They say it’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey. Unfortunately, for many people—due to security crackdowns, lower quality amenities, and extra fees—air travel has simply lost its appeal.
However—besides certain inevitable hassles—it doesn’t have to be a horrible experience every time you hop on a plane. Make the travel process less painful and more pleasurable with carry-on essentials that are the next best thing to flying first class. In no particular order, here are 8 essentials to add to your carry on packing list.
You’ll be on cloud nine in no time.
1. Stress Relief in a Spray
An all-natural oral spray designed for coping with everyday stress and anxiety, 1Hour Break is made with organic Kava, an anti-anxiety herb, and boasts both relaxing and mood-enhancing benefits. A few sprays under the tongue, and you’ll find it easy to stay calm and collected while coping with typical travel inconveniences like long lines, delayed flights and kids who won’t stop kicking the back of your seat. (Plus each travel-size bottle of the liquid is simultaneously small enough to be carry-on friendly and potent enough to contain 15 servings…which you just might need with all those layovers.)
2. Instant Silence: Noise Cancelling Headphones
Life is tough in seat 16A: newborns are wailing, 16B and 16C are arguing over Obamacare, and no, you don’t really want to watch the HGTV special that’s serving as in-flight “entertainment.” Sometimes, silence really is golden—and fortunately it’s available for purchase via high-quality, noise canceling headphones.
CNET recently reviewed the best options, which range from PSB Speakers M4U 2 Active Noise Canceling Headphones, which ring up at about $400, to less pricey options like the Audio-Technica QuietPoint ATH-ANC1 headphones, which retail for a significantly cheaper $79.95—ergo giving your more money…to spend on pre-flight mimosas at the airport bar, of course.
3. Sleep Accessories
With a busy schedule (and phone constantly buzzing with texts, emails and Candy Crush notifications), it’s not often that you get the chance to catch some Z’s uninterrupted, so capitalize on the mandatory free time you have every flight, and take the opportunity to get some serious shuteye.
You shouldn’t, however, have to settle for itchy, airline-provided pillows (of questionable cleanliness). This Nap Travel Flight Kit from Brookstone is equipped with just what you need for a five-star, in-flight sleeping experience. The plush neck pillow is not only comfortable but inflatable, making it perfectly portable, while the eye mask is excellent for blocking out your neighbors’ reading lights and any sunlight streaming through the plane windows. And to keep cozy on a cold plane, the experts at Top Travel Tips recommend Magellan’s Luxe Travel Blanket, which is not only bigger than the typical airline blanket, but made of sueded mircrofiber, so it’s softer too. And—in a genius move—it’s also equipped with twin foot pockets, ensuring your toes will stay toasty all flight.
4. Mini Medicine
There’s obviously not room for an entire first aid kit in your carry-on, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared for the onset of a migraine, upset stomach or anything else—especially on a long international flight. Fortunately, Minimus.biz—the self-proclaimed world-leader in all things travel-sized—sells single-dose packets of all kinds of over-the-counter medicine, from Tylenol to Pepto Bismol, Alka Seltzer, Imodium and more. The packets are inexpensive and take up minimal space, and while hopefully you won’t have to use them, if you are feeling sick and need to pop a pill or two, it’ll be well worth it to have a miniature medicine cabinet stashed in your bag.
5. Battery Life on the Go
There’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination, finding out your phone is dead, and squatting uncomfortably next to an outlet while you wait for it to charge. (Or, worse, arriving internationally and realizing you don’t have an adaptor in your carry on. Oops!) Hence, the importance of the portable phone charger. Techradar.com has compiled a list of the best ones out there—16 to be exact—that ensure you won’t miss any Instagram-able airport moments due to lack of juice.
6. Ear-Popping Sweet Treats
An age-old trick, there’s no better way to deal with the discomfort that comes along with changes in air pressure—and plane-food breath—than by chomping on some gum or sucking on some hard candy. Torie and Howard make organic candies in compact tins that aren’t just perfect for popping your ears, but delicious as well. (And they ring in at only 12 calories each…so you won’t have to worry about asking for a seatbelt extension on your next flight.)
7. Tiny Toiletries
Long flight? Don’t fret. You can cross multiple time zones and still put your best face forward with miniature beauty products. Sephora has a section on their site dedicated to travel-size toiletries—most of which are still small enough to meet the liquid limit and pass through security. (Because they understand the pain of being forced to toss out $30 foundation.) And to store it all? This TSA-approved travel bag is fun, functional and available online for a cool $4.95. And for beauty emergencies, consider the Minimergency Kit For Her, which is packed with essentials ranging from hair ties and stain remover pads to lip balm and hairspray—all of which ensure you’ll arrive at your destination looking fresh and fabulous…even if you don’t feel like it.
8. Good to Go Four Day Travel Pack
No packing list would be complete without our Good to Go Four Day Travel Pack. There’s nothing worse than being hundreds or thousands miles away from home and having to face the discomfort that comes with constipation… or the miserable aftermath of ordinary laxatives. So enter Be Good to Go, the first effective, natural solution specifically designed to help prevent traveler’s constipation before the discomfort begins, and the bloating, gas and general discomfort that go along with it. Don’t leave home without it.