10 Things Extra: Essentials for Travel

I had a reader ask me about my essentials for travel, especially for long flights. A fitting question, since I am typing this while I wait to board a flight to Tokyo. That’s a 14 hour jaunt from Dulles to Narita, and while I’m grateful for the non-stop, it’s a serious haul. So here’s what I have to have when I’m making a trip like this:

  1. iPad. No question it’s my #1 must-have. I download books, music and tv shows, which I binge-watch a season at a time (this trip: the 1st season of Southland, which a former cop friend swears is awesome). I also subscribe to multiple magazines, so it’s pretty much everything I need for entertainment. Especially since I have a strict no-work policy on airplanes. I don’t need anyone looking over my shoulder to see what I’m reading (trust me, it’s probably not for the faint-hearted), and I look forward to the guaranteed work break when I fly.
  2. Light weight cashmere scarf. I have one similar to this (no fringe) and it’s a work horse. It keeps me warm on planes, provides another layer when I’m in the exit row where it’s often extra cold, and always looks good. I almost never travel without it. It’s probably time to get a new one, too, because after 2 years of constant wearing, it has a few small holes. Sadness.
  3. Lucky Sienna Tomboy jeans. There are cheaper jeans, and there are waaaay more expensive ones, but there are no softer ones. These ride low, which I prefer, so they aren’t cutting into my waist as I sit for hours on end. They are the only jeans I will travel in–super comfortable and easy to wear.
  4. Nathan water bottle. I like this one better than all others. Those tiny cups they give you on planes don’t cut it. Staying hydrated makes me feel better, and it forces me to get up and head to the bathroom, so I’m up and moving around regularly (I am decidedly a fan of not having DVTs). Just be careful opening the flip top when you’re in the air–too quick and you will end up hosing down your seat mate.
  5. Osprey Ozone Courier bag. I used to be a backpack girl, but when I downsized to a Mac Air and an iPad, I switched out my bag, too. This is small, easy to carry, and it has 2 water bottle pockets, which I need. One for the Nathan, and one for my travel mug.
  6. Tea Voyager Travel Kit. I am a diehard tea drinker, but not just any tea. Jasmine pearls are my creature comfort no matter where I am in the world. I make sure I always have some with me now, because my lovely spouse gifted me this travel set last year. It’s awesome and I use it constantly. I can get 10-days worth of daily tea drinking out of it. Perfect for trial weeks.
  7. Immersion heater. To satisfy said tea obsession I need access to hot water when I’m invariably awake at 3am. Most hotel coffee makers give you coffee-flavored hot water, so I use this. It’s a little slow, but it gets the job done.
  8. Ambien. No explanation needed.
  9. Notebook. I always have to have one nearby. No matter how many electronics I have at my disposal, I am still a compulsive list maker. And a long plane ride is the perfect place for ideas to pop up and for your brain to dredge up all kinds of stuff you need to get done. I always love me a moleskine, but right now I’m actually using one similar to this. Confession: Japanese convenience stores have great notebooks for kids and I will probably restock. Aside from the tea obsession, I may have a small notebook problem, too.
  10. Bag of snacks. You must pack food or you will cycle into a pit of despair when you see what they want to feed you on the plane. If you must eat plane food, choose the meal that reflects the nationality of the carrier (e.g. Korean Airlines, choose the bibimbap–you do not want that airline’s take on meatloaf). Better yet, bust out your own food and be the envy of everyone in your row. Aside from copious Luna bars and a handful of fruit leathers, I have morning glory muffins and homemade toasted coconut marshmallows on this trip, both made by my partner last night and the best part of my  travel day, for sure. Thanks, pal.

Since I will be in Asia for an undetermined portion (or all) of next week, posts may be less regular. I’ll try to keep on track, but I appreciate your flexibility if I don’t get my usual 4-5 up next week. Please keep in mind that any questions or requests sent my way will have a delayed response because of the time difference. However, I promise I will get to them.

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