No matter which section of the plane you’re sitting in, the experience of flying internationally can vary depending on your carry-on kit. Arguably none of us are our best selves on flights, but with the right arsenal, you can reach your destination looking moisturised, well-rested and chic – even if your whole journey was spent bingeing The Incredibles followed by The Office, then whatever the latest Fast & Furious movie is.
Whether or not your next holiday is locked in, our travel accessory picks might just inspire you to get one booked.
Bags your luggage
Stroll effortlessly through international terminals with a light, wheeled suitcase that’s small enough for the cabin. With the brand having recently launched in New Zealand, luggage company July has made its signature range of hard-shelled carry-on cases even more accessible. They come in several neutral and bright colours, have an ejectable battery that’s approved by all major airlines, a crush-proof shell and more. For all the bits you’ll want immediately to hand, a great tote goes the distance – and something like Maison de Sebre’s Soft Tote will hold appeal for day-to-day use outside of travel, too. The Sydney-based label does a snap and zip closure tote, both of which are made out of textured European leather that’s the ideal blend of structure and softness. Well-placed pockets will keep things organised, there’s a clip for your keys and it’s flat-bottomed with enough space for a laptop.
You’ve probably seen it on Tiktok or the internet, but there’s a reason the Trtl travel pillow is so popular. Even if you’re nowhere near a window (or shoulder) to lean on, it’s designed to wrap around your neck to support your head right under your chin and packs down smaller than bulky horseshoe travel pillows. Stay sane no matter the din with noise-cancelling headphones such as the Bose 700 or Dyson’s upcoming, very high-tech Zone air-purifying headphones – hot tip: for movie watching, slip the plane’s earbuds under the headphones for less sound disruption. Keep your fluid levels up with a reusable water bottle (Frank Green has just released three new colours) and your charger cords organised with a purpose-made container such as July’s translucent-shelled Tech Kit. With your carry-on close by, make sure your checked-in bags are accounted for with an Apple Airtag or a Samsung Galaxy Smarttag – we’ve all heard enough horror stories to know it’s worth it.
Put your best face forward
Thwart that drying plane air with a (mini) arsenal of skincare. Prep your skin with biodegradable wipes such as the Hit Reset make-up removers from Mecca Max, then go in with a set like Emma Lewisham’s Essentials kit. It comprises seven minis of its range, including the best-selling Skin Reset Face Serum and the Illuminating Oil Cleanser. You can refill the three-to-15-mil bottles with full-sized Emma Lewisham products, with enough in each to last two-to-three weeks of daily use. Australian beauty brand Kit also has a great mini cleanser, oil and moisturiser trio that comes in a cute red pouch. A facial spritz such as Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir will keep you feeling refreshed (it comes in 30- and 100-mil sizes), undereye patches like Mecca’s Bright Eyed Hydrogel Eye Masks are ideal for slipping on under your light-blocking sleeping mask, and if you want to go all out on a self-care moment, the Jet Lag Mask by Summer Fridays comes in travel size. Aesop’s Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash and Aromatique Hand Balm will keep those paws clean, supple and freshly scented.
If you want to clean up before you step onto the tarmac, a brow gel such as Benefit’s 24-Hour Brow Setter will do more than you think to lift tired eyes, and a lip product like Ilia’s Balmy Tint Hydrating Lip Balm will add moisture and just a hint of colour – which you could also use on your cheeks.
An elevated ensemble
Wearing layers of breathable, soft and warm clothing will make sure you’re comfortable from when you check in to reaching your destination. Kiwi brand Pilot launched last year to provide stylish and functional travel clothing – and its signature 50/50 Cabin T-shirt is one this editor swears by for any flight. The merino and cotton blend is moisture-, odour- and crease-resistant, and it’s a soft, mid-weight weave. Pilot’s range also includes men’s and women’s merino underwear, a malleable travel cap, and cashmere socks and eye masks. These days, sweatpants don’t necessarily equal sloppy and the new Uniform range from US and NZ-based brand Entire Studios is testament to that. Made from organic cotton and available in six colour palettes, the track pants, tops and hoodies are perfectly proportioned basics with an EL edge. We also love the Fluff Fleece Pullover and matching pants by Allbirds – made from ZQ merino wool and recycled fabric.