I was 19 years old when I took my first airplane flight. Up until that point, I thought air travel was cool, sophisticated, and even luxurious. 11 years and dozens upon dozens of flights later, I’m whistling a different tune.
I hate flying.
But with far-flung family and business partners all over the country, it’s become a necessary evil in my life. Over the years, I’ve picked up some tricks that make flying a bit more enjoyable. One thing I’ve learned is how important your carry-on bag is. It’s a totable cache of “survival” supplies.
Below are some items I recommend packing in you carry-on bag that can help make the experience a bit more bearable.
First, you’re going to need a carry-on bag to hold all your carry-on items. My Saddleback Briefcase is what I pack when flying. It’s a heavy beast, but it offers plenty of room to store all your essentials. Plus, I always get compliments on it from the TSA agents when I’m going through security.
You need something to pass the time during that “no electronic devices” phase of takeoff and landing. Wired and Esquire are often my go-to inflight magazines. They’re fun, easy reads. If all else fails, you can always flip through the SkyMall catalog during that time and fantasize about the day when you finally own a Bigfoot garden statue and an official Harry Potter magic wand.
It’s a laptop. It’s a tablet. No, it’s both! This ultrabook combines the best of both the laptop and tablet worlds. One could say it’s the Hannah Montana of personal computing devices. Use laptop mode when you need to put the finishing touches on a business presentation before you land in DFW; use the tablet mode when you have time to leisurely read the latest pop-business psychology book you downloaded using the Kindle app.
I know some people are really picky about the type of headphones they use. I’m not one of them. If they play decent sound without distracting others, I’m satisfied. That’s why I just end up using the headphones that came with my iPhone.
Sadly, airlines have been getting stingier and stingier with their in-air snacks. Some are even making you pay for a small bag of Chex-Mix. Because a dozen honey roasted peanuts isn’t enough to sustain my ferocious man appetite and because I want to avoid the eye-gouging prices at the airport, I always bring my own snacks from home.
Meal replacement bars are popular with lots of folks, but I prefer something a bit more savory, like beef jerky. It’s loaded with belly-filling and muscle-building protein and leaves no mess. My jerky of choice? Field Trip Beef Jerky. All-natural and tasty.
Airplanes are flying canisters of germs. There are so many chances to catch something while flying. First, your fellow passengers are a threat. There are usually one or two folks on your flight who are coughing and sneezing. Second, you have to worry about the people that sat in your seat in previous flights. There’s a good chance some runny-nosed toddler wiped his nose with his hands and then rubbed them on the armrest your hand is resting on. Yeesh.
To avoid getting sick while flying I try to do two things. First, I don’t touch my face as much as possible. That’s how germs typically spread – putting your grubbing hands near your facial orifices (who else was scared straight by the movie Contagion?). Second, I slather my hands with hand sanitizer regularly. Yes, it is a bit OCD, but after a string of sick periods after flying, I’m doing all I can to prevent another one. And so far, it’s worked.
Bring an empty bottle of water from home. Fill it up at the water fountain after you pass security. You just saved yourself $3 and have something to quench thirst after your little plastic cup of Diet Coke is empty. You’re welcome.
My wife and I once had our checked bags sent to the wrong destination. When we arrived to our correct destination, we didn’t have anything except for the clothes on our back — no toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs, brushes, deodorants, etc. While we were able to acquire our needed toiletries at the hotel shop, it was an expense that could have been avoided by simply packing our respective dopp kit and make-up bag in our carry-on bags.
Change of Underwear
Always pack a change of underwear even if you have checked bags. In case your bags get lost, you’ll at least be able to put on some clean drawers. Makes a world of difference.
Founded in January 2008, The Art of Manliness is a blog focused on reviving the lost art of manliness. With over 2 million monthly page views, The Art of Manliness represents a new kind of magazine for men, one that focuses on helping men become better citizens, fathers, husbands, friends, and simply all around better men. Husband and wife team, Brett and Kate McKay head up the blog. They live in Tulsa, OK.