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Air travel is great for many reasons, but overall comfort on flights—especially if you’re flying economy—is not necessarily one of them. Cramped leg room, strangers who might not appreciate your head resting on their shoulder as you try to sleep, limited access to power for your electronic devices, and plenty of other factors can add up to a less-than-stellar traveling experience. Try a few of these on your next adventure to keep life at 35,000 feet enjoyable.
Nothing is worse than draining the charge on your phone or tablet mid-flight only to find that your plane hasn’t been updated to include in-seat charging or that someone else in your row has already commandeered all the ports. Luckily, there are plenty of portable power solutions on the market today, many of which have the capacity to provide multiple full charges to devices of various sizes.
Some of the newest portable power packs even come with wireless charging options, meaning you don’t have to worry about forgetting your charging cables in the rush to get to the airport.
Don’t Swell Up
One of the worst things about getting off a long flight is fighting through the swelling in your feet and ankles. Travelers who want to make that discomfort a thing of the past should consider looking for compression socks. These specialized socks work to improve circulation in your feet and legs, helping to prevent the kind of swelling so common on long flights.
When choosing your compression socks, check the level of compression and the size, as these are not one-size-fits-all socks and you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the right size for you to maximize comfort. Rather than socks made of cotton or synthetic materials, look for socks made from wool, which do a better job of wicking moisture away from your feet and regulating temperature.
A Better Travel Pillow
Almost everyone has tried one of those classic, U-shaped travel pillows only to find that they leave just as much of a crick in their neck as having no pillow at all. Fortunately, designers have been hard at work overhauling travel pillows to provide better support and comfort for those who prefer to hit snooze from take-off to landing.
Go for a Swing
Inadequate leg room is one of the perennial flaws of flying. While there aren’t any products to miraculously give you more space, there are things you can bring along in your carry-on to make the most of the space you have, like a foot hammock. Most users report having less back and leg pain when using a hammock, as well as decreased swelling. These small slings usually attach to your tray table or to the bottom of the seat in front of you and allow you to elevate your feet to give you a more pleasant in-flight experience.
Inflatable foot rests are another option, but usually take up more space in your luggage and can be more cumbersome if you need to move them to let someone in your row in or out of their seat.
Bring Your Closet With You
How many times have you actually unpacked the contents of your suitcase once you’ve reached your final destination? After a long day in the air, properly unpacking your bag can feel like a daunting endeavor, but no one wants to dig through their suitcase to find the article of clothing they want to wear.
A number of new suitcases have been released that come with built-in closets. It’s the best of both worlds: you don’t have to unpack, but you don’t have to dig either. Simply open the suitcase, extend the handle, and clip the shelving unit to the handle. These closet suitcases often come with other great features like 360º spinning wheels and built-in backup batteries for charging your electronic devices while you wait at your gate.
TSA-Proof Your Toiletries
While size limits on liquids have been in place for years, they haven’t become any less bothersome than when they were first introduced. If you’re traveling for an extended period of time, travel-sized bottles of your products might not be enough to tide you over the whole trip, but you may not want to pay for a checked bag just to accommodate shampoo, conditioner, or toothpaste.
Consider looking into solid alternatives to your most common toiletries. Shampoo and conditioner bars are great ways to get around liquid restrictions and are more environmentally friendly than traditional, plastic-packed shampoos and conditioners. With so many companies jumping onto this trend, there are options for all hair types and needs.
Toothpaste bites and mouthwash tablets are another swap you could make to be able to bring more of your bathroom essentials with you in a carry-on.
Sometimes, there are only so many TV re-runs or movies you can watch before boredom starts to set in. If you’re traveling with others, think about bringing games on your flight. Some game publishers make travel-ready versions of their games with components like miniaturized boards or built-in dice trays. These games can be especially helpful when traveling with kids who may need more stimulation and activity to stay tame onboard a long flight.
Tune It Out
Two discomforts of air travel involve your ears: pain from elevation and pressure changes and the irritating din of the engines and your fellow passengers. Traditional foam or wax earplugs can help dampen the sounds around you but may not help to relieve pressure on your ear drums. To help with that issue, look into specially designed aviation earplugs that can quiet the sounds around you up to 20 decibels while also maintaining consistent pressure to keep your ears from hurting. You can even pair these with over-the-ear headphones so you can still comfortably listen to music or hear your movie without paying for an expensive pair of noise-cancelling headphones.
Air travel is a convenient way to get from one place to the next quickly, and even though flying hasn’t always been comfortable, you can always use products like these to make your next trip more enjoyable.