This is the part where I list wallet, phone, passport and you click away. Just kidding. One of the best ways to learn how to enjoy travel is to travel constantly and occasionally be faced with less than enjoyable experiences. Ok, maybe even some nightmare experiences. Never again. For maximum enjoyment, regardless of how many flights are cancelled or delayed these are ten things no traveler should ever leave home without...
Charger And/Or Universal Plug
Want to stress out and annoy people? Let your phone or laptop die. If you want to make friends and relax, you'll want to bring a charger with you. Not only do most planes now offer USB ports to charge on board, you'll be able to charge in the terminal. If you bring an international socket adaptor, you'll be on top of things wherever your jet setter life takes you. God forbid the world go a day without a status update or Instagram snap!
Lip Balm Or Chapstick
Without sounding like a primadonna, lip balm is perhaps the most important thing for a happy plane journey. Air on planes lacks the quality and humidity of air outside of a flying metal tube, your throat gets dry, your lips get dry and you feel terrible, like really terrible. I love Carmex, which seems to be most effective in the pursuit of avoiding looking like Tom Hanks in Castaway.
Eye Mask And Ear Buds
A flight involves dings, flashing lights, sound systems, opening window blinds and all sorts of things that sound like a night club, but even less fun than a night club. You have no control over the rowdy environment around you so you might as well control what's on you. Never board a plane without an eye mask or ear buds, allowing you to create your own happy place, wherever you're sitting.
A Change Of Clothes
No one thinks it will happen to them until it does. Airline loses your luggage and you're stuck in two day old clothes which have weathered airports, airplanes and utter chaos. I once spent two days in ripped jeans without a change of clothes and wasn't even surprised when people began to hand me spare change. Even if it's basic, bring a change of clothes just in case that worst case scenario happens, which it does all the time.
Copy Of Itinerary + Passport
I know, I know, you probably have your itinerary on your phone, but sometimes apps require an internet or cell connection to pull it up and that just won't cut it for immigration agents or the award winning smilers behind the airline desk. Immigration agents often want to see return travel before they add another stamp to your passport so have a copy of your itinerary handy. While you're at it, make a copy of the photo page of your passport, it's your only ticket to a speedy recovery if it's ever lost or stolen abroad. It happens, all the time.
Put on some Marvin Gaye and lose yourself, just not too much. Any jet setter in the making needs comfortable headphones. You see, after a few hours those cheap and cheerful buds start to become painful and no one wants to be in any more pain than they already are on board an airplane. Get some comfy in ear or over ear headphones that drown out sound and feel like a pillow and bring an extra cheap pair just in case one breaks...
Travel Toothbrush + Toothpaste
There's beer breath, cheese breath and then there's a whole new level of breath purgatory known as airplane breath, where your dried out throat and mouth mutinies. Save yourself and those around you by bringing a toothbrush and toothpaste to freshen up on the flight and after. If you haven't been doing this, you now know why you have no friends.
Plane Socks, Plane Shoes Or Both
Planes really are a strange form of reality television in themselves and I'm not trying to turn up the drama advocating changing your socks in public. Discretely changing into a comfy pair of slippers or socks however is brilliant. Bring a comfy loose pair of socks or slippers to help circulation and comfort on your flight, just make sure to shower beforehand so that no one suffers...
A Pen. Yes, A Pen.
Asking a cabin crew member for their favorite pen is like asking a mother lion to borrow their cub. It's a bad idea and though it's amusing for others to watch, I wouldn't recommend it. Especially on international flights, bring your own pen and save yourself the hassle of begging, borrowing and dealing to fill out those little forms. You'll thank me later.