Trip Bits: On the plane


Read part one, Before you go, or the whole Trip Bits series.

In keeping with my super itinerary planning, I am also a super packing planner. For weeks, I make lists of what needs to go in each bag, and I am hyper vigilant about making sure I have what I need on the plane.


  • Magazines, books, iPad, crossword puzzles. Because you could possibly get stuck on a plane from 1985 for 18 hours with no entertainment. I speak from experience. Make sure you can entertain yourself!
  • A neck pillow. They are ugly as sin and unwieldy, but your neck will thank me.
  • A toiletry bag. On overnight trips, I feel gross. I try to keep some semblance of humanity by keeping my routine. I take out my contacts, I brush my teeth, I wash my face. So I fill my TSA-approved baggie with contact solution and toothpaste. Then, on the plane, I move them to a mini-makeup bag that’s already stocked with my toothbrush, makeup remover face wipes and antibacterial hand wipes (because, the plane, y’all.). I also keep an eye mask, my happy pills (aka “anxiety medication”), ear plugs and a pack of Wisps. Do you know about Wisps? They don’t replace the job your toothbrush can do, but they’ll do in a pinch. Also, please don’t brush your teeth in the airplane water. Bring your bottled water with you. I speak from experience.
  • A bag of pills. Okay, let me explain. I realize this is very American of me to own a pill for every ailment, but I’d rather not wander darkened, foreign streets at night looking for a drug store/chemist/pharmacy/farmacia/apotheke. I pack a special bag with a few doses to cure almost anything that could befall me in another country — anti-diarrheals, antihistamines, cough & cold meds, sleeping pills. Throw in a few band-aids just in case. On my last trip, I used all of them.
  • A washcloth. Because I’m old fashioned and I still use them. There’s no guarantee you’ll have one at your destination anymore, and you might want an emergency face wash in the airport when you arrive.
  • A change of clothes. Especially underwear and socks! It’s likely you’ll get there, but your luggage might not.
  • Chargers, and other electronics. I never, ever put my camera in my checked luggage, and I carry all my chargers too. Plus, United planes (international, at least) now have chargers in the seats. Going to Israel, my seat partner used her Kindle the whole flight, and my iPhone was geared up and ready to go when we touched down. Score.

I’m a big fan of carrying a backpack with a thousand pockets so I can store everything. It’s not the most fashionable, but it fits under the seat if it needs to, and I don’t have one cramped shoulder when I get there.

Make sure you also wear removable shoes (for security and during the flight), comfy pants that won’t dig into your insides for the duration and a fleece or wrap, since planes are cold. Ok, maybe I’m only talking to the ladies there.

Here are a few more tips for consideration.

Read: Six Things to Make a Long Flight More Comfortable

What’d I forget? What do you always take with you when you travel?

Leave me a comment and let me know.

Coming tomorrow: Trip Bits for when you’re around and about. Read the whole Trip Bits series.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s