The Modern Traveler’s Carry-On Checklist

A few things to grab now, before you get on the plane

By The Editors
November 25, 2015 9:00 am

Compared to the plight of the modern-day traveler, buffeted from security post to screening checkpoint, Odysseus had it easy: all he had to do was evade a guy with one eye and survive the Sirens without cheating on his wife.

But there are ways to improve a troubled situation. You already know if you have access to the Admirals Club or assorted other refuges of free, slow wifi and free, understuffed sandwiches. But do you have everything else you need to negotiate one of our nation’s busiest travel days as painlessly as possible? Let’s review.


Either you already have or haven’t signed up for TSA Pre, which, sure, maybe isn’t as great as it was a couple years ago, when it was less popular — but hey, nothing gold can stay, right? And it still beats the alternative. Also worth your ducats: Clear, a service that whisks you straight through security, now serving 13 U.S. cities.


Happily, the athleisure trend was made for flying. Remove any shirt with buttons and replace with a luxe upgrade on the sweatshirt: like this cashmere version from French brand Exemplaire. Cashmere because it’s warm when you’re cold but cool once they jack up the heat. Oh, and the nerdiest thing we’ll ever endorse? Neck pillows. Get one. This one.

Noise Control

Your iPhone’s earbuds are no match for engine noise. But leave your $4,000 Grados at home — swap them out for the weekend with this $49 version, which the Brooklyn manufacturer intends to be a lightweight, low-stress and plane-ready upgrade for your portable electronic of choice. 

The Entertainment, Digital

Have you seen every episode of the peerless, about-to-be-over Peep Show? Every single Louie, especially the season three storyline where he goes after David Letterman’s job? Idris Elba as Luther? Veep? That’s at least 100 hours of entertainment. You’re good. 

The Entertainment, Analog

For those awkward few moments between take-off and it’s now safe to use portable electronics, look smart with Michel Houellebecq’s latest novel. Or settle in with this classic looks-like-art-but-it’s-really-pretty-smutty magazine from South Africa by way of L.A. 

A Better Bag (For Next Time)

Too late for this trip, but we’ve got even more holidays on the way. The Bluesmart smart suitcase starts shipping on Tuesday. Built-in scale, USB chargers, location tracking — it can do everything but laundry. 

Finally: disinfecting wipes. Even first-class pax have germs. Just know how to use them, not abuse them. 

Main image via Warner Bros. Pictures

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