After graduating college your friends start to split up into different cities, and in order to stay in touch you visit them every now and then. I’ve fallen into a routine of visiting DC and New York anywhere from two to half a dozen times a year, and because of this I’ve come up with a short list of essentials for traveling. Whether it’s for a weekend getaway or a week long vacation, you’ll want these things with you at the airport.
The Perfect Carry On. Luggage is a lot like prom dresses; sure there are plenty of options, but they all kind of look the same. I generally don’t like items like this, because it’s that much harder to find one that is unique and meshes well with your personal style. When this happens I usually end up going super classic (see: black weekender duffles) or wacky (see: striped option). I used to think that rolling options made you look like a big old nerd, but trust me, when you need to walk 7 blocks to find a cab and the shoulder strap is slowly ripping the fabric on your duffle, you’ll rethink that nice hard shell option (yes that actually happened to me, no I do not recommend stuffing a handle of gin into your bag on top of a long weekend’s worth of shoes and outfits). I actually think the hard shell carry on is the easiest to make your own with the help of stickers (like Chiara above). Collecting a sticker for each city you visit is a great way to customize your bag and also silently brag about how well traveled and cultured you are. So it’s a win-win.
A Spacious Tote or Backpack. For your second carry on, you’ll want something large that can fit all the random crap you carry with you just in case you need it. I like totes or backpacks for this, since you can put them on your shoulder and free up your arms for carrying other things or pulling out your ticket when you need it.
Comfortable Shoes. As I mentioned before, you never know how much walking, running, or standing around you’ll be doing when you travel. Obviously you don’t want to look like a slob while traveling, but you don’t want to get caught in a heeled bootie with 10 minutes to make it across the airport for your connecting flight either. Opting for a stylish sneaker is generally the way to go. Flats are also fine, but I run into cold feet on the flight when I can’t wear socks.
A Cozy Sweater. I don’t know about you, but I’m always cold on planes. On a recent trip to DC my flight was delayed over an hour and we were stuck on the tarmac with the AC blasting so cold that it looked like dry ice was evaporating under the seats. Yes, it was so cold there was fog forming in the plane. No, they didn’t turn it down despite many people asking if they could. And so my advice to all travelers is to always pack a sweater. Always.
Headphones. Obviously you’ll need headphones if you want to listen to music or watch the in flight movie, but they’re also a great opportunity so showcase your personal style. It seems like headphones started to become a fashion statement after the Beats by Dre line was released. Since then Frends has emerged as a favorite among fashionistas, and I would have to agree. I like the clean look with just the right amount of bling, and interchangable covers allow you to switch up your look (although some models are pretty over the top). Don’t forget to consider sound quality while you’re shopping around! If it comes down to a decision of sound versus looks, I would go with sound. You do have to actually listen to them after all. As a matter of practicality, I prefer over the ear headphones since you can simply put them around your neck when you need them out of the way, but it’s a matter of personal preference. Side note: Bluetooth options are tempting since you don’t have to deal with tangled wires, but remember they won’t plug in to your on flight movie!
Sunglasses or Eye Mask. When you have an absurdly early flight time in the sky becomes prime nap time. Well, really any time can be prime nap time if you want it bad enough. Even though you’ll be that passenger, trust me, it’s worth it. And if the eye mask you’re using has age-reversing ingredients infused in the fabric, all the better.
A Notebook. My mind is always racing around trying to list all the things I need to get done or coming up with new ideas to try, especially when I’m just sitting somewhere with time to kill. Having a place to scribble it all down helps me both remember it and actually get it done. Plus, writing down your goals makes you more likely to achieve them =)
What do you guys think? Did I miss any travel essentials? What do you always bring with you on a plane?
Image via Instagram user @chiaraferragni