Flying is sometimes a nightmare. From the talker next to you to the baby who will not stop crying to the fact that when you're tall you can't really fit in the seats. Only once did I get the rarest gem of them all: sitting in the exit row next to a tall, funny, ex-Navy, lawyer who proceeded to flirt with me the entire 3 hour flight. Of course he didn't try to get my number, but that's DC men for you.
Regardless, I have a few standby items that I don't like to fly without.
It's always nice to look nice for a flight. There's a saying going around the interwebs that you won't get bumped up to first class if you don't look first class. So I try to always dress in clothes that double for stylish and comfort.
- Gap Really Skinny pants. I usually buy these a size down since Gap and Old Navy pants tend to stretch out after 20 minutes.
- A fancy, light weight t-shirt.
- A cardigan. I go from being hot to cold on airplanes quite frequently. Cardigans are the way to go.
- A scarf. Can double as a blanket or a pillow.
- Toms - if it's nice weather.
- Smartwool socks. Pricey, but worth it. Regardless of the weather I travel with these. My feet usually get cold.
- If it's cold I like to travel with boots. Especially if I am going somewhere I know I will be able to wear them as opposed to other shoes. Wearing them on the plane makes for easy transporting of them.
- Messenger bag. I use this to double as a purse. I like the ones that have a zipper on the opening so sneaky hands don't get in there. Plus I can fit tons of stuff in there.
** I try to never check my bags unless I am going somewhere for an extended time. If I do, I make sure I pack an extra shirt, pair of underwear, toothbrush/paste, deodorant, face wash, and mascara. It's always nice to be able to freshen up after a long flight.
- A book of short stories. Carver, O'Connor, Murakami, Chekhov. Whoever. Short stories make for good travel books. Plus, having a book is better when you hear "please turn off and stow all portable electronics". You have to turn off e-readers. You can just ignore them and keep reading your book.
- iPod/iPhone. Music can be a lifesaver. I always make a "Sleepy-time Songs" play list to help me fall asleep.
- Sky Mall magazine. Wine glass holder necklace? Life size Bigfoot statue? Obviously, I need all these.
- Journal. I like to travel with a Moleskin to document what I have done on a trip. It helps me remember what I've done and where I've been.
- Earplugs. For when you just want to have it as quiet as possible.
- Neck pillow. My friend calls them toilet seats for your neck. I have a blow up one that came in quite handy when I was in Europe.
- For some reason, every time I fly I get Twizzlers and pretzels. The salty/sweet combo makes a flight somewhat better.
- Water. I usually try to take a Nalgene with me and fill it up somewhere in the airport. If I don't have my Nalgene I grab a bottle of Dasani. No product placement. They just have the best bottled water.