Over the last few months, airplane travel has been on everyone’s radar. Unfortunately, it’s not because of extremely cheap airfares, but because several airlines and passengers have proved that the friendly skies aren’t that friendly.
But what’s a person to do when you can’t just hop in your car and drive to the U.S. Virgin Islands or to your next European vacation? When you don’t have any alternative form of travel, the best thing to do is to make your travel experience as seamless and least frustrating as possible. Here are five travel accessories that could save you from having an airline meltdown.
1. The Away Carry-On With Charging Capabilities
You know what I hate more than anything when it comes to airports? The lack of power outlets. Who has time to search for outlets to power up your electronic device in case the flight has no outlets? You either run around looking for an outlet at the airport or get frustrated waiting for someone to finish charging his or her device at a kiosk.
But with two carry-on options from Away, not only do you get a sturdy piece of luggage, but it’s also equipped with two USB ports and a removable battery to charge your devices. The night before your flight, just plug in your suitcase to get a full charge, which is capable of supplying an iPhone with up to four full charges.
The Away Carry-Ons come in two Transportation Security Administration-approved sizes that also feature TSA-approved locks. In addition to the charging capabilities (you charge the battery with a regular adapter or USB, which is included), each Carry-On has two compartments: one designed for clothes, and the other for shoes, toiletries and other hard objects. The luggage also comes with a packing case for wet clothes. The smaller Carry-On is perfect for those who don’t pack a lot, while the Bigger Carry-On suits people like me who like to take no fewer than five pairs of shoes on a trip, even if it’s just a 24-hour turnaround.
I used my Bigger Carry-On on a recent trip to Chicago, and needless to say, I’ll probably never check another piece of luggage again. I was able to fit about a week’s worth of clothes and four pairs of shoes. Regarding size, the Carry-On is 1.7 by 13.7 by 9 inches, weighs 7 pounds and has a capacity of 38 liters. The Bigger Carry-On is 22.7 by 14.7 by 9.6 inches, weighs 7.3 pounds and has a capacity of 46 liters. Both Carry-Ons are scratch-resistant and are nestable with Away’s larger luggage (which does not come with charging capabilities).
2. Leakproof Bottles
Have you ever opened up your luggage and realized that your shoes and clothes are now wearing whatever liquids you were toting around? Yeah, it’s not a good feeling to have a pair of leather shoes stained with body oil. Been there, done that.
I actually didn’t come across LiquiSnugs on my own. My son traveled to Texas last summer and came back with these leakproof little silicone bottles. Sure, I initially used them to squirt water on him, but once I used them on a trip, they proved to live up to their leakproof hype. The bottles are, of course, TSA-approved and BPA-free. The set comes with two 3-ounce bottles and one 2-ounce bottle, and they also have adjustable labels, just so you won’t confuse your shampoo with your conditioner.
3. Noise-Canceling Bluetooth Headphones
I hate background noise. And I hate airplane noise even more. So I always have a pair of headphones with me when I’m traveling. Now, I’m someone who isn’t going to spend $400 on a pair of Sennheiser headphones. Unlike my son, I’m a little more frugal when it comes to spending tons of money on something I could lose.
A few months ago, after reading review after review on Amazon.com, I spent a whopping $69.99 on a pair of Cowin E-7 Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Bluetooth Over-Ear Stereo Headphones. Although most people would probably prefer an ear-in headphone, I’ve never liked the feeling of earbuds in my ear. These headphones are lightweight, and the ears swivel. I’ve used them in noise-reduction mode, not only on my flights but also when I mow my lawn. I’ve never had a problem connecting via bluetooth, and the headphones come with a Micro USB cable and 3.5-millimeter audio cable.
4. A Backpack
Because I’m the parent of a high schooler who is soon to be a college student, backpacks are just one of the few things you can find stuffed in my closets. I think I still have backpacks from when my son was in middle school, and a few from his senior year. I guess you can call us backpack collectors.
When I travel, typically all I need is a carry-on (see above) and a backpack. Inside my backpack is purse and my laptop, as well as snacks, headphones and my makeup bag. I make sure that my one personal item for flights has everything I need. Now, what type of backpack you choose has everything to do with preference and how much money you want to spend. I have definitely never spent more than $30 on a backpack; my current backpack, similar to the one above, was found at a thrift store for $6.
I was not born with the patience of that dude Job from the Bible. It was something I’ve learned over the years, especially after becoming a parent, pet owner and frequent flier. You can’t buy patience. You can’t get it from Amazon.com or Wal-Mart. Either you’re born with it or you’ve picked it up along the way. But if you don’t have patience, do the world a favor and stay off public transportation.
There’s nothing worse than being that person standing in the TSA line and acting as if you’re the only person who has to get somewhere. Earth to Mr. or Ms. No Patience: We’re all trying to get somewhere. Also, if you happen to be an adult who hates kids and there happen to be kids on your flight, remember, you were once an annoying-ass kid as well. Kids are people, too, and occasionally they’re on planes. Put on your noise-canceling headphones and enjoy the ride.