If you’re headed this way on holiday, there’s a good chance you’ll be spending the first day or so of your vacation on a plane. Fret not! While the flight probably--hopefully--won't be the highlight of your trip, there's no reason you shouldn't enjoy it.
To paraphrase an old adage: there's no such thing as a bad flight, just a poorly packed carry-on.
Having taken nearly a dozen trans-pacific flights, I've perfected my in-flight packing list for surviving the long haul. The list is extensive, but trust me when I say there is nothing worse than feeling bored, hungry, hot/cold--you name it--on a 10+ hour flight (#beenthere). Tuck even just a few of these items into your bag for a flight that's guaranteed to feel first class, even from the back of economy (#beentheretoo).
The Wash Kit
For a flight this long, a well stocked wash kit will be your best friend. For inevitably, there will come a time when you feel one or more of the following: dried out, puffy, and/or irritated (are you still reading or have you gone off to enjoy something that reads a little less like Web MD?).
While nothing can replace a solid day of pre-flight hydrating, the right skincare products and routines work wonders to combat the inevitable unpleasantness that comes with flying. This is what works for me:
After prepping my face with a cleansing cloth, I follow a basic in-flight routine: serum, sheet mask, moisturizer--a habit I developed during my time in Korea. Some of my favorites for traveling include this serum superpack (which offers a variety of serums based on skin need rather than skin type), these sheet masks (which are specifically designed for skin hydration), and this unbelievably expensive, but legendary moisturizer (I currently use the original, but I'm thinking of switching to this lighter gel version). Lastly, I apply a thick layer of vaseline to my lips, which always seem to dry out first.
Beyond that, I always include a few wipes, a small deodorant, a toothbrush, and toothpaste for all the obvious reasons. And while I have strict no makeup while flying rule, I still tuck some basics--tinted sunscreen, a sheer, matte lipstick, mascara--and a solid perfume into my wash kit to be applied during that awkward time between landing and departing the plane. You never know who you'll run into...or who's waiting for you at the gate!
Any time I'm traveling over an ocean, I pack an entire outfit in my carry-on just in case my luggage is delayed or lost. Since I'm already wearing my trusty travel uniform (pants, top, oversized sweater, walkable flats), this secondary set tends to be composed of opposing pieces: a bathing suit instead of underwear, dressier (read: less comfortable) sandals, and a shift that can carry me from day to night. This way, I don't have to change any of the activities on my itinerary while I wait for luggage to be delivered.
Other than that, I recommend leaving a good amount of empty space for souvenirs. The best souvenirs are unique and deserve to be handled with care--after all, you can't get them anywhere else in the world! Packing them in your carry-on eliminates any possible heart break at the baggage carousel.
The Personal Item
As someone who immediately stows my carry-on in the overhead compartment and promptly forgets about it until the end of the flight, the personal item is my go-to bag for traveling. EVERYTHING that I hold near and dear goes into this bag (so yes, yes, mainly snacks...). A big, roomy bag is essential.
I always pack my electronics (laptop + camera + headphones + chargers) here rather than my carry-on for easy access, security, and protection. While I'd love to own this bag one day, for now a combination of these cord organizers and these pouches ensure nothing gets lost, tangled or broken.
You also can't go wrong with bringing at least two pens (as one will inevitably get lost or borrowed when it comes time to fill out the customs forms) and a notebook for planning itineraries, jotting down recommendations, and documenting any general observations. On the same note, trade the in-flight movies for a quality book; you won't regret it. Bonus points if it puts you in the island mindset.
My favorite thing to pack on the return trip: postcards. Writing home about your adventures makes the vacation last just a littleeee longer while letting others share in the fun. You can get your typical postcards at the airport, but scout local hotels and coffee shops for some surprising finds.
Whether you wear them or pack them (in the personal item, of course), the extras are where you make your money.
Before my first trip to Korea, my brother--an expert traveler for both business and pleasure--suggested I invest in a pair of compression socks (to prevent swollen ankles), a pair of thin slippers (so you can kick off your shoes and be done with it), and a sleeping mask (as planes are rarely ever dark when you want them to be). After several trips back and forth, I now suggest you do the same. There are a ton of options for all of the above; but for an added feel of luxury, pick up this velvet mask infused with the scent of lavender. Absolutely dreamy, in every way possible.
Lastly, remember that thing I mentioned about planes having the uncanny ability to dry you out? Well all the Korean sheet masks in the world won't make you look--or feel--better after a long flight if you don't do your part: drinking water. (And, I hate to say it, easing off the free in-flight booze. Although, I'm also a believer in the one glass of champagne, two glasses of water method....because, well, champagne.) Stay hydrated with the help of this water bottle which you'll 100% need at the beach, on a hike, or anywhere else on island anyway.
Happy flying, xo.