Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Travel Tips for Up in the Air:
 Packing the Bags

Air travel can be more fun (or at least more bearable) if you pack wisely and with a few things in mind. I've found it pays to give your packing list some attention before you go.
Whenever I fly, I bring along to carry on the plane one backpack and one tiny purse.

This backpack has been my faithful companion through countless years of travel.
I like that it holds the perfect amount and that it's a hands-free solution. It fits under the seat in front of me, so I don't have to get up when I want my things during the flight.

I bought this inexpensive tiny purse specifically for air travel. It has a long strip to go around my neck and I can tote it to the tiny bathroom on the plane and have all my valuables with me at all times.

Here's what I consider my must-bring-along fare, from experience. You may want to pack these.

In my Tiny Purse:
-Passport for overseas/photo I.D for domestic flights
-Flight information and receipt of purchase
-Credit card and cash (some airlines require a card for  food purchase onboard and for payment of baggage fees, and cash (in the right currency) is nice for layovers at the airport)
- Chewing gum (it's supposed to help with ear pressure during takeoff and landing, but is yet to work for me)

And yes. Before I leave, I check to make sure it's all there. 
A thousand times.

In my Handy Backpack:
-Toiletries: tissues, hand sanitizer, lotion, eye drops, bandaids, toothbrush **
-Decongestant tablets and headache medicine (and any other needed medications)
-Wrist watch or travel alarm clock (as cell phones must be turned off during flight and it's nice not to have to ask every five minutes!)
-Magazine or easy-read book (maybe a crossword puzzle, pencil, playing cards)
-Nibbles, in case of delays, when the flight crew doesn't get to you with the eats quickly enough

-Travel blanket and scarf. (I've spent enough hours shivering when I didn't get first dibs on a blanket and my jacket could only cover either my upper body or my legs, or there was a blanket available but it had crusty unidentifiable stuff on it) *
-Travel pillow (see above about dibs and crustiness).
I sewed my pillow (pictured on top) to my own specifications. :)
-Small headphones. These are available on the plane most of the time, but they don't take up any room in your bag, and I've saved ones from trips to use again. (Sometimes there is a small charge.)
-Travel socks. It's just nicer to kick your shoes off and relax. I love those MD socks pictured above! They are designed to help with circulation and they really keep my feet and legs from swelling on long flights.
(I even have a pair of socks for when I have to remove my shoes to go through security . A bit much, maybe? But those are some dirty floors.)
-Change of clothes. Keep it simple, but have something. I finally learned a lesson after my suitcase went on an unplanned trip around the world for the umpteenth time. And we know what happens when someone spills their red wine on their only top. Or on you.
- Camera (and extra batteries, or whatever your camera needs).
-Anything precious you don't want to risk losing, in case your suitcase disappears off the face of the earth (provided it's allowed in a carry-on).

*When you dress for a flight, think layers. The temperature inside the plane can vary from a very cool breeze from the vents to sweat-inducing heat while waiting for takeoff.

**When packing toiletries, remember the 3-oz (84 g/88.7 ml) limit for carry-on items. Place all your small bottles and tubes containing liquid in a quart-size plastic baggie to speed up the process at security checkpoints. 

The big suitcase I'll leave up to you. Just remember to check with the airlines about fees and size and weight allowances.
Also, be sure you know about customs regulations; for example, no food or plants are allowed to be brought in through the U.S. customs.

What's in your carry-on?


Note: I do not particularly endorse the brands or their likeness pictured in this post over any other brand. 

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