Air travel sucks, with companies getting stingier and stingier with their carry-on allowances and beverage services. All of that makes it hard to stay comfortable and hydrated. (10 percent humidity levels are de rigeur in airplane cabins.) But you can do better. Here are some tools to transform your holiday flight from bearable to enjoyable.
Aladdin Earthscapes Fresco bottle ($20 and up)
Before you board, fill up this insulated water bottle. Unscrewing the upper third reveals a wide mouth that’s easy to fill from a water fountain, and the narrower opening at the top keeps you from soaking yourself during unexpected turbulence.
Lovely Lady Everlasting-Argan Immortelle Facial Nutrient skin balm ($30)
I’m a fan of this small, Colorado-based company, which makes lotions and potions with premium organic ingredients. And this do-it-all salve offers a feel-good solution to in-flight dryness. My skin drinks it right in—I can spread it on my face and cuticles without any lingering greasiness. It doubles as a great lip balm, too.
Thule Subterra 34L Travel backpack ($160)
Smart design makes this pack so much better for travel than your average day-hiker. A dedicated side zip lets you quickly remove your laptop from its padded compartment. The exterior organizer pocket facilitates fast access to a phone, chargers, boarding passes, and earphones. A removable packing cube compresses a weekend’s worth of clothes and keeps them separate from the sweatshirt you want to keep handy for the flight. Best of all, the pack fits underneath the seat in front of you.
ThirdLove Seamless Lounge bra ($48)
This simple-looking bra felt like a lifesaver during a recent 36-hour string of flights, shuttle rides, and airport layovers. There’s no underwire to dig into your ribcage, and the bamboo-blend fabric feels buttery soft. That same fabric keeps it from getting obnoxiously stinky after several days’ wear. And it doesn’t create an awful uniboob: even without wire, this bra presents a surprisingly good-looking silhouette. I do find that I have to futz with the cups’ removable padded inserts—they stay put (and look nice) while I’m wearing the bra, but between wearings they can shift around, so I generally have to spend some time getting them into proper position. It’s worth it.
Paskho Purity pants ($155)
When you want the comfort of wearing pajamas in public, there’s this spiffy option. It’s nonrestrictive without looking sloppy, and the nylon-polyester fabric is light and stretchy, which helps make the scant leg room in planes a little more bearable.
Sockwell Firm Graduated Compression socks ($25)
Once you start wearing compression socks on long flights, you’ll never go back. They keep your legs from feeling like dead wood after hours of being immobilized. Sockwell’s models not only stimulate circulation, but they look cute, too. And I find that the wool-rayon blend breathes better than clammy orthopedic versions.
Teva Women’s Ember Moc shoes ($70)
Is it a shoe? Or a slipper? Both, I’ve decided after a month wearing these slip-ons on family visits and work trips. Teva designed the Ember Moc to be the easy-to-put-on shoe you want when you’re stepping out of a tent. But it’s also convenient when hustling through airport security. Now that it’s winter, I’ve been using it as a cozy house slipper.