Accessibility is everything on an airplane, no matter the length of the flight, and there are a few items to make an under-seat carry-on worth the valuable space it takes away from your feet. Some of the key components make an appearance in 10 Tips for Rocking a Long-haul Flight, but it’s the extra bits and pieces that can really make a difference between being the person who alights from the gate looking fresh and one that looks like they travelled on a third-world bus.
10 Carry-on Essentials
Now the last thing you want to do is climb over seat-mates and dig through the overhead bin every time you need something — so whether you store your larger bag in the overhead and have important pieces in the smaller “personal item” at your feet, or pack a smaller bag into your roll-on and pull it out when you reach your seat — mastering the under-seat carry-on is a sure-fire way to up the BYO comfort factor on any flight.
- If you have them you may never need them, if you don’t you’re bound to spill/sneeze/drool/drip at the most inconvenient moment. Better safe than sorry for the tiny amount of space they take up.
- It may be a playlist of your favourite music on your phone, a tablet loaded with games and movies, a colouring book, a real book, or a good magazine — but having some form of distracting entertainment that’s not dependant on the screen in your seat is a good idea, always.
- Sure you can use the ones supplied but if you have the space your own headphones are a worthwhile inclusion.
- We talked over here about why you want them… make them cute and warm (and for goodness sake put your shoes back on before you head to the bathroom).
6. Hand Lotion
- The air in airplanes, no matter what class you travel, is terribly drying. You don’t realise what a lifesaver a good absorbent hand lotion is until you have it.
5. Lip Balm
- Like the hand lotion but for you lips, obviously, because no one wants to start a holiday with chapped lips.
4. Mint Strips
- Not sugary mints but the proper mint explosion strips. Like them or not they work wonders and, if you don’t want to use the airplane bathroom water to brush your teeth, a strip or two will freshen you up even after an ugly open-mouth sleep.
3. Crescent-shaped Inflatable Pillow
- Folds flat for packing, blows up for sleeping, and if you get a good one the fleece cover comes off to wash it once you get home. As mentioned over here wear it backwards to save your neck.
2. Warm Jumper/Sweater/Wrap/Jacket
- Planes are cold, always, and even if you feel fine (or hot) when you board you’re bound to be freezing in the middle of the night. Plus, if you’re warm enough not to need another layer a jumper makes a great extra pillow solution.
- If you’re going to bring them along they may as well be easy to reach. Throw in a bottle of water (after going through security) too so you don’t have to juggle plastic cups on your lap the whole time. Also, if you’re a tea drinker bring along few of your favourite tea bags — these are usually ok going through customs on the other end as well.
- If you’re an ear plug and eye mask kind of person those two items can make a world of difference, however I’m not really a fan of either so they don’t make my top 10. I do always make sure our passports/wallets/phones are in the under-seat carry-on as well, it just makes me more comfortable. I’d love to know if you have any more to add!