Over the years I have developed my own system for traveling in comfort, whether I’m traveling executive class or economy. I’ve learned that having a few key essentials with me on a flight is the difference between a pleasant trip and a painful one. Luckily, laptops have become smaller, and I now use a mini. So there’s more room in my computer bag to pack a few extra items to help ease me on my way.
The first thing that I pack is my Isotoner ballet slippers. They fit into the outside pocket of my bag within easy reach under the seat in front of me. They pack flat, weigh a few ounces, and feel great on my feet during the flight. They’re also a lot more sanitary than walking around in stocking feet especially in the toilet.
The next item is my ReLeafe™ neck brace, a gift from my well-traveled boss, which holds my neck in perfect alignment, whether I am sitting or reclined in my seat. Those inflatable donuts never work for me: they always seem to compress the sensitive vertebrae in my neck as they forced my head backward in an unnatural incline. You can wear your ReLeafe underneath the roll of a turtleneck sweater to avoid being mistaken for a whiplash victim.
For winter travel, a cashmere turtleneck is my garment of choice. (In summer, it’s silk.) The natural fibers adapt to my body temperature and the temperature around me. I have quite a collection thanks to my mom, Little Lou, who regularly frequents her favorite “boutique” (Goodwill) and keeps me well supplied. She is particularly proud of her Senior Day bargains which she gets for the unbelievably low price of $2.50. The sales staff at the “boutique” has taken to calling her the Queen of Cashmere.
I’m not a big fan of airplane blankets or pillows, even if they are wrapped in plastic, so I opt for either a pashmina or cashmere shawl. The pashmina is less bulky and rolls easier than my triangular cashmere wrap. But the cashmere is warmer.
Underneath it all, I always travel with a panty liner and I remove it at the end of a long flight. It’s not exactly a change of underwear but it’s a quick way to feel fresh until you can.
As I only want to open one bag during the security check, I always place my plastic bag of toiletries in my laptop bag rather than my purse. Then I remove both items at the same time rather than rooting around first in my purse, and then my laptop bag.
My list of onboard toiletries include;
- Toothbrush and toothpaste – and bottled water bought just before boarding.
- Hand sanitizer and a hand moisturizer.
- Eye drops and Glycerin moisturizer for my nose. The dry air on the plane is tough on these sensitive areas, and a well-moisturized nose helps to fight off and protect against cold germs circulating on a plane.
- Cotton swabs – essential for cleaning out the corners of my eyes. Do not touch your eyes! I also use them to apply the glycerin when I’m in the toilet.
- Drugs: aspirin for headaches, antihistamines because they make me drowsy enough to sleep on a short flight, sleeping pills for a longer flight, my birth control pills (usually just enough to keep me on my cycle), and antacids.
- A small can of Evian water to spritz myself awake in the morning.
- Mascara (reapplied) and lip gloss. Cotton swabs again to clean up any mascara residue that has fallen “in between the cracks.”
- One protein bar
And with that I’m ready to hit the ground running.
Photo: © iStockphoto.com/Diane Diederich