Oh, the joys of traveling! Exploring new places, meeting new people, trying new foods, doing new things and learning about a whole world outside your own. There is something almost magical about it! But getting there? Not always the most fun. Long (and even short) flights can be brutal, but there is a way to help ensure it doesn’t cramp your style too much as you voyage elsewhere.
Part of enjoying a long flight is being prepared for the journey. There will always be a level of discomfort, but bringing some must-have items will make the trip much more manageable. Our contributor, Jenna Wohlwend rounded up the most important items to include in your carry-on so that when you leave on that jet plane, you walk off feeling like you’re ready to take on the world instead of wanting to topple over in discomfort, stress and exhaustion.
Credit cards, passports, IDs and any other important documentation all need to be well-protected in your carry-on bag. These are all things that need to be on hand at all times. Make sure you have them and rest assured, you will have a much better trip when these things are accessible. (Definitely the first things to cross off your checklist!)
Eye Mask and Ear Plugs
It’s hard to get rest and block out your surroundings without earplugs and an eye mask. Planes are loud in general and this guarantees that you can alleviate your anxiety from the extra sounds, crying babies and chatty neighbors. Instead, you can just relax, zone out, meditate or sleep.
They sometimes provide these on really long flights, but you never know. It is always good to have these with you so you have access to the screens on the plane, your phone, your computer or any other electronics. (Don’t forget any adapters if needed!)
Books and Writing Tools
Books, whether you use a Kindle or not, are always good for passing the time during flights. Magazines too, though those take less time to read and can take up space afterwards. Also, don’t forget to bring a pen and notepad. You will always be surprised how often those two things come in handy while traveling—ESPECIALLY the pen! When traveling abroad, I always forget a pen and have to ask a flight attendant for one when signing the visitor documents, so trust me, I know this one from experience.
Facial Spray and Makeup Removers
Can’t shower? Feel dirty? No problem! Face mists and toners will do the trick in the meantime, as will makeup removers. Together you have a mini spa with you. Between the refresh from the products and relaxing scents, you can feel more at ease knowing that you will not feel that patchy, dry, dull post-flight feeling with these two products with you.
Hand sanitizer, Advil, sleep medication, vitamins, Emergen-C, any prescriptions, tampons, Neosporin, Band-Aids, any kind of stomach medicine—get the travel size or a pill box and bring them. As far as these things go, it will never hurt to be prepared. (And don’t forget your birth control if you take it!)
There is nothing worse than finally falling asleep on a flight and then waking up abruptly from a head bob. Ensure you don’t turn into a bobblehead souvenir and purchase a neck pillow. You won’t regret it for a single moment.
You should always dress in layers, but adding an oversized scarf into the mix is a double whammy of convenience. Not only will it look fashionable for when you are hopping gate to gate, but it is also a makeshift blanket to snuggle into when the flight inevitably gets a little chilly.
ChapStick and Lotion
Planes make skin dry. Avoid that and bring a moisturizing ChapStick and a travel-size lotion to keep your skin feeling healthy and comfortable.
We all know it’s a big no-no to bring a water bottle filled with any liquid through security. But you CAN bring an empty water bottle. Most airports have water fountains to fill them with, specifically for this situation. It is way better than collecting plastic and way less expensive than spending too much for a bottle in the overpriced airport shops.
Start your trip off right and do yourself a favor, think about all these items and make them a priority in your carry-on. Ensure that you buy smaller, travel sizes of these so they can make their way through security, and also to protect your neck and body by not carrying extra weight. You don’t need any additional aches that sitting in a cramped space for hours will inevitably provide.
So plan ahead, bring these items, stretch before and after your flight, and happy travels!
Jenna Wohlwend is a content strategist at a tech company in San Francisco and runs her own lifestyle blog, Jenna Rose Colored Glasses. She has her B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and loves karaoke, reading, cooking and traveling with her husband.
Make sure to also read What I Learned During My Three Years In LA Trying To Be An Actress and 8 Ways To Decorate Your Home To Calm Anxiety!