Things I Love on the Aircraft

1. Running into people I know from Vermont on a flight. 

2. People who help their fellow passengers do things like stow bags, calm crying babies, or purchase a snack for a new friend. 

3. People who make new friends on the plane. 

4. People who are interested in what I do. 

5. People who follow the rules and instructions the first time. 

6. People who read the safety card. 

7. People who stop talking and pay attention (or pretend to pay attention) during the safety demo. 

8. People who let me hold their babies. (Tip: not all FAs love this, but I'm always willing to hold a cute baby, especially if you're a parent traveling alone and you need a few minutes of baby holding relief.)

9. People who bring us candy. 

10. Kiddos who give me hugs or high fives when they're deplaning

11. People who give up their first class seats to service members. 

12. People who give their upgrades to their spouses. 

13. Mature, awesomely behaved kids. 

14. When people are genuinely polite. 

15. Flawless carry on bag placement in the overhead bin. 

Travel Items I Like

Now that you all know about my slight obsession with Packing Cubes, I wanted to share with you a few more items that I love to travel with. 

I'm usually grossed out by reusable water bottles. I've owned your typical plastic ones in the past, but I've always secretly felt that I just couldn't ever get the taste of stale water (or worse, soap) out of the bottle, making the whole "reusable" piece pretty pointless. Then I found these bad boys. They keep your liquids hot (soup from home for layovers, thank you very much!), cold, and they seal completely so you don't have to worry about leaking. I own the large 25 oz bottle...which is advertised as being able to hold an entire bottle of wine... I'm looking forward to experimenting with that when picnic season returns. I sterilize mine using boiling water and vodka so I avoid the whole soap taste issue altogether. 

Are you one of those people who thinks planes are gross? Stock up on this stuff now. It kills the germs and smells amazing. I'm in love with it, and the tiny bottle lasts a surprisingly long time. 

These babies are useful for containing charger cords, small electronics, jewelry, and so much more. They keep your purse or "small personal item" nicely organized while in flight.

This bag is so useful, versatile, and inexpensive that I've actually purchased two. I snapped one up in training because I needed a black bag that was compliant with our uniform standards, and since then I've converted a slew of fellow FAs. It packs easily and is a FABULOUS layover bag with its multiple strap options. Well played, Old Navy. 

I purchased this bag specifically because it has credit card slots right in the bag, keeping my ID readily accessible when I want to breeze through security at the airport. It's a delightful and durable bag that comes in two sizes, I have the mini. It blends in regardless of your circumstances and I just adore it.

Packing Essentials

Before I had this job I spent a lot of time on the road. Whether it was road tripping between Vermont and the South (that 24 hour drive to Arkansas is no joke) or flying all over, I developed a packing system that has served me well as a Flight Attendant. My system has continued to evolve over the past six months of this new life, and I'm sure I'll refine it even more as the seasons change.

For now, here is my current packing advice:

1. Maximize your carry on situation.
     This means traveling with only a carryon sized rolling bag (unless you're LITERALLY moving somewhere), and your one personal item. Protip: I'd recommend that personal item be as large as is manageable in order to maximize your hauling capacity, and then stick a smaller purse with things you use inflight inside of it. Recommendations: The Lo & Sons OG with the Lo & Sons Pearl inside, or the more budget friendly option of the ebags Savvy Laptop Tote with the ebags Villa Cross Body inside.

2. Be smart about it.  
     When you're packing, make sure that you put everything that is absolutely essential (medications, identification documents, electronics, money) in your personal item- NOT in your rolling bag. Depending on the size of the aircraft, overhead bin space can be hard to come by and your rolling bag may very well need to be checked through to your final destination. Be a savvy traveler and have your 'must' items on your person. Don't be that annoying passenger who remembers they've checked their medication in the middle of the boarding process. I promise I'll do my best to help, but most of the time, there's nothing I can do once it's been tagged.
     Wear your bulkiest items. In winter, wear your heavy coat and over the knee boots while traveling. In the summer, wear your wedges. It saves you a ton of room in your bags so that you can fit plenty of packing cubes in there instead.
     Tag your bags. Put your name, phone number, town/state, and your applicable frequent flyer numbers on tags on and in your bag. Ideally make them bright enough that you can spot them from a distance and unique enough that they can help identify them if they get lost in the shuffle. I have two Luggage Tags by Lolo on my crew bags.

3. Organize within your bags - i.e. ORDER PACKING CUBES NOW.
     I am a Packing Cube evangelist, and I'm proud of it. Ever since I ordered these incredible tools five years ago, I've been spreading the word that they're absolute necessities when it comes to living out of a suitcase for any length of time, whether it's for a weekend or a month.
     Sometimes I pack individual outfits in each cube, sometimes a category of clothing (like shirts or dresses) into a cube, sometimes everything I'll need for the gym goes in one and everything for the pool (flip flips, bathing suit, sarong, sunscreen) goes in another. When I pack my mom and my little brother for one of their trips I use different colors to delineate whose clothes are whose so that they can share bags. You can sort them however it makes sense to you.
     Currently in my suitcase I have one for the gym, one for the pool, one for cold weather accessories, one for dresses, one for undergarments, one for tops, one for pants/skirts, and two shoe bags. When Crew Scheduling calls and tells me where I'm going, I might swap a bag or two out. For example, if they tell me I'm going to London I'll take out the pool and gym stuff and sub in extra socks and a blazer because I know I'll be walking all over a city instead of hitting the elliptical.
     In particular, I recommend the slim cubes, the small cubes, the shoe sleeves, and the Pack It Flat Toiletries Kit.