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Citizen Femme Editors Reveal Their Carry-On Essentials

What helps make a flight enjoyable? While the airline, class of travel and airport experience all make a big difference, so will your pre-flight preparation. These carry-on essentials will elevate your in-flight experience.

With flying part of the job description, the Citizen Femme team are experts at it – and have found personalised ways of making long (or short) flights that little bit more comfortable. From beauty to style and everything in between, read on to discover Team CF’s all-important carry-on essentials. Mix and match to suit your own needs.

Sheena Bhattessa, Founder


I love to fly so have a travel bag with my essentials pre-packed all the time. In it you’ll find: Aesop’s hand balm which applies beautifully and the scent relaxes me; the Chantecaille stress repair eye cream; and my trusted Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm. I have a pair of Chanel oversized black sunglasses which are always in my handbag too, along with a camel cashmere travel wrap. In-flight or at the airport you’ll usually find me listening to Audible or podcasts so my AirPods are essential, as are my laptop and whichever booking I’m reading that month. This month it’s The Code Breaker by Walter Issacson.



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Gemma Louise Deeks, Contributing Fashion Editor


I’m not a very patient person, so any flight longer than two hours drives me crazy. I always pack my iPad and Bang & Olufsen headphones which are noise cancelling, so I can watch the series I’ve downloaded in peace. If I’m flying long haul, I’ll always pack my Lyma laser in my carry-on, so I can do my evening skincare routine and work on problem areas whilst in the air. It’s a great time to do it. All this fits perfectly inside Metier’s new Cala tote bag in large, allowing liberal packing.


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KATIE SILCOX, Deputy Editor


I drink a lot of water, both on and off flights, and always carry a refillable bottle with me: it’s handy to top up at the airport before boarding, and equally practical once at the destination – keeping anything from water, to iced coffee and cocktails cool while on the move. Hand cream is another non-negotiable for me on flights and I find these from Naxos Apothecary ideal, they’re moisturising but not oily. I also love their Eau de Parfum series which come in flight-friendly 50ml sizes. My iPhone is practical for storing boarding passes and tickets in the same place for a smooth check-in – but also to download movies and TV series to watch in-flight. I pair it with these bluetooth over-ear headphones which are comfy and seem to last a really long time without needing additional charge. Lastly, if I’m travelling carry-on only then a sunglasses case that can store multiple pairs is a must. I love this Collector’s Case from Garrett Leight.



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I always get chilly on planes, especially during the middle of the flight, so layering up in a cashmere travel wrap is a must – it can be used as a shawl, blanket and even a pillow. My Apple AirPods Max noise-cancelling headphones always travel with me so I can watch films and listen to podcasts without the annoying cabin sounds – they also help me nod off to sleep. Drinking lots of water is great to help you land feeling bright and to stave off jet-lag – I rely on my LARQ self-cleaning water bottle to stay hydrated while avoiding single-use plastic. My beauty pick? It has to be a little bottle of de Mamiel’s Altitude Oil, an inhalation essence that provides a naturally potent pick-me-up in the stale cabin air.



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Becki Murray, Beauty Editor


I struggle with motion sickness so it’s fair to say that I’m not a good flyer. However, it does mean that I have quite the trusted array of in-flight rituals to share. First up is the Slip Silk Neck Pillow as whatever class I fly, I like to know I’ll have a supportive headrest that won’t leave me with bedhead if I do toss and turn a bit during the flight. Similarly, I’ll always pack my Drowsy Eye Mask – it’s super soft, protects against dry eyes, and, unlike many others, is actually large enough to block out the light. I have some ginger tea on hand to help manage nausea (I just ask the flight attendant for a cup of hot water) and always carry my toothbrush in hand luggage so I don’t have to rely on the flimsy manual ones throughout the flight. Finally, to avoid the stress of thinking I’ve lost my travel documents for the umpteenth time, I keep all my essentials in a cross-body pouch. I’m eyeing up the Anya Hindmarch Eyes Essentials Cross Body for my next trip.



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Alexandra Carello, PR Director


I always have a hairband with me to keep my hair out of my face. I love these maxi padded ones. I also always optimistically bring a book; right now it’s Ultra-Processed People by Chris van Tulleken. Oh My Cream face oil is great to ensure hydrated and smooth skin; I love this brand for their uncomplicated regimes. I pair it with a 111SKIN face mask, either their Rose Gold sheet mask or eye strips – people will look at you strangely, but your skin will thank you. My sunglasses go on the moment I leave the plane and I hold everything together in the same Jimmy Choo bag I’ve been using for years – it fits everything from my beauty essentials to my laptop and wet wipes for the kids.



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Morag Turner, Citizen Enfants Editor


When I’m travelling with my kids I take a large tote bag with me, in winter it’s my Louis Vuitton Neverfull and this summer it’s my Dragon Diffusion Nantucket basket. Inside I pack snacks (who doesn’t love a Twix at 36,000 feet) and games such as travel Scrabble and Dobble for my boys to play. I used to carry a stack of magazines to the gate, but not anymore as thanks to the Readly app I can flick through the pages on my phone – this really cuts down on the weight in my bag. I generally use the time on a flight to plan everything from house renovations and dinner parties, to all the kid’s activities and our future holidays, so I always have my trusty Smythson diary (essential for a busy family of five) and notebook from Papier at the ready to make lists and jot down ideas. I take my jewellery in my hand luggage too, and pack it all in my leather jewellery roll from Noble Macmillan.



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Bibiana Obahor, Head of Graphic Design


I wear eyelash extensions so, for me, the Slip Eye Mask is a game-changer. This contoured mask is gentle on my eyelashes and makeup, ensuring a peaceful nap during the flight. For a complete skincare routine on the go, I rely on the Clinique Hydration Mini Kit and the Peter Thomas Roth Mini Water Drench Moisturiser. These travel-friendly sets keep my complexion nourished and glowing throughout the journey. Of course, I can’t forget a good book for entertainment: whether waiting to board or struggling to sleep on the plane, my go-to author is Taylor Jenkins Reid. And to keep everything organised, my Ogigi beauty case prevents spills and makes it easy to access all my skincare and beauty products. Finally, I never leave home without a portable charger, to ensure my devices stay powered up.



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Shira Frankl, Editorial Assistant

If, like me, you tend to lose your belongings easily, a passport holder is a must. All of Aspinal of London’s passport covers are practical and chic, but I love the versions that come with card slots. For the ultimate indulgence aboard a flight, The White Company’s Silk Piped Eye Mask is my go-to. Lastly, it’s easy to feel in need of a refresh while travelling and Aesop’s expansive travel range helps me feel nourished – the Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash in a 50ml size is particularly useful during take-off and landing, when you have to stay seated.



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