travel flight essentials

Your body goes through a lot on a flight! Your hands, eyes, nose and mouth need will a little TLC so you can feel your best after a short or long haul flight. You can help yourself out by packing these 7 cheap and cheerful carry on essentials!

(You might find a bonus 8th tip when you get to the end, just saying.)

1. Face Mask

Face Masks and Surgical Masks for COVID-19: Manufacturing, Purchasing,  Importing, and Donating Masks During the Public Health Emergency | FDA

Wearing a face mask, if you are able to, can reduce your risk of catching nasty viruses like COVID-19, flu, meningitis and measles. Remember to cover your nose and mouth with your face mask. Only take your face mask off if you need to eat or drink. Bring a spare mask or two just in case you drop your mask or it gets soiled. Your facial skin will appreciate a fresh face mask every few hours if it’s a long haul flight. Condensation from your breath on your facial skin is uncomfortable and can lead to “Maskne” – acne caused by wearing a mask!

2. Hand sanitiser

Your hand sanitiser should contain 60% alcohol. Why alcohol? Alcohol helps break up bacteria so they can’t replicate – as well as dissolving viruses. Gel or Foam? Gel hand sanitisers are easy to use and evaporate easily, but they can leave a residue after repeated use. Wash your hands often to prevent that sticky residue building up! Foam hand sanitisers are best for those with sensitive skin and you won’t get that sticky gel residue. Remember, after using alcohol to disinfect your skin, you can moisturise your hands. Moisturiser helps prevent the alcohol from drying out your skin and causing it to crack.

3. Moisturiser

Dry skin everywhere- face, hands, legs, arms! Your skin is going to feel pretty rough during and after a flight. Your skin is mostly water and needs water to maintain its structure. However, it can be difficult to keep drinking water on a flight because you don’t want to be waiting for the loo all the time. Use a high SPF and high UVA protective moisturiser for your skin – especially if you have a window seat to protect the skin on your face from sun damage. I know you’ll be wearing a face mask but it really is essential – your eye skin is particularly vulnerable to becoming dry and wrinkly! Pack mini version of your favourite moisturisers with the view to using them on your hands and face. Try to wear long sleeved clothing on the flight to protect your skin from the circulating dry air. Otherwise, consider moisturising your lower legs as they will dry out pretty fast given their large surface area.

4. Tissues

Always pack your own tissues! Save yourself from sandpaper-textured single-ply tissues that can really dry and damage the skin on your nose, eyes or mouth. Multi-ply tissues offer superior comfort and absorption. Tissues impregnated with eucalyptus oils and sometimes micro-capsules of soothing balm are also a good pick for travelling. If someone hands you a tissue in-flight it can be difficult to tell if they are contaminated with any germs! So beware!

5. Throat sweets

Superdrug Blackcurrant Glycerine Throat Sweets 45g | Superdrug

Trying to counteract that dry re-circulated air? You might find that no matter how much water you drink your throat will still feel paper dry from a flight! Dry mouth is uncomfortable and can easily be solved with some throat sweets. To keep your teeth (and your dentist) happy, opt for sugar-free throat sweets. If you prefer the sugary variety then afterwards make sure to chew sugar-free gum that contains xylitol (recommended by dentists)! Throat sweets work because they stimulate saliva, which is mostly water. The saliva helps keep your mouth moist and prevents that scratchy sore throat feeling.

6. Eye drops

Avoid the pain and gritty feeling of dry eyes by using moisturising eye drops. They help put back any lost moisture and keep your eyes hydrated too. Look for eye drops with sodium hyaluronate (like HyloForte) or hypromellose as active ingredients. (TOP TIP: Sodium Hyaluronate is far superior to hypromellose for keeping your eyes moist!) A typical eye drop bottle can only be used for 28 days after it’s been opened. They tend to cost between £3 to £8. Whereas some can be used for 3 to 6 months after opening – if you’re a frequent traveler (or use your phone/laptop during the flight) they are well worth the investment of £10 to £20! Unit Dose Eye drops, like Celluvisc, are a collection of small, slim, single-dose pods. You can split them up and keep them in different places – think pocket, purse or in your eyeglass case.

7. Lip balm

Dry, chapped, cracking or peeling lips? Use a barrier-forming lip balm! The “barrier” is a layer of fat that stops water evaporating therefore locking in moisture where your skin needs it most. Cicaplast lip balm has a non-greasy instant-relief texture when applied. It’s about £7 and little goes a long way! Sebamed SPF 30 is likewise creamy, almost like a buttery balm, it melts onto your lips. Remember to re-apply often especially after drinking or eating.

8. Bonus Tip!

Use a barrier cream for your nostrils – something like petroleum jelly (vaseline) or first defence nasal spray to keep those nostrils hydrated and keep other nasty germs out of your lungs! The capillaries in your nose are used to being warm and moist – once they dry out they could crack and you will get a nose bleed. This is common after a long flight and easily avoidable with a little lubrication with something like NeilMed Nasogel.

Posted by

I am a UK GPhC registered Pharmacist in London