When you go from flying infrequently to traveling a lot, you learn rather quickly that there are quite a few things that can make the entire experience exponentially easier. These “things” include (but are not limited to) wearing a comfortable airplane outfit, not overstuffing your suitcase with nonsense, not forgetting anything, and, as I’m going to get into further momentarily, certain travel accessories.
It’s true. While they’re easy to overlook, travel accessories can completely transform your experience both on the flight and on your trip itself. From noise-canceling headphones that drown out the sounds of a passenger-packed plane to packing cubes that simplify every step of the packing (and unpacking) process, simply continue on to read about the seven things I won’t fly without—both onboard and in my suitcase—and, of course, shop them along the way.
On the flight:
When I started flying a lot, my now-husband bought me noise-canceling headphones, and I have become so used to having them on the plane. They make the sound a lot clearer if you’re watching TV or listening to music, but even when you’re not, they’re good for blocking out the loud noises on a flight and allowing you to sleep.
I actually keep my portable charger with me from the time I leave for the airport to the day I get home from my travels. I use it on the flight to be sure I’m not left with no battery by the time I get to my destination, but also all throughout my trip. After all, I can’t be the only one who’s photo output skyrockets on vacation—can I?
From time to time, I try to convince myself that I don’t need a neck pillow on flights (I get lazy about carrying it in my tote), but every time I leave it behind, I regret it. Unless you have the luxury of a lay-flat seat, a neck pillow will make your attempt at sleeping on the plane exponentially more successful—and save you the neck ache.
To carry the above, plus a laptop, sunglasses, medications, possibly a snack, and more, I usually travel with a big tote I can use both on the flight and on my trip. For essentials I need to access more regularly or want to be extra careful not to lose (like my wallet, passport, boarding pass, lip balm, etc.,) I also wear a belt bag so that I’m not rummaging through my seemingly bottomless tote every time. My go-to style is a soft nylon version I can easily throw in my bigger bag once I’m on the plane.
In my suitcase:
You can read about my love of packing cubes at length here, but the gist of it is that they’re game changers. Not only do they save space in your suitcase by physically compressing their contents, but even if space isn’t an issue, they help you stay organized both while packing and while traveling. They also get me to start packing sooner for trips (rather than last minute) because rather than committing to doing everything at once, I can pack section by section, put things in a cube, and put them aside until it’s time to fit everything into my luggage.
Another item I’ve written more words than necessary about in the past is my portable steamer from Amazon. Whether I’m traveling for a wedding, a work trip, or any vacation I happened to bring wrinkle-prone pieces to, the $25 has saved me countless dollars on hotel laundry service and has also prevented its fair share of unpolished outfits. I also use it at home because of how little space it takes up and my irrational fear of actually using an iron.
My hope is that you’re reading this and saying duh, but if you’re not, let me elaborate on the importance of a toiletry case. Firstly, they keep your items (such as toothbrush, skincare products, and deodorant) organized and away from, say, the soles of your shoes. Additionally, they protect the other contents of your suitcase, should you have an unfortunate spill of your serum or your lotion erupts due to the plane’s air pressure.