“Airline Essentials Kit?” Comedian Brian Regan pokes fun at this obvious misnomer in his hilarious routine: “Oh, these are the essentials . . . then I overpacked. I thought I needed all that stuff I meticulously put in my suitcase—I stand corrected.” Prepare for disappearing luggage by stashing the following items in your carry-on. While our essentials kit may not include everything Regan requires—“food, shelter, and love”—you’ll at least be able to stay healthy, clean, and rested during your temporary stay at the airport.




To stay fed and cared for during that 14-hour flight delay, stash healthy snacks, extra funds, and first-aid items to prepare for paper cuts from playing cards and other hazards of your new life in the terminal.

  • Emerald® Breakfast on the Go! Granola mix 1.5 oz., $1
  • American Express Prepaid Credit Cards (convenient without funding a stranger’s spending spree if you lose one), $20–$500
  • “Last resort” cash (tuck $20 in your shoe or read our 007 spy gear article on pages 78–79 for more sophisticated ways to stash cash)
  • Neo To Go! Neosporin® Antiseptic, Pain Relieving spray, $8
  • Band-Aid® Travel 8 pack fabric bandages, $1
  • Be Koool® Migraine Soft Gel Sheets, $6


For sustainable airport living, pack this compact hygiene and laundry kit, transforming airport sinks and hand driers into your personal dentist office, laundromat, and salon.

  • Colgate® Wisps® mini toothbrush and pick, $2
  • Listerine® PocketPaks Dissolving Breath Strips, $2
  • Oscar Blandi® Pronto 2.5 oz. Dry Shampoo Powder, $21
  • Magellan’s Flexible Sink Stopper drain plug, $4
  • Coghlan’s Camp Soap 2 oz., $3
  • Boottique® Sturdy Collapsible Hanger, $10
  • Travel Smith® Wrinkle-free, Quick-dry clothes, $18–$85


Camp out in clear sight of the help desk while you await your bag’s return. If only there were some TSA-approved way to roast marshmallows.

  • TravelRest® Inflatable Ergonomic Travel Pillow, $27
  • SKWOOSH™ Pro Traveler Foldable Seat Cushion, $40
  • CoolMax® Travel Blanket, $8–$25
  • My TSA mobile app with “Can I bring my . . . ?” search tool, $0
  • List of prohibited items from www.tsa.gov (for keeping your carry-on items out of the airport trash and avoiding a strip search, so you can have a good night’s sleep), priceless!

Julie Ogborn and Coleman Bonham