2013 Travel Series: My In-Flight Essentials

I have shared My Favorite Luggage and Packing Accessories as well as My Favorite Carry-On Bags so far in the 2013 Travel Series, giving an in-depth look at the bags and accessories that help me to be organized traveler.  This week I am sharing my In-Flight Essentials, including all of the items I like to have with me on any given plane trip no matter how long or short the duration.  Traveling can be a stressful experience and I like to have certain things with me that aid in my comfort.  As much as I appreciate the convenience of air travel, I am not particularly fond of being on an airplane.  Anything I can do to help myself feel even the slightest bit more comfortable during a flight is well worth toting around a few extra items for me.  Of course, everyone’s needs when it comes to personal comfort are different.  I am sharing my own In-Flight Essentials here, but it’s important to decide for yourself what your needs are for travel before packing.

OJ|OLJ 8:16:2013_1There are several items I always bring to aid in my physical comfort on any flight:

1. Airplane seats are notoriously uncomfortable.  Over many years and countless flights I have never found an airplane seat I actually liked as is.  Therefore, I choose to bring a small pillow with me for lumbar support.  This Undercover Bear pillow by Lug is an excellent travel pillow.  Not only is it the perfect size to tuck between the airplane seat and my lower back for support, it’s also quite versatile in its multi-functionality.  The outer layer zips open to reveal a personal sized blanket inside.  There is a small pocket on the blanket that holds an inflatable pillow insert if you’d like to use both the pillow and the blanket at the same time.  I usually just keep it all zipped together, but it is a nice feature to have in case a plane gets super chilly, which can happen especially on longer flights.  Additionally, it’s super cute, which might seem like a silly thing to factor in, but anything that can bring a smile to my face even for a brief moment during a flight is a good thing!

2. Temperatures within airports and airplanes are not usually consistent, which is why I always travel with a scarf.  I tend to bring slighter warmer scarves in the cooler months and lighter ones during the summer, but I always choose a nice large scarf when traveling so it can function in a variety of ways.  This lightweight Ombre Scarf by Mossimo (purchased at Target) is the perfect summer travel option for me.  It measures 72″ long x 36″ wide, making it easy to wear wrapped around my neck, as a shawl around my shoulders, or even lengthwise as a lightweight personal blanket.  I recently picked up a medium Pack-It Sac from Eagle Creek’s new Specter line to hold my travel scarf when not in use.  This extremely lightweight pouch acts to protect the scarf from possible snags while keeping it easy to access in my carry-on luggage.

3. I always bring a pair of fuzzy slipper socks with me in case my feet get cold during a flight.  I like to take my shoes off while I am seated on a plane for comfort.  I tend to wear thinner socks when traveling in the event that the plane is hot.  When it is chilly I just throw my slipper socks on over my thin ones for warmth.  It’s little things like this that can make a big difference in my overall comfort during a flight.

OJ|OLJ 8:16:2013_2Travel related anxiety can throw even the most seasoned packer off her game.  There are certain items that tend to be packed last minute (specifically important chargers for my electronic devices) because I need them up until right before we leave on any given trip.  Over the years I’ve learned that in those last frazzled moments before leaving the house, these are the items I tend to forget, even if they’re on  my “Do Not Forget” checklist.  Something about getting out of the door to head to the airport, even though I always leave with plenty of time to spare, feels like a race against time, simply because I am a nervous traveler.   I realized it was worthwhile to purchase additional chargers specifically for travel that I keep tucked away with my travel items in my closet when not in use.  When the time comes to pack, I simply pull out these pouches that hold my various chargers and toss them in my carry-on.  I no longer have to think about the possibility of forgetting them if I am waiting to charge up my cameras, phone, and computer batteries before we leave.  I travel frequently enough that owning extra chargers for my portable devices makes sense, especially when it saves me the aggravation of leaving one behind accidentally.  I use an Eagle Creek Pack-It Quarter Cube to store my Macbook Pro charger, Apple Magsafe Airline Adapter, a screen cleaning cloth, and a Smart Charger (which can replenish my iPhone battery in a pinch).  I keep all of my other chargers in a small Eagle Creek Pack-It Sac.  I also always travel with my Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Canceling Headphones for listening to music, working on my computer, or simply to just block out the airplane noise during a flight.  I use a soft velvet drawstring pouch to keep them intact in my carry-on instead of the bulky case they came with.

OJ|OLJ 8:16:2013_3I’m one of those “better safe than sorry” kinds of people.  I like to have a small kit of things with me when I am on the go that I call my Walking Pharmacy.  I always keep one in my purse and like to have one specifically geared towards travel, as well.  I recently purchased the new 3-1-1 Cosmetic Case from Vera Bradley, which is designed to meet TSA regulations (you are required to use a quart sized bag or case to put your liquids and gels in 3 oz or less sized containers into when going through security).  This case is the perfect Travel Walking Pharmacy for me!  I love how I can use vertical organization making it easy to pick out an item instead of sorting through a jumbled mess.  Here is what I keep in my Travel Walking Pharmacy:

1. Truvia packets (a brand of stevia, a natural sweetener)
2. Bandaids
3. Airborne On-The-Go
4. Crystal Essence Mineral Deodorant Towelettes
5. Kleenex tissues
6. Sephora Collection Express Cleaning Wipes To Go
7. Boscia Blotting Linens
8. Maybelline Baby Lips Lip Balm with SPF 20
9. Almay Oil-Free Eraser Sticks
10. bareMinerals Touch Up To Go
11. Small Hair Claw & Mane Message Hair Tie
12. Sephora Collection Pop-Up Travel Brush
13. Burt’s Bees Lemon Cuticle Cream
14. Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream
15. Caudalie Beauty Elixir
16. Williams Sonoma Lavender Hand Sanitizer Spray (no longer available)
17. Nail Tek Mini Crystal Nail File
18. Travel Brow & Lash Comb
19. Quease Ease
20. Ginger Chews
21. 4-Section Square Pill Box (with Advil, Aleve, Dramamine, & Ear Plugs)
22. AAA Battery (backup for Bose headphones)

OJ|OLJ 8:16:2013_4As someone who deals with a sensitive stomach, particularly during travel, I like to bring a few staple snacks with me.  Sometimes I also end up bringing enough food for an actual meal.  I never like to rely solely on airport or airplane food options.  I like to pack a Luna bar and trail mix as my “just in case” snacks.  I usually end up eating them either while traveling or once we arrive at our destination.  You never know when travel will take longer than anticipated.  It’s nice to have a snack I know I can process well handy.

The last In-Flight Essentials I am going to share are technically not things I pack in my carry-on, but items I like to wear when traveling by plane.  I like to call this my Travel Uniform.  I used to be a fan of wearing leggings on the plane mostly for the sake of comfort, but just this year made the switch to jeans after finally finding the comfiest fit for my body.  I like American Eagle’s Skinny Jeans.  They are light, not too tight, and easy to cuff up or down depending on the weather.  I layer my tops with a loose-fitting t-shirt underneath a sweatshirt.  I always wear close-toed shoes on the plane.  My mother instilled this practice in me from an early age.  Wearing supportive footwear when traveling is a must for me.  You never know how long you’ll be on your feet in security lines or how far away your gate might be.  Plus, it’s useful to have shoes on in the case of an emergency.  I usually wear my walking shoes.  Right now I’m loving my Nike Flex 2013‘s!  They’re lightweight and comfortable – perfect for everyday use and for travel!  An added bonus of wearing your sneakers on the plane is that then they don’t take up valuable space in your packed luggage.

All of these items help make my travel experience more pleasant.  I’d love to know what your in-flight essentials are if you care to share!

I show My In-Flight Essentials in detail in the video below if you’re interested in a closer look:

Check back next week for a Carry-On Challenge where I attempt to pack for a 3-night trip in carry-on luggage only!

Happy Travels! :)

*I am not affiliated with any of the brands or stores mentioned in this blog post or video.  All opinions are my own.*


39 thoughts on “2013 Travel Series: My In-Flight Essentials”

  1. Thank you for posting this Jen! I’m a huge fan of your traveling videos and this is no exception! I love the updated look at what you take in your walking pharmacy- can’t wait to see what you added to your other walking pharmacies!

  2. I love that Vera Bradley 3-1-1 case! I am also a nervous traveler- I love the idea of having back up chargers. That is definitely something I may invest in in the future!

  3. I used to be a horrible packer before I found your videos. It’s not that I was bad at fitting things nicely into a bag, I just always found myself forgetting items that I needed and having to buy them on my trips. Thanks so much for sharing with us everything you pack. Ever since I saw your first Walking Pharmacy video, my own Walking Pharmacy has saved my life!

    One thing that I still have trouble with is making sure I get all my before-travel tasks done such as turning off computers and planning what will happen with packages when I am away. I would love a video featuring everything you do a week to a day prior to leaving such as turning things off, taking out the trash, etc.

    1. I find that having a master “Don’t Forget” list & “Household Prep” list helps in remembering those sorts of things.

  4. Great post as usual! I like to bring toothpaste and a toothbrush when I fly so I can freshen up. I also recommend a saline nasal spray as the re-circulated airplane air can be very drying. As a contact lense wearer I make sure to travel with eye drops as well.

    I’d love if you could share your “to do” list of tasks when getting the house closed up before you leave.

  5. I love this video and am going to copy some of them. One thing I learned from msgoldengirl is to take a powerbar in my carryon. If you are delayed in an airport you can share the plugs. Also the plugs in a hotel are usually in hard to reach places.

  6. A few years ago, I was on a flight to Aruba with my sister and before be boarded the airplane, I had a burger from Mcdonalds. I NEVER eat at Mcdonalds, ever. I got the worst gas ever! I couldn’t sit stil and the pain in my chest was the worst! Luckily the lady sitting next to me asked what was wrong and I told her. She had a gallon size bag of all kinds to goodies! She had every Rx you could imagine.After a few minutes she handed me a gas-x strip! It worked so fast! Much faster than a pill and now I never go anywhere without it in my “just-in-case” pouch!

  7. I bought the rolling Vera Bradley 17′ roller and it was a breeze taking my laptop to WDW! Totally in love with that bag! So glad I listened to you.

  8. Oh and I bought the packing cubes which made life with myself and my daughter a breeze. Now I need to buy her a VB roller for her laptop.

  9. I love that vera bradley case!

    There’s been a change from the 3 oz. limit. It’s now 3.4 oz. I had to look it up after I bought some IKEA travel size containers that were 3.4 oz. and I thought I couldn’t use them on my trip this month. But I can 🙂

    I love how you organize your chargers, the scarf and the headphones. it’s those items that usually end up in a jumble in my tote on a flight.

  10. Great post. I haven’t travel in a very long time… just thinking of being in the plane is giving me a bit of anxiety (and I used to travel long distance a lot). Your post will come in handy when I need to travel. Thanks!

  11. Hi Jen,

    Wonderful job on this series. It was very informative, and I could see all the hard work that you put into it. I’ve learned so much from this and your office series and I’m so appreciative of your time and efforts. Thank you once again for all that you do for us.

  12. Hey Jen-

    Great post and love that Vera Bradley case.

    Where did you get those organza bags? The little hot pink one in which the bare minerals touch and go is in? Also, where do you get those smaller size ziploc pouches?


    1. I’ve collected the little organza pouches over the years from various jewelry purchases and Eco Emi boxes. I’ve seen them for sale at craft stores and even The Container Store. The small ziplock pouches can be found at Michaels or ordered from jewelry/beading supply stores/catalogues.

  13. Thank you, thank you for posting this! I’m in the midst of a few extremely busy weeks (taking a huge exam, buying a condo, moving, a Disney trip, and my first half marathon), and I’ve been so worried that I’ll forget things as I prepare and pack. I love your travel tips and will refer back to this series as I start packing next weekend! Plus, since you mentioned it, I may need to pack jeans for the chilly flights…something I hadn’t thought of before, as it’s so hot and humid otherwise (both here and in Orlando)! Cheers,

  14. My Vera Bradley 17″ suitcase arrived Thursday & I’m so excited….I Love it!!! I got the Boysenberry one & now I can’t wait to use it in October! Thanks for the video & like you, one of the main reasons I bought it is because I can put my 15″ laptop in it & I no longer have to take it out at the security area & I love that I can fit lots of stuff in the main compartment.

  15. Jen, can you tell me where I can find those half zip sweatshirts, I can’t seem to find the sweatshirt ones? I have found silky ones but not the sweatshirt kind. I really want a coral or peachy one to match my sneakers that I just bought…I want to wear it on the plane next month. Thank you!

    1. I bought this one from Victoria’s Secret (it’s part of the PINK line) last year. They usually have a similar style in different colors throughout the year.

  16. I wanted to say thank you. Thank you for everything but especially these travel videos. I must have watched the whole series half a dozen times. I kept on going how did she do that. Get all that in there.
    I always find something useful in your videos. I did end up getting the Lug travel bear in blue. So cute. So soft. I also got that Eagle Creek pouch to use for my wraps when traveling. I needed something like that. I also ordered their Pack-It Specter Compression cubes. It does not compress as much as I had hoped but it’s made of that same lightweight thin material. My 3-1-1 case comes next week. I sat on that as I thought it was a bit pricey but that size is what attracted me. And I also ordered the Vera Bradley weekender. OMG, that I LOVE that bag. It just feels so good and thank you for the heads up on the sale. That was a deal. I would not have sampled it otherwise. All these items are very attractive, good quality and feel good in the hand. I like to travel with fun and pretty items. Opening the suitcase makes me smile. Thank you.

  17. Thanks for this post and video! I am not a frequent air traveler and am going on my first overseas flight early next year. This is a great help for ideas on what I need to bring in my carry-on. I especially love the Undercover Bear pillow and will definitely buy one of those for my trip (I am always cold)!

  18. THANK YOU for this!!! As a YouTube subscriber, I’ve watched this video several times, but as I am now getting packed up for a vacation in 12 DAYS (woohoo!!!!), this list is making me a bit more at ease w/ my traveling anxiety. We don’t often go on big trips for extended periods of time, and while I’ve always been a list maker, there are things on your carry-on list that I wouldn’t have thought of. 🙂 Now if only everything goes well on travel day – I’m crossing my fingers and toes for on time flights, no lost luggage, and everything going smoothly! Thanks again!

  19. I loved watching this. I bought the Undercoverbear in purple because I take a pillow on every trip and to every restaurant. I found this pillow a tad thicker than I’m used to, so I cut off 7″ and bound that end with wide seam binding. It is perfect now. And I am so happy to have it to fly to Ithaca next week to see grand baby number 1. Thank you, Jen!

  20. Have you found any good way to label your packing cubes? I used them for me and my children and for carry-on items, and I have yet to find any decent way to label them so I know what’s inside!

    1. I pack with the eagle creek cubes for myself and my four kids and also love them! I label each cube with the post-it reminder tags and it works great. I also bring and extra pad of them and sharpie on the trip in case I rearrange and need to re-label. I like them because they are not permanent and makes it easy to adapt my packing needs for different destinations.

      I label each cube with kids names and it’s so easy and fast to pop them in hotel drawers and unpack quickly.

      Here’s a link for the tags (I originally found them at Target.)


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