Essentials I Must Have When I Travel

I fly quite a bit and this year, I basically took the whole year off to fly and travel.

Sure, this makes me a bad very un-ecofriendly minimalist, but it sure teaches me a good lesson on what I personally need for a 10+ hour plane ride to be comfortable.

Here are my must-haves when I fly:

I originally wrote “Top 10 Things to have when you fly”, but if you want to be a purist and count each separate item as a “thing”, then it’s way over the limit, so I changed the title to be accurate 😛

I am also full of problems so I bring things for almost every little thing I can think of.

You can click on the image to enlarge it.

1. Sound Gear: Bose Headphones, Earplugs, Earbuds and iPods

Call me a crazy techno-geek, but these things are a dream.

When I put these super soft sound pillows over my ears and flip on the switch to cancel out the never-ending drone of the airplane with the accompaniment of a fussy, squealing of a 3-year old in the background, I thank my lucky stars that I bought them for $350.

Every. Single. Time.

Then of course, I need an iPod or if I am lucky, the airplane offers awesome movies (Fantastic Mr. Fox!) and TV shows to keep my occupied.

I also bring a backup iPod Shuffle because my iPod has been known to run out on me on VERY long flights. If I don’t recharge it, I’m stuck without music on a plane, so my shuffle comes along.

I bring a pair of earbud headphones along, just in case, and extra batteries.

2. Candy / Snacks (Biscotti not shown)

When you nibble on candy, it helps pop your ears. Being someone who has a problem with my ears not popping, as well as having motion sickness, candy is my salvage.

I also like candied ginger to help keep down my nausea.

BF wants to add that he bakes a huge batch of almond biscotti for the two of us, just in case we cannot find anything non-greasy and decent to eat in airports.

It also keeps our bellies happy while on the plane because we REFUSE to eat those disgusting, junky snack packs of peanuts and trail mix they give you on the plane.

3. Feet Gear: Pair of thick comfy socks and/or cheap, flat slippers

I hate wearing shoes on the plane. The minute I am in my seat, the shoes are off, but with slip on shoes or sandals, you never really think about how you will keep your feet warm and cosy.

Enter: Thick woolly hiking socks.

As for the slippers, if you’re grossed out about just wearing woolly socks into the airplane bathroom as I am, then you will need some cheap $1 Dollarama slippers to put on as you trot into the bathroom and pray there isn’t any turbulence.

4. Pashmina / Light Sweater

A pashmina doubles as a blanket and just an overall comfy addition to your wardrobe.

I like the super big ones, preferably in cashmere so that I also stay warm on the plane.

If you aren’t into blankets, then a light sweater is a required item to pack on the plane. They can get awfully cold up in the air…

5. Eye mask

I bought one from Eco-Tools (yay for Alicia Silverstone!), and my eyes are covered in super soft, silky bamboo fibres. Put on some earplugs, snap an eye mask over your eyes, cuddle up in your pashmina or blanket, and you are home free to La La Land.

6. Notebook and a Pen

I like carrying some pen and paper with me because I sometimes have a quick note I want to jot down and give to someone, or I have to fill out those visitors cards.

7. iPod Touch / PDA

You’re probably wondering why I bring an iPod AND an iPod Touch. Well, the iPod Touch is my PDA (personal digital assistant, also known as an organizer), and the iPod is only for music or videos.

I tried using the iPod Touch to do double-duty, but not only does it drain the battery like mad with videos, which defeats the purpose of having a digital organizer on hand, but it also has awful sound quality on it. Go figure.

8. Hand lotion / Lip Balm

I find that my body and my lips get extremely dried out on the plane. I have to continually hydrate internally with liquids, but my skin also dries out and it can crack and become quite painful.

9. Toothbrush, Toothpaste

For very long flights, I like to brush my teeth after I get on the plane or after I eat.

I know people can get grossed out with brushing their teeth with the water on tap on the plane, so I usually ask for a cup of water from the flight attendant instead.

10. Face Wipes

I like to refresh my face while I travel and before I leave the plane. It really makes a world of a difference to feel clean, even if it’s just your face.

I also don’t wear makeup when I travel on vacation, so it’s nice.

11. Eyedrops

My eyes get REALLY dried out on the plane, especially if I sleep. The fact that I wear contact lenses, also probably doesn’t help 🙂

I thought about wearing glasses on the plane instead, but I’m so used to contact lenses that wearing glasses for an extended period of time makes me queasy and aggravates my astigmatism which leads to motion sickness.

12. Medication

I bring aspirin (No-Name) for headaches, allergy pills (Aerius) for my allergies when my nose gets itchy and acts up on the plane, and motion sickness pills (Gravol) are taken only in dire circumstances (it generally knocks me out for a day).

13. Tide-to-Go Pen

This is considered a liquid, so don’t forget to pack it in that little plastic baggie.

I bring this pen because airplane food has gotten on my clothes more times than I can count.

When you factor in turbulence, the fact that you’re sitting in a huge metal bird in the sky and food tends to slide around on those dinky little trays, a spot here and there on my clothes can be easily treated and removed instantly.

And that’s it.

Other Options

Books / E-Readers / Magazines

People like to bring books and e-readers, but frankly, I am not interested in reading on a plane because I get motion sickness very easily. But a magazine? Perhaps.

Laptop/ Work

I admit to bringing a laptop when I travel so I can email and keep in touch, but I don’t pull it out on the plane, nor do I ever do any work on the plane.

Reusable Water Bottle

This is a bottle to keep liquid to stay hydrated, but frankly.. I hate carrying extra weight if I don’t have to.

Sewing / Knitting

Dangerous things to bring on board, as knitting needles can be considered a weapon, but I had a friend tell me she did some sewing once and wasn’t hassled about it.

Not for me!


I know some girls like to freshen up before leaving the plane, but as I am not particularly interested in what people think of me (Hello? Traveling? I’ll never see these people again), I don’t bother with it.

Still, it wouldn’t be an awful idea if you are planning on meeting someone right at the gate.

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.