Monday, August 26, 2019

Kindle?? Aromatherapy Oils? No, Just the Essentials, Please

There's no limit to the number of things you can buy to make your flight more comfortable, improve your travel experience, flatten your wallet. You’ve seen them in airline magazines, airport shops, and Duty Free.

Books. Magazines. Bottled water. Smart Water. Ear pods, anyone? Hydrate with Egyptian Magic. Cut out sensory input with noise-deafening headphones. Relax your neck into a beanbag pillow. Indulge in a Premium Trail Mix. Pack a mini bottle of Seagrams.

I agree. All those things would reduce the stress and strain and help me arrive feeling fresh(er) and (more) relaxed.

The trade off is having room left in your luggage for a t-shirt and toothpaste. Especially if you only use a rollaboard.

If I had loads of money and someone to schlep my oversized bags, I’d be flying First Class, drinking Dom Perignon, and changing shoes every day. As it is, I carefully weigh the pros and 
cons of taking extra shoes vs. tools for better sleep, checking a bag with favorite lotions vs. making do with only a carry-on with 3-ounce limits. 

Here’s my essentials and indulgences for a trans-oceanic flight like the present one, and the trade-offs.

1-Carry-on only; no checked bag. Favorite lotions and medicines reduced to a few micrograms each, in screw-on contact lens cases. Don’t forget to label.

2-Earplugs and face mask. The plain drugstore silicone earplugs in a 1-inch case.
3-My newest toy: a sling to elevate my feet. It hangs from the seat-back tray table. This is my first trial flight. Takes up a lot of room in my carry-on, but improved my comfort and made it easier to stop fidgeting and fall asleep. Trade-off: left home extra socks and underwear; can wash those out by hand every night.

Note re second picture, from the internet: you will never have this much room on a plane. See first picture.

 4-For this trip only, an ultra thin Thermarest self-inflating air mattress. Doubles as a yoga mat for the yoga retreat I’m attending in the Czech Republic and extra padding on those awful princess-and-the-pea hostel bunks. And it was a lifesaver during a 7-hour layover following only two hours sleep on my first, overnight flight. I blew it up and crawled into a corner at Dublin airport for an additional nap. The Thermarest pairs well with...

5-...My Pillow, travel size. It’s a particular brand. I LOVE it. I’ll never go back to those dreadful inflatable horseshoes that never properly cradled my head. The Thermarest and My Pillow are bulky even when compressed. To make room, I left home my fleece vest and knit hat. If it’s cold in Denmark in late September, I can double up t-shirts and wrap my scarf around my head.

Next trip, I am tempted to add something I saw today in the Duty-Free catalog: fancy Nano-Pods earphones—wireless, self-contained music devices, supposedly delivering higher-fidelity music than what’s possible on cell phones.

Trade-off: I could leave home my toothpaste and buy a new tube across the Pond.

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