association for carry on luggage, this 45-liter bag is literally the perfect size for airline cabin travel. It also features a laptop pouch (for up to a 15″ computer) with a self-ejecting mechanism, a quick-access document pocket for your tickets and passport, hide away shoulder straps to turn the bag into a duffel-style pack, and a polyurethane coated Kodra base that’s extremely durable. And it doesn’t look half bad either.