I’m preparing an Australia/New Zealand group trip for early 2020 and since it is a very long flight to get there and back, I thought maybe this would be a great opportunity to talk about things you can pack in your carry-on that would make a flight easier and help make the hours fly by.
Sanitizing Wipes – Packing sanitizing wipes to clean your tray table, entertainment system controls, and armrests is just a smart thing to do. Lots of people have sat in those seats and you are traveling on an amazing vacation and don’t want to start it with a cold or virus. It’s also a good idea to use hand sanitizer to clean your hands before eating.
Inflatable Pillow - Sleep is the best way to kill time on a long-haul flight, and a comfortable pillow is an important part of making that happen. The airline-provided pillows just don’t cut it. I’ve tried multiple types and designs and I find that my favorite is the inflatable neck pillow. It’s easy to pack, easy to blow up plus you can adjust it to just the right size that you want or need to support your head. I love it for comfort, portability, durability, and value.
Eye Mask – I must admit that I don’t always use an eye mask, but I always take one with me just in case. Sometimes I’m in a seat where the light shines in my eyes every time the bathroom door opens/shuts or ready to get some shuteye and the stewardesses aren’t ready to turn the lights out yet. Or maybe you have a seat mate right next to you that loves to read with their overhead light on all night. That’s when I bring out the eye mask and am so glad I remembered to bring it with me.
Earplugs or Noise-Canceling Headphones – With the possibility of loud talkers, coughers, crying babies and the roar of jet engines on every flight, I am always prepared to block out the noise. I have noise-canceling headphones that deliver amazing sound when used with the in-flight entertainment. I don’t do overnight flights without them. I used to use earplugs and love that they are so small and easy to carry but I’m now addicted to my headphones and use only them.
Compression Socks - Sitting in a cramped airline seat can lead to dangerous blood clots. I have firsthand experience with this one. In addition to moving around the cabin frequently, you may want to consider wearing compressions socks during your flight.
Non-Electronic Entertainment – It is hard for any of us to survive without our electronics to pass the time but if your e-reader phone or tablet has a dead battery and there are no outlets on the plane to re-charge them, it could make for a really long flight. Pack something like a paperback book, a magazine or a puzzle book as a back-up to entertain yourself.
Sleep Aids - Over-the-counter and doctor-prescribed sleep aids can be a lifesaver on long flights. I wouldn’t recommend taking any of them for the first time on your flight as you never know how you’ll react to it. Try it at home first and if you think it helps, consider taking some with you on those long flights.
Other over the counter medications – you may also want to pack some type of aspirin and stomach-settling medicines in case of a headache, sore muscles or a sudden bout of indigestion. Remember, there’s no pharmacy in the sky!
Food and Water - Meal service on flights are on their schedule, not yours. You may not be hungry when the meals are served, or they may not offer anything that’s appealing to you so packing a few snacks is always a good idea. And staying hydrated during flights has been known to help in the prevention of jet lag so buying a bottle of water before you get on the plane or bringing your own water bottle from home, filling it up only after you’ve passed through security, will help you stay hydrated without having to bug the flight attendants every time you want some water.
Pen and Paper – Having a pen handy is always a good idea on international flights since there’s usually custom and declaration forms to fill out.
Chewing Gum – A piece of gum can help relieve pressure in your ears and refresh your breath.
Shawl, Large Scarf or a Small Blanket – Having one of these around will help keep you warm If needed. You can also roll it up and use it as an extra pillow if you need more head support.
I hope I’ve given you some ideas that will help make those “over the seas” flights easier to bear. If there’s something you do that I haven’t mentioned here, please share it with us. I love learning new tips and hints. Happy travels!