I love to travel, but I hate to fly. Every single time I fly, I pick up another tip, and I’ll share my 5 favorite travel essentials with you. Let me know if you’ve tried the last one!
If you’ve been missing me lately, it’s because I’ve attended 4 conferences in the US and took a month long work-trip internationally this year. They were all totally worth it, even though I think I’m genetically engineered not to fly. Something happens with my ears, and they close up and completely clog for at least a day after every flight. I used to think this happened to everyone, but it seems like it’s just me, or at least only a few of us. When I get off a plane, I honestly can not hear most normal conversation.
Here are 4 of my favorite tools to combat this airplane-related hearing problem. For years I took Sudafed. It’s supposed to shrink your sinuses, including the ear canal, and make it easier to go though the pressure changes on a plane. If I have even a tiny cold, this is certainly helpful and does reduce pressure. It doesn’t solve the whole problem for me, though.
Of course, I chew gum on the way down. Trident. Don’t leave home without it.
But then this year I read about Earplanes. They are tiny little pressure relief valves that you plug into your ears, and they regulate what your ears experience during takeoff and landing. The very first time I used them, I knew they were a game changer. I put them in immediately before takeoff, and leave them in until I walk off the jetway inside the airport. I can hear right away. While I might still experience a little ear-pop later in the day, it’s not debilitating. My young daughter was using them when she was 5, and she appreciates their affect, too. In fact, she’s the one who reminds me to get them out on the plane. Poor thing, I hate when young kids feel that pressure on a plane, don’t understand it, and can’t do anything about it.
Another game changer for me is No Jet Lag. It’s a miracle pill, as far as I’m concerned. Taken as directed (at takeoff and every 2 hours during travel), it claims to reduce the effects of jet lag. Of course, I try to beat jet lag with traditional methods like hydration, sleeping as much as possible on the plane, and staying up as long as possible once you get to your destination. But on our recent trip to Australia and returning from New Zealand, I didn’t experience the sluggishness and sleepiness and off-hour hunger that jet lag usually brings. I shared my stash with the little one, and she fared pretty well, although she was waking me up for a few nights when we returned, wanting a midnight meal. Made in New Zealand, No Jet Lag is available on Amazon, tastes good, and appears to work for me.
My fifth travel essential is my new travel pillow, which really isn’t a pillow at all. The Trtl travel pillow, also available on Amazon, is more of a semi-structured neck brace. Because, let’s face it, all those horseshoe pillows do is give your head a soft place to flop. This is different. It provides a mostly-rigid brace that you can position on either side (for side-floppers) or in front (for forward-floppers). That brace is wrapped inside a soft microfiber sleeve that wraps around your neck and Velcros for a snug closure. I was skeptical, but this thing actually let me sleep without getting a crick in my neck. And you can wash the cover. (Take that, evil stow away bedbugs!) Bonus that it takes up slightly less room than my old horseshoe pillow. You know how I’m always trying to travel light.
There are a few other things that I take to be more comfortable on any trip, but these five travel essentials for comfortable flights have made the journey much, much easier. The only question now is, where can I go next?