Well ok that’s a slight exaggeration as your seat won’t go flat, and you won’t be handed out those Bose headphones, but as someone who just about always flies coach I’ve narrowed it down to the 10 items I have to have in my carry on bag which improves my journey, particularly long haul, immeasurably.
Just a couple of things first, make sure however much you travel that you sign up to your preferred airline group’s loyalty program. Therein lies priority check-in, priority boarding and better seat selection. This one is so important.
Then your carry-on bag itself. You don’t want to be one of those people lugging a heavy backpack or shoulder bag when you get on the plane. Get yourself a lightweight preferably nylon carry-on tote with a sleeve to fit on top of your wheelie handles – I know, your other carry-on bag – it’ll squish down to go under your seat and if you pick the right one you can stash your LV Neverfull inside it to take out just as you land, so your actual purse/handbag stays in one piece. All of these bags above have a sleeve which will slip over your wheelie.
Mine is by Liphault Paris and has proved to be amazingly versatile and useful.
Although the best noise cancelling headphones are quite an investment, frankly once you’ve tried a really good pair you won’t want anything else. And having bought a couple of cheaper models a few years back they ended up being a waste of money – if you’re a regular traveller you really want the best so you’re not disturbed.
Both of these, by Bose and by Sony were the top two in Forbes list of best noise cancelling headphones and both can be wired as well as Bluetooth so you can plug into your airline’s entertainment system if you want to – no Bluetooth there….
I have tried so many neck pillows and they have been totally useless until I found the Bcozzy travel pillow which supports you under your chin, to the side and behind your head. I have found it to be totally brilliant and has transformed long flights for me. I know there are others that say they do the same thing, but I have to confess I stopped here…
On my last trip across the pond I was sitting next to someone who didn’t have a phone charger and was about to run out of juice. Luckily for him, and me being me, I had two and lent him one but don’t expect such kindness from strangers, and also don’t also expect that your plane will be equipped with the charging port you need.
This portable phone charger by Belkin has enough juice to keep you charged up for long haul and short. I use my phone for my music so it’s essential.
Cashmere Travel Wrap
This may sound like an extravagance, or you may have collected cashmere wraps over the years, as I have, whenever I’ve come across a bargain, but I never travel without a cashmere travel wrap which doubles as a blanket when it gets chilly. The real luxury of having one of these with you makes a huge difference when you’re travelling and it doesn’t matter where you sit.
Particularly on a night flight it’s good to be able to slip out of your shoes and into something cosy for your feet. I always change into travel socks to be more comfortable and to keep my feet warm. Note – don’t wear tight shoes when flying (I’m sure you already know this), as you’ll have a real problem getting them back on for landing and afterwards. I always wear sneakers, comfortable, I can walk for miles and loosen the laces if I need to.
Travel Eye Mask
For night flights and long day flights a travel eye mask is essential to block out the light when you’re trying to have a sleep. This one is basic but works and that’s all you need…
My other essentials may seem obvious, but I suggest you always try travelling with them, they make a huge difference when you’re on the move:
Water – once through security I buy two bottles of still water for the flight and try and drink them both. Obviously for shorter flights you won’t need two but I don’t like to run out, nor to have to keep asking.
Travel sized toothbrush and toothpaste – I don’t think I need to explain these….
Lipstick or lip balm – because everything dries out when you’re flying and it’s so much nicer to be able to replenish.
In ear headphones – for take-off and landing, so that I can pack my big headphones away and be ready to go. Seems obsessive? Just try.