The dreaded situation of every traveler: The Layover. We have all been in that hot seat- whatever the extenuating circumstances may have been to have landed you there.. Here we are!
Well, this is just wonderful, your luggage is already checked through and is winging its way to your final destination, while you find yourself stationary and seated once again by the gate staring at the closed off entry door with such intensity that it should be melting under your gaze. Your fingers dancing across the screen of your phone as you send an angry message to your nearest and dearests detailing the latest flight update. As good as it feels to release your pent up rage and hit the send button to that eager recipient, your fate is unchanged. You are still in the airport with nothing but your carry-on at your feet.
With the allowed size and weight of carry-ons being systematically reduced with each passing day, it becomes increasingly more necessary to tediously weed through those select items.
Now, what is neatly packed away in that carry-on? How can you best prepare yourself for this unwanted situation?
I can still hear the voice of my Grandmother, who was lucky enough to have traveled to just about to every corner of the globe, advising me: "Are you ready for your trip, darling? Do you have everything you need in your carry-on just in case your luggage is misrouted or lost?"
I bet you, my curious reader scrolling down this article, may be thinking "Well, what are some of the articles on the mystical List of Carry-on Items? Let's have it.."
The Survival Kit:
- An extra 2 pairs of undergarments & socks. Your feet will most likely be a little overheated from running around airports all day and being cooped up in shoes for an extended period of time. Changing your socks will not only restore the feeling of being fresh, but also keep you a bit warmer being that you are removing an article that may be slightly moist by transpiration.
- Granola Bar. You're not you when you're hungry. Having a snack on hand can help curb your already on edge nerves. You never know what may be available at the airport to snack on. Plus, being able to eat something that you chose and have control over while you are in a situation that is out of your control may help you a little bit psychologically.
- Empty water bottle (that can be filled on the other side of security). Depending on the time of your arrival to the airport, restaurants or grab-and-go kiosks may already be closed. Having a bottle already on hand (no matter what the size is) can be a major stress reliever.
- Toothbrush & Toothpaste. Please, for the love of other humans who are surrounding you, please, do not forget the toothbrush and a tube of travel-sized tooth paste. Is it just me, or does brushing ones teeth make one feel instantly better? A sensation that seems to aid in removing negativity and leave you with a minty fresh smile looking back at you in the fluorescent lit bathroom.
- Baby wipes. Giving yourself a refreshing sponge bath can actually provide you with an immense amount of comfort. A quick 10 second "wipe bath" of your eer.. more sensitive areas make you feel cleaner. Baby wipes also do not dry out your skin as much as sanitizing gel does; plus it's not a liquid, so you do not have to add them into the quantity approved liquid baggy while going through security.
- Lotion. Your skin may be a little more dehydrated than normal when you're in the airport. Rubbing a little bit of lotion on your hands can help relieve stress. While you are there, why not give yourself a nice little hand massage? Giving your thumbs just a bit of TLC in this lull in the action could be a good use of your time.
- Book/ magazine. Experiences living abroad, traveling frequently and waiting in long snaking lines for unknown durations of time has taught me one thing: no matter where I am going always have something to read on hand. For me, it is literally as important as dropping your keys and phone in your bag as you are heading out the door. Let's be honest, there really is only so many times that you can refresh your Instagram news feed or your email inbox. And yes, even though they do love you dearly, eventually those people whom you are texting will go to sleep.
- Eye Mask. Airport lights are extremely bright and the shiny floors don't seem to help much either. However, use with caution. Before putting on your eye mask, make sure that your belongings are wrapped around the limbs of your body in some way. You don't want your carry-on wandering off on its own or finding it's way to a far corner of the world without you leading the way.
- Earplugs. When you're buzzing around the airport galloping from gate to gate, or even sitting at a restaurant sipping a glass of wine while waiting for your boarding time, you may not be aware that there are standard announcements and reminders that are on loop at pre-set intervals. However, when the airport consists of only yourself maybe a small handful of other travelers and the graveyard airport staff, the jingles and announcements ring through loud and clear more often than appreciated. Word to the wise, set your alarm clock with vibration, on the off chance that you fall into a level of hard-core comatose sleep status.
- Charging cords. Goes without saying, another item that is an automatic when traveling but I am putting it on the list for the interest of being thorough and complete. Some/ most airports do have charging stations, but airing on the side of caution you don't want to find yourself at a location where either your charger isn't one at public disposal or it's already taken by that influencer who is camped out in the next chair.
And, my Grandmother's go to tagline for any situation where one leaves the home: "Did you bring a sweater?" Sweaters can be rolled up and used as a makeshift pillow, put over you like a blanket or actually worn as intended.
- BONUS ITEM!: Tennis Ball: Place the ball between the wall and your back, rolling it up & down your spin, or around your shoulder blades can relieve built up tension from your travels. When seated on board your flight or at the gate while waiting to board, you can move the ball up and down your thigh muscles or roll it from toe to heel on your feet. Of course it's not as relaxing as being on a massage table while a professional works their magic, but something is better than nothing.
Personally, when I have these items in my carry-on while traveling it makes the experience that much more enjoyable. By no means will this list make you think twice about reserving a hotel room, that's not the intent, however, in a bind you may find that being equipped with these choice light weight options will result in a smoother journey.
What do you normally pack in your carry-on? Are you rethinking your list of bare essentials for your next trip?
Bon voyage fellow traveler!
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