Long Plane Ride Survival Kit—In Economy, On a Budget

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I’ve been traveling a TON this season (as you may know if you’ve been following along) and it’s meant a lot of plane travel, and quite a few full day/overnight flights. I’m not a baller who always looks on-point at the airport, and I’m way more focused on making my economy seat suck less than I am looking good when I step off the plane (though I love it when I manage to somewhat do both).

  • Eye mask: I never thought I’d be a person who uses an eye mask on planes, but with the red-eye flights I’ve been doing lately, I’ve found it super helpful. Mine is super cheap, and even though I can sleep without it, putting it on makes me know that it’s time to try to get to sleep.
  • Melatonin: Again, night flights. I’d never used melatonin until this past month, but for snoozing on the plane, and for regulating my body to whatever timezone I’m in!
  • Big freaking scarf: Airline blankets are fine, but man, I love having a big scarf on the plane. Makes everything way cozier, plus in hotel rooms and the sparse houses we’ve been staying in, it’s been nice to have a scarf that’s nice to wear outside but is also cozy to sit around on a couch snuggled in. It’s also double purpose—a blanket on the plane, or rolled into a pillow to make a window seat suck less.
  • Hand sanitizer: I don’t like using this for day-to-day stuff, but on planes, yikes…
  • iPad: I just got a new iPad and I forgot how much I loved my first one! I had one a couple years ago but it got stolen when our truck was broken into in California, and I replaced it with a Kindle Fire (one of the earliest models). The Fire was OK, but the iPad just can do more! I hate to admit it, but I am officially all Mac—just makes things easier. And on flights, the iPad Mini is great for reading books (I have a library app), magazines (more on that in a sec), watching movies I’ve downloaded, and just typing notes in Evernote for later.
  • Water bottle: If you wait to just drink the tiny cups of water that they give you on the plane, you’ll be dehydrated for sure. I swapped from my water bottle to a big travel coffee mug though, so I can use it for water or for tea (no coffee on flights. It’s gross and I don’t need caffeine.). I also bring tea bags so I can just get hot water on the plane.
  • Digestive Bitters: I have a whole post coming on this, but if you’re like me and your stomach gets grumpy on flights, digestive bitters might help your stomach stay a bit calmer and keep your digestion a bit more regular.
  • Big headphones: I didn’t spend $200 on headphones (though I’m increasingly tempted by a baller pair of Boze ones eventually), but I did get a $5 bigger pair that a) keeps random seatmates from talking to me (rude, but true) when I’m trying to just relax, and b) are better than having ear buds jammed in my ears for 8 hours. I tend to need to watch some TV on a flight to fall asleep and I noticed with earbuds, I was getting headaches and generally was hurting my ears with earbuds, and the big headphones avoid that. Plus, let’s be honest, they look cool.
  • Texture App by Next Issue: It’s such a rad magazine reading app where you pay $10 per month and have access to over 100 magazines (including Bicycling!), and you can download the current issues right when they come out, as well as back issues. It’s been huge for traveling, since magazines are bulky and a pain to carry, but now, pre-flight, I can download a bunch of new and old issues of stuff I’ve been dying to read, and catch up on the plane.
  • SNACKS: This is a huge one. In-flight meals are all well and good, but often they end up getting served right when I’m desperately trying to get to sleep. So I’m now much more careful about bringing a snack to the airport—attempting to get something at least somewhat healthy—and I keep some emergency protein powder and a secret bar of some kind in case I get desperate. That way, I can eat on my own terms, at my own time, and everyone is much happier. I also bring tea bags so I can make my own tea and just get hot water from the attendants.
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3 comments on “Long Plane Ride Survival Kit—In Economy, On a Budget”

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