For the frequent traveler, knowing how to pack a carry on bag is essential and is a skill that I have had to refine over the years. In order to save you a future headache, I thought I would tell you about some of my essential items I can’t live without when I fly.
This item is number one on my packing list because, without these, so many of my plane-related activities aren’t possible. Movies, podcasts, and music to sleep to all require these! Airlines usually give away a free crappy pair that can get you through in a bind, but I far prefer my nicer-quality buds when I can. Don’t forget these!
This one made the list for obvious reasons, without a charger (and converter if you’re going international) you’ll be lost when your plane lands at your destination!
My water bottle never leaves my side as it is, but without it on a plane I’m convinced I would shrivel up and dry out before we ever landed!
It’s not just the altitude that gets you, physically launching yourself hundreds or thousands of miles away takes a toll on your body even if it just feels like your sitting watching movies. My general rule of thumb is 8 oz for ever hour of flight, plus more if you drink coffee or alcohol during food service. Get over the anxiety about plane toilets and keep yourself hydrated, its worth it.
Personally I am a loyal Nalgene user because of the 1 liter size capacity, but Hydroflask, CamelBak, and Kleen Kanteen are all great options too!
Pro tip: If you have an international to domestic layover or vice versa, you will need to go through security again so plan your water intake accordingly
Going along with the hydration theme, Chapstick is something I love to have and something I suffer without. Having a tinted balm allows you to keep a fresh face when you travel and don’t want to wear a lot of makeup, too. My hero brand is always and forever Burt’s Bee’s! Their commitment to using natural products, awesome customer transparency, and overall quality keep me coming back. I love the grapefruit one but they have a million options so pick what’s best for you.
Rosewater and light moisturizer
When you step fresh off a plane, you usually will be walking into another event that day with not a lot of time to freshen up in between so it’s nice to have some products ready to go in your bag to help. Rosewater is a natural toner and will calm down your skin while also refreshing it back to life after your long flight. I use the one from Lush Cosmetics but plenty of skincare brands offer some, or you can make your own! A moisturizer is nice to set over the top of the rosewater to continue the calming and revitalization process of your face. For this, I use Yes to Cucumbers brand of facial crème because it’s soothing and smells so good!
Now we are getting into essential oils, which are my favorite thing ever. Any random ailment you’re having, oils can almost always fix. They’re natural, powerful, and because of their versatility you don’t need to carry a ton of them at one time. For flight purposes, I like to have peppermint on me. Got a headache? Bad breath? Tummy ache? Jetlag? Peppermint can help with all of these with just a drop, and it’s a smell everyone likes which is important to think about in tight quarters like a plane. I only use doTerra oils, and stand by them for their conscious procurement process and the fact that I can apply almost all oils topically (and even ingest them!), which is different from most brands.
OnGuard or EmergenC
Everyone knows how quickly germs circulate around a plane with the recycled cabin air. Because of this it’s important to boost your immune system before, during and after a plane ride with something like EmergenC (a vitamin C booster for your water) or an essential oils like OnGuard (again from doTerra) with extracts like orange and cinnamon to help boost you at a moment’s need.
Even though I can’t personally read on planes, I never fail to bring a book with me. Flight delays or long layovers make for many boring hours at the airport and can be significantly improved with the opportunity to hunker down and settle into a good book. Stories such as Wild or Eat Pray Love help inspire the inner traveler in anyone!
Socks and a Scarf
Up in the air, it might be cold, even if you’re traveling in the summer so always have some sort of layering option available just in case you get a drafty seat or are prone to get cold. I once flew from southern Argentina to Rio, dressing for Brazilian weather and ended up shivering the entire ride in flip flops and shorts. I think scarves are particularly nice because they can double as a blanket, but don’t require room in your bag. When you wear it, its fashionable and out of the way!
This once is more of a suggestion for the airport rather than the actual plane. I know that when you’re constantly taking your duffle or backpack off your shoulders to grab documents and go through security, your hair gets in the way. Or, when your layover got cut short and you literally need to run to catch your next flight, it’s time to put your hair back so you can get shit done. It’s a small addition that could make your life much better in a pinch.
Basic Overnight Necessities
Let me tell you from experience, forgetting this is a pain in the butt. Even if you are the most confident flight passenger around, you never know when a connection gets canceled or you miss it because of a delay. Being stuck in a city for a night with not so much as a toothbrush or a comb is really disheartening when it’s all in your checked bag. So, do yourself a favor and always bring basic overnight necessities and an extra pair of clothes just as an insurance policy.
This may be the most obvious out of all of them, but trust me I’ve forgotten them before. Take your documents and make sure you organize/ double check them just before you leave. I bought myself a passport cover with a pocket on the side so I can easily stick my boarding pass, insurance info, lodging confirmation, and any extra ticket confirmation I may need right in the side so its all in one place. This is also helpful because if you get stuck at customs, you have supporting information to prove your reason of visit in the country.
All of these things I have learned the hard way not to forget, and keep in mind what is essential for me may not be essential for you. Just remember, travel is about the experience and getting there is half of it!