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TRAVEL ~ Tips & Stories

Carry-On Comfort Bag

By Charla Anderson


When traveling, I take along a "Comfort Bag” in a malleable lightweight bag that can be stuffed into the last bit of space in your carry-on. The one constant in air travel, and travel in general, is to expect the unexpected.

Not only was I a flight attendant for 34 years, I commuted from my home city to my base city, adding many hours and at least two extra flights to my already long work days.  My comfort bag was essential.

Imagine that you are in the center seat on a 10 hour flight, your movie screen is broken, your reading light is burned out, it is freezing, or too hot, everyone else is asleep; you are thirsty and you haven't been able to catch the flight attendants eye in the dark cabin...... your worst nightmare. Be prepared. Other than the inevitable trip to the lavatory, be prepared to stay there for hours. Create your nest.

Here are some things that I include in mine:

My own small squishy pillow.
A pashmina/large scarf for a blanket, and can double as a spare wrap for the trip, rolled up tightly.
Ear plugs.
Eye Mask.  If you travel often, invest in a good one.

Small reading light, and/or small flashlight.  Spare batteries.
A good book.
Socks, or booties.  (Never use lav barefooted!)
Notepad and pen.  Always have a pen!
Favorite dry snacks.
Lip balm.
*Small Lotion.  Tissues.
Toothbrush/*paste and dental flossers.
Cough drops or mints.

Personal cup or bottle (empty thru security). Remember to fill it before boarding. You never know when there may be a long delay, even at the gate before you leave.
Portable phone battery charger (fully charged!)
*Saline nose spray in case of blocked ears.
Pain relief in case of headache.
Small battery powered fan? Or paper fan.
Small packets of salt to put under your tongue in case of leg cramps.
Small packets of pepper to add to Bloody Mary's. 😉

Yes, it seems like a lot, but everything should fit into a bag the size of a plastic grocery bag.  Something to consider, is how much crackling noise does the bag make when you are trying not to wake your seat mates?  Try using a pillow case if you don't have a 'quiet' bag.

Bonus tips:

  • You can bring ice thru security, like a frozen water bottle, or ice in a Yeti.  Drink any melted water before going thru security.
  • You can bring a good-sized lunch bag in addition to 2 carry-on bags.
  • Small pillow can be strapped on the outside of your bag.
  • Some airlines only take cash, others only take plastic.

Take an easy-going attitude along, too.  Deep breaths.  It's an adventure.  Enjoy the journey!

*Make sure that your small liquids (< 4 oz) are together in a quart sized bag.

Create your nest.

Relax, and enjoy your flight! 

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