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These five items are how I survive constant airline travel

Updated January 2024 – be sure to read to the end for another bonus item I added!

If there’s one thing I know a lot about, it’s airline travel. And that is great for you because you can learn from my mistakes! I once endured thirteen flights in a period of four weeks. 😩 The good news is that all these flights have made me an expert on airline travel must-haves.

While I love airports, thirteen flights in one month was a bit much for me. Granted, it was my own doing. Thankfully, I always have my favourite travel items in tow. The travel must-haves listed below are how I not only survive but thrive and actually enjoy every flight I take.

Note that I am not going to cover the obvious items such as having a passport, getting travel insurance (which is a must!) etc. This article is strictly related to the items I bring with me when I travel to make it a more enjoyable experience.

The top 5 airline travel must-haves I swear by

1. Beats Studio 3 Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Noise-cancelling headphones were an absolute game-changer for me. I held off for quite a while because they are expensive, but let me tell you they are worth every penny. I have tried several different brands, but I love my Beats headphones the best.

When you place these beauties over your ears and the sweet sound of silence embraces you, you will know exactly what I mean. Trust me, you will never enjoy an in-flight movie as much as one with noise-cancelling headphones on your ears.

Their true value was revealed to me when I removed them mid-flight to use the lavatory and discovered the sound of a crying baby. Up until that moment, I had no idea there was a crying child wailing four aisles ahead of me.

And yes, because I know you’re wondering, I wear eye patches so I can arrive at my destinations bright-eyed 😉 I swear by these Chanel ones! They make you look like you actually slept on your flight even when you didn’t!

Pro tip: If you are going to be using these with your tablet or smartphone you may need an adaptor so be sure to check that you have this with you. I keep mine in my Beats headphones case so I always have it just in case I need it. Having headphones with no way to connect them to your devices is very frustrating when you are 30,000 feet up.

2. Emergen-C Vitamin C Packets

Drinking Emergen-C Vitamin C on a flight helps you stay hydrated and healthy

Breathing recirculated air for hours can make even the healthiest of us sick. Each and every flight I go on, I drink an Emergen-C Vitamin C packet with the first water the flight attendant brings me. I swear by this stuff and rarely get sick when I travel. On longer flights, I sometimes drink two of them.

The individual packets contain 1000 mg of Vitamin C and are ideal for airline travel. I purchase a box of them and bring a few packets with me in my carry-on bag. Bonus, they are effervescent so it almost looks like you’re drinking bubbly.

I will note that I am very brand loyal to Emergen-C specifically. I have tried their competitors and I do not find them to work as well. No, they don’t pay me to say this, but it would be nice if they did 😉

3. Swell Water Bottle

Women holding water bottle on Great Wall of China

Once I’m past security, I fill up my trusty Swell water bottle. This way I can rehydrate during my flight without having to wait for a flight attendant. They never bring you enough water. Never. And especially not now because service has been drastically affected by the pandemic.

I specifically use a Swell brand bottle because it’s triple-walled and does not sweat or leak. It’s also tall and sleek, making it perfect for throwing in my large carry-on purse without worrying that everything will turn into a soggy mess. This is an absolute airline travel must-have item for me.

Hydration is important, especially when travelling, and I hate single-use plastic water bottles. Airline travel creates a large enough carbon footprint. I try to do all I can to help reduce waste during my travels. It’s important for me to try to be a sustainable and responsible tourist whenever possible.

4. iPad with Downloaded Movies and TV Shows

Bringing an iPad full of movies is an airline travel must-have

Bringing your own entertainment hasn’t always been an issue, but with cost-cutting flights these days it is an airline travel must-have. I learned my lesson when I was stuck playing games on my iPhone during my entire flight. Lesson learned.

Not only should you bring an iPad or other tablet with you, but make sure you have downloaded a few movies and TV shows before you board your flight. Some flights offer in-flight WiFi, but not all. And it sometimes comes at a cost.

While airport WiFi is free, you can try downloading stuff at the gate right before boarding but the connection isn’t always strong enough to download whole movies. I suggest doing this in your hotel room with better WiFi before arriving at the airport.

TV shows are great for shorter flights, or when you only have limited time before landing and can’t get through a whole movie. Maybe it’s only me, but I hate starting a movie I know I won’t have time to finish.

Pro tip: put your iPad or tablet into a folding case and then hang it off of the seat in front of you. This is a genius travel hack because this way you don’t need your tray table down for the entire flight.

Amelia Earhart quote

5. Compression Socks

Stick with me here, this one is legit. It wasn’t until I had the fortune to fly Business Class that I learned of this airline travel must-have. Air Canada provided me with an adorable little care package and in it was a pair of socks. They weren’t compression socks, but I have heard those work better on longer flights.

Admittedly, I do tend to remove my shoes during flights because it’s far more comfortable, but then I always need to find them stuffed under the seat somewhere if I need to get up to use the washroom.

This is where your extra socks, compression socks or otherwise, come in handy. Place them on your feet before lift-off and you needn’t worry about locating your footwear until the flight lands. It’s more of a convenience factor than anything, but hey, any added convenience is awesome at 30,000 feet up in the air.

Bonus airline travel must-have items

6. Apple AirTag

Apple AirTags are an airline travel must-have to track your suitcase

I know, I said I only had five airline travel must-haves, but then I had to add one more because travel has changed so much over the past few years. This one is new for this year but will continue to be a travel must-have for years to come.

I recently purchased a luggage tracker and I recommend that you do so as well. With the rate that some airlines are losing luggage, it’s a good idea to have one of these in case your suitcase doesn’t make it with you.

Popular ones include Apple AirTag and Tile. I have a Tile at home for my car keys, but I decided to purchase an AirTag for my luggage. I don’t pay for an annual subscription for my Tile, but I would need to to use it for travelling. Shockingly, Apple does not have an annual subscription. You purchase your AirTag and you’re good to go!

Since I have an iPhone, I opted for the Apple AirTag. You can personalize them for free when you purchase one and it was pretty fun tracking it during my travels. I am pleased to say that my luggage has made it with me on every flight I’ve taken. So far.

7. Eye Mask

Okay, at some point I will have to give this post a new title but in the meantime, I’ll just keep adding bonus items to it, lol! Having just endured my first flight to Europe in almost five years, I had forgotten how important this item is for International flights.

Since a top tip of mine for avoiding jet lag is to sleep on the flight when you land in the morning local time, I feel the need to add an eye mask to this list of my top airline travel must-haves. I was actually able to get some rest (key word – some) on my latest 9.5-hour flight from Vancouver to Paris. This was thanks to my noise-cancelling headphones and my eye mask.

My Top Airline Travel Must-Haves Conclusion

And there you have it, my top five six seven travel must-haves for any flight. I truly enjoy travelling; however, I also know what a pain in the @ss airline travel can be. I hope you’ll give these items a try and enjoy your next flight a little bit more.

If you travel on airplanes frequently, especially Internationally, then you may wish to learn how to avoid jet lag. These are tried-and-true tips from yours truly – and they work! I know because I recently practised what I preach and magically avoided jet lag on my trip to Europe.

What do you need for airline travel?

Now that we’ve covered what you should bring with you for your enjoyment, let’s quickly go over what you absolutely must bring with you for airline travel. If you forget any of these items, you’ll likely miss your flight.

What documents do you need with you for airline travel?

  • Passport with at least 6 months before expiry
  • NEXUS or Trusted Traveler if you have it
  • Visa (check here to see if one is necessary)
  • Credit Card for in-flight purchases
  • Proof of your COVID vaccination (still required in some countries)
  • The local currency in case of emergencies while travelling
  • Travel Insurance (I can’t stress this one enough!)

These items are absolutely necessary for airline travel. If you have additional paperwork regarding your residency or ability to enter a country, always be sure to bring that with you as well.

If you’re wondering what you should pack for your vacation, check out this packing checklist for any trip as well as these awesome packing hacks.

For a lot of the world, the pandemic and its restrictions have lifted, but if that isn’t the case for where you are headed, check out these essential items for travelling during the pandemic to make your travels even smoother.

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Top five airline travel must-haves
Travel Must-haves for your next flight

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