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Fly in Comfort: 10 Cheap Travel Accessories

Posted on 12/16/2013 13:14 EST

Unless you're a flight attendant or pilot, you may not find airplane travel to be the most comfortable way to get around. And with the holidays looming, the experience may be fraught with still more crowds and unpleasantness. We found 10 cheap items to carry on board that can ease the pain of flying.

1. Thick socks.

Airplanes cabins are never the right temperature; most often they feel like the inside of a meat locker. A good pair of thick socks can help. After slipping off your shoes, thick socks will keep your feet warm during a particularly chilly flight. They can also protect your feet when walking barefoot through security.

Photo by sxc.hu/bugdog

2. Pashmina scarf.

A scarf is a versatile and cheap travel accessory, and we found pashmina scarves on Amazon in 22 different colors for just $8.49 each. One seasoned traveler we spoke with notes that a good pashmina scarf can keep you warm on a cold flight, serve as a pillow when folded up, and distract nervous flyers with fiddle-prone fringes.
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3. Eye mask.

If you plan to catch a few winks on the plane, an eye mask that blocks out the light ensures a sleep-enabling environment.

4. Earplugs or white noise app.

Flights can be filled with chatty seatmates and crying babies, never mind the engine roar. A cheap pair of earplugs can shield you from these aural irritants. Alternatively, download a cheap or free white noise app and listen with your headphones during the flight. White Noise Lite by TMSOFT is free for iPhone users; an upgraded version goes for $1.99.

Photo by sxc.hu/nkzs

5. Reusable water bottle.

Buying food or a bottle of water in the airport is expensive. The same goes for the cost of in-flight food and drink. While many travelers pack their own snacks in a carry-on, no one brings liquids because you can't take them through security. But stay hydrated you must, and the best way to save a bundle is to bring your own empty, reusable water bottle and fill it up on the far side of security. One business traveler we spoke with said this cheap travel accessory is her No. 1 must-have for any flight. As a frequent flyer in and out of the Denver airport, she reports that each terminal has a designated place to fill reusable bottles. Moreover, think how many plastic containers are saved each time you fill a reusable one. Go cheap and go green with this travel accessory.

6. Lotion and chapstick.

A travel-size lotion and a tube of lip balm keep your skin fresh and lips moist on a long flight. Because cabin air tends to be particularly dry, use these two cheap travel items frequently.

7. Travel car seat.

Our research into the best cheap car seats found one travel-friendly model: the Evenflo Tribute DLX (starting around $55). This car seat garners much praise for an incredibly light weight (9.11 pounds) and dimensions that fit into an airplane seat and through the airplane aisle. You save money at your destination by forgoing a car seat with your rental car that can cost upwards of $8 to $13 a day. And it's yours to keep for less than the cost of a week-long car seat rental.

8. Tissues.

Everyone we spoke with regarding comfortable airplane travel said a small travel pack of tissues is a required accessory, especially with kids in tow. Not only can the chilly in-flight air make your nose run, but you can use the tissues to wipe down the tray and arm rests, catch chewed-out gum, or clean up assorted spills and messes.

Photo by sxc.hu/mihaiionas

9. Watch.

Forget about those bulky tablets and laptops for keeping track of the time as you hustle through the airport or fidget in a cramped seat. A watch on your wrist is an unobtrusive, albeit old-fashioned, device that serves its purpose without fuss.

10. Toothbrush and toothpaste.

Airplane travel can leave a bad taste in your mouth. Literally. After snacking and then maybe taking a snooze, use the on-board restroom to freshen up with a quick brush.

As a general rule of thumb, airline travel is rarely hassle-free. Expect it, deal with it, and move on. It helps tremendously to have a positive attitude and to be polite and cheerful to those around you. This can go a long way towards making the experience more comfortable for everyone. Better yet, it's free.

by Raechel Conover (Google+ Profile)

Filed in: Airlines, Christmas, Holidays, Travel
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