International travel is never fun. If you’re an Aussie like me, getting anywhere outside of New Zealand or the Pacific Islands involves at least eight hours on a plane, which means at least hours trapped inside a metal box with recycled air. It’s not the most pleasant of experiences (unless you’re lucky enough to have a much larger bank balance than I do and can fly Business or First Class), but there are some ways to slightly improve the experience.
Here are some of the things I ensure are tucked inside my carry-on before I step foot on a plane:
- Eye drops. Anyone who has ever stepped foot on a plane knows the pain of recycled air related dry eyes. Pop a few eye drops in a couple of times throughout your flight and once you land, and you’ll skip that painful gritty feeling that usually accompanies a long haul trip.
I usually use Visine Advanced Relief Eye Drops which you can grab at a pharmacy for between $5-$10, but any drops that say they’ll prevent dry and red eyes should do the trick.
- Lip Balm. When you fly Business, there’s often a lip balm in your amenity kit which claims is “designed especially for flying”. That’s marketing nonsense, however what’s not nonsense is having a lip balm at the ready throughout your flight. If you’ve ever realised your lips are chapped beyond recognition the days following a flight, liberal application of some lip balm while flying will totally solve that problem.
Any old lip balm will do! I’m a fan of the Blistex Five Way lip protection which you can pick up at a supermarket for under $5, as it’s super moisturising and also has SPF 30+ – perfect for when you get off the plane and want to sight see. Don’t forget that lips can get sunburnt too!
- Face Mist. This is one I’d never thought of until I was upgraded to business on a long-haul flight and there was some provided in the bathrooms, and now it’s one of my main carry-on essentials. Pop a small mist (available from places like Sephora) into your carry on, and spray every time you head to the bathroom. It’ll stop your face from drying out, and will leave you feeling refreshed and alert.
I currently have a Caudalie Beauty Elixir in my bag, but it was a limited edition that’s no longer available. Sephora has a wide range of facial mists available, ranging from around $20. Just make sure the one you choose is under 100ml, otherwise you can’t take it onboard!
- Eye Mask. While most airlines will provide an eye mask for long flights, I always like to pack my own. By packing your own, you’re covered if the airline doesn’t provide one, and you also know exactly what you’re putting on your face (and that it will do the trick!). Eye masks are always a bonus when you want to nap, but especially when you’re after a snooze when the cabin lights haven’t been dimmed.
- Travel Pillow. Every man and his dog now travels with a U shaped neck pillow, but what saved my life on a recent flight was an inflatable lumbar support pillow. I’d overdone it at the gym the day before flying, and my back (which is temperamental on the best of days) was giving me hell. I spotted the lumbar pillow while grabbing some water and snacks before boarding the plane and grabbed it, figuring it couldn’t hurt, and now it’s my new favourite accessory. Depending on where you buy it (the airport, of course, is going to charge premium prices), it’ll set you back around $15-$30, but if your back is anything like mine it will more than pay for itself. I’m still searching for the neck pillow of my dreams, so if anyone has a recommendation let me know!
In addition to my must-haves, I always do a quick run to Sephora to check out their On The Fly range. These on-board sized goodies have an equally mini price tag, and will not only serve you on board, but also throughout your entire trip.
What are your carry-on essentials?