For far too long, the carry-on liquids and gels bag has been dominated by “the necessities.” But while travel-sized shampoo and toothpaste are undeniably important, chances are those three-ounce containers aren’t taking up your entire quart-sized bag, leaving plenty of precious Ziploc real estate that can be put to better use. From condiments to cocktails to beauty products, here are a few things that you can (and should) start slipping in that Ziploc that will change your in-flight experience forever.
There’s nothing like a mist of fancy water to make you feel refreshed and invigorated mid- or post-flight. Pack a travel-sized bottle of Evian Facial Water Spray for that in-flight spa experience.
1.5 oz Evian Facial Water Spray, $14, amazon.com
The disastrous effects of dry, recycled cabin air can linger through the rest of your trip. We’re big fans of a good multi-use beauty product, and there are plenty of moisturizers and balms will keep you one step ahead of dry skin and chapped lips—while saving space. Smith’s Rosebud Salve doubles as lip gloss and a hand salve and lasts forever. Or go for the Aussie favorite, pawpaw ointment, which does a little bit of everything.
We know that airlines put a lot of work into making better food at 30,000 feet, but it can still be hard to find a meal that packs a real flavor punch. So if you’re not already carrying travel-size hot sauce, then let this be your moment of epiphany, because there’s nothing like a few dashes of Tabasco to liven up an airline omelet or an in-flight Bloody Mary. If Tabasco isn’t your spice of choice, you’re in luck—Cholula, Tapatio, and even Sriracha also make travel-sized or key-ring hot sauce bottles. And why stop at hot sauce? The variety of travel-sized condiments spans the spectrum from mini-mustards from Maille to Honey Pax's travel-sized raw tupelo honey packets, and Bonne Maman’s tiny jams.
Tabasco miniatures, $0.55, countrystore.tabasco.com; Tapatio 1.5 oz bottle and holster, $7.50, tapatiohotsauce.myshopify.com; 2 oz Cholula Hot Sauce, $7, amazon.com; Sriracha Keychain Bottle, $17 for 3, amazon.com; Maille Dijon Mustard Mini Jars, $1, englishteastore.com; Honey Pax, honeypax.com; Assorted Bonne Maman 1 oz Mini Jars, 20 for $22, amazon.com
Trail mix, granola, and fruit are easy, packable snacks if you’re not a peanuts or pretzels kind of a person, but let’s be honest, they’re not exactly exciting. You can readily add a little panache to your snackables with Siggi’s yogurt tubes or Justin’s peanut butter packets. (Check out more of our tips on how to upgrade your airplane eats and you’ll never have a boring airplane meal again.)
Siggi’s yogurt tubes and Justin’s peanut butter packets are both available at Whole Foods Markets across the country.
Travel cocktail kit
While you can bring travel-sized bottles (nips) of alcohol on planes, federal law prohibits you from consuming them—all alcoholic beverages consumed on an airplane must be served by the airline (it’s a licensing and safety thing). But that doesn’t mean that you have to be content with sugary, pre-mix airline cocktails. W&P Design and PUNCH teamed up to create the classiest carry-on cocktail kit. You can get their Old Fashioned Kit, complete with bitters, sugar, and a little muddler, or go for a Gin and Tonic with Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. tonic syrup and a tiny spoon. Recently the team added a few new Carry-On Cocktail Kits for other cocktail classics: the Hot Toddy, the Moscow Mule, the Bloody Mary, and the Champagne Cocktail. Each kit contains ingredients for two flights (outbound and return). Just remember, as small as they are, the syrups, bitters, and Bloody Mary mixes in the kits are liquids, so don’t forget to pack these with your other carry-on liquids.
Carry-On Cocktail Kit, $24, wandpdesign.com
Flask of lemon juice
Just because you can’t fill a travel-sized flask with your favorite bourbon for an in-flight treat doesn’t mean that you can’t put it to good use on an airplane. Not all airlines serve citrus wedges with their cocktails, so if you’re a fan of a little lime with your rum and Coke, consider packing a flask of freshly squeezed lime juice. Or go with lemon juice to add to an in-flight tea or for an on-the-fly lemonade.