The excitement of discovering a new destination is one of my favorite things, like ever. The fact is – I love to travel, and I’m sure you know that by now. When you’re in airports and on planes on quite a regular basis, you quickly learn what’s essential to pack – and what’s best left behind. Even though I still don’t like packing, I must say I’ve become quite good at it and I’ve really learned what my travel essentials are. Of course, there’s the packing of your checked-in luggage but for this post I want to focus on my hand luggage essentials – the things that I pretty much always bring and have served as lifesavers when being stuck in a small space for several hours.
The clothes. I guess it goes without saying you shouldn’t dress too tight or uncomfortable for a flight (although I’ve seen some people in very questionable clothes on planes), but the main thing you should always do is layer. Every flight pretty much goes from hot to freezing cold, depending on what stage you’re in and it’s important that you can easily take off or put on some items if needed. A big scarf is always a good option since it serves a purpose as a blanket or pillow too. Don’t forget essentials like socks, ear plugs and a sleeping mask if you’re hoping to catch some z’s.
My tip: Wear your jeans for walking around the airport, and change into your comfy pants just before boarding. (This one can double as your pyjama during your trip) That way you’re not walking around like you just rolled out of bed, but still get to be comfy on the plane.
The beauty stuff. Have you noticed that most of your regular products are actually allowed in your hand luggage? A face cream, hand lotion or perfume will usually be bottles under 100ml – score! (don’t go too crazy though, the maximum to carry in total is one litre) I personally prefer to take the quality products I use on a daily basis over a sample from an unknown brand. Must haves on a flight? An extra hydrating face cream, hand cream, lip balm, face spray (so nice as a refreshment when you’ve been in the air for several hours) and some mild perfume or deodorant (overwhelming scents on a plane are a nono). A small mirror, a comb and some dry shampoo might also come in handy.
My tip: During a long haul flight, I think of this “beauty routine” as an activity I can do to pass the time and stretch my legs. Nobody likes sitting in a plane for so long (unless you’re traveling first class), and it helps make me feel better and more alive when I take some time to have a walk in the plane, take my beauty bag to the toilet, and spend some time getting refreshed and hydrated in there. I’ll admit, it’s not quite the four-star setting but you have to make the best of the situation when options are limited.
The electronics. No matter where I’m going, I always put all my electronic devices in my hand luggage – for safety and entertainment reasons. If you’ve got a window seat, practice perfecting your cloud photography, or use your laptop to get some work done. Also, there’s no better moment to clear the picture library on your phone than during a flight – this way you’re sure it will have enough memory to take all kinds of new photos on your next destination. I usually travel with mini-versions of what I have at home in this case, or a compact alternative. Think: from laptop to super light notebook and from heavy DSLR to compact system camera.
My tip: I always make sure everything I need to work or entertain myself is ready for use on my notebook, which is necessary since I don’t use this one on a daily basis. Also make sure to update your passwords in case they’ve changed so you can log in without issues. And back-up important stuff before you leave – since you’ll be connecting to a lot of insecure networks it’s better to be safe than sorry.
The meds. This one won’t be for everyone but since I tend to get air sick quite easily, I always take medication and an emergency youknowwhat bag with me. Keep things easily accessible by storing them together if you have the same problem. For instance, keep your beauty essentials separate, and make another bag for your meds. When you’re not feeling well, the last thing you want to be doing is looking for your stuff. And always, always make sure to have your own water with you (preferably in a refillable water bottle). Staying hydrated is important, and will help make you feel less sick.
My tip: I always keep a big purse under my seat with my flight essentials in them. This gives you direct access to it, without having to get up and open the overhead cabinet. It’s more convenient and especially necessary for the meds bag, because you really don’t want to be stuck and sick in your seat in case of turbulence – with nothing there to save you (something I’ve learned the hard way).