Compact Airline Approved Snack Pack





Introduction: Compact Airline Approved Snack Pack

About: I'm an animation director by day and Queen of the monsters by night. I picked up most of my costume and prop building skills through hands on experimentation with materials. Experimentation led to addictio...

My parents recently booked a trip to Europe. Since they almost never fly, especially not for the duration it take to cross the Atlantic, my mom asked me to research the best airline approved snacks to take in a crowded carry on bag. She said "I want to do better than the crackers, cookies, and peanuts they're going to try and sell me for $10 on the plane".

Read on for the foods and tips I assembled for their "compact snack packs". The choices here are very travel friendly, and will keep you feeling well and energized while consuming very little luggage space.

If you find these space saving travel comforts helpful, consider voting for me in the small spaces contest.

Step 1: Powdered Drink Mix or Teas

Since your flight attendant can bring you unlimited hot or cold water, drink mixes allow you a flavorful beverage at no cost. They consume almost no space in your bag, allowing you to pack a variety to use throughout the flight.

I suggest mixing up your flavors; some sweet, some bitter (like a green or black tea), so that you aren't totally sick of one thing by the time you land.

Another selection method is to pick what headspace you want to be in during your flight.

If you want to feel alert and energized, green teas or drink mixes with B vitamins and citrus flavor are great.

If you'd rather mellow out, mint or chamomile teas are excellent choices.

Step 2: Nutrition Bars

Granola bars are an easy travel food I'm sure all of you have tried. In my experience, they do little to fill me up or make me feel like I've accomplished much in the way of nutrition. If all I've got on me is granola, I usually cave and get the $9 breakfast sandwich at the airport anyway.

Kick things up a notch with Protein bars or fruit and nut nutrition bars! They're good for you and fit easily in the almost flat zipper side pockets of a carry on bag.

Odwalla and Lara bars are full of good stuff, very flavorful, and slightly moist. I find them to be a very satisfying alternative to regular granola bars. Since they're soft, they won't shatter if your bag gets beaten around and you won't get crumbs all over yourself (or the person next to you) as you eat them.

Protein bars are great for making you feel full. Simple Truth is the only brand I've tried that doesn't taste like chalky cookie dough, but my boyfriend loves Cliff bars. If you're eating one of these during flight, ask your attendant for a cup of water. They're pretty dense, and extra water will help you properly digest the protein!

If you pack multiple bars, try one fruit flavor and one chocolate or "green" flavor. Avoid packing ALL chocolate so you're not totally sick of sweet when you land.

Step 3: Squeeze Packs

You may not realize that squeeze pack foods are allowed in your carry on. Squeeze packs are nearly flat, so they can go in a purse or in small luggage zipper pockets easily.

Keep your eye on the size. Some squeeze packs are just under the 3.4oz limit for liquids and gels. Some, like Mama Chia are just barely over at 3.5oz. Neither myself nor my parents have ever been prevented from bringing them 3.5 oz pouches aboard, but it can happen. If you get a very by-the-book TSA agent know that you might have to shotgun it (or throw it out) at the checkpoint before moving on. Fortunately, they're easy to eat in a hurry.

Mama Chia squeeze packs border on being juice-like and are really refreshing. These are great when you need a hydrating pick-me-up with a little substance to it.

Squeezable fruit packs, including applesauce packs, are mostly marketed towards kids. That doesn't mean they taste like baby food--some are quite good! This is an effective way to get your daily fruit in while traveling, rather than trying to stuff an apple or banana somewhere in your bag.

Step 4: Nuts and Savory Snacks

Nuts and seasoned chickpeas are filling and good for you, plus they provide a savory contrast to most of the other stuff we've packed so far.The GoodBean makes several savory flavors of chickpeas (all I had at home for the photo was sweet), including sea salt, cracked pepper, and chili lime!

Nuts, like almonds and walnuts especially, can be a little pricey and often come in a larger bag than you can accommodate in your carry on. You can buy a large bag and re-portion into travel size ziplocs.


You can find single size bags of nuts in the baking aisle. Since these are meant to be toppings you will find that the nuts are usually sliced. I find these mini bags to be a good alternative to pouches of trail mix, which tend to be chunky and take up bag space.

Stick to nuts and seeds that are already shelled. You don't want to be that gross, inconsiderate passenger with a slobbery pile of pistachio or sunflower seeds on their tray table, ready to spill with the first tilt of the plane.

AVOID CHIPS and CRACKERS! I know you feel like you're making a healthy choice by packing veggie chips, but thin and crispy snacks will likely get pulverized in your bag before you ever get to enjoy them. Stay crumb free and satisfied with nuts/ seeds/chickpeas instead.

Step 5: Mints

If you don't carry mints in your pocket or purse already, consider throwing a few in your snack pack. Your seat neighbor will thank you, and they're great for a quick freshening before you disembark and meet the person you've travelled to see.

Peppermint is also a very soothing scent/taste, if you're prone to nervousness or motion sickness during flight.

Grab a few extra Starlight mints next time you leave a restaurant, to keep on hand for travel.

If you're really pressed for space, you can plastic wrap a few smaller, more powerful mints into a pod you can tuck in your wallet.

Step 6: Suggested Pharmaceuticals

These aren't essential, but I do find them handy when I travel. Carry a few of each type in a pill compact, or bind them together with plastic wrap to stow in a zipper pocket or the greater snack pack.

Ginger Capsules --Great for settling your stomach and alleviating motion sickness. I swear by these be it plane, train, or automobile!

Vitamin B Complex -- Vitamin B will help boost your energy if you've had a long day of travel. If you plan to do any partying where you travel, Vitamin B6 may also help reduce the symptoms of a hangover. I take 2 after a night of drinking and haven't paid the price in a long time.

Your Chosen Pain Reliever -- An annoying headache can strike at the worst or times, so I make sure to have my migraine meds handy. You might also choose a regular Aspirin or Ibuprofen to help with achey muscles if you've been crammed in a tiny seat 6 hours +

Zinc -- Why not boost your immune system a little? I'm sure the efficacy of this could be argued, but minerals are good and why not do everything you can to guard yourself from the petri dish that is a plane ride.

If you happen to take any medications that come sealed in a blister pack, it may be a good idea to leave them intact and just take a portion of the blister sheet. That way there will be no mistake that these are legitimate medications.

Step 7: Booze


Mini bottles of alcohol are totally permissible in a carry on as long as they are under 3.4 oz and are packed in a clear bag along with your other liquids and gels.

I don't suggest you leave your shampoo at home so you can get hammered on your flight, but if you're looking at a REALLY long plane ride you may consider taking one mini bottle to help you mellow out. Choose something you can mix with your free in flight beverage and you'll have a rum & coke or jack & ginger!

Check here to see if your international flight offers free alcohol (some do). If you're lucky, that's one less thing to pack!

Step 8: Packing

Tuck your goodies in the spare nooks and crannies of your carry on, or pack them all together in a ziploc to avoid having to dig around later.

Your goal is to pack a relatively flat bag. This should be easy since most of the foods mentioned here are packaged as such.

Press all the excess air out of the bag before sealing.

My finished snack pack, which would comfortably get me through a moderate length flight (6hrs approx) measures 8.5 inches wide x less than 2 inches tall --about the size of one folded shirt! Easy to fit right on top of your carry on belongings. The pack will flex along with your bag as you move and stow, so no worries about mess.

I hope these tips help you travel lighter and more comfortably! If you liked this Ible, consider tossing me a vote in the "Small Spaces" contest.



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    Will definitely use this, Thank You!

    Oh my god, I can bring my own mini booze bottles on the plane?! This never occurred to me before and I am to cheap to buy the inflight drinks, but sure could use one on a long flight! Thanks for this!

    1 reply

    It's a revolution in travel, right?? My globe trotting friend told me this and I confirmed on the web. Your ziploc mini bar will be the envy of all the passengers in your row!

    Thanks for this. My kids are going on a trip this summer and I was worried about having to send them with money to buy something to eat on the flight. This is very helpful.

    1 reply

    You are very welcome! I think one of the best things about this is you can custom tailor the flavor choices to keep the home made snacks from feeling "boring". I sent my dad off with more savory snacks and "green" tasting things and mom got some of her favorite flavors in odwalla/lara bars; coconut, gingerbread, and blueberry muffin.

    I wonder if the custom daily medicine packs that some pharmacies promote will pass muster for TSA? This would be a good thing to check on.

    1 reply

    That's a good question. I have no experience with those, but would think anything sealed and dr/ pharmacist certified would pass (provided it isn't liquid over the allowance). User HomeHaunter1 (comments below) might be the person to ask, as one who deals with TSA guidelines for a living.

    Fantastic idea. I always enjoy snacking throughout the day. I would even take this on a short flight

    1 reply

    I definitely take them on short flights myself. As long as my blood sugar stays up, everyone is safe :)

    what a great idea, I travel a lot thanks.

    be wary of re packing medicines ESP across borders.

    Best to take a blister strip version and cut them into daily portions/ remove them with nail scissors as you don't need the .

    Whilst preggi. I took mulivit package, 2 green, 1 gel tablet. I cut the blister packs up into sIly or a dew day strips put it into my GoTubb container and packed it with toiletries.

    Made it very clear what it was... So no issue across borders.

    The heavier duty your meds.. The better research you should do :)

    But thanks for the tips :)

    1 reply

    That's an excellent recommendation for meds that come blister sealed! Unfortunately none of the stuff I take comes that way, but I can definitely see that being the case for people like allergy sufferers. I will adjust the Ible to include your helpful blister pack insight :)

    And re the water bottles... I had to ditch a bottle of water I just took, and the empty container, and rebuy another the other side of our UK customs.

    1 reply

    Agreed about the water bottles. That's not something I'd suggest as it seems pretty well established those just wont get through.

    Or you could just bring sandwhiches and 1l of liquid in 100ml bootles

    1 reply

    While I do love a good sandwich, their pitfalls include high probability of getting squished, and possible need for refrigeration (depending on what type). Obviously you can avoid the squish risk if you pack them in tupperware. The intent of this Ible is to provide suggestions to travelers who have very limited luggage space, so minimal packaging is a plus. If you're a naturally light packer then maybe you'll have the room for the Tupperware ;)

    Oh man my quality of life on planes has now become much improved. This is awesome, and I imagine can make the whole flight so much pleasant if you stomach feels settled.

    1 reply

    The ginger and mints are real life savers for pun intended.

    Just FYI squeeze packs ARE considered liquids or gels and ARE subject to the limit of 3.4 ounces each. You can take oversized liquids that are completely frozen. They aren't the most convenient but with long trips they will defrost to the point of being able to eat them after a while.

    1 reply

    Interesting. Is there a particular source you got the squeeze pack info from? Several travel blogs I read suggested them, and neither myself nor my parents have ever had the TSA yank them from our carry ons. I would think they'd be especially particular on international flights. Is letting squeeze packs through just carelessness on the TSA's part, perhaps (eyeballing it and figuring its always under the 3.4 oz rule)? If there's a real rule on the books let me know and I can amend the Ible.