y lifesaver carryon kit for long-haul flightsDried out contacts, chapped lips, bloating, and nothing to read or watch makes for a awfully hellish long-haul flight. I make sure I have the following in my carry-on for a restful flight:

1. A decent-sized carry-on bag

Before this trip, I would carry a black Coach diaper bag. No joke, and I don’t regret it because I could carry my life in that bag: computer, notebooks, a jacket, three lip glosses, a few magazines, tons of chargers and cords… For this trip, I’m paring down. I wasn’t planning on carrying this Canada bag I bought from a flea market in Toronto, but I love the little maple leafs and the bamboo handle.

2. My iPad mini and camera

I like my electronics close to my person. On the iPad, I have (among others) the Lonely Planet Japan guide, Andy Cohen’s bio, a written history of Juicy Couture, Hillary Clinton’s latest foreign policy tome (one coworker said to me he thinks I’m the only person who actually read her book. I started skimming after 300 pages…) The next book I’ll probably download is Lena Dunham’s memoir. I’ll also stick my MacBook Air in there as well, if there’s something worth blogging about. (The next post will probably be about going on the A380 for the first time, which as a novice plane nerd, I’m psyched.)

3. Various cosmetics

Lip balm, dry shampoo for greasy hair, ear plugs and Sudafed for any potential ear or sinus pain, small lotions (one is by Lather, which I picked up during a stay at the Study at Yale; the other is an Aveda foot lotion, which I use with the pink socks that I’ll explain later), and a lipstick.

The balm, lotions, plugs, and medicines are for pain prevention. Once, I took a shuttle between San Francisco and L.A. with a respiratory or sinus…something [infection?]and it was one of the most painful moments I’ve ever had. You know what is also really uncomfortable: chapped lips and dry skin, improved by recirculated airplane air. Ouch, I don’t even want to think about this. Call me high maintenance, but dry skin is very uncomfortable.

The lipstick and dry shampoo are purely a psychological lift for when I get off the plane: I may look and feel like hell with lipstick.

4. My eye care case

I need a pouch for my contacts and glasses. So I take a few extra pairs of contacts, eye drops, and a case so I can take out my contacts. Glasses are a must on a long flight, so I hipster out with a pair of indestructable frames. I throw them in my purse, fall asleep on them, and they don’t break.

I like putting my eye stuff in one pouch, my moisturizing stuff in another. I like compartments. I like little compartments from Istanbul. It works for me.

5. Compression socks

I only started using socks this year after I learned I had a genetic trait in which my blood clots more easily. So as a precaution, I wear these running socks but you can find cute ones online with skulls or little cute icons.

I also make sure to drink red wine along with wearing the socks, to maximize my blood circulation. Of course!

I found though that I’ll have more energy after a flight in which I wear the socks. My theory is that my blood isn’t pooling in my feet, so better circulation equals more energy post-flight. And if I use the Aveda lotion before slapping on the socks, my feet are so soft.

Other things I carry in my bag for long flights: wallet and passport, celebrity tabloids (only People, US, or Hello! I have standards), tickets, candy if it’s been a really long day of travel…

What do you carry with you to stay comfortable on a long flight?