After 5 years of frequent business travel, and trial and error, I narrowed down my in flight goals to: not getting sick, catching up on reading and writing, and avoiding the airplane bathroom at all costs. Never able to sleep on a plane, in five years I count on one hand naps taken while flying so my tips lean toward avoiding boredom, staying healthy, and being comfortable.
I don’t recommend an inflight skincare routine or sheet mask selfie while flying. Because it’s not necessary and the inside of a plane is one of the dirtiest places to be touching your face. (Unless you have a 20+ hour flight and only after sanitizing your seat area with antibacterial wipes.) Lip balm is the only skincare item I reapply inflight.
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- Use as many layers of skincare as possible and the heaviest moisturizer possible before heading to the airport. If you have a window seat and you enjoy the view, you need to wear sunscreen.
- If you’re eating at the airport with the ability to move between terminals, the International terminals and/or the largest terminal for which an airline has its hub typically have best food options. Skip Mexican food or anything adventurous pre-flight to avoid tummy trouble. Make sure you’re full before boarding, airplane food is still horrible.
- Use the bathroom right before getting in line to board. You don’t want to be the passenger that causes an aisle traffic jam because they’re against the flow to use the bathroom before take off.
- If your flight is several hours or more, walk the airport instead of sitting and waiting. Wear shoes that will allow strolling and/or rushing to a last minute gate change. Unless you have PreCheck, don’t wear flip flops through security. It’s unsanitary to walk barefoot through the airport.
- Bring a refillable water bottle and save on bottled water. Many airports have filtered water stations for this. S’well makes some of the prettiest bottles in many sizes. If you travel often, keep an empty one in your bag so you never forget it.
- Usually you’re allowed one carry on bag and one personal item. I don’t bring a purse or cutesy little backpack as they’ll be shoved under the seat with my shoes on them, and they don’t have enough space for what I’ll want with me at all times. This is a case of function over form. Use the largest backpack you can safely carry. My current backpack has way too many compartments so I’ll be streamlining to something like this: Professional Slim Laptop Backpack.
- I pack an empty purse in my luggage and carry a wristlet wallet in my backpack. I like the wrist strap so I can “wear it” from the check in counter to security without continuously removing it and putting it back.
Essential Items In Your Backpack
- You never know what the temperature will be inflight. I’ve been cold more often but plan for every situation. I never travel without my sweater wrap, it can be rolled like a pillow or used as a blanket. It’s easy to pack or wear to the airport. I’ve had mine for years, it’s no longer available but these are similar. Cardigan Poncho Cape, Lightweight Cashmere Scarf
- Very important item to bring is antibacterial wipes. I wipe down everything I’ll come in contact with: window shade, seat belt, tray, arm rest, bathroom door handle, etc. Never touch anything that’s in the seatback pocket, it’s one of the dirtiest areas on the plane.
- I’ve been delayed enough to know the importance of having healthy snacks with me. Airport food has come a long way but still has room for improvement. My favorite portable snacks are nuts, RXBARS especially chocolate-sea salt, and nut butters in packets. Bringing your own is cheaper than the airport shops. Be mindful of bringing pungent items, a lady once peeled a hardboiled egg next to me and that’s a scent that shouldn’t be shared in close quarters!
- Pack a medicine bag with essentials: pain reliever, breath mints, disposable tooth brushes, allergy meds, zinc cough drops, Vitamin C or Emergen-C packets, Kleenex (trust me they don’t give out tissue and drink napkins are rough), lip balm, tea bag, feminine products, and any meds you’ll need. These can go in a ziplock or makeup bag.
- An item that needs to go in your medicine bag but’s so important it warrants it’s own paragraph is EarPlanes ear plugs. If you’ve ever flown with a head cold or inner ear problems and know the pain of pressure while descending, these are a life saver. You never know when sinus issues can flare up. I learned this trick after almost losing my hearing while flying with a sinus infection.
- I keep a makeup bag with lip products, concealer, and ponytail holders in case I need to refresh once I’ve landed.
- A device pre–loaded with a Kindle app, a music playlist, podcasts, and any movies or tv shows you’ve been wanting to watch. Most people know to do this but on occasion I’ll see a novice trying to download in the airport or on the plane. You won’t be able to with the wifi available so do this well in advance at home. Some suggestions are Spotify for music, and media from Netflix or Amazon Prime.
- You’ll be amazed at how much productive work you can get done on a flight. I always bring my journal and pen for brain dumping if I’m feeling creative. I take advantage of editing photos during this time too.
- My hubby loves his Bose headphones for travel, truth be told they are expensive but worth it for drowning out a screaming baby and hearing music as it was meant to be heard. Unless hubby is with me and will store them in his bag, I don’t have room for bulky headphones…and I’m not an audio snob so regular headphones are fine with me.
- If you have a premium seat you might have a way to charge your devices inflight. If not, bring a backup portable charger or a backpack with this feature built in. Don’t forget to put your phone in low battery mode.
These are all the items I stuff in my backpack. I’ll show you what to bring in your carry on next time. If there’s the possibility of your carry on being stowed in cargo, you’ll want to add one change of clothes into your backpack….you never know!