The best soft-sided carry-on bags for 2022

After two years of travel restrictions, some have begun to feel comfortable traveling once again. And whether you’re hopping in the car for a road trip or boarding your first international flight in a while, a trusty carry-on suitcase is an absolute essential.

We’ve tested hard-shell carry-ons in the past, but since we know there are plenty of soft-shell suitcase lovers, we spent more than two months testing 12 of the most popular soft-shell carry-on suitcases on the market. We packed and unpacked each suitcase, scraped them against the sidewalk and even tossed them down a flight of stairs all to see which suitcases are the best. And, after all our testing, only three suitcases stood out as the best soft-shell carry-on suitcases of 2022.

Best overall soft-shell carry-on suitcase

With great durability, a smooth roll and useful organization, the Delsey Paris Hyperglide stood out as the best overall suitcase, thanks to its solid, consistent performance in nearly all of our tests. It’s a reliable bag that’s sure to be by your side on countless flights and adventures.

Runner-up soft-shell carry-on suitcase

If a TSA-approved lock is a must for your soft-shell carry-on bag, the Samsonite NuRoad had a similar performance to the Delsey Paris Hyperglide with just a couple of shortcomings. However, it has a more adjustable handle and was one of the most maneuverable bags we tested.

Best budget soft-shell carry-on suitcase

If you want a cheaper bag that’s lightweight and can fit everything you need, the Goodhope Overnight Carry-On is the suitcase for you. It isn’t super durable, but at around $50, you won’t find a better bag.

Kai Burkhardt

If you need a reliable soft-shell suitcase that can fit everything you need and will last for years, the Delsey Paris Hyperglide is the bag for you. Whether we were stuffing it full of clothes, rolling it around the streets of Brooklyn or rubbing it across concrete, the Hyperglide consistently scored as one of the best suitcases we tried.

For starters, the Delsey Paris Hyperglide was surprisingly durable. It had just a few scuffs from our drop test when we kicked it down a flight of stairs. And when we scraped it on the sidewalk, it came out with just some slight discoloration — no tears or rips like a handful of other suitcases we tested.

On top of its sturdiness, the Hyperglide was a pleasure to roll around. Its wheels spun smoothly and were big enough to roll over all but the biggest cracks. Its small construction meant it was easy to whip around, so you won’t have trouble weaving through a crowded airport. However, it has a tendency to occasionally tip over when it’s packed full.

Kai Burkhardt

The Hyperglide also has plenty of great internal and external organizational features, including a simple X-shaped strap, a large mesh zippered pocket, a toiletry bag on the inside and two zippered large pockets on the outside. Plus, it weighs only 6.8 pounds, and when we packed it with our test set of clothes and shoes, it fit the entire standard pack except for two pairs of shoes. (Only two suitcases we tested fit everything.)

Kai Burkhardt

The Hyperglide’s handle wasn’t anything special, but it didn’t feel flimsy and rattly like others and wasn’t hard to pull out or in, even when the bag was packed to the brim. It has only two height settings, but in our experience, they were good enough whether we were pushing it by our side or pulling it behind us. And while the Hyperglide is available in just two colors — black and teal — we liked its classic and timeless look.

Kai Burkhardt

The Delsey Paris Hyperglide was an impressive carry-on suitcase all around. It does everything you need from a bag and has the durability to make it last for years. Our biggest gripe with the Hyperglide is its lack of a TSA-approved lock, but given it will probably be by your side most of the time, we don’t think it’s a true downside. However, if a TSA-approved lock is a must for you, our runner-up, the Samsonite NuRoad, might be your best choice.

Kai Burkhardt

If you want a bag with similar performance to the Delsey Paris Hyperglide and the peace of mind that comes with a TSA-approved lock, the Samsonite NuRoad is a fantastic soft-shell bag you should consider.

The Samsonite NuRoad was a solid contender throughout our testing process. It rolls smooth, has a comfortable handle with eight different height settings — the most of any bag we tested — and to top it off, it’s one of only three bags we tried that comes with a TSA-approved lock. (The other two are the Away Expandable Carry-On, which has been discontinued since we started testing, and the Tumi Alpha 3 Carry-On, which rings in at $850.)

Kai Burkhardt

Besides the security of its cable lock, the Samsonite is nearly on par with our overall winner in many categories. When we rolled it around the block, it was one of the nimblest suitcases we tried, and its wheels felt buttery smooth while only getting stuck on big cracks.

It does weigh in 1 pound more than the Hyperglide at 7.8 pounds, and unfortunately, that extra pound doesn’t mean extra packing capacity. The NuRoad had a hard time fitting everything in our standard pack and we had to leave out one pair of shoes, our toiletry bag, a towel, one flannel and a winter jacket.

Kai Burkhardt

Besides packing ability, the one other big area where the NuRoad falls short of our overall winner is durability. While the Hyperglide only had minor discoloration from rubbing it on the sidewalk, the NuRoad came out of the test with some decent scrape marks. It didn’t tear through any fabric and came out of the drop test with little to no damage, but the face material of the NuRoad just isn’t as sturdy as the Hyperglide.

Kai Burkhardt

The NuRoad is available in two simple colors (black and dark blue), has solid interior organization and tons of exterior pockets and features a utilitarian design that we think looks great. So if you’re set on getting a soft-shell suitcase with a TSA-approved lock and willing to give up some durability and packing space, the Samsonite NuRoad might be the bag for you.

Kai Burkhardt

If you really don’t want to spend much on a suitcase and want a bag that’s light and can fit a ton, the Goodhope Overnight Carry-On is definitely the bag you need. It won’t be an heirloom suitcase that you pass down to your children, but it gets the job done and even folds down flat to make storing it incredibly easy.

The Overnight Carry-On has only two wheels, so its maneuverability is limited, but the bag makes up for it with a massive internal capacity. During our testing, it fit the most amount of clothes and was one of only two bags that fit our standard pack (the other being the American Tourister Sonic Spinner). The internal organization is nothing special, with simple compression straps and a large mesh zippered pocket, and the outside features two simple pockets.

Kai Burkhardt

The Overnight Carry-On’s handle was pretty rattly and wasn’t super comfortable to hold on to, plus its wheels were quite small and got stuck on more cracks than many other bags we tested. However, the overall experience of rolling it around wasn’t bad enough to outweigh its other benefits.

Kai Burkhardt

While the Overnight Carry-On has a surprising number of things going for it, its biggest shortcoming is definitely its durability. When we rubbed it on the sidewalk, the material around the zippers got torn up pretty bad. We don’t expect this bag to last for a long time, but with a price tag of just $50, you can’t really ask for more.

Even though it’s lightweight and fits a surprising amount of stuff, our favorite attribute of the Overnight Carry-On was its folding function. Storing suitcases can be a pain, but this bag unzips and folds down flat so you can easily stuff it underneath the bed or into your closet.

Kai Burkhardt

We did have one big caveat with this suitcase, however, because when we ordered it for testing, it arrived without a box. The shipping label was slapped onto one of the exterior tags and it arrived without any protection, meaning it’s susceptible to damage during the shipping process. Ours arrived with some slight bends and folds in the materials, but it wasn’t anything too serious. Even so, this, along with its lack of warranty (you can buy a two-year plan on Overstock), might be a turn-off for some.

If you’re looking for a cheap suitcase, there isn’t one we’ve seen that can top the Goodhope Overnight Carry-On. It has its downsides, but thanks to its large, lightweight construction and folding capability, if you just need a carry-on for the occasional trip, you’ll be more than happy with this simple suitcase.

We tested 12 suitcases over the course of two months to find the best soft-shell carry-on bags out there. To do that, we put each suitcase through tests that stressed its packing capacity, durability, rolling performance and more.

We broke up our tests into three categories: durability, usability and design and build quality. Within each category, we conducted various tests and examined every aspect of each suitcase from wheel size to warranty.

Here’s a breakdown of all the tests we ran:

  • Drop test: We pushed each bag down a flight of stairs and looked for any damage to the wheels or shell and took note of any scuffs, scratches, dents or any other damage.
  • Abrasion test: We rubbed each suitcase facedown on the sidewalk outside our building back and forth five times. We examined the wear and tear and took note of any damage, including discoloration, scratches and rips.
  • Stain test: We spilled dark soda on each suitcase and took note if it ran off the suitcase’s material, if it soaked through and if it left a stain.
  • Handle durability: We rattled around the handle of each suitcase to see how sturdy and stable it was. We examined if it was hard to pull in or out, especially when packed full.
  • Measurements: We measured the internal space of each suitcase with a tape measure.
  • Unpacked weight: We weighed each unpacked suitcase on the same scale.
  • Capacity test: We created a set of clothes and accessories as a standard pack. We then packed each suitcase with that pack to see how much fit and noted what elements couldn’t fit and how tight the pack was.
  • General maneuverability: We rolled each suitcase around our building and took note of how easy it was to move around, weave and change direction. We also took note if the suitcase had a tendency to tip over or if it could stand up by itself.
  • Wheel maneuverability: We took note of the suitcase’s wheel size and rolled it over different sized cracks and bumps to see which ones the wheels would get stuck on.
  • Carrying experience: We carried each suitcase up and down three flights of stairs using all available handles to see how comfortable it was.
  • Handle: We counted how many height settings each suitcase had and whether the settings were comfortable when pulling.
  • Zippers: We zipped and unzipped the suitcase multiple times both when it was empty and when it was packed full and took note of any snags or resistance along with the general feel.
  • Additional interior features: We counted the number of internal organizational features, such as pockets, compression straps and garment bags.
  • Additional exterior features: We counted the number of external organizational features, such as pockets, expansion zippers and TSA-approved locks.
  • Locking capability: We took note if the suitcase featured a lock and made sure it was TSA-approved.

Design and build quality

  • Color and design options: We counted the number of available colors and designs for each suitcase.
  • Design: We judged how each suitcase looks and ranked them from best to worst.
  • Warranty: We researched the warranty of each suitcase and ranked them from best to worst.

Away The Expandable Carry-On (no longer available)

Away’s soft-shell carry-on was one of the best we tested and was a frontrunner for our top spot. It featured a great compression system, decent maneuverability and a surprisingly durable build. Unfortunately, during our testing process, the bag had been discontinued. However, the Away Carry-On hard-shell suitcase is our pick for both the best hard-shell carry-on and the best hard-shell checked suitcase if you’re still looking for an Away bag.

Travelpro Maxlite 5 21-Inch Expandable Carry-On Spinner ($137.22, originally $159.99;

If we had to pick another suitcase to recommend, we would definitely put the Travelpro Maxlite 5 at the top of our list. It lives up to its name and weighs only 5.4 pounds (the second-lightest bag we tested), has super-comfortable side handles for carrying and decent enough maneuverability and durability. It couldn’t quite live up to our other winners, however, mostly due to the telescopic handle occasionally getting stuck when the bag was packed full and a smaller packing capacity. If none of our main winners strike your fancy, this bag could be the one for you.

Briggs & Riley International Carry-On Expandable Spinner ($459;

We really enjoyed testing this bag, and if we were picking a luxury suitcase, it would be our winner. It’s not absurdly expensive, was very durable and was one of the most maneuverable bags we tested. Its biggest drawback was its telescopic handle, which is built on the outside of the suitcase, meaning it was one of the wobbliest ones we tested. But besides that, there aren’t many negatives we can say about this bag. It’s stylish, easy to roll around, fits a solid amount of clothes and comes with a lifetime guarantee.

This bag was a top contender, but in the end, its high price tag took it out of the running. At $450, it was one of the most expensive bags we tested, and while it was very nice, we didn’t think it was good enough to beat out the value of the Delsey Paris Hyperglide and the Samsonite NuRoad. The Victorinox bag was incredibly durable, had tons of internal organization and fit nearly everything in our standard pack. It does have just two wheels, which was a big limitation in its maneuverability, but if you’re looking for a more full-featured bag and have the extra money to spend, this bag won’t disappoint.

Travelpro Platinum Elite 21-Inch Expandable Carry-On Spinner ($263.96, originally $329.99;

This suitcase was a really nice contender; however, the handle kept getting stuck and was a pain to pull in and out when it was packed full. For a suitcase this expensive and comparing it to other bags we tested, that was a deal breaker. Besides that, the Travelpro Platinum Elite was incredibly maneuverable and decently durable too. It has tons of organization options both on the inside and outside, but it didn’t fit as much as many of the other bags we tested.

This suitcase is one of the only options we looked at that has a TSA-approved lock, and it was the smoothest rolling bag of all the ones we tested. On top of its maneuverability, it’s got fantastic internal organization; however, it’s so expensive that we can’t actually recommend it. If you’re interested in buying this Tumi suitcase, you should know we were impressed with it overall, but it did show some wear from our abrasion test, and it was by far the heaviest one we tried, weighing in at 11.6 pounds.

The Samsonite Bartlett wasn’t a very good suitcase in our experience. It got a slight dent in its frame when we dropped it down the stairs, the soda we spilled on it left a stain and the handle was annoyingly flimsy. If you’re looking for a cheap suitcase, we think you’ll be happier with our budget pick.

The wheels on this American Tourister suitcase were tiny and got stuck on basically every crack we tried to roll it over. On top of its poor maneuverability, the soda we spilled on it left a stain, and it had the loosest handle of all the suitcases we tried.

This suitcase was outperformed by the Overnight Carry-On in nearly every category, plus it had a telescopic handle that frequently got stuck. It also couldn’t stand up by itself when packed full, so if you’re looking for a cheap bag, we’d recommend our budget pick.

Looking for a travel credit card? Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as our best travel credit cards of 2022.

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Kenny G on keeping his hands warm and his bedding and carry-on handy

Kenny Gorelick, known professionally as Kenny G, is a Grammy- and American Music Award-winning jazz saxophonist, composer, and producer who has sold more than 75 million albums worldwide. The 65-year-old instrumental musician, who will bring his smooth jazz sounds to the Emerson Colonial Theatre on Friday, said he can’t wait to perform for a Boston-area audience. “It’s going to be a lot more lively than one would think if you’ve never been to one of my concerts,” he said. “We have a great set list with lots of great musicianship. There are six of us in total … it’s been the same group for 35-plus years.” Gorelick said the set list will include a variety of songs/genres, including Christmas songs and at least one song from his latest album, “New Standards,” which was released last week and is, he said, “my take on jazz ballads of the ‘50s and ‘60s [for which I] wrote brand new songs in that style.” We caught up with Gorelick, who lives in Los Angeles and has two adult sons, to talk about all things travel.

Favorite vacation destination? Tokyo and that would be [because] I just love everything about going to Japan. The hotels are so amazing. The health clubs in the hotels — I like to work out every day — they are so good. They always have a really great spa at the hotel with a hot bath and a cold bath, which I really like to do. And everything about the way the restaurants operate and the food and the meticulousness appeals to me, so I enjoy Tokyo.

Favorite food or drink while vacationing? Because I like going to Japan, my favorite food is sushi. Almost anywhere I go, I just love eating sushi. So fish is really my favorite thing, but I really enjoy the Japanese style that they make, so it can be sushi, it can be also the grilled fish that they make with their special sauces, Japanese style with white rice, that’s my thing. Drink-wise, I prefer draft beers and mojitos. Those are my two favorite drinks. Again, when you go to Japan and you get their draft beers, it’s a special thing that they do and it’s so good.

Where would you like to travel to but haven’t? I’ve always wanted to go to Bora Bora. I’ve never been there. And I’ve always wanted to go to Greece. Those are my two spots that I have not been to, and I’m hoping I can get there sometime in the next year. Bora Bora, because the water just looks amazing and those hotel rooms that are right over the water also look amazing and I just want to experience that. It seems like it would be nothing but fun and they speak French there and I’m learning to speak French, so I like that idea as well. As far as Greece goes, I’ve just seen pictures of the water and the buildings and there’s a Nobu restaurant there — see the theme that’s going on here — so going to Mykonos and going to the Nobu restaurant there and vacationing in the Greek islands … sounds amazing to me. Also, Capri in Italy. I haven’t been there and that looks great as well.

One item you can’t leave home without when traveling? Besides my saxophone, because I always bring my saxophone with me — that’s obviously the number-one thing — I always carry my bedding with me. I have a down comforter and two pillows. I like very soft pillows … and I have them with me on the road everywhere I travel. I have a special suitcase just for them and the suitcase is called the albatross, and so anybody who ever travels with me knows there’s going to be an albatross traveling with us.

Aisle or window? I’m always an aisle guy if I can have a choice because I’m fidgety: I like to get up, I like to get into my bag — which is usually above in the overhead compartment — so I need to get up, get something, sit down, get up, sit down. … If I have to use the restroom, I don’t like walking past people.

Favorite childhood travel memory? Driving through Canada in the Banff area. I think that’s in Alberta; it’s in their Canadian Rockies and the Banff/Lake Louise area. … I remember driving through there with my family. We stayed in the big chateau there. It’s like a castle and it’s just beautiful. And they had a big, huge Olympic-size swimming pool there with a high dive. I remember going up on the high dive and my brother — who was older than me — was scared to do it but he wanted me to go first, and I wasn’t scared and I enjoyed it. I remember feeling like hey, I’m teaching my big brother something, and it was a good memory for me.

Guilty pleasure when traveling? The fact that I bring my bedding with me, so no matter what hotel I’m staying at, my bed looks like it’s out of a magazine because it’s got the beautiful down comforter and my pillows and it’s always really, really comfortable, so that’s pretty much my guilty pleasure when traveling. The other guilty pleasure is that I always carry hand warmers with me and they’re really useful when traveling on an airplane. The temperature is usually turned down so low and everybody’s cold — I am cold — and to have a couple of hand warmers either in my pockets or under my legs or in my hands — or maybe I sometimes put them around my neck — really, really makes the travel a lot more pleasurable.

Best travel tip? Patience. Patience is the key. Everyone is trying to do their job and it’s stressful, so if you are anxious or if you put out a bad vibe or if you try to maybe insinuate that someone isn’t doing their job as well as they can be, it doesn’t work. What works is getting what you want, so not complaining. Asking for what you want in a very nice way; — calm, good tone in your voice … that is the key to having a good trip — patience and just understanding that everyone is trying to work really hard. Yeah, you’re going to meet some [expletive] out there and when you do, you just have to look back at them and smile and hopefully ask politely again what it is that you’re trying to get. And if they won’t help you, then hopefully you can go above them and ask for somebody else — but you don’t have to yell and scream about it.


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14 Things Our Expert Flight Attendant Always Has In His Carry-On

Over two decades as a flight attendant for American Airlines taught me a thing or two about packing. What I pack in my carry-on bag depends on whether I’m traveling domestically or internationally. If my domestic flight gets delayed or canceled, I can usually purchase whatever I may need, so my carry-on bag is a little lighter than when I travel abroad.

I’ve said “if I only had” way too many times. From entertainment to necessities, here’s what I always pack in my carry-on for domestic travel. I hope my suggestions will help you on your next adventure!

1. Portable Charger Power Bank

A multi-functional charger will help save your computer, cell phone, tablet, and other electronic devices from going dead. I personally like the Kanex — it has a space for your Apple Watch to charge wirelessly.

2. Charger Cables For All Your Electronics

Purchase an extra set of charger cables for all your electronics that you can just leave in your travel bag. Also, make sure you include a USB wall charger as most airports will have an A/C outlet to plug into.

3. Something To Read

I usually don’t pack heavy books or magazines. Instead, I always have my iPad or Kindle to keep me entertained. I can also watch movies or shows that I’ve downloaded on my iPad.

4. Headphones

Headphones are a must on flights if you want to watch a movie or listen to music, a podcast, or an audiobook. Don’t leave home without them!

5. Games

I also like to bring a game to play, like a deck of cards or a travel-size cribbage board game. It’s a good way to make friends on the plane or at the gate, and you can always play with your seatmates if you get stuck on the tarmac.

6. Travel TP

From time to time, we have been known to run out of toilet paper on the airplane, as you sometimes find in the terminal. That’s why I always carry travel toilet paper. The pocket-sized pack doesn’t take up much room in your bag, and can literally save your behind.

7. Soap And Sanitizer

Sometimes the aircraft lavatories also run out of soap. That’s why I always carry soap sheets. They dissolve in water and lather like regular soap. Soap sheets can keep you fresh during long delays. I also pack a washcloth, just in case. Wet wipes and hand sanitizer always come in handy, too.

8. First Aid Kit

How many times have you needed ibuprofen or a bandaid when you’re traveling? Travel first aid kits can come to the rescue in more ways than one. Make your own from things you have around the house, or order one online

Pro Tip: Always carry prescription medications in your carry-on bag in case the airline loses your checked luggage.

9. Ziploc Bags

I always carry at least one quart and one gallon-sized Ziploc bag. They’re great for everything from trash to keeping leftover food. I’ve given out more Ziploc bags to passengers over the years than I can count! They’ve also come in handy during my trip. Hotels don’t stock them and vacation rentals rarely do.

10. Zip Ties

Zip ties are the MacGyver of travel essentials. Use one if a zipper breaks on your bag. Use them to organize cords and wires. You can also use them to hang your tablet on the back of the seat in front of you.

11. Snacks

Another thing I always have in my carry-on bag is snacks. Liquids might pose a problem at security, so try to keep to dry items. Some airports require you to place all your food items through security, so dry items would work best. 

I pack a bag of crackers, hard candy, chocolates, or other small snacks that travel well. I personally like to carry powdered peanut butter. Just add water and it makes a spread I can put on my crackers. I prefer PB2, which comes in little packets and be found at Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Amazon, and Target. But if you don’t want to mess with mixing, stores also sell small squeeze packs of peanut butter. At 1.15 ounces each, they come in under TSA’s 3.4-ounce limit.

12. Water Bottle

I also bring a S’well water bottle to fill up once I’ve passed through security. My friend who worked there gave me one as a gift and I love it because it keeps cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot. I even have a S’well wine tumbler with a closeable lid. I put my in-flight beverage in it so I don’t have to worry about my drink spilling.

13. Drink Mix

Airport beverages are not cheap. Pack your choice of powdered drink mix — Kool-Aid, tea, protein mix, etc., — for an inexpensive alternative to just water. Don’t forget to pack your blender springs for easy mixing!

14. Plastic Utensils And Placemat

For eating and on the go, I pack a set of disposable or reusable cutlery and a straw. I also use a silicone placemat to cover my tray table while I eat. This helps to keep items from sliding around.

Bonus: What Kind Of Bag I Use For My Carry-On

My bag of choice is the Travelpro backpack. This bag is affordable, has a great warranty, and is very large on the inside. Samsonite also offers some great laptop backpack styles. Mammoth backpacks pull double duty if you will need a cooler on your trip. The Tourit backpack is a more affordable version.

Happy travels!

TravelAwaits has a wealth of other tips for travelers, for example:

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This airline carry-on strategy may be the smartest travel hack the internet has seen

When it seems like airline passengers are being charged more and more while getting less and less, it’s no wonder frequent fliers are getting creative about packing strategies. 

A TikTok with 17 million views shows a genius way to pack more without paying more – call it the “pillow hack.”

User Nolimitua packs her pillowcase with folded clothes because “‘pillow flies free.”


The 11-second video has racked up more than 7,000 comments. One person asked, “Anyone checked that this actually works?” to which the creator responded that it’s worked seven times so far.


The creator has not yet responded to Fox News’ request for comment.

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Flight Attendants Reveal 13 Things You Should Always Pack In Your Carry-On

If you’ve flown recently and everything went smoothly from gate to gate, consider yourself lucky. Delayed and canceled flights seem to be more of the norm than the exception and challenges all airlines are experiencing. It’s draining for travelers, and especially the crews, so a passionate group of flight attendants with decades of experience shared their advice on what everyone should bring with them to the airport the next time you fly.

Blue water bottle on yellow background
(Maria Francesca Moccia /

1. Water Bottle

Drink refills are no longer guaranteed on flights, according to our flight attendant experts. If you want more than one serving, be sure to bring your own water bottle and fill it in the concourse before you board.

Travelers also need to be prepared to spend more time than usual in the concourse due to delays. $5 for a bottle of water adds up, so bring a bottle you can continue to refill once you’re through security.

2. Snacks

There are a few reasons for this tip. Not all food service locations are open at airports, and the ones that are may have long lines. Once on your flight, some airlines aren’t allowing passengers to purchase food; others only have enough snacks for one per passenger. If you’re someone who’s looking for extra pretzels or you want to buy a sandwich once on board, it’s important to know those options may not be available and to bring your own.

3. Tennis Ball

Sitting for an extended period of time isn’t good for anyone. This handy piece of sports equipment can be transformed into an aid for achy joints and muscles if you’re spending longer than anticipated on your plane or in the airport. Prevention magazine has a few tips on how to best use a tennis ball to get a little pain relief. 

They still come in cans of three. Bring the entire can, and you’ll have the most relaxed row on your flight.

4. Pillow And/Or Arm Floaties

I must admit, using a pillow that a stranger likely drooled all over the flight prior always felt gross to me, but to each their own. However, the days of using airline pillows are over. Airlines aren’t supplying them thanks to the pandemic. Not only will a pillow keep you comfortable on the plane, our flight attendants say if you’re booked on the last flight out for the day, there’s a chance you end up spending the night at the airport. If you don’t want to travel with a pillow, our flight attendants suggest bringing a child’s blow-up arm floaty to help with lower back support.

5. Light Blanket

I’d add to this a light sweater or cover-up, but the reason for this is the same as above: Airlines simply aren’t supplying blankets to flyers any more. If you get chilly when you fly, be sure to put something you know will keep you warm in your carry-on, or just wear it onto the plane. 

Blue fan on pink background
(artstore /

6. Fan

Keeping your cool during flight delays and cancelations can be tough, but a fan can help in the literal sense. You can go old school with a paper version or bring a portable one to use. You never know when you might be stuck on the tarmac without power — or if the vent above your seat will give you enough relief. 

7. Games And Toys

Keeping yourself, and those you’re traveling with, occupied during cancelations and delays is the key to keeping your sanity on the right side of that thin line. Grab UNO, Phase 10, or even just a deck of cards and put them in your carry-on. Budding artists may like a coloring book and crayons. Our flight attendants recommend hitting the dollar store before your trip to grab a few new toys you can surprise kids with during delays, just in case the other options aren’t satisfying at the moment.

8. Extra Movies And Books

This one doesn’t need much explanation. Load your device with whatever you use to keep yourself busy while flying and then add a few more to account for any possible delays or cancelations.

9. Headphones With A Cord

Wireless headphones and earbuds can last for hours, but bring a set of earpods that don’t need to be charged and can plug into your device just in case of the aforementioned delays and cancelations. 

Portable charger on purple background
(New Africa /

10. Portable Charger

Avoid that sinking feeling you get when your laptop, kindle, or tablet battery starts telling you it’s running low on a flight by investing in a portable charger. I’ve not only used it on airplanes, but also at theme parks and other locations where a plug-in charger just isn’t an option.

11. Pen And Paper

Any woman with an affection for handbags likely has a few pens hanging out at the bottom of her purse. However, if you’re someone who doesn’t travel with a pen, add it to your list. Paperwork may be part of your flight experience if everything doesn’t go as smoothly as you hoped. You may also need to write down information announced over the intercom. Have a pen handy since the airline’s writing instruments could be in high demand.

12. Kindness And Patience

Tensions and delay times usually rise at about the same rate. Being kind to security folks, gate agents, the crew, and your fellow passengers is free, exerts less energy, and is just the right thing to do. Sermon over. 

13. Medicine, Keys, Important Documents

These items should always be in your carry-on in case your checked luggage gets lost, but our flight attendants say it’s even more critical to remember now, with the additional delays and cancelations happening. You don’t know if your luggage will end up where you do or how long you’ll be without it. 

Final Thoughts

Two more reminders: Arrive at the airport at least 1.5 hours before your flight (and even more depending on the airport), and all passengers are required to wear a mask, so don’t forget yours.

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Why Duchess of Sussex Always Keeps Tea Tree Oil in Her Carry-On

Before she married into the British royal family, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex was a successful American television star with zillions of travel miles under her belt. So, it stands to reason that the duchess knows what sort of stuff to travel with and what to leave at home. Tea tree oil is one of the essentials that she always tucks into her carry-on bag. Want to know why? Read on.

Meghan Markle visit with Prince Harry to the iconic Titanic Belfast during their trip to Northern Ireland
Meghan Markle | Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

What is tea tree oil?

Neither glamorous or expensive, tea tree oil is precisely the thing Meghan reaches for to stop a small facial breakout before it becomes a big beauty problem. In fact, as she revealed to Allure magazine back in 2014, tea tree oil is the single carry-on item that she simply can’t live without.

“It’s not the most glamorous thing, but if you get a cut, a mosquito bite, a small breakout, no matter what it is, it’s my little cure-all. It’s inexpensive, it’s small enough to carry on, and I bring it with me all the time.”

Distilled from the leaves of a diminutive Australian tree called Melaleuca alternifolia, tea tree essential oil can be used for a number of purposes, including superficial wound treatment as well as the treatment of respiratory issues.

In its native homeland, aboriginals crushed the leaves to extract a fragrant oil that they inhaled to relieve coughs or applied topically to facilitate wound healing, explains Simply Health Today.

Although the name seems to indicate otherwise, tea tree oil has nothing at all to do with the bushy plant that gives us black or green tea leaves. Instead, the Australian tea tree is a member of the myrtle family which includes a number of fragrant, oily trees such as eucalyptus, bay laurel, and clove.

Meghan’s go-to remedy is more than a beauty product

Due to the fact that pure tea tree oil can cause skin irritation for some people, various diluted forms are available. Many acne-prone adolescents find skin success with a 5% tea tree oil gel. According to Healthline, clinical studies showed that regular application of tea tree gel to be three to six times more effective than a placebo at reducing the number and severity of acne lesions.

To make your own tea tree oil bug bite remedy, melt together one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil with an equal amount of coconut oil. If you like, you can swap one of the oils for almond oil. Blend in 10 drops of pure tea tree oil. Store in a sealed container and apply it to affected areas twice a day.

Meghan has been traveling with tea tree oil for a long time. If you’ve never used it yourself, dab a small amount on your skin and wait 24 hours before applying more.

Mayo Clinic says that tea tree oil is generally safe for topical use, but warns against ingestion. Tea tree oil can be toxic if swallowed.

A traveler’s best friend

Meghan isn’t the only person who swears by tea tree oil as a travel-friendly remedy. According to Southern Living magazine, many savvy air travelers dab a bit of tea tree oil in and around their nostrils to keep germs from entering their sinuses.

We are not sure if the duchess uses the essential oil this way, but if you wish to try this remarkable remedy for yourself, a TSA-approved 10ml bottle of pure tea tree oil can be had at Amazon for around six dollars.

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