Flying can be stressful and time-consuming, especially when you have to check in early, wait in long security lines, and file tons of paperwork. But the real pain sets in once you’re seated on the plane. Sitting for hours in a cramped space with little legroom and no Wi-Fi can be torturous.
The best way to make your next flight as pleasant as possible is to pack the right travel essentials. Many of the items you’ll need for your trip are small enough to fit into a carry-on bag or keep in an easy-access pocket. Here are a few essentials that won’t take up much space in your carry-on but could make your flight so much more comfortable.
You never know what germs a seat belt or tray table might have picked up, making them an unhygienic place for you to put your hands on. If you have to walk through a crowd to get to your seat, or if you’re seated next to a coughing or sneezing passenger, you’ll be glad to have some sanitizing wipes on hand.
They’re also useful for cleaning your tray table, laptop bag, and any other surfaces you might touch during your flight. Some people also keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in their pocket when they’re walking to and from their seats.
2. Neck pillow and eye mask
A pillow and eye mask combo is a must-have for any long-haul flight. You may not be able to control the person who’s snoring next to you, but you can control the circumstances of your sleep. Choose a neck pillow that’s the right thickness for you, and make sure the eye mask is large enough to block out all the light coming in from the window or your seatmate’s reading light. If you’re worried about lugging around a bulky pillow, you may find inflatable neck pillows more convenient, and many already come with an eye mask and ear plugs.
3. Foldable or disposable hotel slippers
During long-haul flights, you’ll want to rest your feet and give them a chance to breathe. However, flying economy class means you’ll have to walk through the aisle to get to your seat – so, you’ll be stepping on a lot of dirty floors. Keep germs at bay by packing a pair of foldable or disposable hotel slippers in your carry-on. Most of these slippers are thin and light, so you can easily stuff them into your bag pocket. Hotel slippers are really cheap; you can find some online for as low as P10 per pair. Foldable slippers, on the other hand, can be bought for more or less P100 in Daiso or Japan Home.
4. Drinking water
The air inside airplanes is extremely dry, which can exacerbate a stuffy nose, dry throat, and tired eyes. You can prevent these issues by staying hydrated. But here’s the problem – it can be a hassle to ask the flight attendant for water every time you need a drink. Added to that, some passengers aren’t keen on drinking tap water from the plane because of sanitation issues.
Many travelers make it a point to bring a water bottle that they can refill after going through the security check. If, however, you’re not sure if there’s a water fountain near the gate where you’ll be boarding, just buy a bottle from a convenience store right before you board the plane.
5. Lip balm
You can use lip balm to moisturize your lips and prevent them from cracking due to low humidity. It works best if you apply it a few times a day, including right before you board the plane or after the onboard meal.
When the air is so dry, your skin may start to feel itchy or become flaky. To prevent this, moisturize your face and hands before you board the plane. You’ll want to look fresh and clean when you land, so don’t forget to cleanse your face before putting on makeup. TIP: Go the extra mile and make your skin happy by bringing a moisturizing face mask. You have time to burn anyway, so why not use it to give your skin the TLC it needs.
7. Reading material
Long flights are the perfect time to catch up on your reading. While most airlines offer in-flight entertainment, some flights aren’t equipped with monitors, and you can’t control what’s playing. With your own reading materials, you can choose what to read and reduce your screen time.
8. Shawl or cardigan
As it can get pretty chilly during flights, it would be best to bring a light layer of clothing on your flight. A shawl or cardigan can keep your core warm while letting the arms and legs breathe. This is especially useful on short flights when the plane staff doesn’t usually provide blankets.
If you’re flying economy class, you can expect to go hungry. Most airlines serve tiny portions, and most passengers don’t have the time or energy to make a meal between landing and getting to their destination. Pack a few snacks that you love and won’t spoil. Nuts, granola bars, and trail mix are all good options.
10. Toiletry kit
You might be going straight on tour or to a family gathering or a work meeting right after you land. If such is the case, bring a toiletry kit in your carry-on so you can freshen up in the lavatory before landing. Make sure it has the essentials you need – toothpaste and toothbrush, mouthwash, facial wash, wipes, and deodorant. If it’s a long-haul flight, consider packing a change of clothes so you can sport a fresh new outfit after hours on the plane.