Your trip is off to a rocky start. To begin with, TSA found that super expensive shampoo you tried to bury at the bottom of your backpack and made you dump it in the trash can. You show up at your gate to find out that your plane is delayed 45 minutes, which gives you just enough time to realize that your seat assignment is the last row of an overbooked flight. And you have a middle seat. With the rate your luck is going, you might as well assume the bag you checked is already headed in the opposite direction of where you’re traveling.
There are a number of factors you simply can’t control when you’re taking a flight, but the one thing you do have the ability to manage is how well you’re prepared for the worst. Packing a carry-on bag that is stocked with useful wellness products — both for your flight and beyond — is a crucial skill to master. Your number one priority should be your health and well-being, because if you show up to your destination with a head cold, a tweaked neck, and your body clock all out of whack, you may spoil your entire trip. After many long-haul flights and plenty of trial and error, these are our 10 must-pack items for our hand luggage to help avoid getting sick, reduce jet lag recovery time, and maintain a general feeling of comfort while traveling.
1. Nuun tabs
When you’re flying, one of the most common health risks is dehydration. Nuun tabs are designed to keep that from happening through the use of electrolytes and vitamins. Fill up your water bottle once you’re near your gate, pop a tablet in, and sip this drink throughout your flight. There are a ton of different flavors, and all tablets are gluten free, dairy free, and soy free. Staying hydrated will help you fight off any other encroaching sickness — it’s your best line of defense.
2. Immune boosters
Although Emergen-C has been around for awhile, it’s still one of our favorite products that helps to enhance the immune system. These small, travel sized packets are easy to carry along, and the benefits of powering up your immune system are especially important when you’re flying.
3. Compression socks
When you’re seated in the same position without the ability to get up and get the blood flowing, wearing a pair of compression socks can help reduce swelling and decrease the potentially dangerous risks of deep vein thrombosis. Luckily, because of the increased popularity of these socks, many companies have started designing more attractive styles that aren’t so cringe-worthy to wear. This fun collection from Zensah proves that compression socks are no longer only for your grandparents, but a cute and effective travel hack.
4.EO Products natural hand sanitizing wipes
It’s easy to throw a few of these EO Products organic sanitizing packets into your carry-on bag. These are lovely products, not only because they are organic and smell delicious, but they are also compact. The range includes a 33-oz sized liquid hand sanitizer in French lavender — perfect for keeping the bugs at bay and relaxing flying nerves with its calming lavender scent. Use their hand sanitizing wipes to give the tray table and armrests a quick wipe-down when you first take your seat; those tray tables don’t always get cleaned and since you’re eating off of them, they’re frequently ground zero for flight-borne illness. EO Products also sell natural deodorizing wipes, which helps get around the in-flight aerosol ban for a quick freshen up before landing.
5. Motion sickness meds
Maybe you’re one of those unlucky travelers who frequently suffer from sickness on a plane, especially when there’s unexpected turbulence. Or maybe you just misjudged how many drinks your friends bought you the night before and are paying for it on your early morning flight. Either way, you really don’t want to puke on the plane. To help avoid doing so, pack some nausea relief medicine, like Dramamine. You might never need it, but when you do, it’s definitely preferable to searching for that little white bag that may or may not be located in the seat back.
6. A relaxing playlist
Don’t make a rookie mistake and forget to download your favorite songs before you get to the airport; the public wifi won’t be strong enough to get through a whole playlist. While you’re still connected to your home wifi, download a playlist loaded with relaxing music to help you feel relaxed in the event of turbulence (or a crying child), or to ease you into a glorious nap. There are many different options to choose from on Spotify for this exact purpose, or of course, you could build your own.
7. Silk eye mask
Just because you’re not flying first class, doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself to a luxury eye mask. The slight pressure of an eye mask and blocking out light can help you catch up on valuable sleep during (and even after) your flight. Plus, an eye mask doubles as a polite “do not disturb” sign for any talkative seatmates. This plush, reversible one from Derek Rose is an attractive option.
8. Hydrating facial mist
While some people would opt for a full-on Korean spa toning facial mask, this is a slightly more subtle way to stay feeling refreshed while maintaining that difficult level of hydration during a flight. Personally, I love Herbivore Botanicals rose hibiscus coconut water hydrating face mist, which not only moisturizes but smells delicious.
9. Nasal spray
Congestion can come on quickly, and when your sinuses are clogged during takeoff or landing this can be both painful and dangerous for your ears. Make sure to pack a natural, soothing nasal spray to avoid clogged ears next time you fly.
10. A travel pillow
Are you seeing a theme here? Sleep is so key staying healthy while traveling. If you can catch up to the correct time zone while you’re on your flight, that’s a total win. Don’t get a cheaply made (but expensively priced) neck pillow at the airport convenience store. Get an actually nice pillow that will actually hold up your neck while traveling, and can compress into your carry-on without taking up too much space. This one from Uncommon Goods cradles your head to avoid neck pain and rolls up into a compact ball when you’re not using it.
Knowing that you have these essentials with you at all times can help reduce travel stress and keep you in good health for your trip. While space is limited in your carry on, prioritize these goodies over an extra pair of shoes; we promise they will keep you healthy, happy, and ready to enjoy your travels.