My plan was to keep this to a nice concise list of 5 things. Maybe 8. Maximum 10.
In reality, thanks to writing this, I realise that I have at 16 essentials that I take with me for long-haul flights (this only applies to anything over 8 hours, for travelling with kids, reduce!). Mr.G is finally used to this, and even asks me where my "special socks" are when we sit down.
Now, bear with me - I've been travelling on long-haul flights since I was 3 years old; 4 trips per year, this is my personal list of what is now my travel essentials. Let me reassure you, I have moved on from crayons and a white bag around my neck to carry my passport and tickets in!
I tend to travel with a big tote and a smaller bag inside it, so I can quickly find my passport, phone, wallet etc, rather than searching through my travel paraphernalia! I also always pack my jewellery into my hand luggage, just in case luggage goes missing, so that nothing of sentimental or serious value goes astray to cause me a heart attack. So, here is THE LIST:
First thing I do as soon as I've done up my seatbelt, is remove my socks & shoes, and stick them out of the way. I pull out some fresh cotton socks, and put those on, leaving my feet free for some good toe-wiggling, ankle rotating, and moisturiser-absorbing. You can get some moisturiser socks from The Body Shop or Amazon. Really.
2. Intensive moisturising cream
Once the socks are on, Mr.G usually tries to bury himself in the in-flight magazine and pretend that he doesn't know me, while I get into my flight beauty routine. I lather myself up wherever there is skin available below the neck and not covered in clothing with a rich cream, like Palmers Cocoa Butter, Nivea or I really love Bliss Lemon and Sage body butter. Everyone knows that you get really dehydrated on flights, and this is a perfect opportunity to give yourself a little TLC.
3. Dermalogica skin hydrating masque
Speaking of dehydrating, this masque is a great secret weapon. Mr.G's look of horror when he first saw me pull out the white tube and he envisioned me slapping on some clay-like goop was priceless, but in reality, the beauty of this product is that it is a clear gel, that slides on and then basically when dry (in about a New York minute) it is completely matte and transparent.
For a long-haul flight you can either keep hassling the stewardess for water every 10 minutes, or else just buy a 1.5 litre bottle in the departure lounge, and make it your goal to finish it by the time you land. Your skin will thank you. If you're sitting in a window seat however, your neighbour may not, but hey-ho.
5. Makeup cleansing wipes
Having established that the full make-up look did not result in an upgrade, it's time to sweep it all off so that I can apply the face masque! I always carry wipes, so that I can use them again just before landing, to feel fresh after the journey - if you choose something like The Body Shop's Tea Tree cleansing wipes, you get that antibacterial cleanse, plus it is not overly drying.
6. Eye mask
Personally, I am yet to discover an amazing eye mask, and tend to use the one provided by the airline. I've tried the scented type, and find it too overpowering. You can probably get something gorgeous though, and why not, treat yourself!
Thank you Bahlsen Biscuits - I was recently sent a gorgeous gift box containing all the things needed for some me-time, including two boxes of Bahlsen's caramel biscuits, and a gorgeous caramel coloured pashmina. The biscuits are sadly long gone, but the pashmina is perfect for travelling. They may have gone out of style, but for sheer comfort and practicality, a long, wide pashmina or blanket is a lovely indulgence. If not, again, I would use the one from the airline, two if you can snaffle an extra one from an unoccupied seat.
8. A good book
If you are lucky enough to be travelling alone, or with children who are old enough to be engrossed in their own books or watching films, then this is the perfect opportunity for catching up on some reading. If travelling with younger kids, don't even think about weighing yourself down with a book! In preparation for flying, I've downloaded several onto my Kindle.
9. A magazine for flicking
I like having something like Grazia, for a quick flick, and Vanity Fair for a more in-depth read when I don't feel in the mood for concentrating on my book. I also like the idea that I can lighten my load on the other end and usually make friends with someone by passing on the magazine when I'm done.
Years ago my luggage managed to go to Amsterdam, Paris, and Saint Bart's, before finally joining me 4 days later. I learnt from that to always keep a bikini in my hand luggage. Why? A bikini doubles as underwear so you won't be caught short completely, thanks to a bit of overnight hand washing and rotating use, and you can also sunbathe happily while pausing every now and then to berate some airline person on the phone for losing your bags.
11. Kosmea Rose hydrating face spray
This was a discovery from an Australian friend, and they really do have some fantastic beauty products down under - you can find it here, and it really is a lovely product. We used it every summer in the office we worked in, where, despite working in the head office of a gorgeous British perfumery brand beloved by Sam Cam, we literally worked in a basement with no natural light, that stank of sewers in the summer, along with broiling heat that had us all sweating, while the boutique upstairs was an air-conditioned haven.
Although I'll have on the face hydrating masque, I find that a quick spritz of this maybe once or twice during the flight is a good running-mate to it's battle against the dehydration on the flight.
(another great Aussie product is Lucas' Paw Paw cream - here at Net-A-Porter, the 2nd cheapest item on the entire site!
12. Come to think of it, I think I may need to add one more essential to my list - either Lucas' Paw Paw cream, or Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream. Essential for avoiding chapped lips, and useful for putting on insect bites or sunburn, or also slicking onto your eyebrows and the ends of eye lashes instead of mascara. Good old fashioned vaseline is a good alternative, and works a treat for removing eye makeup too)
13. Makeup basics
Having removed any makeup, before landing I do a quick refresh with the facial wipes, apply a dot of moisturiser and then a quick light foundation, eyeliner and mascara and gloss. It makes me feel less grubby and like a well-groomed travelling gal!
14. Change of top
Often when you land you're heading straight out of the door again, so that you don't lose precious business or holiday time. Even if I have all the time in the world, I hate that sticky feeling of having sat or slept in the same clothes since at least 3 hours before the flight, plus the duration of the journey, and to say nothing of whatever someone has managed to spill, or spit up over you (if you're unlucky). Also comes in handy if you lose your luggage as before!
I don't even need to spell this one out!
16. Toothbrush and toothpaste
That's it! If you can be bothered to pack a sample vial of perfume, you will feel even more delicious, and probably be the freshest, sweetest smelling, most moisturised, well-groomed, relaxed chick waiting at the luggage carousel on arrival. And if your luggage doesn't come, at least you'll have your bikini!