Saturday, April 5, 2014

Travel Must Haves: Airplane Edition

I'm taking a weekend break from the SxSW updates to blog something a bit more personal. John and I are in countdown mode for our next trip (Ecuador!), and being the organizing geek that I am, I already obsessing over what to pack.

We're 25+ countries in to our mission to see the world, so you'd think I have this down by now. But every place is different, and we learn something new about travel each time. I was looking for posts on "Travel Must Haves," and I was a bit disappointed. I just kept thinking, my existing list is better than these. So I thought I'd share.

The complete list is pretty long, so I'm breaking it up. Here are must haves for the plane. I think you'll see my themes are stay warm and hydrate.

  • Snacks: Depending on the length of the flight, I pack a couple granola bars to sandwiches and sides. I get hunger-rage, so keeping my blood sugar level is vital to a happy flight. Seriously, if I got hungry enough the flight marshals would probably get called in. Rules are always changing, but typically you can get your food through security no problem as long as it's not a liquid. 
  • Water: Dehydration is what makes you feel icky after a flight. You won't get a bottle of water through security, but you can buy it after the checkpoint (or fill up your own at a water fountain) and bring it on the plane with you. I've had some international carriers prohibit this, but it's always worth a shot. 
  • Fuzzy Socks: Even on the shortest flights, I bring a thick pair of sock to change into. Those planes are cold! Fuzzy socks keep me warm and comfy. 
  • Neck Pillow & Blanket: Sure they'll provide these, just try not to think about where they've been. For longer flights when I know I'll want to sleep, I bring my own. I like an inflatable neck pillow (to save room in the bag) and a small throw-sized fleece blanket. 
  • Hand Wipes & Hand Sanitizer: Have I mentioned that planes are dirty, groody places? I wouldn't recommend washing your hands in the lavatory, much less your face. Hand wipes and sanitizer are a must to feel good and stay healthy. Use them before eating anything and any time you start feel grimy. 
  • Lotion, Moisturizing Spritz & Lip Balm: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, any way you can. These are essential for longer flights. I have this wonderful moisturizing aromatherapy face mist, I can't fly without it. Add some lotion and lip balm, and you can exit a 14 hour flight without feeling like the cryptkeeper.
  • Reading Material: Just duh. Don't underestimate how much you can read on a flight/trip. I once plowed through 8 books in a 2 week trek across India. E-readers are great for packing an assortment of books and magazines without bursting your carry on (or your baggage weight limit). 
  • Earbuds: Again, where have those prepacked headphones been? Answer, you don't want to know. Bring your own. Pro tip: pop them in with or without music to get the guy next to you to stop talking to you. 

So what am I missing? What are your must haves for the plane?

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