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Do Not Fly Without These Air Travel Essentials!

Tips on packing and preparing for flight

By victoria patricoloPublished 3 years ago 8 min read
Travel Essentials

Are you ready to fly the friendly skies again?  I get a thrill just being in an airport. I love watching the arrivals and departures from destinations around the world. I’m a people watcher, I imagine some of their stories, perhaps they are on a honeymoon or visiting family. Maybe they are taking a trip of a lifetime. Whatever the case there is a story behind every passenger. Some stories do not go as planned and I’m sure if you’ve traveled you’ve witnessed unfortunate things happen in airports. 

I’ll never forget the time I was switching planes heading home from a long business trip to Australia. As you can imagine, the flight was exhausting, but not for this three-year-old, she was wide awake after the 15-hour flight, just dancing around the baggage claim. I’ll never forget the faces of her parents, they were so tired and had three other children that were peacefully sitting waiting for their bags. Yet who was up ready to go? The youngest one of course.  She was so cute and so overtired as she rode the luggage cart around and around. Her dad was so patient, maybe he was just too exhausted to care. I could imagine that as soon as they got in their transfer she was out like a light. 

On another trip,  I was waiting for my luggage at the baggage claim. The carousel began moving and the bags were gently sliding down the rack one after the other. Everyone was quiet and there was low chit-chat going on, until the moment when all the passengers collectively gasped and jaws dropped. A single bag came down that had completely opened. literally, everything poured out onto the carousel. The owner of the luggage was a guy in his 20’s, probably traveling alone. All of his stuff scattered on the baggage turnstile. Noone was laughing but whispers could be heard “glad that’s not my bag”. Then there was an eerie kind of silence as we all felt his pain, it could have happened to anyone. How horrible! 

Of course, I have had my own misfortunes. On my last trip to Australia, my flight out of Newark was late, hours late. There was a mechanical error or something wrong with the plane so they switched me to Alaskan Air. The desk agent completely assured me, “Miss, don’t worry your bags made the plane and will be waiting for you in Australia.” Famous last words.  I finally got to San Francisco, where I had to switch flights for the last leg to Sydney. It was late and the inter-terminal monorail was closed for refurbishment. I had to run to the Qantas gate, an employee was waiting for me, ushering me through security to boarding. I got to the check-in desk and handed the agent my visa and passport. Turns out the visa number didn’t match my passport number! I must have entered it wrong on the Australian Consulate website. The flight was preparing for take-off behind the closed door. Qantas has only one flight a day to Sydney from San Francisco. The agent fixed my travel visa but denied me entry onto the flight. It was too late.  I begged, I pleaded…she didn’t budge. They booked me on the next day's flight. So, suddenly I had a day in San Francisco. Fortunately,  I had a friend that lived nearby. I decided I would take advantage of the time I had and I rented a car and booked a hotel for the night. Did I mention I didn’t have my luggage? So, I cleaned up and went to sleep.

The next morning I called my friend, who I haven’t seen in years. We met for breakfast and she took me up to her home near Sausalito. It was a great day. I drove over the San Francisco Bridge and it was so exciting to me. I’ve never been there before. My friend had some work to do, so I took a trip to the Muir Woods and went for a hike. Loved every minute. By the time I got back we met for dinner and had a great catch-up.

I arrived on time for the 10:45 pm flight and even had an empty seat next to me. I arrived in Sydney the next day, only to find out that my luggage never left New York!

Qantas graciously handed me an overnight kit and a claim ticket. I advised them to send my luggage forward to Brisbane and I would collect it there since that was my next destination. I didn’t want to take any chances of my luggage following me around OZ.  The key is, I remained calm, cool, and collected and I looked at my misfortune as an adventure. 

Qantas reimbursed every penny for the clothes and essentials. My nightmare even has a happy ending. My luggage arrived in Brisbane and I got some new clothes for my inconvenience. 

Learn from my mistakes and mishaps. Take note of these in-flight travel essentials for your next journey. 

Luggage

Choose luggage that has a strong zipper and is waterproof, easy to transport, and is not too big. The bigger the luggage the more you can fit in, and the heavier it becomes. There is a 40lb limit with airlines. You don’t want to incur additional costs or have to open your bag at check-in and remove items while online. 

Packing tips

  • Be sensible when you're packing. Try not to pack that shirt that you haven’t worn in 2 years. I guarantee you won’t wear it on the trip. 
  • Minimize the shoes too, you need a comfortable pair, a dressy pair, maybe a pair of sandals. 
  • Light layers seem to work as well. They’re easy to pack and you can take a lot. 
  • Keep in mind a color scheme. Have a base color and then add to it with patterns and pops of color. 
  • Take clothes you like to wear. Don’t start a new style or something you’ve never worn before. I have a feeling it will just take up space. 

Stay organized

Keep track of where you put your stuff. Have a place for everything. And when you’re done using your headset or charger or reading your book, put it back to its original home. Try and make this a habit. 

Pack an overnight for the plane 

Even if you have carry-on luggage. There’s always that chance, by the time you're called to board the overheads will be full and you’ll have to check your luggage at the gate. Include a  change of undies, beauty essentials for air travel, medicines, toothbrush, hairbrush, and of course sanitizer, and extra masks. If you’re going somewhere warm, throw your bathing suit in there too. It’s worth the extra weight. Perhaps get a carry-on with wheels.

 Travel insurance

It’s a good idea to check your travel insurance and credit card policies for reimbursement of lost luggage. Most airlines will cover these costs before your travel insurance will. Check the airline policies on their app or website.  

Air travel comfort accessories

I always pack a light scarf that is large enough to cover me up during long flights. Of course, a neck pillow is essential. Make sure you try different brands. It’s similar to purchasing that perfect pillow with the right amount of support. 

Visa and vaccination requirements

Always, always check to see if you are traveling out of the country what that country requires for entry. At the time of writing this article most countries that are open,  are not mandating vaccinations for COVID-19. However, they still may require testing prior to entry. If you have been vaccinated, bring your card and keep it protected. Passport covers come in handy for keeping your docs organized. Also, make sure you have checked if there are Visa requirements for traveling to the country or island. Make sure you double-check and recheck the information you provided is accurate. Especially your passport number and the spelling of your name. 

Cell phone & WiFi

Check with your provider, it may be worth signing up for the Global Plan, just for the month. Sometimes it’s only an extra 10 bucks. Or upload the whats app and create a group chat with your loved ones to communicate without any long-distance roaming charges. Check out, global wifi providers. This may come in useful when you’re not in your hotel or a place that provides WiFi. You actually bring your wifi with you. 

Extra cash and credit cards

You never know of any unexpected expenses. Always have a backup plan for emergency funds in case you need to access them. I usually carry a credit card that has a zero balance. Just in case. Refrain from using it, only for emergencies. 

Journal

Remember these moments. One day,  you’ll look back and laugh at all the mishaps. Those travel adventures will probably have the stories you’ll tell over and over again. They were trips that had the most adventure and unexpected things happened

Bring a reusable water bottle 

Staying hydrated is key. Drink H2O throughout the journey. Even consider adding a Vitamin C pack to keep your antibodies in check.  The TSA allows reusable water bottles through security, as long as they are empty. Refill it prior to boarding the plane.

Overeating on the flight

Try not to overeat on long trips. Turns out an emptier stomach will ease your jet lag recovery, 

Alcohol

It’s a good idea to keep the alcohol to a minimum.  Also easing Jet lag recovery.  

Set your watch.

You want to set your clock to your destination time immediately. Sleep when it’s nighttime at your destination and stay awake in the day. If you arrive in the morning, rest just a little, then go about your day regularly. You want to stay up until it’s time for bed. This will reset your circadian rhythm.

Meditation and Relaxation

Use your flight time to your advantage. Have a plan to work on mindfulness and wellness. Listen to a meditation app. Relax and keep calm on the flight. It’s really the only time when you can completely rest. No work, and nowhere to go. 

Noise block headset

Invest in a good pair of headsets. You’ll be thankful to drown out any unwanted noise on the plane.

Bring a Book

Now’s the perfect opportunity to read that book you’ve set aside, but haven’t had the time to open. 

Meet Someone

Ok, I admit, you have to be in the right mood to meet people or strike up a conversation. It also depends on who you're near. If I'm next to someone chatty, I have no problem conversing. I enjoy meeting people. But there are times you just want to be quiet and not have to speak to anyone. On my flight back from that Australia trip I did sit with two people, we got to know each other and it made the close situation more comfortable and easy.

Prior to Landing

Get to a restroom and freshen up. Brush your teeth, wash your mouth out, wash your face, freshen up your makeup, fix up your hair. Maybe put on a fresh t-shirt. You’ll be refreshed, recharged, and ready to go. 

A positive attitude is key!

Keep positive, Getting upset isn’t going to change anything or improve the situation. It will only increase your stress level and prevent you from thinking clearly to form a plan of action.  

Be flexible

Make the most of every situation. Layovers are often the perfect way to see a city you’ve never been to before. Even if the weather doesn’t hold out. Don’t let that stop you from visiting the sites you planned.  Keep in mind you’re on an adventure. 

Ladies and gentlemen prepare for take-off! 

If you enjoyed this post let’s connect! Subscribe to my blog and follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.

travel advice

About the Creator

victoria patricolo

In April, 2020. I launched ConsciousTraveler.CO. A travel blog focused on sustainable luxury tourism, unique experiences, travel tips and trends. I hope to inspire people to travel again...so much depends on it.

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    victoria patricoloWritten by victoria patricolo

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