Apart for luggage and passport, there is a number of items I take with me to make travelling more pleasant. Despite the fact that I do like traveling a lot, sometimes air travel can be very exhausting and there is a number of tricks to be done to make it nicer.
- I wear pants, socks that don’t strangulate my legs, shoes with laces, dress in layers – long T-shirt, a hoodie with extra-long sleeves and large pockets. This way I will be warm and can put my hoodie on my head in case of noise, draft or anything similar. Pockets can also help if you have some small, heavy items you wouldn’t want to put in your luggage. When travelling for a long time, feet swell, so I can untie laces and the socks still make me feel comfortable. No high heels, as they always beep, there is already limited legroom if you are tall, so no need to add extra, and having to walk miles and miles inside an airport (I always get lucky in Frankfurt – short connection and having to get from B to Z gates). Depending on the expected flight and the amount of luggage I have, I might take my coat with me, but I also tend to check it in, even in winter.
- Hand cream, lip balm eye drops and basic medication. Air tends to be very dry in the airplane, so my eyes, skin and lips get sandpapery. Basic medication is whatever is needed for you and in addition I always take something for headache, sore throat, upset stomach, stomachache, occasionally something for allergies. Sore throat medication can be a real saver if you have someone sitting next to you who obviously is not feeling feel and keeps coughing. If I am going on a diving trip, I take saltwater spray, and stronger nose drops. I don’t take any sleep medication, but if I plan on sleeping, I might take an eye mask from previous travel. If you get really nervous when flying, it’s better to ask you GP in advance to prescribe you something rather than get completely drunk during the flight. Having a band aide in your bag never hurts too, as even most comfortable shoes may give you sores.
- Entertainment items – I never rely on in build entertainment system or in flight magazines. Systems may not work and magazines may be in a language you don’t speak. Depending on the length of the flight I might have with me: a pen & notebook to write in, a smartphone with Sudoku and geography games, Kindle with at least three books in it, laptop with an assortment of TV-series and movies, iPod with couple hundred songs, small photo camera. All of the sound should be inside the headphones and never disturbing anyone else. Noises from nearby kids iPad playing cartoons are fun only for the kids. If you are travelling with a buddy, don’t forget the earphone thingy that lets you connect two pairs of earphone into one socket! Then you can watch movies or listen to music together from one device. A lot of these can be combined into smartphone, but I prefer to have several options, as my phone seems to never last any flights longer than 3 hours and in flight chargers are not common still. All of the devices must be fully charged (especially because of the new law to be able to travel to US!). I also sometimes take chargers for phone and Kindle with me, and one for a laptop too, and an adapter, if I have a long layover in a place that uses different power outlet type, may come in handy of your luggage gets delayed. If I have any laptops and the like, I try to put them into a small shopping-type bag made of fabric, as then I get fewer questions on the number of items I have and it’s not so heavy.
- Snacks – protein bars, Snickers, something of the sort always comes in handy. I usually don’t take any fruit, as it gets all mashed up and it may cause problems in the customs, if I don’t eat it during the flight. It’s always good to have your own napkin or paper tissue with it too, as those chocolate things smudge everything and you never know who decides to spill what.
- Again, depending on the lengths of the flight, a grooming kit – nail file, extra small clippers, hygienic items, wet wipes, floss, toothbrush & toothpaste. Perfume testers come a long way too (but be careful with those – it’s always better to spray less). A fresh set of underwear and socks will make you feel better after 10 hour flight. If you hair gets messy, you might want to take a small comb, but I never do, it’s enough with a hairband for me.
It may seem a lot, but most of the items are extra small, and you don’t need all of this stuff for one hour flight but it can make you feel more comfortable during long flights. I don’t take any earplugs, pillows nor blankets (but I often ask for an extra blanket in the plane, as I am tall). Also no make up, as I have lip balm and the occasional lip gloss in my bag. I drink plenty of water while flying and try to get an aisle seat so I can take my bathroom trips whenever I want to. Seatguru offers information about the best seats. Try to board early so you have some space in the overhead bins for your luggage, otherwise you might have to put it in front of you under the seat (and that’s no fun, if you are 6ft tall). I usually use mobile boarding passes in PassWallet, but I guess there is no difference.