Monday, October 13, 2014

Seven Creature Comforts I Never Fly Without

While it's still tempting, even after all these years and long-haul flights, to cram everything but the kitchen sink into my carry-on (I tried the sink once; impossible), I've managed to whittle it down to seven items that truly make a flight of any length more comfortable.

1. LE BRA SPORTIVE



True, this isn't something that goes in the carry-on, but a sports bra is a critical tool when navigating airports and travel that lasts for days. With the sheer number of times I pull bags off and on my shoulders in one trip, there's no way I can handle traditional bra straps slipping off and generally pissing me off, uniboob be damned. When it comes to outer wear, however, in the slob vs. snob debate over travel attire, I'm definitely in the snob category. I'm in public for God's sake, sweats are not appropriate.

2. EAR PLUGS



Good for everything from discouraging an unwelcome, talkative seat mate to trying to drown out the crying child as well as the sharp upper tone coming from the jet engines, ear plugs are with me all the time. I'm sensitive to noise across the board, so when I get to my destination they do their primary job by helping me sleep through strange new sounds.

3. THE ELIXIR OF LIFE


File this one under "moisturizer" in general, because the air in a plane hovers around 30 percent humidity, i.e., the same as a desert climate. If I'm on an overnight flight, I take off all my makeup and apply a heavy facial moisturizer. Regardless, I always have eye drops. It takes the scratchiness away in-flight so I can read longer and means I don't have bloodshot eyes when I deplane, even from a red-eye.

4. TWO PASHMINAS


That's right: two. Not one, but two. One for my neck and shoulders and another for my lap, since on domestic, and even some short international flights, in coach anyway, the complimentary blanket has gone the way of the Dodo.

5. WARM, DRY SOCKS


Even if I'm already wearing socks with my shoes, I bring a pair of warm, fuzzy, dry socks to change into on the plane. It's no fun to pull off one's shoes and have damp, chilled feet for eight hours. I'm usually cold enough on a flight as it is. 

6. COMPRESSION HOSE


Not just for granny anymore, on long-haul flights I change into orthopedic compression tights along with my comfy socks. It means that after the 24-hour flight to South Africa from Los Angeles, for example, I don't have grotesquely swollen ankles and I'm much more comfortable in the high-pressure cabin. People with certain medical conditions may be advised by their doctor to use these when flying, but even if you're in good health, it makes a world of difference. Compression wear comes in a variety of socks, stockings, sleeves, and tights. If the ├╝ber sexy beige ortho model isn't to your taste, try runners' websites or stores. 

7. WATER BOTTLE

Not pictured: my old faithful. I take a large, empty sports bottle through security and fill it at a water fountain near the gate. It's not Evian, but it does keep me from badgering the flight attendant to death for seven thousand of those small, plastic cups of water that only contain one swallow's worth. Remember, the low humidity is dehydrating enough. Have caffeine and/or alcohol too, and I walk off the plane looking like an Egyptian mummy. No one wants that. 


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