There is nothing worse than being stuck on an airplane and ending up hungry. Most of the international carriers feed you almost beyond the point of comfort, but I have had a flight or two where my stomach starts grumbling and we are still hours from landing. This is why I always carry snacks in my carry-on.
Like I mention in my post about beating jetlag, I can be pretty insufferable if I’m hungry and stressed. Navigating layovers, customs, baggage claim, and transport to your hotel can be bad enough – you don’t want to compound that by arriving hungry.
Now for a big and important disclaimer: bringing food into a new country can be tricky business. Absolutely do not blindly follow my advice. Double check your destination’s specific rules regarding the importation of food, otherwise you may end up stuck with a large fine. As a general rule, fresh produce, meat, dairy, or any animal product is a no-go.
And another one – some of the links below are affiliate links. What this means is, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Now with the boring notice out of the way… here’s my foolproof list to stave away the hunger monster and get your trip off to the good start it deserves.
1. Trail mix
Definitely double check the rules on this one – dried fruit (aka raisins) may be problematic. But it’s salty, sweet, and has protein, so it’s extra satisfying and filling in a pinch.
2. Some kind of granola bar
I’m definitely a fan of KIND bars because they are packable, filling, and seem somewhat healthy. You can throw one of your favorites in your carry-on and a few extras in your checked luggage in case you need something quick and easy at the hotel.
3. Snack crackers, like Cheez-Its or Goldfish
Salty, comforting, and easy to pack. Basically the perfect carry on snack.
4. A breakfast bar
I’m a really big fan of Belvita Breakfast Biscuits, especially if you have a nice, warm beverage. On my last layover I sat by the airport window and watched the sunrise while reading a book and dipping these in my coffee. Delish & easy.
5. Something comforting
This is up to you. Carry some of your favorite tea or your go-to chocolate bar. You know when you’re on an airplane and you’re bored but unable to nap? Pulling out a Reese’s in your hidden stash can help for a moment.
6. Chocolate caffeine bar
Y’all, I just discovered these and they are legit. I have a case, a literal CASE, in my office at work. When I hit that 2 o’clock slump where I’m craving carbs and have my post-lunch drowsies, I reach for a square of AWAKE Caffeinated Chocolate to get a little boost. I haven’t traveled with these yet but I imagine one bar will help me get through my first day… plus it’s chocolate!
I talk more about this in my post “How to beat jet lag“ but this was a literal gamechanger for me. Even if you don’t eat the ramen on the plane, it can be a nice, quick, warm meal on your layover or once you get to your hotel. Quick, easy, practically free, and most important of all, hot.
8. Gum, Tic Tacs, or Altoids
In order to survive long haul flights, I’m a strong believer in feeling fresh and clean. Having some mints can help clear up that airplane coffee breath so you arrive feeling a little better.
I know this seems like a lot of snacks for your carry on, and I know you won’t end up eating them all on the plane. It’s better to be prepared, and having some snacks available once you reach your hotel may be all you need to make a day or an afternoon just a little bit better.
What snacks do you like to have in your carry on? Comment below!