Since traveling is such a huge passion of mine I try to do it as often as possible. I’ve taken all sorts of trips, long flights, short ones, road trips and everything in-between. I’ve also got a little bit of anxiety when it comes to travel so being ultra prepared eases my mind before any trip. Before my first really long flight I remember being super anxious that I would be stuck on the plane and be hungry, tired and miserable. Which led me to way over-pack my carry-on. I brought so much stuff I didn’t need. So as I prepare for my next ultra long flight (14+ hours) I’m putting together a list of what I need in my carry on to make it through.
Before I start on my list of things to bring I’ll offer some advice.
-If it’s not a direct flight-check your bags. I tried for many years to only bring carry-ons to save money and make my escape from the airport a little faster. On one of my more recent trips I was forced to check my bigger bag and just bring my tote bag on the plane…I was in heaven. Do you know how nice it is to not drag a huge bag through the airport. Trying to find somewhere to stash it while I pee and don’t even get me started on trying to carry coffee and juggle 2+ bags while I walk? And it saves me a lot of stress from trying to pack all my clothes into a carry on. Give yourself a break and just check your bag, it’s worth it.
-Dress right for your flight. I am always cold, literally always like,there might be something wrong with me. For some reason they keep planes super cold so I like to wear lots of layers including a big cardigan, blanket scarf and hat to make sure I don’t get too cold. I usually need to strip all the layers off immediately upon arrival but it’s worth it to be super comfortable on the plane. Plus, there are ways to do this and look ultra chic…trust me! This is a pretty typical travel outfit for me, no matter what season it is, where I’m going or how long the flight is.
-I know this next one sounds obvious but get to the airport early, like way early. No One needs the added stress of possibly missing a flight because of security lines or lack of parking. Especially when I’m traveling with friends, we get there early, grab a bite to eat, have a drink and just chill. It’s such a nice relaxing way to start any trip.
O.k. now onto my list:
-Facewipes/makeup remover wipes
-Toothbrush and toothpaste
-Eye drops, contact solution and glasses if necessary
I like to shower right before I got to the airport. Even with short flights you can get delayed and you never know when you’ll get to shower next. I’m sure the people I sit next to appreciate it too. For most flights out of the US you’ll have a layover, it’s nice to be able to freshen-up after sitting on a plane for 10+ hours. And the face masks are just a little luxury but they take up so little space, I totally thinks it’s worth it, I lean towards the moisturizing ones since the recycled air can be so drying.
-Any prescribed medication
I’m prone to headaches and motion sickness so bringing medication is a big one for me. I bring benadryl with me everywhere I go, it will help me sleep and thwart off a headache if needed. My only piece of advice is not take something for the first time when you’re on a plane. If you’ve never taken Benadryl before try it before you fly, it can make some people hyper and irritable which is not ideal when you’re trapped in the air.
-Wrap or blanket scarf
-Extra socks or slipper-socks
-Change of underwear
-Change of clothes
Again, I’m always cold so I make sure to have lots of layer available. Socks are way more comfortable for the flight incase your feet start to swell. I always bring a change of clothes in my carry on. In case my check bag gets lost, I’ll at least have one thing to change into. For this trip I’m just bringing a maxi-dress since it’s small and easy to pack.
-Phone and charger
-Laptop or tablet and charger
-Book to read
The only reason I bring my laptop in my carry on is so it doesn’t get damaged in my checked bag, but I typically don’t use it on the plane. Most international flights (out of Seattle at least) are over-night so a lot of flight time is taken up by sleeping. The few hours that I am awake on a flight can be mind-numbing-ly boring. I like to bring something to do that doesn’t involve a screen. I’m typically on my phone or computer 24/7 to a little break is nice and I enjoy catching up on my reading too. One word of advice: don’t plan on catching up on work during your flight. I have never known anyone who can be ultra productive on a flight. In college, I made the mistake of “saving” a paper to work on so I would have something to do during the flight and could not focus at all, it was nightmare to get finished in time.
I think these last two are pretty obvious. For me, I’m always hungry and have food allergies so even though I sign up for a “special meal” I don’t count on there being food for me to eat so I bring my own. Bringing enough food for a 10+ hour flight sounds like a lot but it’s really one meal and a few snacks. I like to bring fruit and things that won’t make me feel bloated or heavy while I’m sitting for so long. And of course a giant bag of gummi-bears is always necessary. Now airlines will allow you to bring an empty water bottle into the airport and fill it once inside so there is no excuse to not be hydrated.