Airplanes are cramped enough without having the person behind you constantly whack the back of your seat to access their carry-on bag. Or heaven forbid, you’re that person! I like to keep my on board essentials readily available prior to being packed like sardines and belted into my seat. The only difference between short and international flights is how many essentials I have.
It all starts with a zippy bag or cosmetic clutch – just something you can stow your essentials in. This then goes into your carry-on tote/purse/bag through the airport but gets pulled out when I sit. I can also then stow my bag in the overhead and give myself some extra legroom. This assumes that I checked my suitcase. I never put a carry-on bag and my tote/laptop/purse in the overhead unless I’m in the bulkhead. Bin space is shared space!
There’s always extra stuff in my bag that I may want, but my essentials tend to live in the seat or seat back pocket with me (especially if my tote is in the overhead). So, what’s in it? Here’s an example of what’s in my Survival Kit for an international flight:
- headphones (so mine are noise canceling ear buds that also act like earplugs)
- eye mask (check out the website below for the best mask)
- medications – e.g. anything I have to take as well as a small pharmacy zippy with tylenol and a few Gas-X strips (on a plane it’s better to have than have-not!)
- glasses (I don’t wear my contacts on overnight flights as they are day only wear)
- passport (you’ll need this for immigration forms)
- packet of Propel, vitamin water drink
- toothbrush & toothpaste
- face wash cleanser pad
- basic makeup
So, the last several items are usually in a separate bag which I can grab and freshen up before the plane lands. I typically follow a bit of a routine and I’m a very good airplane sleeper. I try to get as much sleep as possible during the flight and then about an hour before landing I try to regroup. Wash my face, brush my teeth, drink a big bottle of water with the Propel or vitamin drink pack. Staying hydrated is very important to help with jetlag.
Having my essentials on hand means less fumbling around in my carry-ons and makes my trip more enjoyable. And, if I’m lucky I’ll land looking somewhat less like what the cat hacked up on my carpet.
My favorite eye mask (Lights Out Sleep Mask): http://www.magellans.com/store/In_Flight_Comfort___Earplugs___EyeshadesIF707?Args=