No one knows how to pack more efficiently than a flight attendant. They spend more time in the air jetting across the globe than most, so you can only imagine what kind of game-changing packing tips they've acquired along the way. In order to determine just what these pro travelers pack, Insider went to the source and quizzed a few flight attendants about what's really in their carry-on luggage for both long-haul travel and quick domestic flights. Their responses read like a pro packing list and are about as practical as you might expect.
Whether you're planning ahead for a long international trip or a short flight, take the advice of these five flight attendants who've mastered the art of packing light and with a purpose. Here are five items you can always find in a flight attendant's carry-on luggage.
For Grace Antipala, a flight attendant with Hawaiian Airlines, her carry-on always holds essential electronics. She makes sure to pack a 10-foot phone charger, an extra battery pack, and an iPad mini. That way she can get work done without worrying about running out of juice or needing to be close to an outlet in a hotel room.
Another Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant, Mapuana Faulker, has a few go-to carry-on items that come with her no matter her destination, including a trusty sarong. "Lightweight and definitely multi-purpose, these colorful fabric pieces can be used as an in-flight blanket/wrap or scarf. They can also be fashioned into a pillowcase or used as an impromptu beach/picnic blanket," she tells Insider.
Heather Sanchez of Hawaiian Airlines reveals that her carry-on always contains a few skincare staples. She packs EO hand sanitizer with essential oils, L'Occitane travel-size hand lotion, a tiny neck massager, and an eye mask, among other essentials. "Being that we fly at such high altitudes the air is very dry," Sanchez explains. "Hand moisturizer and lip balm have become a staple in my flight bag."
Delta Connection Carrier flight attendant Gloria Nelson, tries to pack as light as possible but her personal bag always carries a journal. "I keep that with me so that whenever ideas arise, I can write them down," she says.
A Water Bottle
Instead of constantly asking for refills of the tiny plastic water cup you're given in flight, pack an empty reusable water to stay hydrated. Joyce Foley, a Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant, always has one on board with her and says flight attendants will always fill up your bottle for you. "This will help you stay hydrated which also helps with jet lag, dehydration, and bloating since often we eat too much salt when we travel," Foley says.