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Flying for Thanksgiving? Read These Essential Packing Tips to Travel for Turkey Day

Essential Packing for Thanksgiving Flights
Written by Staff Writer

As you gear up to brave the airport for your Thanksgiving travels, you’ll want to pack up your bags with essentials to make one of the busiest travel days a little less busy. While there will be crowds, long lines, and gate hoverers out in full force, traveling for Thanksgiving can be much more bearable if you have a few helpful tools in your carry-on bag. Before you make your turkey trot home, be sure to check out our advice on essential packing for Thanksgiving flights!

Pack Lots of Snacks!

Essential Packing for Thanksgiving Flights Snacks

It might sound silly to pack snacks for your Thanksgiving flights since you’ll be feasting in a few hours, but with flight delays, cancellations, and any other long travel day mishaps that can come about, you’ll be extra thankful for the nibbles in your bag. While you can buy food at the airport, those purchases can really drain the wallet, especially as the holiday season approaches. If you can save money (and your stomach) on one of the busiest travel days of the year, why not take the time to pack a few snacks from home?

Don’t Forget to Bring Hand Sanitizer and Wipes

Essential Packing for Thanksgiving Flights Hand Sanitizer

The Thanksgiving travel period is one of the busiest, if not the busiest of the year, which also means lots of people. With that said, you’ll definitely want to pack a bottle of hand sanitizer to have at the ready. If you touch anything from the check-in screens to those germy security bins, you’ll be extra grateful to have something to keep the colds at bay.

Sanitizing wipes are also great to use at your destination for cleaning hands and surfaces. Use them to wipe down any items you’ll reuse during your trip like utensils, shopping bags, water bottles, etc. Look for products that smell pleasant but don’t contain too much alcohol since this may irritate the skin. Additionally, keep travel-sized toiletries in an easy-to-access spot so you won’t need to pull out every small item in your suitcase when you’re already running late.

Get Your Boarding Pass Ready Ahead of Time

Essential Packing for Thanksgiving Flights Boarding Pass

A great piece of advice is to arrive at the airport for your Thanksgiving travels and print your boarding pass at the ticket counter. To save you lots of time and stress, you should have your boarding pass packed away in your carry-on bag before you leave for the airport. Whether you print out a paper copy or merely download your mobile boarding pass, you’ll eliminate unnecessary steps in the airport and alleviate the stress of your Thanksgiving journey if you take care of it beforehand.

Wear Your Bulky Clothes at the Airport

Since air travel is uncomfortable enough already, bringing your heaviest sweaters and jackets on the plane is essential packing for Thanksgiving flights. This reduces the need to bring bulky items in your luggage, which would take up quite a bit of space. But make sure you only pack clothes that are less cumbersome for your flight, that way you can then wear them on the plane or during your layover time at the airport. If you’ll be traveling with close friends, consider packing similar items so you can coordinate outfits.

Related: Far From Home? Check Out These 7 Tips for Celebrating Thanksgiving Abroad!

Bring Noise Canceling Headphones/Ear Plugs

Essential Packing for Thanksgiving Flights Headphones

Due to all of the holiday travelers, noise and stress levels in the airport escalate. To keep your Thanksgiving travel days stress-free, bringing along some noise-canceling headphones or even just earplugs can come in handy. By blocking out all the noise, you’ll experience less fatigue from your travels.

Stock Up On Caffeine

Essential Packing for Thanksgiving Flights Caffeine

From tea packets to instant coffee, caffeine is always helpful to travelers on the road. However, the Thanksgiving holiday can be quite stressful between being with family and friends and then heading back to the office shortly after. To keep alert and not miss those early morning flights or redeyes, a little caffeine at your disposal could end up being a holiday miracle.

Use Packing Cubes and Compression Bags

Essential Packing for Thanksgiving Flights Compression Bag
Packing cubes can help keep different types of clothing organized in your luggage when you’re flying to see family during the holiday season. Compression bags also come in handy for when you’d like to fit a little more onto your flight. They work by compressing the air out of clothing, which reduces the volume inside a suitcase without folding them in a way that leaves creases. It’s worth noting that you’ll need to use packing cubes or compression bags only for items that can’t be folded or don’t maintain their shape well, such as bulky sweaters or pants.

Stick to the ‘Rule of One’

When flying, try sticking with one piece of carry-on luggage as much as possible. By doing this, you’ll be able to avoid having multiple bags checked in at the ticket counter. This also saves time at luggage claim and during screening. Pack your clothes into one bag with a separate small case or pouch for your personal belongings. It’s easiest if this item is something you can easily take out such as laptop bags, travel purses, wallets, briefcases, and toiletry items. This can help you avoid trouble should customs decide to thoroughly inspect any of your belongings.

Also, keep all toiletry items in clear plastic bottles or pouches so they can be inspected quickly by security upon entering the checkpoint without having to make your entire bag accessible to them. If there are liquids involved, consider pouring these into travel-size containers before your flight since these can be difficult to get through security anyway.

Bring Reusable Food Containers and Drinkware

Essential Packing for Thanksgiving Flights Tupperware

Packing reusable food containers and water bottles can save you a lot of money and hassle on any trip. They help you avoid unnecessary purchases, like buying overpriced snacks at the airport or onboard your flights, but they’re especially important when you’re traveling for Thanksgiving and want to take part in the beloved tradition of lefovers.

What other essential packing for Thanksgiving flights tips can you think of? Tell us in the comments!

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Staff Writer

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