When you’re traveling, the elements conspire against your body, skin and hair. Let’s face it, airplanes beat up our bodies as well as our spirits.  Fashionable and practical don’t have to be mutually exclusive!  Here’s my top 10 list that I think fit in both of those categories, proving that you can look good and feel good when you travel:

  1. Water – You’ll have to buy a bottle inside of security, or refill an empty bottle that you’ve brought from home, but this is the very best thing you can do for your skin, hair, and general well being.  The airplane sucks all the water out of you so remember — hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  My current choice:  I’ve tried a variety of water bottles, trying hard to be green, but just haven’t found one that quite does the trick.  For now I buy and reuse plastic.
  2. The Body Shop Satsuma Body ButterHand cream – Choose a heavy duty favorite and put it on the first thing when you get on the plane.. Reapply often — you’ll be amazed how much your skin drinks it up.  You’ll need to make sure that it comes in a size that’s under 3 ounces, or repackage it into a smaller size, and pack in your 3-1-1 bag.  My current choice:  The Body Shop Satsuma Body Butter ($8).  I bought a large and a small size, and keep refilling for my travels.  If orange isn’t a scent that thrills you, there are lots of others you can choose from.  It works well on the rest of your body, too.
  3. Moisturizer – Apply generously, and if it’s an overnight flight, skip the foundation and just let your skin absorb all the good stuff of your moisturizer.  Before landing you can fresh up and reapply so you’ll feel and look like you’re glowing instead of haggard.  My current choice Canyon Ranch Balance Light-Weight Moisture ($75).  I received the moisturizer as part of a purchase of a collection of products, and used it on my recent travels.  It’s light enough to not feel greasy on a red-eye flight, yet still does a good job of keeping me from turning into a prune.
  4. Purlisse lip treatmentLip Balm – Your probably noticing a theme here.  If your hands and face need moisture, so do your lips.  My current choice: Purlisse Pur-Lip Comfort ($22), that was also part of the previously mentioned collection of products.
  5. Toothbrush/toothpaste – The longer the flight, the more you’re going to need these items. After an overnight flight my mouth was screaming out for a little care. If the thought of using water from the airplane grosses you out, take bottled water in.  My current choice:  Oral B Brush-ups Textured Teeth Wipes (approximately $15, price varies).  I just can’t get over the lack of hygiene in the airplane lavatory.
  6. Sweater or large scarf – Even if you’re flying to or from a warm weather destination, the temperature on the airplane can be all over the board. There’s no perfect temperature for everyone, so toss a sweater, pashmina, or large scarf into your carryon for some fashionable in flight warmth.  My current choice:  A variation of the Donna Karan cozydifferent ways to wear it, making it a comfy wardrobe extender.
  7. Skechers Mary Jane shoesComfy shoes – If it’s a short flight won’t matter quite as much, but if you’re traveling cross country, trans-Atlantic or trans-Pacific, comfy shoes are critical. Your feet are going to swell, and if you take your shoes off there’s a chance you won’t be able to get back in them.  You’ll also want something that’s easy to remove for getting through airport security, and it’s a real bonus if they look good too.  My current choice:  Skechers Cali Women’s Crystal Cut Trail Mary Janes in black (approximately $40, price varies).  I wore these on the plane, walking over all sorts of terrain from climbing trails to city streets.  I wore them with shorts, jeans, and a dress.  They got a little beat up with all the walking and hiking that I did, so I ordered another pair.  Love them.
  8. Elastic socks – Sure, they’re a bit on the ugly side, but if it’s a long flight elasticized knee socks help guard against the blot clots of deep vein thrombosis.  And they’ll keep your feet warm, too.  If you’re worried about the lack of fashion, you can just slip them on and off during flight.  My current choice:  None that I’m satisfied with, I’m still looking for a pair that I’ll love.
  9. Tumi T-Tech Empire messenger bagPurse – I like having a small purse that can fit into a larger carry on bag or backpack, yet will be large enough to use when I get to my destination.  It needs to be big “enough” but not “too” big.  It’s a tough call.  My current choice:  T-Tech Empire by Tumi ($75). It’s a cross-body messenger bag, and could hold all my stuff, yet wasn’t big and bulky.  It’s a casual style, but could work for all but the most dressy of occasions, and it’s perfect for when I need to get up to use the bathroom and don’t want to carry my entire backpack with me.
  10. Backpack – I only use a backpack when I’m checking my bags.  I much prefer to use a shoulder bag that hooks over my larger roller bag, but when I check my bags, it’s just too heavy to carry.  I’m more of a fashionable backpacker than carrying all of clothes on my back.  My current choice:  eBags Downloader Laptop Backpack ($45).  It’s okay, serviceable, can carry all my electronics and more, but yet I’m not sure that I’ll keep using it.  It doesn’t quite seem to fit right, although I can’t really put my finger on it.  I guess the jury’s still out on this one.

Of course, this list just covers a portion of the things that I pack and carry with me — we have gotten to the gear and gadget list yet.

Do you have some favorite must pack items that you carry with you?  I’d love to get your recommendations.

Photo credit:  Tumi for Empire bag, all others from Amazon (affiliate links)