Over the holidays we both had trips that were 30+ hours of travel each way – multiple flights, layovers, drives, etc. to reach our wonderful final destinations. It was totally worth it and we both are ‘good’ travelers who bounce back relatively quickly from jet lag. But we’ve learned through many years of long-haul travel that there are key items that make super-long flights more enjoyable!
Here are lists of each of our favorite travel items we used on our respective trips, which include a couple of crossover items we both love. And Joanne’s also included a list of her go-to plane travel wardrobe items as well!
I was lucky to have a bulkhead seat on most of my flights (still economy seats) so I could get up easily and stretch my legs out. I’ve found that this is an easy swap for not being able to keep items under a seat in front of me during takeoff and landing, as the extra legroom made ALL the difference on the flights. Here are the other items that ‘saved’ me.
Bose Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones These are awesome – comfortable, noise canceling, great sound quality, and long battery life. I downloaded things to watch and audible books to my phone before take-off and used these headphones to both listen and block out noise (I had multiple babies on flights near me…). I used them way more than my AirPods.
Turtl I rely on this ‘neck’ support item to sleep on planes! It has a built-in support that you can rest your head against in an upright position, unlike the ‘donut’ headrests that give me a neck ache. One of my sons used one for the first time on the 17-hour flight and I heard him tell my other children afterward, ‘You know how mom tells us about things all the time to try….well this one is actually a game-changer!’.
NorthFace Glacier Lightweight Full Zip Fleece Joanne introduced me to this fleece a couple of years ago and I now have it in 2 colors and have practically worn them out. It’s a perfect weight, not bulky but still warm and soft, has a collar that zips up to be the perfect under-chin height, and can be layered as needed. It is SUCH a good layer to have for travel. They are harder to find these days though so I may have to get another one so I have a spare – they are that good!
Vuori sweatpants Perfect travel sweats – not too bulky and so comfy.
Athleta crossbody bag The current Athleta bag is a bit different than my older version, but I like having something secure across my body that has my passport, money, kindle, phone, etc so that things are always within reach and ‘on me’. I used it throughout my trip, as well as my beloved Uniqlo backpack/tote bag (it’s THE BEST for travel as it fits a ton, doesn’t look huge, can be a backpack or a tote, is lightweight, and has lots of pockets!) as my two ‘purse’ options that are perfect.
Away / Quince Carry-on Roller Bags- We don’t like to check bags if we don’t have to. I have an Away carry-on and I got John the Quince knock off which is basically the exact same suitcase at ⅓ of the price. They roll super well which was key since we had long layovers and I made us walk every concourse of every airport to get our steps in and tire us out before the next flight!
Uniqlo Totepack – Like Chrissie, I LOVE this bag and have used it on all my long and short flights this year. It loops over the handle of my Away suitcase and rides nicely on top!
Eagle Creek Compression Packing Cubes – One reason why we can get away with carry-on only is by packing our clothes in these packing cubes! Invest in good ones like these because the zippers get taxed from the compression and have to be super sturdy.
Bose Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones – Like Chrissie, I love these! I recently was given the wireless variety (I upgraded from the plug in) and I wore them 24/7 on the plane to listen to movies, books, music, and enjoyed the noise-canceling hum they provide.
Kindle – I used to carry a backbreaking bag onto flights with TONS of books. Now, it’s a simple Kindle so I can enjoy many books, including travel guides, and if I don’t like something I’ve selected I can easily download something new! Yes, I could read on my iPad but the battery life and size of the kindle make it worth it.
IPad – I download movies and TV series before takeoff so I know I’ll have something to watch that I want to watch (the movie selections on planes have been sosososo bad these days so I like to have my own options)! I also do crossword puzzles, solitaire, and other games on it.
Compression Socks – I swear by these! My ankles don’t swell and I don’t experience the leg fatigue I once did before wearing these. Make sure you measure and get the right size because you don’t want them to be too big!
Medicine/Pill Box – Chrissie turned me on to this. I fill it with Ambien, Tylenol, Aspirin, Pepto-Bismol etc. and put it in my pocket so I can reach it easily throughout the flight. I also got them for my family and filled them up so they don’t bother me 🙂
Joanne’s Long Haul Travel Outfit
Through the years I’ve tried many iterations of the plane uniform and have settled into this one:
Lululemon Pants – these are super comfy and look like pants so can be worn out and about off the plane.
Long Sleeve T-Shirt – I like this one by COS – comes in all kinds of colors and stripes.
Moncler Sweater Puffer – a little bit of down combined with a sweater/sweatshirt is the perfect combo for cold planes and warmer airports.
New Balance Tennis Shoes – these have served me well – they aren’t my go to hiking shoes but work well for travel and can be worn for sightseeing and long travel days. I like them in a tone on tone neutral so I can pop them on with dresses if I need to!
Scarf – I always travel with a big scarf to use as a blanket, head rest, or neck warmer. I love this one by Toteme for a more fashion-forward choice but a basic like this always works. Opt for a fun bright color so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle!