These in-flight essentials make the time fly by

Make your long-haul trip a breeze with these in-flight essentials.

Get smart about what you pack in your carry-on. Image credit: PeopleImages/iStock
Get smart about what you pack in your carry-on. Image credit: PeopleImages/iStock

Whether you’re flying at the front of the plane or the back, you’ll feel like you’re traveling first-class every time if you pack these gadgets.

From headphones that come with a built-in PA, to skincare treats designed by one of New York’s hottest dermatologists, these items will make the hours in the air fly by in no time at all.

Noise-canceling headphones

There’s a baby crying, a traveler pleading with the flight attendant to let him switch seats, and trolleys clattering up and down the aisle. With a flick of a switch on a pair of noise-canceling headphones, you can zone out those rumbles and hums, plus any background chatter. All you’ll hear are your favorite tracks or the inflight movie you’ve been desperate to watch… or silence. Sweet, sweet, silence.

Two noise-canceling headphones that are Bluetooth compatible and can be connected to Alexa are Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones and Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones.

Luxury sleep mask

If you want to step off the plane looking like an A-lister, you need to slip on a sleep mask. Not only does it block out any light from your neighbor’s book reading session, but it also acts as the ultimate “do not disturb” sign.

Try Luxury Sleep Mask from Masters of Mayfair, which is 100 percent cotton with silk lining and an infused natural lavender scent. Or try the soft Tempur Sleep Mask.

Travel pillow

If you’re yet to master a great night’s sleep on the plane, pack a travel pillow in your carryon, it will help hold your body in an ergonomically correct position while you sleep and fly.

If the traditional u-shaped pillows don’t work for you, snap up one of the scarf-shaped pillows that contain hidden support and are easy to adjust. Try Trtl pillow or Huzi Infinity Pillow.

Feel fresh after that long-haul flight. Image credit: VladTeodor/iStock
Feel fresh after that long-haul flight. Image credit: VladTeodor/iStock

Waterless toothbrush

The quickest way to freshen up after your flight is to brush your teeth. Snap up a disposable toothbrush from duty-free if you left your brush in your checked luggage. Look out for the waterless Colgate Optic White Wisp Disposable Mini Toothbrush. This tiny toothbrush, which comes in packs of four, features the familiar toothbrush head at one end and a built-in toothpick at the other. The toothpaste is hidden in the brush and dissolves as you clean your teeth

Travel skincare kit

We all know those dehumidified aircraft cabins can dry out your skin, but did you know how drying they really are? The average aircraft cabin has only 20 percent humidity. To put that in perspective, the desert-based cities of Las Vegas and Phoenix have an average humidity of 30 and 36 percent respectively. So make sure you pack a moisturizer.

The New York-based skin guru Dr. Schultz has come to our rescue with the BeautyRx Airplane Skin Kit, which contains a hydrating facial mist, nourishing moisture cream, exfoliating pads, and cleansing pads to wipe away dirt.

Kindle Oasis

It’s not often you can kick back with a good book, but on a long-haul flight, you have plenty of time. With the Kindle Oasis, you can kick back with thousands of tomes at your fingertips. This superlight buy has a seven-inch screen that offers a high-resolution display. It’s also waterproof, so if you spill your sparkling wine while reading a jaw-dropping book, you don’t have to worry. And you can relax if you’re faced with a stopover, as a single charge can last for up to six weeks.

Portable phone charger

Once upon a time, if you saw your phone was low on battery, it could send you into a blind panic. Now, there are numerous portable phone chargers on the market, with some also capable of charging laptops. Just remember to check that your phone is compatible before you settle down for a game of Candy Crush. Try iMuto 20,000 mAH power bank or RAVPower 22,000 mAH power bank.

Stay connected. Image credit: izusek/iStock
Stay connected. Image credit: izusek/iStock

Travel socks

Keep puffy ankles and DVT at bay with a pair of travel socks. Choose one with moisture-wicking fabric, which helps keep your feet dry and cool when the cabin starts to warm up and make sure it has a cuff that stops them from sliding down when you sleep.
If you want to keep your feet smelling sweet, look out for anti-odor, anti-bacterial fabric. Try the seamless compression socks from Cambivo or Physix Gear Compression Socks for Men and Women.  

Cashmere wrap

Keep those aircon chills at bay with a cashmere wrap. Not only is cashmere fiber soft and light, but it can be up to three times more insulating than sheep’s wool. One that’s popular with A-listers is the White + Warren Cashmere Travel Wrap. It can stretch out to be as big as a blanket that will keep you warm on long-haul flights, but when you touch down, can roll up into a scarf. It comes in an array of colors.

Packing cubes

If you don’t want all of your washing to be on display when you go through security, snap up a set of packing cubes. These clever cubes help you organize your wardrobe and should you need to grab anything from your carryon mid-flight, you can immediately find what you need. Try the Paravel Packing Cube Trio or Flight 001 SpacePak Travel Bag Set.

Instant hotspot

Whether you’ve suddenly realized you’ve got a stopover or your foreign SIM card is about to max out, you can stay online with an instant hotspot.

These pocket-sized gadgets can give you connectivity in more than 130 countries. As they can usually support several gadgets, you can share the love with your family or coworkers too. You’ll often find they also act as a power bank so you can charge devices on the go. Try Skyroam Solis or Roaming Man U2 Global 4G Wifi Hotspot.

Cocktail kit

If you know just how you like your drink to be shaken or stirred, take your own cocktail kit on board. Inside the Carry On Cocktail Kit, you’ll find all the ingredients you need to make an Old Fashioned, Moscow Mule, champagne cocktail, gin and tonic, or bloody Mary. All packs include a recipe card, spirit measure, and a cocktail spoon. Each tiny TSA-compliant kit contains two servings. Chin-chin.


Claire Turrell

Freelance journalist Claire Turrell has lived and worked in London, Dubai, and Singapore. When she’s not busy writing, she is riding motorbikes off-road in Cambodia, diving in Oman or learning Muay Thai in Thailand.