After this last trip to Barbados, I realized I got really annoyed when the people sitting around me on the airplane were missing a crucial carry-on item.
Have you people NOT flown before?
How could you NOT have that on you?
Then I calmed my judgy self down and thought about that yes, indeed this might have been some folks first flight. They just don't know any better. Fine.
This post is for the people who don't know any better. Those who aren't seasoned travelers. I want to make your next (or first?) flight easier to get through so you have no surprises and look like you know what you're doing. I'm going to put you on the five things you need to have in your carry-on.
- Food: So you're gearing up for your 5 hour or 15 hour flight and you see in the booking that there will be food served on the airplane. If you are like myself, you have read reviews about what kind of meal this airline will be serving and the quality of it. Unless you are flying in business or first class, likely, it is some less than desirable meal. I have had some delicious meals in economy however, it is like a 2/10 occurrence. Make sure to bring snacks onto whatever flight you are taking. I know different airports have varieties of sanctions about which food you can actually bring through customs, doesn't matter. BRING. FOOD. ON. THE. PLANE. When I flew to Shanghai in December I was in the air for a little over 14 hours straight. There was three meals to be served and drinks in between. I had taken the time to research the food that China Eastern typically serves in economy, and I knew right away to make sure to purchase food at the departures terminal to have with me. It saved me on my flight. It really did. The food was mostly inedible for my tastes and imagine not eating much for 14 hours? No way. I stocked up at the departures gate on sandwiches, chips, nuts and brought on two 1.5 liter bottles of water. Even if you have a shorter flight that may be only 4-5 hours, bring something to munch on. I know airport prices for food are exorbitant but I rather you spend some extra money and have a happy belly on a flight than end up landing miserable and starving.
- Pen: This item was the sole reason behind me writing this blog post. This is the crucial carry-on item aforementioned. HOW THE HELL DO YOU TRAVEL WITH NO PEN TO FILL OUT THE CUSTOMS FORMS???? I get so annoyed at this, that it triggered a blog post and the usage of caps lock. Look what you made me do. For the love of god people, please carry a pen or two on you when you fly. I will tell you why this is important. Not only will it save you from being the head-ass who has to ask strangers to borrow their pens because you're unprepared, it will also save you time getting through customs. I don't want any of you being those poor people who didn't have a pen, didn't have anyone to borrow it from and now you're standing at that little table scurrying to fill the forms with that pen on a rope while everyone else is already in line to go through customs. This will save you time! I promise. Bring a pen.
- Headphones: I thought all of us traveled with these anyways, until I flew from St. Lucia to Atlanta. The flight crew announced over the speakers that they had run out of their own headphones to distribute to the passengers and I heard a big sigh in the plane. You people don't travel with headphones? Not even the little shitty dollar store ones? Really? Do not expect these airlines to have headphones to give you every time you fly OR be prepared for some airlines to charge you to purchase them. Always have a pair of headphones on yourself for flights because listening to people breathe or children crying will drive you absolutely mad. Also, you might miss out on watching movies that came out in 1999 on the TV in front of you - I want better for you.
- Portable Charger: Most of the flights I have taken recently have the charging ports for your cellphones for each seat, however, some still do not. If you have been paying attention to recent news, a flight earlier this month in Ottawa stayed on the tarmac for six hours. For those six hours, the passengers were not allowed to leave the plane. They just sat there waiting to disembark the entire time. Now I don't know about the rest of you, but if I had a phone that was dead and I couldn't cuss the airline on Twitter throughout those six hours - I probably would have been escorted off the plane forcibly by border guards. Furthermore, imagine you have family or friends waiting for you but you can't let them know the situation because your phone is dead. Or (heaven forbid) in case of an emergency, you want to have that phone charged. I bet Gilligan would have turned his roaming on and risked the data charges to be found on that island after being shipwrecked.
- Warm Top: If you have ever stepped a foot onto an airplane, this tip is pretty straightforward. If you have not, you need to do this. It doesn't matter if you are flying to a place that has weather of -40 or +40, the airplane is going to be an icebox. I do not get cold easily, I am usually a warmer body, but on airplanes? Forever cold. Anytime you get ready to fly somewhere, bring a light sweater to have on for the duration of the flight. I know some of my friends even bring small blankets and yes, some airlines will provide you with blankets as well. I'm paranoid and the blankets that others have used before creep me out, so I recommend just bringing your own sweater to keep you from freezing.
Special Mention to: a) Hand Sanitizer + b) Entire Outfits.
a) I recommend keeping a small hand sanitizer on you at all times when you fly because airplanes and airports are cesspools of sickness just waiting to attack your frail body during/after all that travel.
b) If you have luggage to check-in, make sure you keep one or two whole outfits in your carry-on when you are traveling to your destination. Many of us have had the unfortunate circumstance of an airline losing our luggage and suddenly you have nothing to wear for 24-48 hours until the airline gets your entire wardrobe back to you. You could also opt to JUST fly with a carry-on so you don't worry about things being lost, click HERE to read about how I managed to do that for a week in Barbados.
I hope this post helps some of you embarking on your first flights one day. The rest of us had to experience some of this bullshit so that you may never have to.