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Even the excitement of a few days off work and a new destination can't take away from the truth: travel is stressful. There's the prep work to book flights, cars and hotel rooms, the long pre-trip to-do list, and of course, the packing. You stuff your bag and your kids' bags with outfits, bathing suits and the absolute essentials. But what about the extras? Those little — often forgotten — items that make your travel experience smoother and more enjoyable?
They don't make it on your initial packing list, but they should. Flight attendants and crew say these are the most commonly forgotten (then purchased) things when traveling.
Buy them now and have them on hand for your next adventure.
EnergyCell Pilot 4GS Portable Charger — on sale!
"Even if you have your cell phone or other electronic devices fully charged and ready to go, I always recommend having a plan for a quick re-charge – especially if you use your phone for things like electronic boarding passes and text or email notifications from your airline," says Vanessa Settimi, a flight attendant and inflight instructor for Swoop Airlines.
Another reason to pack a portable charger is because not all planes have outlets, and not all airports have their outlets in the most convenient location. Even if they do, if the airport is really busy you might not be able to get a prime spot right next to an outlet, she adds. This sleek power bank can charger up to two devices at once and is compatible with most phones.
L'Occitane Hand Cream
If you don’t travel often, it’s easy to forget how dry it can get at 38,000 feet, says Settimi. "A lot of travelers will forget to pack things like hand cream, moisturizer and lip balm, which go a long way in combatting the dry conditions."
L'Occitane hand creams are bestsellers for good reason: the shea butter-infused formula deeply moisturizes skin, yet sinks in quickly. Choose from the original, lavender, almond or cherry blossom scent in the brand's TSA-approved 1-ounce tubes.
Toshiba Noise Canceling Bluetooth Headphones
While most airlines have earbuds available upon request to use with in-seat TVs, they admittedly leave a lot to be desired. Wireless Bluetooth headphones can connect to any smart device to stream your own shows or music, but you can also buy a Bluetooth transmitter to connect it to the plane TVs as well.
"These noise canceling headphones are a great, affordable option to listen to your favorite music, watch a show, or just sit comfortably while enjoying some peace and quiet," recommends Kristin Deutsch, Crew Concierge for Speedbird, a private jet charter service.
Corkcicle Classic 20-Ounce Canteen Water Bottle — on sale!
A few sips from an airport drinking fountain or the small cups of water on the plane often aren't enough to stay hydrated for a day of travel. Bringing your own reusable water bottle means you're able to fill up and drink water on the go.
"I always do a double take when I see passengers with the Corkcicle Canteen!" says Deutsch. "This water bottle is stylish, keeps your water nice and cool, and easily slips into a backpack or tote for easy storage."
Plus, the insulated design stays cold for up for 24 hours or hot for 12 hours, if you want to fill it with coffee for a road trip. It will also come in handy for day trips and sightseeing when you reach your destination.
Latitude 40°N Memory Foam Neck Pillow
If you've ever tried to sleep on a long haul flight with just the little pillow the airline gives you, you know it's less than ideal. (And if you're in the middle seat, forget about it.) So a travel pillow should be considered an essential.
"It hurts my own neck to see how some passengers sleep in flight!," says Deutsch. "Even for short flights, a memory foam neck pillow can be a lifesaver."
A memory foam neck pillow cradles your neck and provides support so you can fall asleep sitting up comfortably. "I’ve seen a neck pillow used in many ways: around the neck for support, as a pillow or propped up as arm supports," says Settimi. You'll arrive at your destination a little more well-rested without a dreaded crick in your neck.
E Marie Travel Limited Edition Boss Blanket Set
"If you run on the cooler side, then I always recommend packing a small blanket in your carry-on," says Settimi. Cabin temperatures are usually kept on the cooler side due to the risk of turbulence (warmer temperatures can be difficult for travelers prone to motion sickness, she explains).
This Oprah-approved brand has a set that's ideal for travel with an outrageously soft blanket and knit eye mask — you'll be snoozing in style. The super lightweight design also means it won't take up too much space in your bag and can double as a wrap in the evenings.
PRO Compression Marathon Socks
"For long hauls, there is nothing better than compression socks to keep your blood flowing and body comfortable throughout the flight," says Deutsch. "These are the best for combating stiffness and soreness so you can hop off the plane and start your vacation without missing a beat."
The tall socks are great to wear while on the plane, but they can also help recovery after a hike or long day of walking.
Cloud 5 sneakers by On Running
You'll remember your sandals, walking shoes and maybe even a fancy pair of heels for dinner, but consider the "what if" shoes. What if my new shoes give me a a blister? What if my feet are screaming and I just want supportive shoes? What if we decide to go on a hike or another strenuous activity?
Bringing a pair of tennis shoes is always a safe bet. And these are hands-down the best shoes for travel, says Deb Higgins, vice president of sales for Speedbird. "I often see women business travelers wear these shoes before they change into heels upon arrival at their final destination. They are perfect for hustling through the airport or stepping off the plane for a day of sightseeing."
Portable Mini Refillable Perfume Empty Spray Bottle
This is my best-kept secret, Deutsch says. "Although it’s best to avoid perfume in-flight, this mini diffuser lets you bring your favorite scents with you when you travel. I give myself a quick spritz in between flights or on arrival at my destination to feel refreshed."
The travel-size atomizer has a handy nozzle on the bottom so you can fill it with your favorite perfume sans spills without packing that clunky, fancy bottle.
Biossance Your Clean Routine Fresh Start Set
That dry plane air we mentioned above? Your hands aren't the only victim. Settimi says a moisturizer and lip balm are also smart packs to hydrate your skin en route. "I always recommend having these products as travel essentials, especially if you’re traveling for more than a couple of hours."
This handy kit from Biossance contains a TSA-approved face moisturizer and lip balm, plus a full-size cleanser to pack in your checked bag. The trio contains hyaluronic acid and plant-based squalane, which act like a glass of water for your skin.
The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.
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