Many a traveller, as they settle into their seat on the plane, has felt that sense of dread when they realise they have forgotten to pack their in-flight essentials in their hand luggage and are facing a long journey without entertainment or those creature comforts that can make all the difference when travelling from A to B.
As you can't very well go shopping mid-flight, make sure you consider which items you need to buy before you fly. Here are five suggestions to help you on your way:
Although some airlines will feed you as part of the cost of your ticket, you could well find yourself at the mercy of the allocated meal times, desperately seeking sustenance as you wait the handcart to reach your row. Additionally, you may find the choice of snacks is limited or, on lower cost flights where you have to pay for refreshments, that the cost of purchase is rather steep.
A much better idea is to choose your own snacks at the airport and stock up for the flight. Just be aware of customs regulations when travelling between countries -- some destinations may prohibit food products that could pose a risk of contamination.
2. Ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones
Perhaps you're one of those lucky travellers who can block out the roar of the engines, sounds of babies crying and chattering from the holiday-makers in the row behind. The rest of us who might want to use the flight to catch up on sleep or relax and listen to some soothing music would do well to pick up a pair of ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones. Then you can sit back, shut out the outside world and dream about the trip you're about to embark on.
3. Travel pillow
Avoid bouncing head syndrome when you try to drop off on a flight and invest in a comfortable travel pillow to prop yourself up in comfort. When it comes to choosing the right pillow, remember there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Some travellers swear by foam cushions, others prefer a beanbag whilst some opt for an inflatable option they can adjust at will.
4. Battery pack
There's nothing more annoying than running out of juice just as you were about to plug yourself in for the duration of the flight. Ensure that doesn't happen to you by investing in a robust battery pack. The best models can supply enough power to charge several electronic devices before they need re-charging themselves -- just make sure you bring the right cable for each device.
5. A bottle of water
Drinking plenty of fluids is essential to remain alert and refreshed on any flight and sometimes the small glass of water the airline staff pass out on occasion just isn't enough. Although you can't bring more than 100ml bottles of liquid through security, once you've passed to the other side you can purchase a bottle of water for the flight, ensuring you stay hydrated for the entirety of your journey.