After living out of a backpack all around the world for a decade, it’s safe to say that airports and planes started to feel like home to me. While I’ve certainly settled down a lot in my ripe old age of 35, I still get that same familiar rush everytime I’m on a flight.
Sure, travel can come with stress, anxiety, and the unknown- especially when you’re new to traveling. But, it can also come with a whole lot of excitement, newness, and perspective that will undoubtedly change your life.
One of the best ways to ensure you can reduce stress on your trip is to get off to a smooth start. That means having as comfortable a flight as possible. Over the years, I’ve accumulated a variety of tips and tricks to give myself the best flying experience possible. Yep, even for those long 16-hour ones!
This post will provide you with 10 must-have items to take with you on your next flight. Whether you have a quick domestic trip, or a long international trip- these items will come in handy. Promise.
10 Must-Have Items For Your Next Flight
First things first, it’s important to switch the mindset for your next flight from “I have to get on a 5 hour flight,” to “I get to go on a 5 hour flight.” Remember, flying is a means to an end. And the end is usually a good thing! You’re probably going somewhere fun (even if it’s for work). So try to stay connected to the light at the end of the tunnel.
If you’re an anxious flier, consult with your physician on how to best stay supported medically when you’re up in the air. Sometimes all the mindfulness in the world can’t keep panic attacks away. So it’s best that you’re stable during your experience, rather than teetering on the edge of an anxiety attack.
Last thing, remember flights are a great opportunity to unplug and just be with yourself for a while. Whether you take the time to write, to read, nap, or even to binge your favorite show that you never have time to watch in the busyness of life- this is the little pocket of time for just that. Try to utilize your time on the flight doing things that you might not otherwise have the time or space for. No one can bug you when you’re soaring through the clouds.
Now that you have an activity or two planned out, we want to try to get you as comfy as humanly possible in those tiny seats. And, more importantly, we want to try to keep you as healthy as possible so you don’t land at your destination with the sniffles.
Under Eye Pads
Being on a plane is usually super drying for our skin. Not only is the air thinner, but it’s also usually freezing cold. Chances are, you probably had to wake up early. Or, god forbid, you’re even on a red eye. This means your undereyes are going to be looking pretttyyyyy tired and creased by the time you land.
Packing under eye pads barely takes up any space in your carry-on, and they also get nice and cool once you’re on the plane. I like to pop them on once I’m about an hour into the flight, and keep them on as long as possible.
Look, I’m not saying don’t bring a toothbrush if you have a long international flight. Because I’m all about oral hygiene. What I’m saying is that packing a toothbrush and toothpaste takes up more space than a travel-size mouthwash. A little bit goes a long way with mouthwash, and using it after you eat while traveling ensures your mouth stays clean and minty.
A little hack I love as someone who isn’t a huge fan of mouthwash with a lot of alcohol in it. I use Tom’s Mouthwash, but it doesn’t come in travel size. So, I get a separate travel container for my own personal travel-size mouthwash, instead.
My girlies out there know that sometimes sitting in the same clothes for hours on end can make you feel a little *sensitive* down there. Or, to be honest, it can also make you feel just plain gross. My favorite way to curb the ick factor while flying is to stash a few fresh wipes in my carry-on.
I love the Woo More Play Freshies because they’re all natural, gentle for sensitive skin, and they’re individually wrapped which makes for less bulk when packing just one or two. Trust me, these will help you to feel a little more comfortable.
I’m a little extreme in this department, because I have a full bag dedicated to just snacks. But, I’m a true Taurus that way, what can I say. While I’m a fan of preparing my own food and snacks before my travel, that might not be your jam. And that’s okay!
What I will suggest is that you have food that brings you joy, and something that is going to make your body feel good knowing that you’re going to be doing a whole lot of sitting after. Also, I suggest making sure you have more than you think you need, because there’s nothing worse than being starving on a flight with nothing but a few pretzels to tie you over.
Yes, travel pillows really do make a difference. I don’t love them in the traditional sense of being around your neck for your head to dangle off to either side. Not the best. But, let me tell you, if you have a window seat- that shit is gold propped against the side. Or, if you get a sore back from the seat, you can snuggle it behind you. Lastly, on those super long haul flights when your butt literally hurts from sitting so much, sitting on a pillow makes it that much more tolerable.
The best part is that you can clip it to the outside of your carry-on, so you don’t have to take up space in your bag. It’s super easy to find them at every airport, so don’t worry about getting one before your trip if you don’t already have one. Oh, and make sure you get one with a removable cover, so you can wash it after every trip!
At some point we need a blog post about all the uses of a sarong while you’re traveling. Or, heck, just in life in general! Because, trust me, you’ll use this bad boy for a lot once you actually have one. I guarantee it.
I like the lightweight sarongs like the one in my Amazon Storefront, because it’s less bulky to pack, and also is more diverse in its ability to be used. Sarongs serve as an extra blanket, because- remember- planes are freezing. It can also serve as a little extra padding for your pillow. Overally, it’s comfy and cozy, and easy to wash and use again once you hit your destination.
If you’re someone who gets swollen feet or ankles while flying, compression socks are for you. If you’re not, then honestly just make sure you have socks, because bare feet on flights is just…wrong.
Compression socks help your circulation, and reduce swelling from long hours of sitting. When you’re sitting with your feet on the ground, then the blood is flowing to your feet. This is what creates swelling, which can be uncomfortable and takes hours (or even days!) to go down.
Most people have a hard time making things are *moving* when they fly. First things first, make sure you’re drinking a ton of water. Second, make sure that water has LMNT salts in them. And third, bring a few supplements if you’re prone to bloating while flying.
Does anyone else get a little grossed out by all the shared air and coughing and sneezing that happens on planes? Ugh, I do. Not only are you in close corridors with recirculated air, but you’re also more likely to get sick when traveling (hello, Covid era…we all know this by now) due to lack of sleep, or stress or anxiety from the trip.
I like to bring liquid zinc with me to take before, during, and after the flight according to the dosage on the bottle. Another great option for immunity booster is anything Beekeepers Naturals. The lozenges and throat spray are my personal faves.
Remember how I said plane time is the perfect time to do things for you that you might not otherwise do. Well, that includes napping! Sure, it’s not the ideal positioning for it, but sometimes even just putting on soft music and closing your eyes for an hour or two feels just as effective.
The best way to get some shut eye is to actually make sure your eyes are closed, without a ton of light coming in. That means packing a satin eye mask to help you get into that zen state a little more easily. I love the satin option, because it’s the most comfortable and breathable on my face, and doesn’t pull at my eyelashes or eyebrows.
There you have it, my friends. You’re ready to take on your next flight with ease.
Have a good trip!