When traveling around the world via an airplane, you could find yourself departing from 30 degrees Celsius and landing in -5 degrees. Flying time can range from 1 hour to 30 hours ( with multiple lay-overs) that can leave you feeling like a jet lagged, half-human zombie stepping into a twilight zone. Here are five must-haves that I never fail to pack into my hand luggage when boarding a plane:
1. Face Wipes
These will never go unused. Instead of having to pack a cleanser, toner and moisturiser for your face, face wipes will do the job in one go. If you spill your cool drink or your Asian noodles, this also works more effectively than a serviette or napkin ( if you’re American).
After visiting Rio de Janeiro in 2005, I am yet to fly anywhere without my ‘Brazilian flag’ sarong. It doesn’t matter how hot you were when you boarded, your body temperature will decline immensely once the plane is up in the air. It serves as a great blanket and shoulder wrap when you’re trying to keep warm and the cheap airline doesn’t have blankets. Plus, as soon as you arrive in a tropical destination, you can wip that baby out and use it on the beach too.
3. Body Lotion & Lip Balm
I don’t know about you, but something about the stale air trapped within a plane over 12 hours leaves my skin desert dry and craving moisture. You can lather some lotion onto your face, hands and other dry spots when you wake up and before disembarking looking like a member of the Khoi tribe . Better yet, get Eight Hour cream which you can use for bug bites, as lip balm and moisturiser.
4. A Riveting Novel
When you’re on a short flight, there won’t be any movies, on-air games or TV series to entertain you, so you will need something to make the time fly by in the form of a magazine or book. While certain magazines can thrill for 30 minutes or so, a good thriller or arm-chair travel book can keep you going for hours. After a witty travel partner, a great novel is a winner.
5. A Pillow
And I don’t mean one of those travel puffs that curls around your neck or requires blowing up. Sooner or later napping on a balloon will no longer be comfy or the beans will settle in a single spot leaving you with neck ache upon awaking. It may seem like a waste of space bringing a normal size pillow with you, but I promise that come the 4th hour with another few to go, you will thank your lucky stars you can snuggle up and actually make an attempt at some real sleep and not awake as grumpy and stiff. On this note, if you struggle to sleep on planes, invest in good sleeping pills that won’t leave you groggy post-flight. I have bad sinuses, and anti-allergy tablets have knocked me out for nearly one leg of a journey from SA to Hawaii ( Just saying).