COVID-19 vaccines are now available and travel is expected to surge this summer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said fully vaccinated people can travel safely, however please remember that all individuals are still required to wear masks over their noses and mouths.
Here are 10 carry-on essentials to make your in-flight experience better:
- Hand Sanitizers / Sanitizing Wipes – the first thing you should do before settling down into your seats is disinfect and wipe down all surrounding surfaces – including the seat (if it’s non-fabric), TV screen, tray tables, armrests, and any control switches/buttons (such as the seat adjustment, overhead reading light, or call attendant buttons.)
Also, try to avoid putting anything into the airplane seatback pocket in front of you, as they are rarely ever cleaned out and contain one of the highest concentrations of germs on an airplane.
- Compression socks – spending an extended amount of time sitting, immobile on a flight can commonly cause pressure and lead to swelling in your lower legs. Wearing compression socks during your flight can stimulate blood circulation in your calves and feet to prevent this post-flight swelling.
- Noise canceling headphones – these are essential for watching in-flight entertainment, listening to your music/ audiobooks/ podcasts, or to simply drone out the voices of chatty passengers and/or sounds of distressed children nearby
- Refillable water bottle – cabin air has very little moisture and can be dehydrating. The best way to prevent dehydration is to drink lots of water. However, experts advise against drinking airplane water (this includes coffees and teas) that isn’t sealed in a bottle because of bacterial contamination. So be sure to bring an empty water bottle with you that you can refill at a bottle-filling station after going through TSA.
- Snacks – Snacks are crucial for both short domestic flights and long international flights. Sometimes airline food is less than appetizing, and bringing your own snacks ensures that you won’t go hungry and that the food is to your liking.
- Heavy sweater and/or scarf – Airplane cabin air tends to be freezing cold and chilly, so wearing a warm layer can prevent major discomfort. A large scarf can also double as a blanket!
- Form of entertainment – make sure to pack something to keep boredom at bay. A great tip is bringing your Kindle and iPad filled with pre-downloaded Netflix shows and movies on long flights. You can also bring a handheld gaming device, a book, or even a book of Sudoku or crossword puzzles.
- Travel pillow – trying to sleep on an airplane can be awkward and difficult to find a comfortable position, but having a cushiony travel pillow can provide extra comfort and support and relieve any neck discomfort
- Eye Mask – using an eye mask blocks out all light and are useful for helping you fall asleep faster. They can also come in handy when you’re trying to doze off, but your seat neighbor wants to use their overhead LED light or leave the window shade open.
- Moisturizer – as previously mentioned, airplane cabin air is dehydrating, which can dry out your skin. Make sure to pack your favorite facial and hand moisturizers so that your skin stays hydrated.