Air travel… can be less than pleasant. If you deal with American TSA, double. But some thoughtful selection and packaging in your hand luggage can make it more durable.
The following gadgets and tools are designed almost exclusively to reduce the stress of air travel and overcome these high miles in an instant. Whether you prefer to snooze in the skies, have fun, or be as comfortable as possible in the restrained, cold and dry environment of the cabin, you will find something useful in the following options.
Update, 31/5/22: The content provided is relevant. Replaced with newer Kindle Paperwhite, Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones and Anker battery bank.
Because you claim to be somewhere else: noise canceling headphones
This is a classic companion for frequent travelers. Between the sound of engines and distracting your less polite friends, a tool is important for music or movies to block them all. You can use headphones for strong insulation, excellent sound and active noise cancellation. Similarly, if you want something a little less bulky, you can get a really happy run with a simple pair of real wireless headphones. We recommend the Sony WH-1000XM4 for full-size headphones, or the Jabra Elite 85t for those who prefer headphones.
Because you claim to be somewhere else
Sony’s WH-1000XM4 headphones come in a sturdy, comfortable box set with a 30-hour battery, high noise cancellation technology and excellent sound quality.
To claim it’s nowhere: EarPlanes headphones
If all you worry about while snoozing or reading is silence, regular old foam earplugs will be fine. However, if you are concerned about the variable air pressure at the height of the ascent or descent, consider choosing a kit specifically designed to reduce this pressure. Airline employees love EarPlanes – latex-free plugs that open your ear canals and make them less prone to clogging, while also providing noise protection. They come in sizes for adults and children, and there are disposable and washable options.
Because he claims he’s nowhere
Just want a little peace and quiet? These noise canceling headphones can offer you that!
To Catch Some Z’s: Alaska Bear Sleep Mask
Sleeping masks are great for a good night’s sleep in your own bed, but they are better for environments where the lights are on all the time … for example, the middle seat next to someone who wants the window to be always open. Lightweight and compact, the mask is an excellent travel companion even for non-flight parts of your trip. We recommend the Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask, especially for its beautiful color and design.
To catch some Z’s
To fry your toes: HotHands Foot Heaters
The pressurized cabin of the aircraft can get cold, especially if you are naturally prone to coldness of the extremities. A neat solution is a set of heated padding for your shoes, which will provide you with enough extra heat to withstand the aggressive temperature control of the cabin. Refillable versions are available, but they look less reliable and thicker than they could be.
We recommend a disposable set of chemically activated HotHands trays: open the package before boarding to warm up and discard them when you land. Alternatively, if you prefer to take off your shoes when the wheels are up, MMMLove battery-powered thermal socks offer the same functionality as three-level heating.
To fry your toes
HotHands Foot Heaters
Avoid bad drafts at the airport or on the plane and stay comfortable with these stuffing heaters.
To keep yourself hydrated: Collapsible filtered water bottle
The cabin of the plane is also surprisingly dry, and you will soon find that you are thirsty … but bringing a bottle of water through safety is no longer an option, and the flight attendants can be very busy to quench your thirst. Often, pilots like to pack their bottles and fill the fountain before boarding the plane. But that means less space in your bag, and you probably don’t trust the tap water at the airport. Katadyn Befree Hydrapak Flask is the solution.
It has a full liter, which should be enough for you to fly a medium length, and the lid includes a micron water filter. Best of all, its elastic folds down for easy storage in a plastic bag, but when it is full, it rises on its own. This bottle is also a great companion for a walk or camp at your destination.
To stay hydrated
For fun: Tablet or E-Reader
During your flight, you will almost be with your mobile phone, and if you only plan to listen to music, this is enough. However, the small screen is less than ideal for long-term reading or video sessions, electronic readers and tablets are perfect, respectively, so there is not even enough space in the economy seats to comfortably carry a laptop.
The Kindle and iPad lines are virtually standard recommendations: we like the Kindle Paperwhite (ad-supported or slightly more ad-free version) and the standard 10.2-inch iPad in terms of usability and value combination. Kindle Paperwhite offers a large matte screen, waterproof design and access to millions of book titles.
Want to read a book, read a magazine or listen to an audiobook? The new Kindle Paperwhite can do it all!
For Convenient Fun: Portable Kickstand
If you’re partially watching one or two movies on your flight, you may want an easy way to support your phone or tablet while you’re on the air. Most manufacturers are reluctant to add supports to their designs, you will have to pack them yourself. Many tablets and phone cases have a small stand as part of the protective design, but we prefer a special option for its stability and flexibility. This adjustable aluminum model has served me well on several transatlantic flights, and it’s cheap enough that you won’t regret it if you accidentally leave it in your hotel room.
For Comfortable Fun
Bend your smartphone, tablet, or book at a more comfortable angle with your stand (and use it silently).
To Charge Your Gadgets: Anchor Battery Bank
Of course, your phone or tablet needs to be turned on, and you’ll need a way to recharge them when they’re dead. You’ve probably installed your charger, but not all planes have an electrical outlet for each seat (especially on local buses). The solution is a portable battery bank that can fully charge your gadgets several times.
There are many portable battery banks to choose from, but we are big fans of the Anker ones like the PowerCore Slim 10K. It has a capacity of 10,000 mAh, connects via USB-C and supports charging up to 12 W. This makes it easy to charge your Android or iOS smartphone, tablet, headset, smart watch or other small device. The bank has a circular LED range that shows how much energy is left on the power button.
If you want a portable battery bank with a little more water, get Anker’s PowerCore 26,800 mAh option. There are three USB-A ports for fast charging, as well as two micro-USB ports for older devices.
To keep your gadgets charged
To Keep Your Items Safe: Anti-Theft Backpack
Airports and other travel destinations are popular places for pickpockets, as everyone’s luggage is full of valuables. You can keep your bag safe by choosing a specially designed bag to prevent thieves. We have collected the best of the bunch, but our choice for general users is PacSafe Anti-Theft 25L. It offers reinforced material and straps, security clips and even an RFID waterproof pocket for digital thieves. A tablet / laptop box is also installed.
To keep your belongings close: Hanging Flight Bag
What about accessing all of these gadgets when you’re on the air? We recommend the Genius Pack High Altitude Flight Bag to avoid annoying dives under the seat in front of you or to squeeze other passengers into the above-ground storage.
This smaller package includes straps to wrap the flight tray in the seat in front of you, giving you quick and unobstructed access to all your electronics and accessories. It is small enough to pass as a second-hand luggage without enduring size restrictions, and the shoulder strap allows you to double it like an overall tablet or laptop bag when you reach your destination.
Because You Keep Your Things Close