My take on the three things you absolutely need to pack when flying!
For the past two years, I’ve lived in Manila. During my time here, I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to fly around Asia, and also within the Philippines. I’ve been on over 70 planes within the past two years, everything from 40-minute “puddle jumpers” to 15-hour ultra-long-haul flights.
After darting in and out of enough airports, getting tipsy in lounges, and literally running for more than a few planes, I learned a few things about air travel and what to pack on any trip that involves flying. These three things have never let me down and have always ensured that my journey is a bit less stressful than it could be.
1. A “Getaway” Box
For whatever reason, I like to think I was a gangster in my past life. Maybe I just watched too many action movies. Either way, the most important thing I learned to keep packed inside my house and also to pack with me on every flight is a “getaway box”. This little box has everything I need in it for a quick getaway, whether it’s under good, bad, or downright horrible circumstances.
Inside are just the bare essentials I might need: a stash of cash (USD and local, for me that’s Philippine Pesos), my passports, backup IDs and credit cards, copies of my house keys, and a SIM card tool. Some other random things I throw in there are leftover currency from my previous travels, travel-related membership cards (like my Marco Polo Club and Priority Pass cards), extra immigration forms for frequently traveled destinations, and a pen (to fill out the forms, plus you never know when you’ll need one!)
For me, I know that this box contains everything I need in the event that I need to leave town in a rush. The box itself is bright white, reducing the risk of losing it or leaving it somewhere. I simply throw it in my backpack while packing my things, and while i’m at the airport, a quick peek inside to check if my bright white box is still there puts me at ease. After all, my life is basically inside that little case.
2. Tech Bag
From time to time, I like to joke with my friends that a phone charger and cable is more important that the phone itself. While my tech bag once used to be a ziploc bag full of wires, chargers, and a spare phone, I’ve since added so many things to my arsenal that my entire backpack has taken the place of a tech bag. Aside from the mandatory laptop, I pack a tripod (for the ‘gram shots when travelling alone), an LED vlogger light that I’ve used more times as a flashlight than for shooting videos, a travel charger with USB A & C ports and a slim power bank, and of course, my phone. Other miscellaneous cords not pictured include an AUX cord to use with any rented cars on my journey and a micro USB cord to charge my non-Apple. gadgets. If I have room, I try to throw my Anker Bluetooth speaker in the bag too. These items have me covered, tech-wise, whether I’m headed to the beach or out into a new city, and whether I’m staying at an AirBnB or hotel.
3. Mini amenity kit
I like to use an old Cathay Pacific amenity kit bag as the base for my mini/backup kit.
Like my getaway box and tech bag, it has the essentials. This time though, everything inside is for my face or to treat minor health-related hiccups during my journey. I also pack it as a backup in the event that my actual amenity kit in my check-in gets lost.
Let’s start with the basics: I always pack a small tube of face wash, toothpaste, a toothbrush, and mouthwash (shameless, but usually these are taken from the hotels or lounges from my travels – gotta stock up!). Beyond that, I also pack some lotion, lip balm, and Evian water spray. While some of this stuff is self explanatory, I find that moisturizers and the water spray are necessary when flying, since I always end up dehydrated no matter how long the flight is.
In addition, I always throw a pair of earplugs, an eye mask, spare contacts and eye drops, as well as hand wipes in the kit.
Think of this as a standard-issue Business Class amenity kit, but on steroids. It’s nice to know I have a backup kit readily accessible in my bag and I can survive without my big amenity kit regardless of if I’m on a short puddle jumper or flying on an intercontinental long haul flight. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve needed to grab the Advil (for a headache) or Melatonin (for forced sleep so I can actually get some rest on flights instead of wasting away on my internet-less phone).
A warm sweater and a snack. Let’s face it. Even though Manila weather is constantly 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s still freezing on the plane. Since I usually wear my sweater instead of trying to stuff it into my cramped bag, I’d say this is part of my wardrobe and less something that I pack. On top of that, I always try to bring a snack with me, though often times I end up eating that snack before even getting on the plane!
Okay, so maybe that was much more than three things things you should pack before your next flight. But think of it this way: if you have these three small bags packed and ready to go in your closet, you can grab them and go in the event of an emergency or if you forgot your flight was in less than two hours and not later in the day (true story!).
It took me more than a couple of flights to fine tune the list above, and while some people can travel much lighter than me, this is the bare minimum I head to the airport with. These things have not only saved me in a pinch, but have also made my travels basically stress-free.
Do you have things you simply can’t travel without? If so, drop a comment down below! For more of my adventures, follow me on Instagram @ohnoitsericgo. Safe travels, fam!