Flying sucks. On the list of humanity’s favorite pastimes, flying would probably be just above listening to babies cry and just below eating a partially frozen chicken sandwich; unfortunately, many flights feature all three.
However, flying can be much less terrible with the right gear. If you’re in first class, you might get a complimentary amenity kit, like these ones featured in AFAR magazine. For the rest of us, however, we need to make our own. So recline your seat, put your tray table down, and check out this list of the best air travel accessories we could find.
Sometimes you just need a drink—and those times are often on planes. If you’d rather not shell out $10 for a scant Rum and Coke, you can bring your own supply from home with this travel cocktail kit. This little number is also nice to have after you arrive at your hotel room, when it’s just you and the pricy mini bar. The Travel Cocktail Kit comes with a handsome leather and canvas carrying case, a mixing spoon, 9 empty bottles of various sizes, and a book of recipes from renowned bartenders. For a more affordable (but also more limited) option, you might check out the Carry On Cocktail Kit.
Though a lot of newer planes allow you to charge your devices via USB ports, there are still a lot of old birds in the air, which means you’ll likely need to rely on your device’s battery power. If your iPad can’t quite make the 11-hour flight to Shanghai, you might consider bringing along the 2-amp LinearFlux LithiumCard Battery Charger. With a width that’s the equivalent of 5 credit cards, this fella is small enough to fit in your wallet. Its lightning connector makes it compatible with newer Apple devices.
The screaming children, the incessant talkers, the relentless monotone of the aircraft itself—the soundtrack of your average flight can get very old very quickly. For help tuning it all out, you might try these excellent reusable earplugs from Alpine. They won’t hurt your ears, and they’ll make it a bit easier for you to get some shut-eye. These plugs come with a carrying case, a special cleaner, and two acoustic sound filters. There’s no silicone involved, so you won’t have to worry about allergies.
A good pillow is a wonderful ally for air travel. Unfortunately, the pillows they give you on most flights look like they were stolen from a children’s hospital. If you’re looking for the right neck pillow for your long journeys, allow us to present the F1 Memory Foam Pillow. This baby is criminally soft, with an excellent ergonomic design and a loop with a snap, which makes it easier to transport. Also, the soft polyester cover can be taken off and washed.
We’re all about style here at The Manual. If you’re the kind of fella who likes to bring multiple pairs of shoes on his journeys, you’ll love the Shrine Sneaker Duffel, which boasts two special compartments for your kicks. It also has plenty of other compartments for your tablet, passport, chargers, and any other items you need. Oh, and there’s a sizable center compartment for your clothes and other frivolous items.
A good pair of headphones is a must on airplanes. Sadly, the ones they give you often deliver very poor sound quality and are rough on the ears. Instead of risking breakage of your big-ass DJ cans, consider packing these modest-but-powerful earbuds. They use active noise-cancelling technology to reduce up to 90% of noise, and they deliver a high-quality sound to your dome.
Flying in economy class is unpleasant anyway, so you might as well double down and get some work done, right? Unfortunately, it’s hard to focus when there’s a peeping Peter sitting next to you, checking out your monitor every five seconds. For a little privacy, you might consider getting a special screen that makes it difficult for folks to steal your intellectual property or judge your choice of in-flight entertainment.