No one likes the airplane. It’s cramped. The seats are uncomfortable. There are lots of people, with too much luggage. It’s long. It’s boring. Yet, this is what we must all deal with when traveling anywhere that’s a significant distance away. Air travel is up, which means your flight is probably sold out and you’re not getting a whole row to yourself like in the olden days. Still, you can make the most of your flight if you come prepared. Here are some key necessities for your next flight.
You’re going to have a neighbor sitting next to you, but if you want some privacy, bring a set of earphones. While all flights have their own available, they aren’t always for free, and anyway, yours are better. If you have nice earphones that cancel out noise, even better. These come in handy if there’s a screaming baby or a person who’s just plain old loud. Radio is available on all flights, and longer flights offer television shows and movies you can watch. Bring an iPad and you can watch whatever you’ve downloaded before the flight – just use the earphones, you don’t want to be that traveler.
Rest Your Head
A lot of people bring pillows on the plane, and this isn’t actually a great idea. For one, you have to haul it around the airport, which is a major hassle, not to mention it’s definitely going to get dirty in the process. But the big thing is the space it takes up once you’re on the plane. Your neighbor hates you, that’s the first issue, but also, unless you have the window, it’s hard to even use the thing.
A better idea is a neck pillows. Yes, it may remind you of your grandmother, but the woman’s had experience, and she’s right. Neck pillows take the pinch out of your neck, and they also save you from falling onto your neighbor mid-snore. Neck pillows are a lot easier to transport – some are even inflatable so you can just fold it into your bag when you don’t need it anymore.
It’s tempting to stay away from fluids on a flight – people don’t want to use the bathroom. The thing is, the flight cabin is pumping air into the cabin which makes you dehydrated. You can wait for the beverage cart to come, but it’s nice to have a bottle of water available so you’re not totally at the mercy of the flight attendants. That means you need to fork over five dollars for a bottle of water after you get through security, so just get used to that idea. It’s a lot for what it is, but it makes for a much more comfortable flight. No one wants to have sandpaper tongue.
It’s pretty amazing what technology affords us these days – that you can watch streaming content all the way up in the air is rather incredible. But, sometimes technology fails. It can be anything – interference, and faulty monitor, or maybe the plane is having some media issue, but flies just fine. It’s not unheard of for these things to happen, so at the risk of becoming totally bored, bring a book or a magazine or two, depending on the length of your flight. They say reading lowers stress, so this might actually make your flight more enjoyable by default. Not a bad trade off.
It can get cold in the friendly skies, so be prepared! On international flights you get a blanket, but that’s not always good enough. A good winter tip is to use your jacket as a blanket for your legs. Always bring socks! In summertime, you may be sporting sandals or flip flops, but in the plane, your bare feet get cold. You lose warmth through your hands, feet, and head, so throwing on a pair of socks may keep your temperature regulated. Of course, you should bring a sweater or wrap to throw on, too.
These days, everyone puts their luggage in the overhead compartment to avoid the bag fee. That means space is limited for the non-suitcase carry-on item. The best thing to do is get a bag that fits under the seat in front of you, and that must account for all your carry-on needs. Doing this ensures you actually have space for your smaller item, and you won’t have to contend with anyone’s luggage wheel jamming into your laptop or toiletries, which could cause damage or mess. On that note, help the cause and check your suitcase! Many airlines allow you to pre-pay for the checked bag when you purchase your ticket, so you can consider it part of the flight cost, rather than an extra fee.
Do you have any travel rituals? What’s the best way to handle a long plane ride? Share below, we love to hear from you!