Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

15 Problem-Solving Items for Overnight Flights

by Wendy Perrin | April 4, 2016

Leave it to frequent fliers to come up with creative ways to make overnight flights comfortable. These unusual recommendations come from assorted travel experts and friends on Facebook. They’re not all what you’d expect, but they’re all very clever. What items do you take on the plane to help make you more comfortable?

Cabeau Fold ‘n Go Travel Blanket and Case

Cabeau Fold n Go-Blanket

Cabeau Fold n Go-Blanket

It’s super plush and comfy and can also be used as a pillow and lumbar support. It has a loop with a snap that lets me attach it to my carry-on bag so it’s easy to access and doesn’t take up precious space in my bag. —Susan Portnoy, founder, The Insatiable Traveler

Lululemon Vinyasa scarf

I never board a flight without it. The wide, soft, cotton scarf with snaps can be worn all sorts of ways, which is great for travel. For flights though, I love that it can be a blanket, a pillow, a wrap, or even a sort of light-blocking head scarf.” —Christine Sarkis, senior editor, Smarter Travel



Fit Kicks

Fit Kicks

I always bring “FitKicks,” as they keep my feet comfy and clean. I also wear my L.L. Bean 850 down jacket that weighs about 2 ounces and doubles as a pillow when stuffed inside its own pocket. —Gail Rosenberg, luxury travel designer, Largay Travel

Trtl Pillow

Trtl Pillow

Trtl Pillow

It’s a machine-washable, super-soft-fleece travel neck pillow that is the best thing ever. —Margaret Stevenson


It’s a natural headache relief treatment I buy in the U.K. It comes in a small container that you roll up, like a solid deodorant stick. It’s great for headaches and stuffy sinuses, and if you take a big whiff of it, it wakes you up too. Think of it as a solid Vicks Vapor Rub, only tinier and convenient. —Marie Fritz

Bach Remedy Rescue Night

Use these flower remedies and hope for a better sleep. —Paola Fiocchi van den Brande, founder of Passepartout Homes


Inflatable beach ball

beach ball photo by Michael Frascella

If you never thought to pack an inflatable beach ball in your carry-on, you’re missing out on a great nap. Photo: Michael Frascella/Flickr

Bring one of those cheap blow-up beach balls and a hand towel. Blow up the beach ball, cover with the towel, and use as a giant pillow to lay on in your lap. It’s a refreshing change from the neck pillow for those who need a “little more” cushion. —Mark Estill, travel consultant/owner, Mark4 Vacations

White noise app

I use a white noise app on my iPad. Pop in my earbuds, turn on the waves, and the sound masks airplane and passenger noises better than noise-cancelling headphones. —Deb Arora, partner, Jacks & Stars

Rosemary oil

I bring a tiny vial of rosemary oil. My sinuses get super-dry on those long flights, and that leads to headaches and other weirdness. The smell of that oil just brightens up the inside of my head. And bonus, it banishes that weird airplane smell for a bit. —Pam Mandel, writer/editor, Nerd’s Eye View

Coconut oil

I use it as a moisturizer (face and body), hair conditioner, toothpaste, mouthwash, and deodorant (it’s anti-bacterial). —Lynn Braz, author,

Baby wipes

First, so that you can wipe off the tray table, armrests, and headrest. Second, so that when you wake up, you can wipe your face and feel refreshed. —Katie Kenner-Bohl

Emergen-C packets

I take one while flying, and I keep a few extra in my toiletries bag, for the trip. Better safe than sick! —Kelsey Ebner

Your favorite herbal tea

It’s comforting to have something familiar while traveling, and a cup of hot water is easily gotten from a flight attendant. —Scott Laird, writer, AbFabSkyLife

iPad with extra storage

Beyond all the usual stuff that experienced travelers know to do to try to sleep (much of which will work or not work with the reliability of a cheap watch), what seems to affect me best when I’m struggling to sleep is knowing I have comfort “content” handy. Most of my favorite novels—and we’re not talking Tolstoy but easier-on-the-spirit reads—are already loaded on my iPad. And if I’m too tired to read, I have episodes of favorite TV shows (“Gilmore Girls” and “Frasier” among ‘em) and movies that help me feel at home and relax (“Mamma Mia” always makes me smile). When I replaced my old iPad with a new one, I doubled up on the storage space for just this reason: I wanted to make sure there was enough room for my old pals.—Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor in chief, Cruise Critic

What do you pack in your carry-on for a more comfortable flight?


Be a smarter traveler: Follow Wendy Perrin on Facebook and Twitter @wendyperrin and sign up for her weekly newsletter to stay in the know.

Travel Tips

How to Be Prepared for an Emergency When You Travel: Simple Steps

by Wendy Perrin | October 10, 2017

safe travel during covid

A Trip to Iceland:
Start with our Questionnaire

by Wendy Perrin | November 5, 2015


How One Family Is Doing Multigenerational Travel During Covid

by Billie Cohen | August 19, 2020


The Countries That Are Open to U.S. Travelers and How to Get In

by Brook Wilkinson | December 2, 2022

COVID-19 Travel

Every State’s Coronavirus and Travel Information

by Billie Cohen | June 28, 2021

Airline Travel

Flying in 2020 and 2021: How Airlines Are Adapting and How Passengers Can Stay Safe

by Billie Cohen | July 31, 2020

Airline Travel

Steps to Reduce Your Health Risk When You Fly

by Billie Cohen | June 30, 2020


  1. Kathy at Goseeittravel

    Many of these are in my bag…I love my Fit Kicks and ipad. However, I don’t bring a lot of oils or scents…besides taking up room in the already tiny clear bag of 3 oz things, there are enough odors competing on board already, with an airplane seats being so close to eachother! I would add a light scarf or pashmina, I usually just cover my whole head, so it at least feels like I have some privacy!

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>