Airline travel has evolved over the years. When I visited the Air and Space Museum a few years ago in D.C., they had an old coach cabin on display. I was amazed at how much space there was! It was like every seat was first class.
Today, things are just slightly different. With an eye for profits and bottom lines, airlines shove us all together like sardines in a can and make us pay outrageous fees for everything–even ice! $45 for an airplane boxed lunch? You’ve got to be kidding.
So I feel better when I pack wisely, saving money on checked baggage fees and carrying essentials on the plane that I won’t have to buy onboard.
If you’re going on a long trip (6 hours+) you need to be prepared. Here are 5 items you absolutely must have in your carry-on bag:
1. Food and water
You have to wait to buy your water until you pass airport security, but you don’t want to board a plane without a water bottle, especially an international flight. On my way back from Italy, the airline ran out of still water 5 hours in and gave out sparkling water only for the duration of the flight.
Needless to say, it’s a shock to the taste buds to expect to sip still water and get a mouthful of seltzer instead.
Regarding food, the good news is that if it’s solid you can bring to-go containers on board with you from your destination! I once brought chicken fried chicken back with me from Nashville, Tennessee, and it was glorious.
Finally, don’t forget snacks. You’re going to want cookies and candies to munch on after your meals. Check out La Mère Poulard for a French shortbread cookie that won’t break the bank. These butter cookies rival any you’ve ever tasted. From Mont Saint-Michel, they’re sophisticated but affordable and are the perfect addition for your airplane goodie bag. You can find them at airport stores, on Amazon or, if you’re lucky, your local Walmart.
2. Slipper socks
You want to get as comfortable as possible on a plane while maintaining every bit of hygiene you can muster in these notoriously germ-filled spaces. The solution? Slipper socks, over your socks.
They’re comfortable enough that you can switch positions while you’re seated, and protect you enough to walk about the cabin. TJ Maxx usually has a good selection at a low price.
3. A loaded e-reader
There’s only three ways to pass time quickly on an airplane–sleep, watch movies or read. On the off chance you strike out with the first two, always have at least two books on an e-reader as a back-up plan.
Don’t have a Nook or Kindle? The app Overdrive lets you check out books for free from your local library and load them as PDFs on your smartphone. It can be a data drain if you’re limited on phone space, but you can’t beat the price.
Carry-on space is limited so if you insist on bring a hard copy book or magazine, make sure it’s a good one that you know will keep you engaged.
4. Facial products
Something about being on a plane makes you feel icky. Maybe it’s the constant flow of people or the cabin pressure that sucks your skin dry of all moisture and makes even the most glamorous jetsetter look like the grim reaper. But there is a solution.
Come prepared with facial products. This is a good time to utilize all those samples you’ve gathered from beauty counters. Your arsenal should include makeup removal wipes, lotion, and face wash for overnight flights.
5. A killer lip gloss
I don’t wear much makeup while traveling, but I also don’t like to look unrecognizable at customs. A good lipstick can help liven up your whole face, and is the most versatile of all the makeup products since you can dab some on your cheeks, eyelids, etc. So stick one in your carry-on and keep walking.
The lip crayon from TreStique is excellent because it has both a matte color and balm on each end. It’s my go-to lipstick and is the only one I take with me when exploring because it serves double duty and looks great in pictures. Not to mention, the balm is not considered a liquid so there’s no hassle with airport security.
6. All essential documents–and a pen!
While it goes without saying that you should keep your most important travel documents on your person, a lot of people neglect to bring a pen! This leads to a scramble to find a writing document when it comes time to fill out customs paperwork onboard.
Bring a pen and watch how quickly you become the most popular person in your row. Nothing says “I am woman, hear me roar” like being prepared.
Those are five of my must-haves for a carry-on bag, what are yours?
Note: This post contains sponsored posts but all opinions are my own.