The ultimate packing list for the plane

The ultimate packing list for the plane

For someone obsessed with going places, I sure hate the actual process of getting there. The idea that once crossed my mind of becoming a flight attendant was quickly overshadowed by thoughts of being stuck in an airplane 20 days a month with the stale air, germs and clogged aisles—not to mention turbulence. Short of ponying up some big bucks and buying a seat in first class, here are my tips for making the best of your next flight.

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Short Haul (Less than four hours)

The obvious advantage of these quick flights is that you’re not stuck in a 20 inch seat for too long, but the trade off is that if you’re travelling in North America you will likely be deprived of actual food. Make sure you grab something before you board, or you’ll be paying $8 and up for a sandwich. This does depend a lot on where you’re flying however, as I have been treated to full meals during a one-hour domestic flight in Asia.


While sweatpants are comfortable to curl up in, try to keep it classy for those shorter trips. Well-dressed passengers have a much better chance of getting a last-minute upgrade than their casual counterparts.

You’ll also want to have a book or a magazine on hand: some airlines don’t provide any in-flight entertainment on short flights, and staring at the back of the seat in front of you gets pretty boring after about half an hour.

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Long Haul (Eight hours or more)

The beauty of these is that you get free (free!) liquor on international flights. The bad news is the booze will also likely give you a headache and make it that much harder to adapt once you get to that foreign land. Caffeine and alcohol are big no-nos on long haul flights, but who am I to stop you? Just try to drink an equal amount of water before landing to combat any issues. You’ll likely be treated to at least a couple of meals, but if you have any dietary restrictions make the airline aware of them before boarding, otherwise you may be stuck with whatever they’re offering.

You’re going to have a lot of time to kill, so make sure you’ve got headphones to plug into the entertainment system so you don’t have to pay for them onboard. Airlines like Singapore Airlines offer connectivity for iPods and iPhones, brand new movies, TV shows, music channels and games. Can’t wait until you land to check in on Facebook or tweet? Emirates Airlines is just one of the carriers that has free wi-fi available on select flights.

Regardless of how many time zones you’re crossing, you will likely be exhausted once you land, so it’s important to try and get as much shut-eye on board as possible. Some flyers prefer to take Gravol to alleviate motion sickness and help them sleep, or you can block out the bright lights the old-fashioned way with an eye pillow Yes, you will look ridiculous. Who cares. For good measure, bring a travel pillow too. There are even some pillow/blanket combos on the market like this one from Lug which easily zips up into a compact case.

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Comfort is key on these flights so dress accordingly. If you think there is a chance your good looks will be enough to grant you an upgrade, go ahead and dress up. The rest of us are wise to stick to breathable, comfortable clothes. Lululemon gear is a great choice, since it’s easy to clean, doesn’t smell and looks great. Footwear is also important to consider, and a new brand of leather ballet flats are proving popular with female travellers—and Oprah. Tieks are available in a wide range of colours for fashionistas, fold up flat and provide a solid sole that you can gallivant all over Europe in.


Finally, think of how you want to look when you touch down on the tarmac. A few travel-sized items in your carry-on can do wonders, like a toothbrush and toothpaste, lip balm, deodorant and moisturizer. A mini-pack of facial wipes is one of my personal favourites, since they can be used to wipe your face and body. After 17 hours of travelling with one more flight to go, you’ll be glad you brought them!

What’s the one item you always bring onboard with you? Comment below, or tweet me!


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