Packing for a holiday is one of life’s great challenges. The overwhelming process usually coincides with discovering clothes and accessories you haven’t worn in a decade, but feel you may just need on this trip. Filling the suitcase can become irrational as you squeeze in as much as you possibly can, for every situation that could occur. This is even more apparent when packing carry on.
Lucky for you, I have plenty of experience packing carry on baggage and would consider myself to be quite a pro when it comes to carry on essentials for a long haul flight.
The first thing to remember about carry-on is that you actually have to carry it with you. While the giant suitcase full of stuff you probably won’t wear is checked in and out of your hands, you actually do have to be able to pick up the hand luggage and lug it around. So now is unfortunately not the time to pack those nine hardcover books you’ve been waiting to read and think an international flight is the time to do it.
Instead, it’s about being economical while ensuring you have everything you need to cope with spending multiple hours sitting inside a metal tube and wasting time in layovers.
It’s safe to say that iPads are pretty much the best travel invention since the actual airplane. The kids of today will never understand the hardship of travelling to London with just the in-flight entertainment at your disposal as for them it has always been possible to download ten movies, those nine hardcovers onto a lightweight screen and make eight hours pass in the blink of a fully entertained eye. But iPads are more than just the greatest gift to boredom. They can also house all of your travel information and itineraries without taking up any space. Basically, they’re lifesavers, necessities and fun all rolled into one.
Despite travelling being an endeavour that essentially involves sitting, it can be hungry work. Time zones mess up body clocks and the only (good) way to deal with it is by snacking. Airports and airlines know this and hence a bag of chips costs more than the average mortgage because desperation for carbs while cruising at altitude replaces common sense. But put that purse or wallet back in the carry-on and pull out your own food instead. It might sound obvious, but surprisingly few travellers actually take their own food on to a plane or train. Holidays are when we’re meant to take a break from diets and cooking, but including your own sustenance actually saves money so indulging in those big vacation meals is slightly less of a guilt trip while only your bank balance becomes lighter.
A big water bottle is a carry on essential for a long haul flight. Experts recommend that you should drink 2 – 3 litres of water each day, and I find a need for water even more important when travelling. This need certainly isn’t met when the flight attendant hands you a tiny cup of water that equates to less than a mouthful. And not to mention that awkward moment when you need to get up and get water during your flight but the person next to you is asleep. In these situations, a large (and full) water bottle is your best friend. Your next challenge will be a trip to the bathroom. Most airports have filtered water stations so an added benefit is that you can refill your water bottle and save extra money on your long-haul trip.
Whether you’re going to a tropical island or alpine slopes, the temperature on the plane is going to be the exact same – absolutely freezing, and the worst thing that could happen en route to your dream destination is a compressed air induced cold. Packing a cozy jumper is something you won’t regret while on the flight or long after you have landed and your immune system resumes. In the rare event that the cabin temperature is manageable or the airline has provided blankets, knitwear or fleece, you can double your jumper as a makeshift pillow to make those naps over the ocean just a bit more comfortable.
Beauty and Hygiene
When flying, you should always have access to a few basic beauty products. At a minimum, you will want access to deodorant, wet wipes, a toothbrush and toothpaste, lip gloss and painkillers, just in case you get a headache mid-flight.
A travel pillow and comfortable clothes for the flight are essential. I also recommend packing a change of clothes.
Fortunately for you, packing carry on for a flight is the only packing experience where you get to think short-term and list all the things that you will need for just the hours spent in the air.
Of course, it’s important to remember that there are rules and restrictions on liquids and medications, so some things can’t be on your person at all times. But ensuring what you need and want is within reach is the first step to shedding all of your excess baggage and having an amazing holiday! See more tips for flying.
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