11 great carry-on essentials that won’t get snagged by the TSA
Name me a bigger headache than going through security at the airport. I’ll wait. Between taking your shoes off and checking your watch as TSA spends half an hour inspecting your toiletries, fewer things make traveling more stressful. But here’s the secret to getting through security in a breeze: packing the right type of TSA-approved items so you don’t hold up the line. From liquids, to aerosols and gels to creams these carry-on essentials under 100 mL (or 3.4 oz) will help preserve your sanity during your next flight.
Moisturizing isn’t so much a choice but a necessity on a flight. Changes in cabin air pressure can wreak havoc on your skin, and while you don’t need to impress anyone on a plane because they’re all sleeping and you look amazing anyways, sometimes you just need to stick to a routine to make the flight go by quicker. Facial oils are nice at home before bed, but you’ll get it all over the seat if you bring them on the plane. In just 60 mL, the Luxe Botanics Brightening Moisturizer turns your face into an actual silk canvas.
For hair and makeup artist Cassandra Kehren, Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek is the ideal two-in-one when you have limited carry-on space. “I have this in Rally, which is a super cute pink that looks amazing to give either the cheeks or lips an amazing glaze with subtle yet buildable color,” she said. “It’s perfect to bring a little life to a tired face or your favorite no-makeup look.”
And for all those times the Dramamine knocked you out so hard you’re unable to wake up, the Travel Size Claudalie Beauty Elixir is a refreshing jolt of energy. “I love using this for its energizing aroma to wake me up and freshen up my makeup,” Kehren said.
Planes are notorious cesspools, so you definitely want some hand sanitizer within reach at all times. Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer is infused with essential oils so the formula is non-drying and you also get a quick-hit of calming aromatherapy.
Your standard tube of toothpaste is around 135 mL, so you need some options. If you have checked baggage, bring Listerine Chewable Tablets for the plane. If you’re flying strictly with a carry-on, Crest Travel Size Regular Toothpaste should last you about a week (if you brush your teeth in the lavatory mid-flight, remember that the sink water is non-potable, so bring your own bottled water or ask the flight attendant for a glass).
You can’t bring your fancy glass bottle of Chanel perfume on the plane because it’ll either crack in your carry-on, exceed the milliliter limit, or nauseate the passenger beside you (not that there’s anything wrong with Chanel — it just might be a bit much for closed quarters!). Instead, go for a more understated scent from The Greeench by Lush, a powder all-natural deodorant. Its blend of rosemary, tea tree and thyme is so refreshing it kind of tickles your armpits, but not enough to laugh maniacally and wake up the whole plane.
One of the biggest first-world problems I ever experienced was when I packed an entire jar of peanut butter in my carry-on and had to throw it out at security. That’s a problem for two reasons: Firstly, you don’t think of it as a liquid, but it certainly counts as something that should definitely be lower than 100 mL.
Next, it’s always safe to avoid bringing peanuts on a plane, because you never know who might have a severe or fatal allergy. That’s why your best alternatives are something like Barney Butter Chocolate Almond Butter Snack Packs, which are mini, single-portion tubes of almond butter perfect for slathering on apple slices or crackers when meals cost a fortune on the flight.
Squeeze yogurts have come a long way since we were in elementary school. Your standard container might leak in your carry-on, but GoGo Squeez’s twist-off cap ensures smooth sailing. Or flying.
For something with a little more substance, I’m having a serious beef jerky moment. You don’t need to refrigerate it, it lasts basically a year before it goes bad so long as it’s unopened, you don’t need any cutlery and there’s very little clean-up involved. Epic Sweet and Savory Beef Jerky is quite addictive so I suggest buying in bulk. For vegetarians and vegans Seva Foods Organic Savory Coconut Jerky is a great meatless alternative, and surprisingly filling.