After 7 years of traveling for work and an entire lifetime of flying in between parents, I’ve got packing a light carry-on down to an art. No, I don’t have a tablet, but that might change by the end of the year. I always bring a small paperback on board, and if it’s a 5+ hour flight, I’ll splurge on an oversized fashion magazine. Yes, physical books and magazines are heavier, but reading on a screen is not good for your brain. Also, I can’t read books with substance on a screen. The only ebook I’ve been able to read and actually absorb is Fifty Shades of Grey. But that doesn’t have much absorb to begin with….
Now that the controversial book vs. tablet question has been answered, here are my other essentials for flying the friendly skies:
- Longchamp Le Pliage Tote. This is the absolute best bag I’ve ever had. It’s an all-purpose tote that folds up quite nicely. The large tote is my go-to carry-on and it fits my laptop in case I bring it with me. I pack a medium tote to use as my purse when I land.
- iPhone and iPod Nano. I bring both, especially on longer flights. I’ll rent a movie on my phone or download some podcasts to pass the time. But if I just want to listen to music, I’ll use my Nano. There’s no point in wasting phone battery.
- Rechargeable Power Cell. I got this red Duracell (above) for work last year and it’s been great. I will charge it the night before I leave and it gives me a good safety net in case flights get delayed, or the plane doesn’t have a USB outlet. I can get back to a full phone battery in less than 45 minutes.
- Kate Spade Travel Wallet. This was a birthday present to myself a few years ago. The wallet is long enough to hold boarding passes, passports, etc. I also have a ton of hotel membership cards, Metro cards from different cities, stuff that doesn’t fit into an everyday wallet. I can also keep my phone in the outer pocket and use it as a clutch.
- Kate Spade Henrietta case. This was also a birthday gift. It’s a little small for makeup, so I started using it as an all-purpose pouch for all the stuff that ends up at the bottom of your purse. I keep business cards, extra pens, my phone charger, mints, spare change, hand sanitizer, etc. I also keep 2-3 teabags inside. Many places offer coffee, but their tea selection is terrible. Bring your own and you’ll never have to be stuck with Tazo tea. It’s the worst, don’t deny it.
- Kiehl’s Baby Lip Balm. This is my favorite lip balm of all time. It’s super smooth, not sticky, and it doesn’t evaporate super fast. I keep one in every bag, on my desk, in the bathroom and in every top shelf. I also use Kiehl’s Ultra Facial moisturizer. Both protect from super dry, recycled plane air.
- Snacks and an empty water bottle. Swedish Fish and almond M&Ms are my current favorite. I’ve also brought a snack bag of oyster crackers or a small single-serve cereal box before. The empty water bottle is to fill up once I get past security. If a flight is over two hours, one cup of water from the flight attendants is not enough. Also, I try to grab Chick-Fil-A or a small yogurt for protein before morning flights.