Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Six Essentials in My Personal Carry-On Bag

I remember my first international flight, way back when I was 17 years old.  It was a huge deal for me to board an airplane and fly to another continent.  I loved this new experience right away, but after a few hours into the flight, I was ready to jump out of that gigantic piece of metal in the sky.  The endless hours of sitting made me want to scream because, frankly, I'm not one to sit still very long, and I didn't know how to entertain myself when a movie wasn't playing.
Many years later, I now consider myself to be professional flyer.  Nice sound to that title, right?  Seriously, I used to fly for a living as a flight attendant during the golden age of air transport.  It was around that time when the word "stewardess" became "flight attendant". Long retired from flying the friendly skies, I continue to travel for work and pleasure, and I have mastered the art of air travel with no desire to pull my hair out from sheer boredom.  I can't afford to fly business class or first class, so I relegate myself to the economy section. But hey, don't knock it.  We learned a few years ago that even millionaires will fly economy -- that's how some people maintain their millionaire status, as our seatmate told us en route to Rome, Italy!  That millionaire was Scott Jacob, world-acclaimed artist for Harley-Davidson, the American motorcycle manufacturer.  He was there with his wife and two grown daughters, all in their economy seats across from us.  Just thought I'd throw in that little tidbit. (smile)

If available, Gerry and I will always book those Economy Plus seats, or the equivalent, for the extra legroom, usually four inches, wider seats and seating toward the front of the economy section for easier exit. It's so worth the extra bucks.  Extra perks can include free alcoholic beverages, earbuds/headphones, seat back video screens, and free Wifi with in-seat power outlets, depending on which airline you're flying.  
Gerry and Scott Jacobs
To make my air travel the very best experience, I claim these to be my top 6 travel essentials:

I bought my BOSE headphones many years ago and I love it.  They still operate like new! The soft, cushioned ear pads fit great around my ears. Noise reduction is superb, and my music and movies come through powerfully.  It's almost like being at the cinema with surround sound.  If the cabin noise is particularly loud, the headphones cut out the noise, and I'm able to sleep well.

It's no secret that I love to read, and that I would prefer an actual book or magazine over an e-Book, but I'll read those, too.  I'll have mags in my personal carry-on, in my computer bag, and in my checked baggage - enough reading for round-trip travel.  Being a travel advisor, I get tons of material to read and I can't keep up with it at home. Riding in an airplane allows me so much time for reading.  It keeps me inspired, entertained and it calms me, especially with a nice glass of wine.
I love my Beats.  It's compact, and gives me big sound for such a small package.  I use this for listening to my music on Spotify and iTunes, and watching documentaries on iTunesUniversity.  If you're not familiar with iTunesUniversity, you need to check it out.  Stitcher is another great app for the latest in news, entertainment and
pop culture.

In addition to my lip color, blush and powder compact, these are the only other beauty essentials that I'll pack in my personal carry-on bag, all in travel sizes. They are Origins hand and body lotion, lip balm (with a hint of color), Rohto Hydra soothing eye drops (stings a little at first, but ends with a signature cooling "kick" for that nice refreshed feeling for my eyes), Clarins Instant Smooth to smooth out the fine, dry lines around my eyes and lips due to the dry air in the cabin, and hand sanitizer.  My most favorite thing, though, is the Evian Mineral Water Spray.  Throughout the flight, I will mist my face to cool and rehydrate my skin, and to revive my makeup.   It really is the greatest beauty find ever!

 It never fails.  As soon as my head hits the headrest, my hair begins to fly from static electricity, and then my sweater begins to shock me.  I hate that!  Well, you can buy a small bottle of static eraser, or use a sheet of fabric softener.  I now prefer to pack a few sheets of fabric softener stored in a sandwich bag because it takes less room in my bag, and I don't need to worry about possible leakage if I brought the other.  Before settling down in your airplane seat, take a sheet and gently rub the fabric on your headrest and seat.  I also always pack a sweater to use as a blanket later.  Before you pack it, lay a sheet of fabric softener between the folds.  Voila!  No more static electricity.

Many years ago, when I first began taking elementary school students across the country to visit historic cities over spring break, I learned a very important lesson. Our flight was detained at the gate, and it was bordering lunchtime. We'd been sitting in the airplane for maybe an hour already.  My students were hungry and they began eating their junk food. I began having visions of my kids with bad tummy aches and cries for mommy upon landing at our destination. Heaven help me! Since that unfortunate experience, I always pack nutritious food to be consumed in the early part of the trip in the event the plane gets stuck at the gate or runway for some odd reason.  It's something I'd told my students to do since that incident.  I'll usually bring a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or protein bar, and two pieces of fruit.  It's always two pieces of fruit.  I buy the water or any other beverage before boarding, past the security check, of course.  It's very uncomfortable and unsettling to be confined for a long period of time with no food or water.  As a long-time volunteer of the American Red Cross, it is our mission to provide support and relief to citizens affected by natural disasters and traumatic events with food and shelter.  I didn't know it then, but I do now.  Food calms people.  I didn't like seeing my students having to wait forever to receive airplane meals to settle them. The lesson I learned:  It's a good idea to pack basic, nutritious food that won't spoil, water and of course, those yummy goodies that will keep them happy during "quiet time". For me, that would be Twizzlers and Gummy Bears - gummy-anything for that matter!  They're my favorite things to nibble on while reading or watching a movie.

What are your most important travel essentials?

Happy Travels,

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