Hi there! My name is Rachel Haskins, that's me down below in the photo. I am a recent college graduate and an avid traveler. I was fortunate enough to do quite a bit of globetrotting during the last four years, and I learned very quickly that being prepared makes all the difference when traveling long distances. Here is a list of the things I never leave home without, whether I’m flying to Pittsburgh or Paris; from cosmetics to entertainment to compression (!!), these must haves are game changers for travel!
*If traveling domestically, make sure to check if your state has complied with the latest licensing regulations - in some states, driver’s licenses are no longer an acceptable form of federal identification and a passport may be required.2. Headphones
I never, never, never step foot in an airport without a pair of headphones. For domestic flights, I usually put them in to avoid conversing with the person next to me. I should qualify that I’m not completely antisocial, but I often fly solo and I like to use that time to read, sleep, or reflect. Telling someone my life story disrupts this “zen” for me. On international flights, I bring headphones so I can watch movies. I mean seriously, do you REALLY want to use the headsets provided by your airline? No thanks.
It goes without saying that phone and computer chargers are a necessity. But don’t leave them in your checked baggage! Almost all planes now have outlets under the seats, so you won’t be left with a dying phone when you arrive at your destination. Also, for professionals on the go, in-flight is a great time to get work done without many distractions. (Sometimes I also download TV shows on my laptop). The bottom line is that if you liked to be plugged in when you’re in the air, don’t be caught without a charger.
4. Chewing Gum
For as long as I can remember, my Mom has given me chewing gum to take on the plane with me. My ears don’t pop as badly as they did when I was younger, but old habits die hard. Besides, it’s inconvenient when your ears pop and you can’t hear a word your neighbor or a flight attendant says. Gum takes up no space in a carry on, and it serves the dual purpose of keeping your ears clear and your breath fresh!
5. One book (at least!)
I usually have two or three books crammed into my carry on, and then another four magazines. I’ll be the first to admit that I never finish all of this reading, but I like options! While I have definitely watched 3+ movies on long flights, sometimes the in-flight entertainment is lacking. And on short flights, FORGET the option of watching a movie. Flying is a great time to catch up on the news - or read a steamy summer novel just for fun.
6. Small cosmetic case
(facewash, toothbrush, coverup, etc.)
I like flying, but I hate how dirty I feel afterwards. That recycled plane air wreaks havoc on my hair, skin, and overall hygiene. So I never pack my carry on without a small cosmetic case. I always bring my toothbrush, a hairbrush, face wash, and a dab of makeup if I have to be somewhere immediately after landing. A mid-flight freshen up can work wonders on the second half of a journey.
7. Sweater or sweatshirt
There are a few things in life I know to be (almost) always true. One of these things is that airplanes get COLD. Shivering your way through a flight - especially a long one - is no way to start a trip. And airplane blankets never quite seem to cover your whole body. So even though it’s bulky, and you might be flying in the middle of summer, bring a sweatshirt (or a sweater if that’s more your style). If you don’t wear it you can use it as a pillow. You won’t be sorry.
8. Reusable water bottle
Hydration is KEY on long flights, and the refreshment carts just don’t circulate enough. I have been guilty of buying a plastic bottle once I’m through security, but my inner tree-hugger always feels bad! Reusable bottles will keep you hydrated and environmentally friendly - just make sure to empty them BEFORE walking through security!
9. Extra undies!
My mom always told me to pack an extra pair of underwear in case my luggage was lost. I never listened to her. And then I went to Paris for 10 days and when I landed, my luggage didn’t. It was a mad, jetlagged dash around Paris to try and find clothing, and guess at how much I would need before my bag arrived. After 24+ hours of travel, I was really sorry I never heeded my mom’s advice about extra underwear. So don’t be like me - bring extras !!
10. Lily Trotters compression socks
While unenjoyable, it is bearable to travel without everything on this list (except for ID). But traveling without my Lily Trotters compression socks is truly unthinkable. Family members of mine started wearing compression socks about five years ago. I thought it was crazy for someone my age to wear it - compression socks were for older people, right? WRONG. I wore compression socks for the first time on a 10 hour flight two years ago, and I have never looked back. BUT I don’t just wear any old compression. My Lily Trotters are thin enough to fit under leggings, durable enough to last a whole flight and then some, and they’re built to keep odor down so I’m not self conscious slipping off my shoes! How do compression socks work, you ask? Graduated compression socks or compression stockings as they are commonly referred to, minimize swelling that can occur after sitting for long periods of time. They help my legs feel energized, like I’m ready to run a race or climb the Eiffel Tower after several hours of sitting on an airplane. And as I mentioned, these symptoms can affect people of all ages! My favorite thing to do after a long trip is slip into a pair of flip flops, and after a flight in my LTs, I can do that without swollen ankles and toes. If you don’t pack anything else on this list, at least pack a pair or two of Lily Trotters compression sock for women!