Tuesday, July 9, 2013

11 Things to Carry On for a Happier Long Flight

My Carry On Essentials
I'm heading to back to Ireland in a couple days and packing is on my mind. We make this trip to see my husband's family often, so I feel I'm an expert on what to carry on board to make the transatlantic flight to London and connection to Cork as enjoyable as possible. I don't expect to sleep much, but I do want to arrive feeling as relaxed and refreshed as possible. After what my husband calls the big three - passport, itinerary, credit card - here are what I consider essential items to a happy long-haul flight.

  1. Big bottle of water. Buy it at the airport, then replenish onboard. I always like to have my own source of hydration. That way I I'm not dependent on the flight attendant's service schedule and I can swig away whenever I like. Also, I like how I can shove the bottle in the pocket seat in front of me and don't have to mess with the tray table.
  2. Oversized oblong scarf. Consider it an extra layer or a light blanket, but this versatile item is a must to cope with changing temperatures on board. I like the rectangle size, because it's easier to wrap it around your shoulders while seated. Isn't the one pictured fun? I just bought it at Nordstrom for $38.
  3. A juicy paperback novel.  Go for something easy to read with a plot that moves. The point is to pass the time not get intellectual. You may prefer to read on your iPad or Kindle, but make sure you've got enough battery life to get through the flight. Paperbacks never run out of juice.
  4. Glasses. Contacts get dry and are painful to sleep in, so forget the vanity and wear your glasses from take off to landing. And don't forget your readers if you need 'em. The lighting on planes can be awful.
  5. Snacks. Smart travelers skip the heavy meals on planes, but you need to make sure you have snacks on hand. I like to bring trail mix. The energy-packed nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate make for a tasty, satisfying mix. 
  6. Moisturizing face wipes. Travel makes me feel grimy and the cabin air is as arrid as a desert. A clean, moisturized face is a soothing treat. I bought my sample size at Target in the travel size section.
  7. Wisp disposable toothbrushes.  I hate messing with my actual toothbrush in a plane bathroom, it just seems unsanitary. These handy brush/pick combos don't even require water and make brushing so handy. 
  8. Mint chewing gum. I don't usually chew gum, but during flights, it's a must. Chewing gum freshens the breath and helps with ear pain due to pressure changes. Plus, the mint flavor soothes motion sickness and perks you up.
  9. Felt tip pen and notebook.  I've had so many bad experiences with ink pens exploding at altitude that now I stick with my Sharpie no-bleed felt marker. I have to have something to write on. I get the best ideas on an airplane and I  guess you can tell I LOVE making lists. 
  10. Smart phone or ipod with headphones. Plan ahead by downloading an audiobook or a mellow playlist.
  11. Sleep aid. You may prefer Tylenol PM or Ambien, but I'm bringing a shot of Dream Water and Aveda calming tea bags. When it comes to relaxation, they're natural magic, and I don't feel all drugged up when we land.
So that's what I'll be taking in my carry on on my long flight to Ireland. A few other things to consider are cell phone chargers, foreign money, prescription meds, compression socks, lip balm, hand sanitizer, tissues, hair brush, eye shade, and ear plugs. Am I forgetting anything important? Let me know!

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