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