10 Travel Essentials for Flights – Black Friday and Christmas are on Us

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Travelling is stressful enough. I found that out when I started to travel regularly for business. I have logged millions of miles and there are some things that simply make your travels easier.

With Black Friday (and Christmas) coming up I thought I would share these things that I use on the plane with you.

1 Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones

These are my number one lifesavers. The over-the-ear headphones are noise cancelling AND wireless. The in-the-ear earbuds are wireless between your device and the headphones but they do have a wire running behind your neck to join the left and right earpieces.

I have the over the ear ones and the only complaint that I have is that if you are lying down (i.e. in a hostel) they are not comfortable to sleep in them. Also if you touch them against an aircraft wall (when I am in the window seat I lean against the wall to sleep) they produce a loud buzz. These headphones work by using a microphone to “hear” a sound wave and generates the opposite sound wave to reduce/ eliminate the noise. It won’t drown out a crying baby BUT it will reduce engine noise to virtually nothing.

The in-ear, I have not tried but I have it on good authority that they work amazingly well and can be worn to bed.

These are awesome – you have to hear them to believe it.

2 Inflatable Neck/ Lumbar Pillow

 I have both of these and I use one for my neck/face and the other for my lumbar spine. Used together they make a long flight sleepable (if that is a word). I paid a lot more for mine at a retail store.

3 – Sleep Mask

I don’t care how stupid I look. These allow me to sleep on the plane (often before the door is closed). I have to use a very slim design because of the noise-reducing headphones but any of these would be excellent. I can’t find them here but there are some really freaky ones with eyes stencilled on the outside to freak out the flight attendants.

4 Extra Battery Packs


You have to carry Lithium-Ion battery packs in your carry on (or on your person – To save space and weight I have a photographers vest). You can carry up to two packs and they must be under 20,000ms. You can buy them at Costco but I sometimes just buy them online at Amazon. This one is a high capacity, under $25 and has an LCD readout instead of the lights. That way you know exactly how much battery you have left. It provides power on the plane AND on the ground where you don’t want to run out of phone charge when you are using Google Maps.

5 E-Reader

I am a book junkie. Having books on the plane (for when I am awake is essential. I prefer to have ebooks because I can carry a lot of them and it saves on weight and I like being able to silently flip pages). Some things fo consider:

Capabilities – Do you also want to be able to access movies, weather, maps on the plane (or when you land). Do they also handle magazines? How hard is it going to be to work with? Will you have to download a reader program or can you just start in?

Are they Back-Lit or Reflective. I want to be able to read at the beach so one that is black on white is good for that. I also like to read in be at night so back lit is essential. I deally your reader does both.

Size – I like ones that are the size of a standard book (I have both an iPad and a Kindle)

Memory – The bigger the memory, the more books you can carry 🙂

Colour or Black and White – I like colour because sometimes I am looking at books with photos or illustrations. 

Book formats – Which ones do they handle (ePub, Mobi, PDF etc)

Cost – I love my iPad but it is costly. You can get e-readers that are as inexpensive as $49 or less. They also go up to $1,000. I included a very basic android tablet

6 Carry on Bag – Personal Item

Every Airline is going to have its own limits as to what a personal item is. Some of them do it by size and weight others do it by dimensions and weight. You should look at what the requirements are for baggage with your airline and then make your decision as to which one works best. This post lists of the carry on limits for most of the airlines. For ultra budget airlines make sure you check specifically. https://www.smartertravel.com/personal-item-vs-carry-on/

Here are a few that work for me as a personal item. Although they seem a bit “military” they are great for carrying items.

7 Fishing Vest/ Travel Vest

I fully admit that I look like a geek when I travel. But there are some advantages to wearing a fishing type vest onto the plane. You are able to hold a lot of items that might otherwise be in your carry-on and would cause your bag to be too heavy. I also use it to carry things like my charger or small items that might otherwise get lost or you might need to have access to on the plane. You can buy a very expensive type of jacket or vest to wear on the plane but I tend to find a fishing vest does just fine.

8 Melatonin 

I usually take between 6mg and 10mg of Melatonin right when I am about to go to sleep on a flight. Sometimes after the meal or almost immediately on boarding. I find it helps me to get a good nights sleep AND I don’t get jetlagged. May not work for everyone. There are a lot of different brands. I use this one.

 9 Small Flashlight 

Have you ever dropped something on the floor in a dark airplane? If it is your eyeglasses – it’s a disaster because you don’t want to feel for them using your feet. I carry a small but very bright flashlight with me on the plane that I can use to illuminate the floor. I can also use it in hotel rooms or any other dark places on my trip. I usually carry it in my fishing vest 🙂


10 Toothbrush Kit

I always want to brush my teeth on waking. A small kit like this helps to reduce the cost. You can fill the tubes from your own large toothpaste tube at home and use them on your trip. They are small, lightweight and low cost. Remember to ask for a cup off bottled water. Do NOT brush and rinse with the water from the airplane bathroom tap.


Those are my top 10 items for a flight. I usually carry them in the aforementioned vest but you can also use a small travel bag that you can clip to the seatpocket in front of you.

Any suggestions on things that I have missed?

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