9 Air Travel Must-Haves for a Comfortable Flight

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Summer is a big travel season for lots of folks, and if you're like me, air travel is not your favorite activity. I'm known in my family for having the most egregious flight experiences, but I've learned over the years to design a go-to "air travel kit" for a more pleasurable experience. What do I include in my kit? See my tips below, and add a few of your own!

1. A giant Pashmina or scarf. This can double as a blanket or pillow if it's really cold or you're really tired on the plane (which it will be, and you will be). Wrap it around your head and face if you end up sitting next to the stinky guy. It's magical!

2. Double-duty hand cream. I like Neutrogena Norwegian Formula, but anything thick will do. This stuff is not messing around. I like to use it on my face before the flight, because it keeps you moisturized all day long, and you have to wash with soap to get it off. Perfect for fingertips on a long, dry flight.

3. Water. I know, I know, everyone wants ginger ale on the flight. It's the best sky treat! That's everyone's traditional airplane drink, but sugar will just make you tired and dry you out. Unfortunately, you'll have to buy a bottle after you pass through security (or bring an empty one to fill up) but it's worth it. Read this article about the bacteria in airplane water and ice and you'll never drink it again.

4. Bring your lunch, like at school! Make yourself a hearty sandwich or bring lots of energy-building snacks like fruit, nuts, etc., to keep your energy up. The airline food is expensive and filled with preservatives, plus good, clean food will boost your immunity.

5. A good book. This is the only time I ever have time to actually read, because Wifi usually isn't available, so I can't work or look at photos of cats with hats on. I like to use this quiet time to read historical biographies.

6. Antibacterial wipes. These are critical. Your airplane seat has probably never been disinfected. Gross. Wipe down any surface you might touch before taking your seat (chair arms, tray table, window, seat belt) to avoid catching germs that might make you sick. Dry air passes through nasal passages and creates tiny cracks that allow germs in. Your immune system can't battle these germs with your natural defenses in such a moisture-free atmosphere. Eliminating germs in your immediate area is the best way to avoid getting sick.

7. Earplugs. Earplugs make every trip so much more relaxing. Noise pollution contributes to the fatigue most of us feel when traveling. Noise cancelling headphones or earplugs will make everything feel so much more calm (and you won't be able to hear that kid screaming behind you).

8. Water Misting Spray. This Evian spray is $19.50 for a 3-pack. These are magnificent. Remember what we said about dry air? Spray these on your face every once in a while to keep your skin and lungs happy. It's just water, but it's very refreshing and cool.

9. Carmex. Chapstick will do, but Carmex is Chapstick's bigger, tougher brother. Put it anywhere that feels dry and you'll be happy and moisturized. Plus, it costs next to nothing and never runs out.

That does it for me. Do you have any must-haves that you'd like to share with us? Leave them in the comment section!


(Images: 1. J. Crew, 2. Neutrogena, 3, 4. Shutterstock, 5. Anchor Books, 6. Purell, 7. Shutterstock, 8. Evian, 9. Carmex)

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