Flying isn’t what it used to be. So long silverware, farewell free food, hello plastic cup of luke-warm Diet Coke. Between squished seats and lavatory line-ups, traveling in economy sometimes feels like survival of the fittest. Coping in coach is like a meeting of creativity and preparedness; pack the right essentials and its smooth skies ahead, but board with nada and that five-hour flight just turned into a transcontinental trek. To ensure your onboard experience is more jet-set than jarring, we’ve created the ultimate head-to-toe plane survival kit (in TSA-friendly sizes, too).
1. If you’re embarking on a multi-leg journey or cross-ocean jaunt, after a few hours, hair can start to get limp, greasy, and kinked. Touch down and sway your tresses like you’re in a Vidal Sassoon commercial by freshening your mane with dry shampoo.
We Like: Cake Beauty Satin Sugar Hair And Body Refreshing Powder ($9), or good old cornstarch-based baby powder.
2. Lack of moisture (and a glass or two of $6 airplane chardonnay) breeds bloodshot eyes. Keep your peepers hydrated and bright with eye drops.
We Like: Visine Eye Drops Advanced Redness Relief ($1.99)
3. You’re not driving down the PCH in a convertible, but a good pair of shades goes a long way when you want to ease into counting sheep, dial down the sun streaming through the window, or put a virtual “do not disturb” sign on your face.
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We Like: Retrosuperfuture Wayfarer Sunglasses ($183)
4. Our bodies are programmed to wake when it’s light and sleep when it’s dark. In a sun-filled cabin, a contoured smudge- and pressure-free eye mask is one of the best ‘sleeping aids’ for nodding off.
We Like: Bucky Blink Eye Mask ($45)
5. No matter how much water you consume or how many cucumbers you much on, your skin is going to get parched. It’s the way of the world at 37,000ft. Mitigate the dryness with a moisturizing mist that releases the skin’s tightness with a mix of toner and essential oils. Spritz once an hour.
We Like: Claudalie Beauty Elixir ($26)
6. Noise-canceling headphones are this list’s must-have playing double-duty as earplugs and headphones. Initiate the white noise feature and your petite yet powerful earbuds just turned into top-of-the-line, leather-contoured Bose headphones.
We Like: Sony Noise-Canceling Earbud Headphones ($69.99)
7. If you don’t want a plastic cup of water slip and sliding on your seat’s tray, fill up a foldable and non-leaking water bottle after security so you can drink on demand.
We Like: Vapur Water Bottle ($9.99)
8. Since taking a mid-flight shower in Emirates A380’s first class isn’t likely in the cards, brushing your teeth in economy class is the next best thing.
We Like: Scope Outlast Minibrush, Long Lasting Mint ($2.59)
9. Oversized scarves are an in-flight triple-threat. Both fashionable and functional, wear as a scarf or blanket, or sculpt into a neck support.
We Like: Nordstrom ‘Double Face’ Eyelash Fringe Wrap ($43.90)
10. Not many airlines have hand cream in the lavatories, and those that do offer a watered-down substitute, so bring your own to avoid cracking digits.
We Like: Crabtree & Evelyn Lavender Skin Conditioning Hand Recovery ($7)
11. If you’ve flipped through the in-flight magazine, sanitize. If you’ve touched your meal tray, sanitize. General rule: sanitize often, especially before touching food or your face.
We Like: de-luxe Travel-Sized Instant Hand Sanitizer, Rosemary Mint ($1.99)
12. Cold air tends to swish through the bottom of the cabin leaving toes a tad freezing. Keep your feet toasty and give them a mini spa treatment in the clouds with moisturizing sox; just make sure to bring rubber-soled hotel slippers to wear on top. Sox sans shoes or slippers are a flight etiquette faux pas—especially in the loo.
We Like: Bliss Softening Sox (good for up to 50 uses) ($48)
Photo credits: Collage by Trish Friesen