by Katie Gilbert
The Top 10 Carry-On Essentials to Pack for your next flight
As you’re packing for your trip abroad it’s easy to forget the little things, especially the things to pack in your carry-on. You know, the only things you will have access to for 10+ hours (depending on where you’re going).
I once had a travel time of 34 hours. Believe me when I say if I hadn’t packed the proper things in my carry-on, I would’ve died…or at least been really bored and uncomfortable. Therefore, I am enlightening you with the top 10 essentials to keep in mind when packing your carry-on luggage. You can thank me later.
1. Neck pillow. The neck pillow, to me, is the most important item to bring with you. Picture yourself on an 8-hour flight, cramped between a sweaty guy who is uncomfortably surpassing where your comfort zone once was and adorable yet crying, drooling baby. You’re exhausted, have no window to lean against, are repeatedly doing that awkward head bob thing just as you fall asleep and don’t quite yet feel like you’ve built a good enough relationship with the sweaty dude to lean on him.
THIS, my friends, is when you’ll be happy you brought your neck pillow. They are comfortable, support your head and guarantee an increase of comfort no matter what seat you have. A plus side to neck pillows is that you don’t even have to waste space packing it. Just make sure to buy one that can Velcro or button together and you can just attach it to your carry on bag. Bada bing, bada boom!
2. Snacks. If you’re anything like me when you’re bored, you snack. You will inevitably get hungry on a long flight and while most airlines do offer you free snacks and many even offer free whole meals depending on the length of the flight, some airlines make you pay ridiculous fees to buy food on the plane. This is why bringing your own snacks and food comes in handy…at least for us chub-a-lubs.
3. Entertainment. While it’s fun getting to know your flight neighbors and meet new people, oftentimes it’s hard to keep a conversation going for 10 hours (Although, it can happen. I actually met one of my boyfriends on a flight home from Greece). But let’s just play Devil’s advocate and say you aren’t as lucky as I am. You are definitely going to want something to keep you occupied. Books, magazines, iPads, and music will all get the job done!
4. Face wipes. You’re on a long flight. Aside from the fact you haven’t washed your face for more than 12 hours, faces are notoriously destroyed on airplanes due to a combination of altitude, stress, water retention, and decreased humidity. Thanks to this delightful blend of atrocities, your face is bound to be greasy and disgusting. Let’s be honest, you just can’t have that shine in your “I just landed” photo for Instagram. No worries, just pull out a face wipe you so intelligently packed and voila!
5. A blanket or jacket. Somehow, airplanes always seem to be freezing…and then boiling. For this reason, it is very important to layer your clothing or bring a blanket. There is nothing worse than shivering on a 9-hour flight, trust me. Some airlines will have blankets readily available but why chance having a miserable flight. Make it easy on yourself and remember to layer, layer, layer.
6. Extra outfit. It’s a fear we all have, going on your dream vacation and your luggage getting lost in transit. It doesn’t happen often but IT DOES happen. So, let’s just take a page from the Boy Scouts and “Be Prepared.” ALWAYS pack an extra outfit or at the very least a clean pair of underwear! Trust me, you and your travel partner will be happy you did!
7. Toothbrush. You’ll have long flights and sometimes even longer layovers. Plus, after all those snacks you chowed down your breath will most likely be putting off an aroma liken to that of a skunk doused in raw sewage. Therefore, packing your toothbrush is very important. After all, you don’t want to be the smelly passenger people are live-tweeting about. An alternative to packing a full-sized toothbrush and toothpaste are finger teeth wipes. They come stored in individual mini packages, are mint-flavored and no water is needed. You just slide them on your finger, brush your little heart out and throw away.
8. Phone charger. This one is obvious. Just don’t forget it. Plus, now they have built-in USB plugins for each seat on the plane so you can charge your phone during your flight, guaranteeing a flight worth of music and games.
9. Valerian Root. This is a natural sleep aid that will help you adjust to different time zones by allowing you to get rest on the plane. Valerian Root is preferred over other sleep aids due to its all-natural features. While other sleep aids can become addictive and cause grogginess Valerian leaves you feeling refreshed and ready to start your day.
10. Passport. To some, this may seem obvious but if you are new to traveling abroad it is important to know that you must carry your passport with you. DO NOT pack it in your checked luggage. You will not have access to your checked bags until you are cleared to be in your chosen country. You will need your passport to board all flights and get into your final destination.