Tomorrow afternoon, I’m jetting off to America for 20 days of sightseeing. We’re visiting so many places in such a short space of time and I’ve got no idea how we’re going to do it, but my dad thinks it’s possible so we’re giving it a go. Although I’ve packed my case with all my general bits and pieces, I do have essentials for being on board a plane, but I’ve added a few extras to my normal routine since this is my first long haul flight in 13 years. Sorry that this may be a ‘boring’ post, but writing this has reminded me of things to pack so it’s been helpful to me. And hopefully it’ll be helpful to you too.
There are a variety of things I like to take when I travel: beauty products, entertainment and, of course, travel documents. Here is a run down of what I think are essentials when I’m travelling by plane. But if you’re more interested in the things I take whilst travelling my train, check out this post here from earlier in the month.
Before you even leave the house, you need to be dressed for the occasion. To stay comfortable on your flight, you’ll want to be wearing loose clothing anyway so it’s easier just to wear it whilst going through security – it’s not like anybody is going to care what you’re looking like.
I like to be wearing makeup when I pass through the airport, but nothing too heavy, and I usually take it off on the flight. I’ll be taking a 100ml Bottle of Biodema and a few cotton pads, then I’ll reapply the makeup basics before hitting the tarmac the other end of the flight. I’m meeting family the other side of passport control when we land in Denver, I need to look at least half alive.
My dad is responsible for all things travel document based when we go away. Yes, even in my twenties, if my dad is with us, I’m not trusted with my passport or boarding pass. This is just standard if you’re going abroad, and you’d be stupid not to take it. However, I always make sure that if I am responsible for my own, I have a travel wallet which is easy to access because there is nothing worse than being stuck behind someone who takes three days to locate their documents when they get to security. Speaking about security, wear clothes that don’t require a belt, take your jacket, watch and shoes off in the queue and get your electricals ready in your hand to put on the belt. They’ll just want to check whatever it is anyway, even if it’s stowed in your bag, so you’re just saving yourself a bit of time at the other end.
Once you’re through security, buy yourself something to eat. In the UK, I think most, if not all, airports have a Boots so I always pick up a meal deal and an extra bottle of water as aeroplane prices are extortionate. Especially if you’re on a budget flight (I’ve flown with Ryanair a lot over the last decade, I know how much they charge for a chocolate bar). Even if you don’t eat whatever you buy on the plane, a bag of crisps is always useful to have when you’re abroad as you never know when you’re going to wake up in the middle of the night with a huge craving for quavers. Whilst you pop into Boots, also pick up some paracetamol or another type of painkiller. There is nothing worse than being stuck on a flight unable to relieve a headache. It’s also worth buying a magazine, a sudoku/crossword book and tissues if you don’t have these already. I forgot these when I last flew back from Spain in November and I had a 6 hour delay, luckily I managed to pick up a sudoku book because I’d finished my actual book after two hours of being stuck in the departure lounge.
I do like to make sure I’ve got cash on me to take on board, just in case you do fancy a snack whilst you’re flying, but this isn’t essential as most companies do take card now. It’s worth checking prices out before flying if you can, because it may work out cheaper to use the currency of the country you’re visiting, rather than your own, or vice versa.
I always make sure I have reading material on the flight, and my book of choice for tomorrow’s flight is a toss up between Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn or If I Stay by Gayle Forman. I’ve had If I Stay for almost a year and just haven’t had a chance to read it, plus it’s not too thick or heavy so it’s great to just throw in my hand luggage, and Gone Girl is a book that I’ve been dying to read for a while. To be completely honest, I’ve had a look at the in-flight entertainment and I can probably fill the 9ish hour flight to Denver just watching films, but it’s good to have a back up. If I’m going to a new place, I like to have easy access to travel guides. Again, these are just handy to have as a little reading material, and if you don’t want to fork out for a book, you can print off a few sheets of paper which gives you some background, and also takes up less room and weight allowance.
Aeroplane cabins are dry. Very, very dry. Make sure you’ve got a good moisturiser (if you’re fussy, it might be worth picking one up in duty free) and drink lots of water whilst on board so that your skin stays hydrated. I’ll actually be taking a few pods of the Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask away with me to apply when I’m on board my various flights to keep myself moisturised. These seem to be sold out everywhere, but I popped into John Lewis a couple of weeks ago and they had some in store so it might be worth checking out stores, rather than online.
I also like to have a hand cream for the same reasons as a face moisturiser, and a hand sanitiser for before and after eating. When you’re on a plane, you don’t know who has been sat where you are before your flight, so it’s worth being safe. I know people who take baby wipes to get the tray clean before using it, which is fair enough to me. On a long haul flight, I also take a small tube of body cream as my arms can get quite dry, but if you don’t want to take too much on board, you can use your hand cream for this too.
Flights are a great chance to use your samples of all descriptions, especially perfumes and moisturisers. They’re small and won’t exceed any allowances, plus they fit so easily in your handbag and probably won’t break. If you’re lucky, duty free may have some samples for you and you can give them a whirl during your flight. Perfect for if you’re not sure about a product, and they sell it whilst you’re away.
Your mouth can get really gross when you’re flying, and if you’ve eaten something smelly and are meeting someone the other end, you don’t want to stink. I like to take at least a travel sized bottle of mouthwash to freshen up, but if you have room, you may want to pack a toothbrush and toothpaste too. If you’re travelling with other people, you can share the toothpaste around, and just give it to the person with the emptiest bag (probably a man, probably a father, I know my mum and I will be raiding duty free whereas my dad fully intends on sitting at the departure gate for two hours with his paper).
As well as being dry, aeroplane cabins can be pretty cold. Have a jumper or a scarf or something to wrap around your shoulders so that you don’t freeze to death. Even if where you’re flying to is going to be 30 degrees and sunny when your land, if your flight is at 6am, it’s going to be freezing when you’re standing around check-in at 4am and boarding the plane at 5:30am. It’s better to have too many layers than not enough.
The last couple of bits I’d advise that you take are any medications that you’ll need to take whilst flying (I’m going to have to take a dose of beta-blockers, so I must remember to pack that), your iPod/audio device (great if there is a crying child – just don’t forget your headphones), a notebook and pen, and my phone.
I’ll probably get on board tomorrow and will have forgotten to pack something, but hopefully my mum will be organised enough to have remembered it. Or British Airways will have something on board for me as a makeshift.
What are your must-have items when you do get up in the air? I’m always looking for things to add to my ever growing list of ways to make my travelling much easier (and if you could let me know before 9am tomorrow, that’d be even better!).