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10 Essential Items to Bring in Your Carry-On

Flying is usually a time filled with excitement and anticipation. After all, we’re about to venture somewhere new. (Hopefully a place to sip margaritas on a secluded beach in the tropics!) However, sometimes our travel experiences don’t quite live up to our expectations, and we end up arriving at our destination tired, cranky and maybe even sick. Unfortunately, some of this is out of our control, but there are a few things you can bring onboard to ensure your flight is as enjoyable as possible.

Headphones and Earplugs
Flights can be long, sometimes even boring, and at times annoying. You’re stuck in a small space with hundreds of strangers, cut off from the outside world, and at the mercy of those around you. One of the best ways to survive this predicament is to kick back, close your eyes and plug up your ears.

Whether you choose to rock out or zonk out, having either headphones or earplugs on hand will help block out that crying baby and make certain that your onboard flight entertainment is in your control.

Sanitizer Wipes
Airplanes are notorious for hosting all kinds of bacteria and germs. With hundreds of thousands of people flying each day, it’s no coincidence that people tend to get sick while traveling. One way to combat this is to carry sanitary wipes and use them generously as soon as you find your seat.

Wipe down the seatbelt, armrest, tray table, window, seat back in front of you – everywhere you possibly can! This may not guarantee you ward off sickness, and you may look a little silly doing it – but it sure beats the flu and being stuck in a hotel room for the duration of your trip.

Compression Socks
We’ve all heard the horror stories of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – a blood clot formed from poor circulation. And although most of us are safe from this dangerous condition, it is still true that long-distance travel can increase the risk in certain individuals. One of the best ways to prevent this is to move around frequently.

Get up and walk the aisles, do ankle circles from your seat, or get in some light stretches – anything to increase your circulation every couple of hours. In addition to this, bring along a pair of compression socks, which will help keep the blood circulating in your legs. Even if you don’t have risk factors for developing DVT, compression socks will help prevent getting stiff, tired and achy legs and will be comfortable to wear during your flight.

Travel Pillow
If you are on a flight longer than 2 hours, it is almost imperative that you bring a travel pillow and a good one! There’s nothing worse than battling a stiff neck for a week because you fell asleep on the plane in an awkward position. Plus, if you’re stuck in coach on a red-eye or an international flight, a travel pillow is the closest thing to a bed you’re getting. Invest in a good pillow, like Trtl Travel Pillow, and then brag that you actually had a good night’s sleep on a plane.

If you find it difficult to fall asleep inflight, having a tablet to play games, watch movies, or read books is another great way to relax on the plane. There’s only so many bathroom breaks and 20-minute naps one can manage on a flight, so having hours of videos and games downloaded will help the time fly by. This is especially true for those traveling with children – have 3 or 4 movies ready to go to for when they – or you – start getting restless.

We’ve all been stuck in the security line behind someone who smells like they haven’t showered in weeks. Don’t be that person. Sometimes it’s hard to avoid if you’ve been traveling for 30 hours and haven’t bathed in 40, but there are a few items you can carry with you to stay on top of your hygiene while traveling. A toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, face wash, moisturizer, hand lotion and sanitizer are the essentials.

If there is more to your routine, by all means, include it, but utilize these items halfway through and towards the end of your journey and not only will your fellow travelers thank you, but you will arrive at your destination feeling fresh and clean.

Portable Charger
In this digital age, it’s almost impossible for us to forget a phone charger… the lifeline of our connection to the world! However, sometimes we forget to carry one with us while flying, leaving us reliant on charging stations. Who wants to be locked down in a small area with 50 other people vying for the next outlet? Instead, bring a portable charger like the Anker and stress no more. Charge your phone, tablet or laptop at the bar, in the bathroom or on the plane and never fear losing that connection.

If you take prescription medicine, you’ll always want to carry that with you. You may need to take it often, or if not, you’ll still want to make sure it doesn’t get lost with your luggage. But even if you don’t take prescription medicine, there are still a few over-the-counter meds that are good to have around in case of an emergency.

Things like headaches, stuffy nose, nausea and upset stomach are all common travel ailments and having something handy to ease the symptoms will make your travel experience much more comfortable should these issues arise.

Sadly, in-flight food service has declined over the years, and sometimes all we’re stuck with is a tiny bag of pretzels to get us through. And let’s be honest, even if you are lucky enough to get a meal, it’s usually nothing to write home about. Plan ahead and purchase snacks to bring on board with you. This way if you get hungry, bored or need to calm a cranky child, you have a backup. And don’t just go for the junk…bring along nuts, dried fruit and health bars to stay energized for your upcoming trip.

Unfortunately, a nasty side effect of flying is dehydration, and just as in daily life, water may be the most important thing to have with you. Humidity levels on board a plane are much lower than on land – as low as 10% – and this can cause dehydration quickly.

The best way to avoid this and the prolonged headache, fatigue and jet lag that go along with it is to drink plenty of water. Although airlines provide beverage service, your hydration levels are still in the hands of the flight attendants, so it’s best to always bring a refillable bottle with you. Aside from turbulence, rude seatmates, and screaming kids, you can now take control of your next trip by bringing along these few essential items – and turn that long, dreaded flight into hours of relaxation and self-pampering. Happy travels!

I’m Sarah, and I love exploring our planet and learning from its many wonders. You can follow my adventures and insights on Instagram @sarahthewanderess and my blog Happy travels and Fins Up!