What’s In My Carry-On

Deciding what to pack in a carry-on can be a daunting task for the inexperienced traveler, but it doesn’t have to be as hard as you think! If you want to walk through security with ease, keep your carry-on baggage to a minimum. Keep jewelry to a minimum and leave most in your checked luggage to avoid setting off the alarm and keep your bag organized so that you can unload what needs to be unloaded quickly and minimizing that flustered feeling of having everything falling out all over the place.

I have a few items that are always in my carry-on.

carry on essentials

1. Passport – a no brainer. Keep your passport safe and on you at all times during your pre-departure and flight.

2. A small packet of facial wipes lets you remove makeup before a long flight and feel refreshed after a red eye flight. Keeping makeup to a minimum is a good idea to let your skin breath and to avoid dull skin when you land.

3. Headphones are a must for me, at all times. I’m often on overnight flights and I have a calming playlist ready to go that helps me to fall asleep and block out any noises from the people around me. Listening to a bunch of people snoring in close proximity is not the ideal situation for sleep.

4. An eye mask is another essential item to help you get the best sleep you can on a plane. You’ve got the headphones to block out the noise and the eye mask to keep out the light.

5. Vitamin C Energising Face Spritz from The Body Shop. This is the perfect travel size (100ml) and is great not only to help keep your makeup in place for day to day use but keeps your skin from looking dull after a flight and is an instant pick me up that refreshes the skin. Plus a quick blast of cool spray on the face helps to wake you up.

6. My skin is notoriously dry and having a mini hand lotion keeps my skin soft and smooth and a good lip chap keeps them from drying and splitting, especially after sitting in a plane for a long period of time with less drinking water than I’m used to. Planes and long flights are a breeding ground for dehydration and dry skin. Drink up and moisturize!

7. A novel can keep me entertained for hours. I prefer to read the old-fashioned way with a real book in my hand, despite the extra space and weight it takes up. But if you are tight for space and want to carry multiple books with you, a kindle is the way to go.

Though not shown or mentioned here, having some healthy snacks is always a good idea. Nuts/seeds or dried fruits are great non-perishables for flights to perk up your energy and hush a starving belly.

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So You’ve Got a Reaaallly Long Flight… Now What?!

“When you get into an airplane by yourself and take off,
you find yourself in this lovely, three-dimensional world
where you can go in any direction. There is no
feeling any more exciting than that,”
– Gene Roddenberry

The harsh reality of travel (for some) is that it can quite literally take days to arrive at your destination, even by plane. For those on a budget, this is even more of a reality in which you end up having to take a plane, bus, and donkey just to get from one city to another in order to save a couple dollars. Even without all of the transportation switch-ups, it can take a 24 hour flight to get from, say, Canada to Australia. So you’ve decided where you want to go and that no amount of distance can stop you. Congratulations! You won’t regret it, but there are a few things you can do to make the travel time a little better.

1. Stay hydrated!
It can be easy to forget to drink when you’re on a flight because you’re not particularly exerting yourself. Take advantage of those little cups of water that come around every so often, but also try to bring a larger amount of water for yourself. We should be drinking half of your body weight in ounces every day and it makes all the difference. Once you land, your skin won’t appear so dull and tired as it might feel.

Also, carry facial wipes to wipe your face on the flight. This will remove excess dirt and oil from the day and it’s just better for your skin to breath without makeup blocking up your pores.

2. Dress for comfort.
I’m always one to dress for comfort on planes. Leggings, a comfy top, a sweater in case it gets chilly (and it always does!). A scarf makes for an excellent accessory to use as a cushion for your head or blanket to keep warm.

Wear clothes that allow your body to sit comfortably, to fall asleep in without snagging, squeezing, or being generally annoying.

Pick shoes that are easy to slip on and off. If you’re on a long flight, slipping off your shoes is wonderful.

If you can dress for comfort and style at the same time, then do it! It will help you look and feel a little more put together after sitting around for 10+ hours, in and out of sleep.

3. Move around.

Try not to stay seated the entire time. This can lead to sore muscles, stiff joints, and a numb butt. Stand up, walk around, do a few simple stretched to get your limbs loose and your blood flowing.

4. Entertainment

There is nothing worse than being stuck on a 10 hour flight with no form of entertainment. Not all aircrafts come with TVs on the seats (you may want to check for this when booking a flight). Other forms of entertainment include books, ipads/tablets, games on your phone, music, pen and paper if you like to draw or write, and of course the tried and true… CARDS! Pull out a deck of cards and be friendly, chat with the person sitting next to you (as long as they’re not trying to sleep).

5. Make your meal requests beforehand.

If you have specific dietary concerns (vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, allergies, etc.), its important to mention this before the flight. Usually you are able to do this during the booking process and thankfully most airlines are accommodating when it comes to dietary restrictions or preferences.

6. Opt for food that is light and healthy prior to boarding.

You don’t want to be stuck in close proximity to a bunch of other passengers with your stomach feeling like it’s been loaded full of rocks.

7. Try to sleep.

If I will be arriving to my destination during the evening, then I usually do my best to stay awake for as much of the flight as I can. This helps me pass out as soon as my head hits the pillow at my accommodation.

If you’re arriving during the day, it’s important to try and sleep during your flight. Both of these suggestions help to reduce jet lag. To help get you to sleep, I highly recommend investing in an eye mask and some ear plugs. These are incredibly useful on the flight and if you are staying in shared accommodations like hostels.

What I wouldn’t suggest bringing is a blow up pillow that wraps around your neck. They really aren’t that great and it’s just an added thing to have to carry around with you afterwards.

Some travelers opt for sleeping pills to help them nod off. Melatonin is a more natural sleeping aide that has helped me in the past. I’ve also used Ambien on my flight home from Thailand, which was a little miracle. However, I probably wouldn’t take any type of sleeping aides on my first long-haul flight unless I knew how my body reacted to them already.

8. Handle Turbulence and Nausea.

Not only does turbulence make some folks jittery, it can also cause nausea. Again, refrain from eating fatty foods before the flight. Excess fat plus turbulence can lead to stomach troubles. Same goes for carbonated and alcoholic drinks.

Picking a seat in the middle of the plane, by the wing, will result in feeling less turbulence than sitting in the far back or front.

Ginger pills are a natural option for preventing nausea. Take them before take-off and landing.

Practicing some deep breathing exercises can also help clear your mind and calm your body.

9. Relax :)

You can’t change the circumstances of your flight. Accept this, sit back and relax. Don’t forget, there is bottle service for those who like to have an alcoholic beverage or two. Try not to drink too much though, as you can end up feeling even more exhausted after a flight thanks to the alcohol dehydrating your body. There is always a journey to be had before arriving to your destination so you might as well try and enjoy it.

Do you have any other helpful ways to make a long flight better?

Hostel Etiquette To Live By.

There is not a single person alive who can say that their favorite part about staying in a hostel is the sleeping. For me specifically, attempting to sleep in a hostel is always a struggle and I usually have to resort to wearing headphones or earplugs and an eye mask. While every traveler is different and their opinions about hostel etiquette will differ, I’ve compiled a list of the main rules of staying in a hostel that, in my opinon,  are the most important. While not many declares them, they are certainly an unspoken code of hostel living, and should be followed if you’re planning on spending your time in a hostel.

1. Do not turn on all the lights if you are coming back late or leaving bright and early. If you can’t see, that’s your own fault. Should have brought a flashlight. Or use your cellphone/I-Pod.

2. Don’t hog the bathroom, especially if there’s ten people and one bathroom. Other people have places to be and need to shower too.

3. Don’t rustle your bags early in the morning/late at night. Bring cloth bags for your dirty clothes, toiletries, or whatever you’re using those damn plastic bags for.

4. Do not talk on your phone in the middle of the night. Yes, it happens.

5. Don’t take up half the floor space with the contents of your backpack. Someone will trip. Or steal your stuff and really, it’s just obnoxious.

6. Don’t Steal. As fellow dorm mates, backpackers, travelers in general, we are all in the same boat.

7. SNORE. Seriously, if you are an insufferable snorer, just go to the hotel or get a private room.

8. Pack your bag the night before you have to leave, especially if you’re leaving early in the morning. You get to sleep an extra fifteen minutes and you don’t disturb anyone!

9. Be friendly. Talk to the newcomers of the room, make them feel welcome, invite them out if a bunch of you are going somewhere.

10. Share stuff with people. As a woman who travels without a hair straightener(mainly because they never work anywhere, no matter what converter I use), I love when girls will offer to share theirs with me. Book swapping is great, too.

11. Leave behind lotions, clothes, etc. that you’re planning to throw out because you’ve got new stuff and need to make room in your bag.

12. If you must have sex with that gorgeous guy with the irresistible foreign accent, please don’t do it on the bunk beneath me. These beds shake and squeak, and no matter how quiet you think you’re being, everyone can hear you.

13. If you’re coming back from partying all night and are cheerfully drunk, please shut up. We are not, and we don’t want to hear about how drunk you are. Also, don’t continue the conversation with your friends when you walk into the room, even if you’re whispering.

14. Do your laundry. Nobody wants to be stuck in a stuffy room that smells like old, sweaty clothes.

15. If you’re in the common room and the majority of people are watching a show or a movie, don’t waltz in and change the channel.

16. If there is a complimentary breakfast or anything else offered for free, please don’t take the entire box of pasta, jug of milk, or loaf of bread. Leave enough for others.

17. Clean up after yourself. Don’t leave your dirty dishes laying around or anything else dirty for that matter. Cleaning staff only comes around every so often and your mom isn’t here to clean up after you.

There it is. If you follow these rules then you’re likely to make more friends and have a more enjoyable time. If anyone has extra unspoken hostel rules to share, feel free to leave a comment!