As the holidays approach, everyone’s gearing up to make their way home to family and friends. But before the turkey can be carved and the presents torn open, you have to get there first. Travel during the holidays can be less than fun, but with the right tools on hand it doesn’t have to be. We’ve put together a list of must-have carry-on items for this holiday season, and trust us, you won’t want to miss this. You can thank us later.

Eye Mask and Ear Plugs

The best way to make a long flight pass in the blink of an eye? Sleep, and lots of it. Enter the eye mask and ear plugs; your two best bets to make the time fly by. We all know that airplanes aren’t exactly known for their peace and quiet. Between the flight attendants on the intercom, noisy neighbors and the ever-present crying children, sleep can seem like a distant dream. Not so if you remember your ear plugs; they’ll drown out the cries and soon you’ll be the one sleeping like a baby. Also handy? The eye mask, for those sunny days and neighbors that won’t put down the shades.

Socks and Blanket

Get cozy and prepare for that sleep with the essentials. Planes can be notoriously chilly, and having a blanket on hand (or big sweater or sweatshirt) will help make your chair a little more like a place you’d like to fall asleep in. And you can never go wrong with a pair of warm, thick socks. Hint: Buy comfortable performance socks. They might be meant for sporting activities, but the extra support they provide can go a long way during flights in which your feet swell. They'll add a little luxury to your average airliner, and keep you cozy while your snooze the hours away.


Pretty much a no brainer these days, an e-reader will keep you entertained and take very little of your precious cargo space. While many are still reluctant to part with the real thing, books are bulky and in case you plan on finishing more than one, take up space and add weight in a time where luggage space is limited. Luckily we have e-readers like the classic Amazon Kindle to digitally store all our favorite reads. One device can hold hundreds of books, and some double as full tablets so you surf the internet in your travel time as well.

Travel Document Holder

While it won’t keep you entertained, a travel document holder is a necessity nonetheless, especially if you’re lucky enough to be planning a trip overseas. No one wants to be stuck searching last minute for their driver’s license, itinerary or passport. Keep them handy and well-organized by storing them together in a case made for convenience. These days, they come in cute and fashionable wallets, rather than the old school over the neck holders.

Snacks and Water

Ever woken up during a flight hungry? Or fire up that movie on your laptop only to wish you had a snack to accompany it? Those are the times when a bag of peanuts just won’t cut it, so come prepared with your own snacks to keep you satisfied. On long flights especially you’ll be glad you had the foresight to pack a little something extra. Airports aren’t known for their cheap prices, so grabbing something from home will save you a few dollars. Another essential? Water (or your beverage of choice). The small cups served on board won’t last long, so make sure you bring a bottle of your own—just be sure to fill it up after going through security.

Tablet, laptop or MP3 Player

Perfectly portable and loaded with entertainment, one of these devices will get you through the long flight in no time. Preload it with books, your favorite music or a movie or two and you’ll be good to go for even the longest flights. Many flights offer now offer internet connection, so you can browse the web as you travel as well.

And there it is. The must-haves to make your flight fly by (no pun intended). With some of these on board, you’ll have one less thing to stress about during the holiday season.

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