My Travel “Essentials” for Being Comfortable in Flight

Travel essentials usually include the ideal laptop bag or the best luggage, but my travel essentials include items that keep me comfortable and on the ball.

Keri and I are taking a weekend trip to Napa tomorrow “for my birthday”.  Since today is my actual birthday and I will be out to to dinner at Dino’s, one of my favorite DC restaurants, tonight, I started packing this morning and thought I would share some of my must-haves with you.  All the links are either where I buy them or happened to find them this time, and offer no referral credit to me.  I suggest, where possible, to log into your favorite airline to get the miles if you want to purchase any.  (Especially Apple)

The Apple iPad
a close-up of a tablet

This was possibly the best travel purchase I’ve made in the last few years.  When I’ve stuck on planes, worried about connections, I’ve been able to pull up my other options very quickly while still on the plane.  It also boots quickly, so I have enough time from landing to boot it up and check my flights, even before we are allowed to take off our seat belts.

I’ve also been able to work on massive amounts of paperwork while on the plane on my iPad.  When I did my turn-around trip to the Bahamas, I completed about 10 hours of work.  The battery life is incredible, and I didn’t have to run through the airport with paperwork flying everywhere.  (Though that image is pretty cool).

Also, I’m addicted to Plants vs. Zombies.


a close-up of a chocolate bar

Or any type of snack bar.  And I suggest mixing it up.

I used to love the Raspberry Fig Snack Bars that are generously offered and re-offered on US Airways Flights.  That is, until I started doing mileage runs without enough turn around time to actually buy a meal.  Then I was stuffing myself with the Fig Bars (and nut mixes when available) because I knew I’d just feel crappy after a while if I ate non-stop potato chips and cookies.

I personally like the LaraBars because they are less sweet than other fruit-and-nut bars, and you can always taste the nuts.  They feel more satisfying and there’s a ton of flavors available.

Garnier’s Refreshing Remover

a green package of wet wipes

This product is technically a make-up remover, but I love it for refreshing my face and neck when I’m starting to feel worn down and, well, scuzzy.  There are products specifically made to do this, but I’ve always felt those are too baby-wipe like.  They either leave a stingy or oddly sticky feel on my face.

This product feels refreshing and cool, but leaves no other residue on my face.  It also smells “bright”, which helps perk me up.  Other than that, I want my wipes to be non-memorable, and these are, in a good way!

VMV Hypoallergenics Re-Everything Eye Serum

a bottle of hypoallergenic serum

Now this product is expensive as heck ($80!) but each bottle lasts a while and works really well for me on a condition I just invented, called “Flyer’s Eye”.  I can’t speak to the long term benefit claims the product makes, but when I put this on the bags under my sleepy flyer’s eyes, it tightens those bags up and relieves the tired-achy feeling they have.  It is the first thing I reach for when I am just plain over-tired at home or work too.

The other benefit of this product that might not apply to everyone is, I’m the type of person that when I put most things near my eyes, I have an allergic reaction.  Most eye makeup, eye creams, etc.  But when I put this on, I don’t even get watery eyes.  It really is very hypoallergenic.

A Clear Makeup Case to Hold These

a clear bag with different items inside

This isn’t my actual case, and mine is currently filled with all my travel items.  But any ole one-quart clear makeup case will do.  Since I also use my products in many scenarios (work events, especially), I used to be juggling them between a regular makeup bag and one-quart plastic bags.  This led to my items getting split up and left behind.  Packing always seemed hectic.

I now have a spot in my house where I keep this bag when not traveling or at events, and occasionally check the product levels of everything in it–and reorder.  The clear-ness of it not only allows me to use it at airports, but reminds me to refill.  I know this sounds simple, but it took me so long to move to doing this–and my life is all the easier for it.

I travel with much more than this in my carry-on but these are the items I’d really miss and feel lost without.  I was going to throw my carry-on bag into this mix, but I recently busted the zipper trying to pack too much into it.  (Whoops).  Oh, well!


About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. Speaking of US Airways snacks, I challenge Jeanne's statement that the snack basket is "offered and re-offered." I personally have found it varies wildly based on the flight attendant, including the half dozen flights we took to Jamaica. However, I think, had I not just had 9 legs in US Airways first in the last month, they would be my favorite. I love the Raspberry fig bars and organic cheese crackers (although I infinitely prefer Cheez-its), but recommend not having them on more than 2 flights in a day. When tired of those, I also found myself partial to the cranberry nut mix.

    I think they have better options than United flights. I like the Sun Chips and banana options, but not a huge fan of the rest. And my experience has been that the United First snack basket comes around once. Ask for more at your peril.

  2. I totally agree with you that the iPad has made travel so much easier! And, great tip on the clear makeup bag. It’s nice to always have a specific one packed and ready to go!

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