Let’s face it. Flying isn’t really a lot of fun these days – unless you fly first- or business-class! Seats aren’t the most comfortable. The air is dry. Food? (Sometimes you’re best bringing your own.) And you may have to put up with the screams of an unhappy toddler.
Over the years we’ve flown, we’ve learned to pack certain carry-on essentials on every flight. Things like a travel pillow, ear plugs, pre-pasted toothbrushes and more…
Here, then, is our list of essential travel items to take on a plane. Bringing them onboard is sure to help make your flying experience more bearable – and with luck, perhaps even enjoyable!
Collapsible Water Bottle:
You know the #1 thing to do when flying is to drink lots of water. But what if there’s no more room in your carry-on for a hard-sided water bottle? Enter the Nomader collapsible bottle!
It’s sturdy when filled. But you can conveniently fold it up, so it takes up less space when you pack it away. Made of flexible silicone, it’s BPA-free too – free of all those unsafe chemicals associated with plastic bottles.
We find it almost impossible to get a few zzz’s on a plane without ear plugs. Foam ear plugs can irritate your ear canal though (happened to us). These superior quality Ohropax ear plugs are made from cotton wool and wax. And they’re super comfy. Definitely one of our long flight essentials!
Ohropax, by the way, is a German company that has been making ear plugs since 1907. And, yes, these ear plugs cost a little more than the standard foam ones, but they’re designed to be re-used (foam plugs should be thrown away after one or two uses).
Our pick for the best inflatable travel pillow? The Daydreamer.
It’s luxuriously soft and inflates within 60 seconds at the push-of-a-button (no huffing and puffing involved). Plus, the M-shape cradles your head sweetly upright and doesn’t push it forward.
The plush micro-velvet pillowcase is removable and can be washed. And this neck pillow comes with a satin-lined pack, which you can clip onto your carry-on bag or backpack.
A sleeping mask is also tops on our list of carry-on essentials for long flights. (It’s also great for blocking out early morning light in hotel rooms.)
We really like these Eagle Creek Sandman sleeping masks. The mask is made of fleece. And the soft, slightly-raised contouring around the bridge of your nose means the mask doesn’t squish your eyes like some cheaper sleeping masks.
These disposable, mini-toothbrushes are ideal for airplane use, as you don’t need water to brush with them. (Don’t brush your teeth with water from the airplane tap; it may be dirty.) They come with a liquid-filled bead in the center of the brush head. When you brush, the bead squirts your mouth with a burst of liquid toothpaste.
The Colgate Wisp toothbrushes are small too – “pocket-sized.” You can carry one discreetly in your hand when you walk to the airplane bathroom. (They’re also good for brushing your teeth on the go when traveling in general.)
Instant Stain Remover:
Eating on planes can be, well, messy.
Tide To Go instant stain remover can fix up most splotches – at least it can make them look a whole lot better!
Lubricant Eye Drops:
Flying is so hard on the eyes!
We find the GenTeal eye drops soothe dry red eyes, however. We always carry one of these small squeeze bottles in our flight essentials kit.
Disinfectant Hand Wipes:
Ugh! Catching a cold or other bug on the plane is unfortunately one of the downsides of traveling.
Frequent hand washing with soap and water is one of the best things to do to help prevent getting sick. And try not to touch your mouth with your hands or rub your eyes (until after washing your hands).
For those times when you can’t conveniently lather up, disinfectant wipes help kill some of those germs. You can also use them to wipe down the tray table, armrests and other notoriously germ-infested airplane surfaces.
These Wet Ones come wrapped in individual packets, which make them perfect for travel. Enriched with aloe to help prevent skin dryness, they’re also hypoallergenic so they shouldn’t irritate your skin.
Other Travel Essentials for the Plane
See also these other great flying essentials:
Cashmere shawl or travel wrap (doubles as a blanket on the plane)
Noise canceling ear phones (wireless)
Lastly, don’t forget to pack your medication and some healthy snacks in your carry-on!
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