Flying fairly frequently long-haul (and more frequently short-haul) alone, I thought that I’d share with you my essentials for a comfortable flying experience — ignoring all the obvious such as passport and phone.
My absolute favourite bag when I’m travelling is a black Longchamp Large Le Pliage Néo Tote. Not particularly fashionable but it’s practical and functional — super lightweight, water-resistant, sturdy, and zipped.
I know lots of people bring an empty water bottle but I personally have never bothered — I rather just pick up a bottle of water and a few snacks after I’ve gone through security. Here are some of my essentials.
SHURE SE535 in Clear.
Apologies in advance as these are expensive, but they’re also my most important item from this list. I’ve had them for years and they’re my go-to earphones if I want to feel as though I’ve stepped into a soundproof booth. I don’t want to hear any background noises so as soon as I’m permitted to use electronic devices, I plug myself into my own little soundproof world. Crying babies? Screaming kids? They don’t bug me cos I won’t be able to hear them anyway. They stay on — including when I’m trying to sleep — till I have to remove them at the end of the flight. They’re US$499 from Shure.
iPad or MacBook.
Because to be honest, I’m not much for reading books or newspapers. Before smartphones and tablets were a thing, I used to bring fashion magazines. Nowadays, I always take my iPad Air 2 and on occasion, a little 12″ Macbook as well if I’m travelling for work. (If I’m going to be gone for a few weeks, then I’m most likely lugging my 15″ MacBook Pro.) I make sure to pre-load it with everything I want to watch so I don’t have to rely on the airline’s in-flight entertainment system. It keeps me occupied for hours.
Portable Power Bank.
Super important if you’re planning to blissfully watch shows/movies and play games on your electronic device. You don’t want the batteries going dead mid-flight and you’re stuck filling out puzzles in the back of the in-flight magazine with 8 hours still to go! Some airlines have in-seat power outlets, but in my experience, they’re often next to useless since the aeroplane’s power systems produce so little wattage per seat. If the output is decent, it’d be one outlet shared amongst several seats. I like Anker’s Powercore Speed 20000 PD because it charges lightning-fast and it can fully charge a nearly drained MacBook (or my iPad twice)!
A soft, non-wired item of clothing that has no itchy hooks or tags, no sharp bits, no clasp is just much more comfortable. The Beauty Soft Wireless Bra from Uniqlo is completely soft and comfortable, and still gives a flattering shape. Other than making airport security experience go potentially much faster, it makes sleeping and relaxing on an aeroplane that much more pleasant.
Change of clothes.
In case your checked luggage is lost or delayed, you’ll at least have more than just the clothes on your back. And should you ever spill a drink on yourself mid-flight (perhaps due to turbulence or just clumsiness), you’ll be very glad that you have something clean and dry to change into! Everything is rolled up and stuffed into a mesh bag.
Scent-free Hand Cream.
My hands feel the effects of the dry cabin air quicker than any other parts of my body. They get uncomfortably dry so a rich hand cream that is scent-free is a must-have for me. The hand cream I use changes — currently, it’s Neutrogena’s Norwegian Formula Hand Cream Fragrance-free (US$3.99 at Amazon).
MegRhythmn Steam Hot Eye Mask.
I always have one or two pairs stuffed into my beauty bag. The mild fragrance combines with the warmth gently lulls me to sleep. If you haven’t read my full-page review on the main site, go have a read here!
My in-flight travelling toiletries bag always contains all the essentials that I need to “create” my face starting from washing my face to finishing with mascara. In fact, there’re often body wash, shampoo, and conditioner in there too! I rarely decant — I bring minis or sample packets, which take up virtually no room. I generally don’t need to use them but they give me some peace of mind for the same reason why I also bring a change of clothes. All the liquids go in the clear vinyl bag — the rest goes in another bag.
Muji Well-Fitted Neck Cushion with Hood.
I take this on every overnight flight. It moulds into different shapes, working as a neck pillow or a support cushion for your lower back. I especially like that I can pull the hood down over my eyes for a little extra darkness and cosiness while I’m trying to sleep. It’s ¥2,990 or US$39.90 at Muji and it goes on sale in stores fairly often.
Hand Sanitiser. ($1 from Bath & Body Works)
Because if there ever were a test for your immune system, I’m sure it would be aeroplanes. You’re virtually trapped in a small, enclosed space for hours surrounded by strangers abound from all walks of life (do I know what they have touched and whether they’ve washed their hands?).