I've been on quite a few long flights in my time, and they can be downright dreadful if you don't have your carry-on necessities with you. I can't begin to tell you how much of a downer it is when you're digging through a cluttered bag and realize you forgot your headphones for your long flight. Also, how about those airplane / airport meals? Don't you wish you had brought your toothbrush to get that lingering taste out of your mouth? Yuck.
As a frequent flyer, I often have friends that ask me about my packing secrets. Well fear not, fellow travelers... I am here to reveal some helpful carry-on packing tips! Obviously, I am a lady, so these tips are tailored towards us females. Packing carry-on items can also vary from trip to trip for short or long flight; but this carry-on example below is based on my upcoming trip to Europe!
Lots of folks take the smaller roller suitcases as their carry-on (understandable if it's a short weekend trip), but those things are a pain to put in the airplane storage bins! If you check in a bag at the front desk, you shouldn't need a roller carry-on... unless you have four arms. Most of us don't. I prefer to take a medium sized backpack that allows me to have enough storage room and can be easily stored underneath the seat in front of me. It's easily accessible and you don't have to dig in the overhead bins every time you need something out of your bag.
Without further ado, these are my necessities for surviving a long flight:
Entertainment - Perhaps the most essential key! Of course I always take my iPod on flights, along with a good pair of headphones. Beats By Dre headphones might not be the cheapest option out there, but they are noise canceling. Another classic way to pass the time is to read. I'm as old school as they come. There's nothing like turning the pages on an actual book... but I must leave those at home while I travel. I take my Samsung Galaxy Nook as my reading outlet for long flights. It's functional and not as bulky as traveling with multiple books. Last but not least; my handy dandy iPhone (with a LifeProof case to keep it safe)!
Hygiene - I'm sure your seat neighbors on the plane will agree that this is a very important key to having a pleasant flight! I hate to be the bearer of bad news; but airplanes are crawling with germs (yes... scary). I like to take face / hand wipes and/or hand sanitizer to keep myself as germ-free as possible. A small tube of face wash can be handy when you need to feel refreshed or take off make up. Let's not forget your compact toothbrush and toothpaste (or Wisps)... no one likes to have a lingering taste of a regret-ridden meal in their mouth for hours on end (or maybe you do... to each their own). Last one; and this is a personal preference. Baby wipes can be handy if you're without a shower after a long day of travel. Sometimes your flight gets delayed... sometimes you're stuck in an airport or airplane a lot longer than you planned. For obvious reasons, these are about as close to a shower as you can get while traveling.
Relaxation - If you're anything like me... you find sleeping on planes a near impossible feat. If you can sleep on planes; you're lucky and I envy you. For me, a neck pillow, earplugs, and an eye mask are great relaxation tools for a long flight. Some folks even take a pair of comfy travel socks to put on. Maybe you're into that.
Snacks - Let's face it... the meal selection on long plane rides aren't the best. Snacks like a nutrition bar or small bag of peanuts could do the trick if your tummy is growling. Gum is also good to have if you're feeling nervous... and it could also help ease the ear-popping. Listerine PocketPaks also offer a tiny burst of refreshment.
Medicine - Sometimes you've had a long day and your head is pounding (or maybe that's from the late night you had last night), but Tylenol Extra Strength is a good option if you're prone to headaches. Maybe your tummy is aching from all of the awful airport food (and if you're like me; you absolutely dread using an airplane lavatory), but hopefully this Pepto Bismol will help out! Hey folks; it happens. Airplane air can also dry out your skin and eyes. In this case, Clear Eyes and a small tube of lotion is the cure for that.
Notables - A compact hair brush and a few hair ties are a great option if your particular about your hair (I am). Also, don't forget your travel adapter just in case you need a quick charge in a foreign airport... which also reminds me; bring your chargers to keep all of those electronics juiced up! I usually carry mine in a small make-up type of bag so I don't have to deal with a tangled mess while sorting through things in my bag.
Documents - Please don't forget these! I use a file and fly organizer to keep my plane tickets and passport in place while traveling. After all, you won't be going on vacation if you don't have these necessities. Don't forget those sunshades.
I think this covers most of it. Everyone is different... so tailor your carry-on to fit your needs! Last but not least... don't forget to pack your open mind! Traveling is all about seeing new places, meeting new people, and trying new things. Have fun and smile!