I’m still relatively new to long distance travelling, but I feel like it doesn’t take too many trips to understand what items are useful and which are clutter. I don’t know about you, but for me, packing can be an overwhelming endeavor. I strive to be efficient, yet also want to make sure I’m not leaving anything behind. In my efforts to be as frugal and practical as possible, while still carrying the comforts of home along, I’ve developed this list of must haves. Here are my top 10 “go-to” favorites for long haul flights.
1. Travelon Cross Body Purse
This is #1 on my list for a reason. My Travelon bag has been my faithful companion to New York, London, Tampa, Costa Rica, and Kenya. They have about a million different designs and colors, but this bag is amazing. It’s flexible enough that it can fit snuggly into your backpack on the plane even when it’s packed full. That means you can have a carry on, a bag to go under the seat in front of you, and your purse when you want quick/easy access to purse-type items.
The bag’s strap is reinforced to prevent anyone from slicing the strap to steal your purse. My Travelon has several zippers that clip and lock in a way a pickpocket could never figure out in a quick moment. It is equipped with RFID blocking to protect your credit card information. It has ample space for your ID, passport, phone, vitamins, personal items, etc. I typically love having my tablet in there as well since you have to set that out separately during security checkpoints.
Seriously, it is a Godsend when travelling and super affordable.
2. Sharper Image Memory Foam Neck Pillow
This one is probably a no brainer for you. I love the neck pillows and the comfort of the Sharper Image brand. These can be so practical in a variety of ways. The standard behind your neck or even hooked on your shoulder so you can sleep to the side. One of my favorite uses though is to put it behind the small of my back. It provides the perfect shape and amount of lumbar pressure to make long flight far more endurable.
3. Portable Charger
If you want to talk about return on investment, this is a life saver. I will go ahead and share a con; it is not light to lug around. However, it is so handy to have one of these when you’re travelling or exploring a city. Having access to this gave me a sense of security when I was unable to find a charging station for my phone. BONUS: if you happen to be travelling with a throng of teenagers, you’ll soon become their favorite person on the planet if you’re carrying one of these.
4. Buff Headwear
Full disclosure…I made a huge mistake with this item. I had it during my trip to Africa and didn’t use it a single time! So why am I suggesting it now? I’ve since worn it and realized it is incredibly versatile and so helpful to have. For starters, it takes up minimal space, so you can tuck it in whatever carry-on, purse, suitcase you choose easily. When you’re out walking or hiking around and are unsure of the elements you’ll be exposed to, it has so many purposes. You can wear it as a scarf and it warms you quickly. You can cover your face with it to keep from inhaling dust and debris. It can serve as a traditional headband and works very effectively, etc. I think they have about ten more uses for it on the packaging. I definitely will not be going on another trip without mine! P.S. the one I purchased also has built in UV protection…added benefit.
5. Travel Organizer
This one my friends, is a game changer. I’ve gone on trips with one and without one. Now that I have it, I’m never turning back! I had smaller organizers in the past for different items. This simple organizer allows you to keep everything neat and tidy in one place. I used it for my charging block, cords, camera battery packs, memory cards, and ear buds. It’s perfect, compact, and accommodates so many different styles of electronics.
Yet again, a very simple and familiar item, but so valuable to have. Most international flights I’ve been on will offer these, but only after the flight has taken off and reached altitude. Even then, they’re not the highest quality. What they provide is of course, appreciated and useful in a pinch. But for comfort and convenience I always try to make sure I bring my own set along.
7. Sanuk Sandals
The reality is, these are just my favorite sandals. You don’t even need to be travelling anywhere. If you do happen to be taking a flight, your feet will thank you for these. I really only use them during the summer time and warm flights. If you’re not too squeamish about walking through security barefoot, these are super easy to slip off and back on again. Personally, I just throw in a pair of ankle socks and whip them on real quick before walking through the checkpoint.
The best part is (if you don’t already know) they are made from recycled yoga mats. Regardless of how far you walk, you have that feeling of walking on a cloud! Plus, I think they’re cute with about any outfit and there are so many styles to choose from!
8. Compression Socks
Que Grandma mode! Normally, some compression socks are the least fashion forward choice you can make, but they’ve developed some that are sheer and comfortable these days. I know this may not apply to everyone, but circulation is an area of concern for long flights. Everywhere I’ve read encourages you to get up and walk around on long flights. These compression socks do help considerably with circulation and honestly are pretty comfortable to wear. I’ve worn them with tennis shoes, or slipped them on after I was already settled onto a flight. I’ve gone on flights without them as well, and I’m far more comfortable when I’ve worn them.
9. Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer, Caramel
On long flights, they have air above that can constantly be blowing on you to keep you cool, calm, and comfortable. The only drawback is that air can also easily dry out your skin and lips. This handy little lip balm is sleek and thin and easy to pop into your purse or carry-on. It moisturizes and gives you just a bit of a lip tint that always makes me feel just a little bit more ‘put together’ and fresh.
10. Neutrogena Cleansing Wipes
These are handier than you might think and a package of them lasts for at least a week. The fragrance is light and subtle. They are oil-free and do not dry out your skin. They are so resourceful and refreshing on a flight or layover without having to lug around skin care products. I use them on my face and neck if I want to freshen up or cool down. Sometimes they’re even handy to wipe off your hands when you don’t feel like making a trip to the airplane latrine.
I suspect this list will continue to evolve as I travel. I hope you find it to be beneficial for your next adventure or perhaps as gift ideas for your favorite traveler. If you have any ideas or items you absolutely can’t travel without that I haven’t mentioned, I’d love to hear about them! That goes for questions as well. Please feel free to drop a comment below. Safe travels my friends!
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