For someone who’s a bit uneasy when it comes to flying, I travel quite a bit. It started out when I was young, as we would vacation to Florida multiple times a year whenever our schools had a break of some sort. My parents were also super generous when it came to taking fun vacations (Disney World, Hawaii, Mexico to name a few) I blame the fear from watching my mom always get a little unsettled, and watching my dad grip her hands in a loving way as if to say, “it’s all going to be fine.” The hairs would stand up on the back of my neck and I’d think to myself, “wait, why is she scared? Is there something to be scared of?” Fast forward years later, and I’m the one looking for someone’s hand to grab.
The irony is that I would end up choosing a job that would take me over the world photographing intimate weddings in different countries, and then falling in love with a man who has a serious passion for traveling and seeing new places as often as possible. I’m grateful for it — for all of it. Even in the midst of being a little unsettled, it’s a luxury and a privilege to be able to travel as much as I have, and I don’t ever take that for granted.
One of the benefits of all of the travel is learning certain travel hacks, if you will, from all of the trial and error. I can’t tell you how many times I’d sit down in my designated seat only to think to myself, “ah shit.. I wish I had x. Why didn’t I bring that?” or “Why did I wear these shoes?” The joys of the learning curve, my friends. So that’s what today’s blog post is all about. If I can prevent even just one of you from making some of the mistakes that I have, or learning how to be truly comfortable during the process of travel and enjoy it, that’s a win in my book.
The goal, as always, is to simplify and relish in the fact that less, really is more.
10 ways to travel more comfortable (in no particular order)
Bring socks in your carry on.
No matter what, always bring a pair of super soft socks in your carry on to change into when you board your flight. It’s imperative that you don’t interpret that as “take off your shoes and just wear the socks you showed up in when you get on the plane.” That’s a hard no. And so inconsiderate :) Pack a fresh clean pair and spare everyone around you. But do it, because you deserve to feel cozy on your journey. (it makes a huge difference, I promise)
Don’t carry a duffle bag.
Don’t do it to your shoulders, and don’t do it to save your sanity. God forbid you have to make a run for your flight — having to fly through the airport lugging a duffle bag on your shoulders is anything but comfortable. If you don’t want a roller bag, or you need more than that, opt for a backpack. It evens out the weight, supports your back and shoulders, and isn’t something you’ll have to keep adjusting.
Bring your own snacks.
Confession: I have to eat just about every two hours or my blood sugar plummets and I fall silent and get super faint. It’s an issue, haha, but I know I need to stay on top of it. When I fly, I generally don’t leave the house without an RX bar, a piece of fruit (grapes are my favorite because they’re easy and fairly unscented for those sharing my space, and something crunchy like pretzels or popcorn. (Just make sure to put them in a small Tupperware rather than a ziplock, because they’ll get smashed! I forget this part often.) I also always bring my Yeti with me and fill it up with water before getting on the plane. I’m always so much more comfortable and relaxed when I know that I don’t need to rely on a flight attendant for water or food if I’m in need.
* A little health tip: at all costs, avoid the water on airplanes unless you know for certain it’s coming from bottled water. Certainly don’t brush your teeth using the bathroom water, and please, for all that is holy, don’t fill up your Yeti with bathroom water. There have been many, many traces of toxic waste and disease found in these tests, and this is a surefire way to feel super uncomfortable on your flight. Bottled water or filtered water from the airport for the win.
Get rid of the noise.
If you haven’t already, I can’t recommend enough that you invest in some noise cancelling headphones. (these are the ones I have and they are incredible). Even if you don’t travel all that much, they’re great for train commutes, conference calls, working in a coffee shop, etc. It makes traveling on a plane so much more comfortable and enjoyable when you feel like you’re in your own head space without any distractions.
Have a relaxing scent.
For me, this is lavender. I have a little roller ball of essential oil that I carry with me and dab on my wrists and right under my nose so I’m inhaling something calming, rather than recycled air.
No matter the weather, bring a blanket scarf.
One of the best tricks I started doing was traveling with my blanket scarf (I’ve been eyeballing this one..) as a means of being a blanket or a pillow when I fly. You never know when a plane is going to be freezing cold, so having something that rolls up in your bag and is accessible for comfort is key.
Don’t wear makeup.
Eeeek, I know. This statement is probably getting a lot of eye rolls, but trust me, if you want to be comfortable, this is key. First off, traveling with makeup is a little constraining if you ask me. You don’t want to lay on your blanket scarf in fear that you’ll get it all over, you don’t want to rub your eyes because you have mascara on, you pray you don’t start yawning because again, you have mascara on, etc. etc. etc.
When you don’t wear makeup, you don’t have these issues.
You can instead melt into your surroundings, get truly cozy, snuggle up and apply a soothing moisturizer that will hydrate your skin and give you a nice glow, not dry it out. You can also add a lip stain or a gloss to make you feel like you’re not totally naked. When you wear makeup while up in the air, you’re basically inviting a slew of breakouts to live on your face. Ever wonder why you get so many new visitors popping up left and right after travel? One word: makeup! * If you need makeup for when you land, simply carve out 5 minutes to run to the ladies room, give your face a quick rinse and apply what you need. Problem solved! (plus no breakouts)
Have a travel kit in your carry on.
This is something that I picked up from my mom just in her day to day life. She always had a couple of little clutches tucked away in her purse for anything she or her babes might need while out and about. (She literally always has everything — its so impressive). So now not only do I also do this for my day to day, but especially for travel. I’ve perfected my kit and I’ll share with you what goes in it:
- Antibacterial wipes for the plane tray, arm rests & seat belt
- Lavender antibacterial hand spray
- Tide To Go stick
- All natural nasal spray made with eucalyptus (for sinuses and lessening the pressure during landing)
- Herbs (Stress Relief and Kick Ass Immune)
- A pack of tissues
- Gum & mints
- Femme products :)
- Lip balm
- Hand lotion
- Bobby pins & hair ties
- Safety pins
- Little sewing kit
- Imodium (yep, TMI, but you don’t ever want to be in the situation when you’re without it and you actually need it)
- Ginger chews
- Essential oil roller ball
- A hair comb
- Coffee to go packs
Take advantage of Netflix Downloads.
Nothing makes me happier when there’s a TV in my seat on the plane. That’s just a huge win right there. If I’m not in the mood to read, this is my go to, since I find it makes travel go by so much quicker. But, a lot of times this sin’t the case, so thank goodness for Netflix and the ability to now download certain shows and movies to your phone or iPad. Binge on your current obsession guilt free while you’re in the air, my friend. Do you. (but don’t forget to first change into your cozy socks and wrap up in your blanket scarf)
Dress to be cozy, but don’t be lazy.
You’re probably like, “um… what?” Hear me out. I’ve made the mistake (far too many times) of going above and beyond to look nice when going to the airport. Ask me if I was ever comfrotable. The answer is a flat out: no. Did I feel great, externally? Yeah, totally. But internally I couldn’t wait to get off the plane, I was hot then I was cold, my feet hurt, my jeans were digging into my hips.. you get the picture. And here’s why I say dress to snuggle but don’t be lazy: airports are filled to the brim with people. You never know who you’ll run into, or who you’ll be able to network with. This is a time for first impressions, and since we’re already going makeup free, lets not look like we just rolled out of bed, yeah? Do your hair, add some curls or put it up in a sweet pony tail.
Choose what you wear with purpose.
My favorite airplane outfit is a pair of leggings (usually my leather leggings to take it up a notch), a long, flowy white button down, or a tailored sweatshirt. For shoes, I almost always wear my Superga’s because they’re so dang comfortable yet charming, or I’ll wear slip on mules if the weather permits. So you see what I mean here? I’m so comfortable, nothing is constraining, my feet aren’t in agony by the time I reach my seat, and I’d be thrilled to run into an old friend or talk about my business with a complete stranger.
Thoughts!? Will you try any (or all) of these when you take your next trip? If you do, I’d love to hear what worked for you and what didn’t. And as far as the makeup one (I know that’s probably the hardest) — trust me on this. You will thank me later. Just try it once or twice. You’ll quickly realize that YOU are the only one who’s self conscious about your bare face. No one else will notice. Embrace what you’ve got (which is a lot of freaking beauty), and ditch the travel breakouts once and for all. x