I love travelling and I feel very privileged to be able to have seen as much of the world as I have so far. So, whilst I never used to think about the importance of what I packed in my hand luggage, after racking up a few air miles I now have quite a few essentials that I just won’t board a plane without.
And if you are anything like me you will also be pleased to know they won’t take up too much space. If you are boarding with carry on only you have plenty of room for shoes and if you are stowing your suitcase you can carry on lightweight and under 100ml.
Here are my favourites:
First up, a rucksack is the number one must have for any travel experience! I used to be that idiot that always carried their essentials in a shoulder bag and my shoulders never thanked me for it. But last year I invested – I love how shopaholics say invested like it’s the same as buying shares – in a Longchamp rucksack on the way to Dubai and it changed my travel experience. Invest in one that’s big enough for the essentials but not too bulky to pop under your seat when on the plane. I don’t know about you but I like having my bag and personal stuff within reach – you then also don’t have to be that annoying person making the passenger next to you get up every 30 mins.
The versatile blanket scarf
I recently read an article from an ex air hostess where she confessed that the airlines only wash their blankets once a month! So when you are handed that freshly packed blanket, it doesn’t mean it’s clean. Never again will I look at them the same way. Instead, I always take an oversized scarf that can double up as a blanket. The reason I don’t take an actual blanket is because you have to carry it, but the big scarfs can easily be draped around your shoulders and they don’t have to even be the thick heavy kind. You can simply grab a lightweight pashmina type scarf that can easily shield you from the blasting aircon when you are trying to sleep if you are worried about the bulkiness.
The comfy cardi
Combining my handy blanket scarf with an oversized cardi is the best way to layer up and down during a flight. I have a grey one from Primark that I swear by and I wear it on all my flights. Invest in one that’s soft, a dressing gown length and also one that doesn’t lose its softness or go all bobbly in the wash, that way it will last your travels and be fresh for the next time.
Alternative: if you aren’t into cardis then the Zara basic sweaters are a dream. They are super comfy, look really chic and can tie around your shoulder easily for a cute look if you don’t want to wear them the whole time. They are also pretty compact so can easily be folded and popped in your rucksack.
An eye mask
I never really used to understand eye masks until I was given one on a Virgin flight back from JFK and thought, might as well try it. I literally slept the entire flight. I didn’t even wake up to eat! Since then I pop one on my head at the start of every flight and just whack it over my eyes when I am feeling tired. It is honestly revolutionary for flight napping. Handy tip – make sure you buy a dark coloured one or one with thick material. I bought a ‘trendy’ one from ASOS, but its white and it just lets all the light through. Pointless.
Noise cancelling headphones
Let’s face it, the headphones the airlines provide are always crap. So I always used to use the ones from my iphone; but when Apple decided to kindly swap out the jack I thought it was time to invest in some headphones of my own. I am not really a big headphone user and I only really use the ones I have for flights and holiday chill time, so appreciate not everyone will want to invest in these. But if you do decide to buy a pair then have a look if you can get some that have a noise cancelling mode. My ones are Defunc and they are a dream for flights as they completely block out any of those annoying humming sounds and also anything that might spook you if you are a nervous flyer. They are also great for sleeping as you can leave the noise cancelling mode on even when they are not in use, so you can sleep with them on with no distractions.
Neal’s Yard Remedies to Roll
I first tried this when Sophieetc and I were travelling to New York and I wasn’t feeling to great. She had a night time one and offered me a try. It was like a miracle cure. I instantly felt calmer and less anxious about the flight ahead. The night time one is a Lavender based roll on that you pop onto your pressure points, the smell is divine and it’s pretty instantly calming. I take it on all flights with me and roll it on just before take off and again during the flight if I need to. I also leave it in my bedside drawer for night’s I am feel like I need a deep sleep or am suffering from jet lag. They do a specific travel one too which I haven’t tried as well as relaxation, energy and study. Let me know if you’ve tried any of the others and think they work.
Kiehl’s overnight hydrating masque
And last but not least, the miracle mask to keep your skin hydrated and protected from the dreaded air conditioning. I am a huge Kiehl’s fan, not only because their products are amazing, but because I have never had better customer service from a beauty brand. If you have never tried them, you really should. This overnight masque is a great travel essential as you only need a pea sized amount for your whole face and it will keep your skin nourished and hydrated for a good eight hours. I scoop a spoonful into a small travel pot and it lasts me an entire holiday usually, even if I use it every night.
Happy travels ladies!