Those of you who read my blog regularly know that I travel a lot for both work and pleasure. From my years of traveling and experience domestically and internationally, I offer you my top 6 must-have carry-on items for every plane trip, regardless of the duration of the flight and destination. These travel tips, I promise, will make a difference on your next flight. This post contains affiliate links.
1. Lightweight blanket
Fact: airplanes can be cold. Sometimes just slightly chilly, other times they can be downright frigid. I usually try to bring a small lightweight travel blanket (like the one I got on a JetBlue flight a couple of years ago) so that I can add a layer if I need to. Sometimes a little extra cover goes a long way. A small blanket can also double as a back support or pillow if needed.
2. Earphones or earplugs
Traveling on a plane is never quiet. Sometimes you’re in the back near the engine, other times you are over the noisy wing on a smaller prop, and other unlucky times you are stuck on an 8-hour cross-Atlantic flight with a 14-month old who screams for almost the entire flight (yep, that happened less than 72 hours ago of this original post, and I was so thankful for my noise canceling headphones). Never underestimate the benefit of a pair of headphones or earphones because even if you aren't listening to music, you may want them for their noise muting abilities.
3. Neck pillow
Airplane seats are neither ergonomically correct nor comfortable. First class and business class seats are often better than economy, but not by a lot. And if you aren’t the perfect height for the built-in head rest to fit on your head, then it can be really uncomfortable for longer flights. I have a Bucky that I have been using for more than 10 years. In fact, it’s so awesome that my minimalist husband had borrowed it on one occasion and promptly asked for his own. After a long flight, you’ll thank me for this suggestion. I'm short, and no matter what seat I'm in the headrest is never the right height. I need a neck pillow to fit comfortably. And that neck pillow doubles as a nice pillow support for those often lousy hotel pillows I'll be using once I arrive at my final destination.
4. Reusable water bottle
Since the TSA won’t allow you to take anything through security that is great than 100 ml in volume, forget bringing a drink with you. And if you’ve traveled recently, you know that airport concessions are anything but inexpensive (for research I looked at water bottles on my way out of my local airport Saturday afternoon and the least expensive option they had was $2.59 for filtered water, not even for spring water). By bringing a water bottle with you, you can fill up at the water fountain after you pass through security. Sure, you can get water on the plane, but usually it’s a couple of ounces in a cup and that’s it. Traveling dehydrates you in general, planes dehydrate you even more. Having a larger volume of water available in your own water bottlewill help you stay hydrated, which also helps with jet lag.
5. Lip balm and hand lotion
Okay, so technically this counts as two items. As I mentioned above, traveling and planes dehydrate you. I always make sure I have lip balm handy and a small tube of hand lotion. In addition to the traveling and plan drying you out, industrial soap is killer on the hands. I always lotion up after using public restrooms containing industrial soap.
Similar to the blanket, a scarf can give you a little extra protection from the breeze or draft you will get on a plane. You can also use a scarf to cover your face to protect from germs, as well as use it as an eye mask if you want to sleep on the plane. Pick a light- to medium-weight scarf for breathability. If you plan well, it will match whatever outfit you are wearing on your travel day as well as at least another outfit in your bag.What are your go-to carry-on items when traveling by plane?