I’m a mom who wholeheartedly believes that a quick getaway (even a one-nighter) is crucial to my mental well being as a parent. If I drain myself with the daily grind with no breaks, and I find I become short tempered with the kids, my husband, and even myself. Even something as simple as sitting in a hotel room and watching TV is enough to make me feel like myself again. It gives me the quiet I need to let my mind wander and dream a bit. Travel without kids means that, for once, I am my first priority and the only butt I need to wipe is my own.
But it’s not as simple as that: I’m a nervous flyer, so that well-deserved getaway typically kicks off with a whole host of things that I’m anxious about: from the plane most certainly crashing, to the flu I’ll inevitably catch from the sick man sitting next to me. I’ve found that making sure I bring along some key items that help me to relax as much as possible while en route to my destination is key to getting to my destination ready to relax. These travel accessories for nervous flyers combine the best of both worlds: not only are they calming, but they’re super stylish, to boot.
When I don’t travel with my kids, I get fully dressed. Like, styled outfits. Accessories are the first thing I skip on busy days at home, but when I’m traveling by myself, I like to up my style game. This lava rock necklace is made to hold your favorite essential oils, but it also looks really cool. I’d use some lavender oil to help me stay calm on my long drive or flight. Plus, you never know what your seatmate is going to smell like on a cramped airplane (why do they allow garlic in airport restaurants?). This necklace helps you look stylish AND smells great.
It might just be me, but when I dress up to fly, I find myself making better choices throughout the trip: I choose healthier snacks, my mood is better, and I feel better. Sure, sweats are an easy choice for traveling, but I end up feeling (and acting) like a slob. When it comes to luggage, I don’t care what my suitcase looks like since I always check it. It’s totally basic and I don’t mind. But a great carry-on is a MUST. This cool leather bag is well made and will last for years. The colorful Guatemalan fabric panel, mixed with the gorgeous brown leather, makes it feel high end and a little hippie at the same time. This size is perfect to fit all your carry-on items on a plane or for a weekend away closer to home. If I’m being honest, this bag would hold just my snacks if I’m headed to a drive-able location. You’ve never seen anyone over-pack like me…
I’m addicted to pouches. Can’t stop, won’t stop. This hot pink translucent bag is designed for your carry-on liquids, which can be x-rayed right through this pouch. The bright color saves you from the panic of digging aimlessly in your carry-on to find your liquids when you’re trying to not be that person who holds up the security process. Not only does it disguise your items from nosy travelers, it also looks great in your carry-on. It is definitely a style upgrade from my usual plastic baggie.
I love to bring my camera with me no matter where I am headed, but most camera bags are super dorky. This pretty leather bag from Lo and Sons looks like a chic purse. The size and shape of the bag make it totally manageable and don’t give away that you are toting around a piece of expensive equipment, so you don’t feel like you constantly have to clutch it as tightly as you can to your body. (What, is my travel anxiety rearing its ugly head once more? I surely can’t be the only one obsessed with feeling like I’m going to get pick pocketed when I travel.) I love taking my DSLR on vacation despite the theft risk; taking photos lets me see things the way I want to remember them, which is a total luxury since when the kids are around I’m usually making sure they aren’t walking into the street or getting kidnapped.
Nothing ruins my day faster than tangled cords. And when I reach into my carry-on or weekend bag to try to find something quickly but pull out a web of accessory cords instead, it drives me insane. These adorable cord “tacos” keep them wrapped up and organized. Plus, their fun hipster patterns make me smile.
Snapchat sucks the life out of your battery crazy-fast (I’m totally obsessed with that app at the moment). Since it doesn’t count unless your “followers” see it, I’ll need to share all the relaxing things I’m doing on my getaway. I can’t run out of battery, for fear of something going wrong at home that I need to be in communication for. I love this simple white and gold dot back up battery for its metallic loveliness and its ability to recharge my life and my soul.
I’ve been thinking about learning to meditate for a while, and I can’t think of a better time to start than on a flight where you have time to yourself. This cool device has different soundscapes to choose from, and the purpose is to teach you how to refocus your brain. For example, when you are calm and focused, the soundscape may sound like a gentle rain. But as your mind drifts, the sound changes to a full on storm, which triggers you to try to refocus. So cool. It’s a skill that can absolutely come in handy when you are dealing with a pre-dinnertime breakdown or while you are sitting at that school music performance.
The right headphones are essential to a great trip. And while there are tons of them out there that look way cooler than these, these noise canceling headphones are the best. These in-ear headphones are big on comfort and making sure you don’t hear the crying baby on the plane or the kids splashing around by the pool. You can be sure that you’ll actually hear the playlist you’ve created to soothe yourself. Whether that is classic rock (like mine) or pan flute is totally up to you.
A good way to kick off your relaxing trip is with a cocktail. I’m not suggesting you get hammered on a plane. That’s never a good look. But a civilized cocktail is the perfect way to ward off your travel jitters and gear up for the great experience that lies ahead. It also might be just the thing you need to help you take a little in-flight nap.
Sure, you have notebooks to jot down your thoughts. But I’m almost certain you don’t have a happiness planner. This book focuses on positive thinking and personal growth. The pages are designed to get you to dive deep and figure out what makes you happy. This is something I don’t have time to do in my day-to-day life, but I get antsy on a plane and need things like this to keep me busy. There are spaces to set goals and also track your results. Being away from the kids is the perfect time to figure out what makes your heart happiest.
Just a little spritz of this hydrating rose water face mist will lift your spirits. I like to use this on a plane in the dry cabin air. The small size means I can take it in my carry-on bag easily. The smell is pretty subtle, which is important for small spaces; you don’t want to make your seatmates any crankier than they already are. This is a great pick-me-up throughout a long day of travel. Use it, as needed, to refresh your face and mind on the way to your destination.
For years I didn’t travel with a neck pillow. But it is now an essential item for me when I travel. I do not fall asleep easily when I’m not at home. Planes are the worst for me! A neck pillow (and a super cute one, at that) is crucial for finding comfort in your cramped airplane seat. With this pillow there is no struggle to find a comfy spot leaning against the window or having your head fall on some stranger’s shoulder once you doze off. This is a travel pillow I wouldn’t mind being seen carrying around an airport.
For the plane or the hotel room, a pretty silk sleep mask is a must. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stayed in a hotel room where I think I’ve drawn the blackout curtains only to find a tiny sliver of sunlight trying to pierce my eyeballs at 6:00 a.m. A sleep mask will make sure that you get your best hotel sleep possible. It will also fit in your carry-on bag easily and is perfect for midday flights where you could use a little extra shuteye.
When I travel, I like to bring my own portable speaker. Most hotel rooms have a system that you can plug your phone into, but if you have a balcony or patio, you usually can’t hear it. Music helps to create moods, and I love to have a playlist of songs I love to help me relax and enjoy myself. For a girls’ trip, a portable speaker is perfect for listening to while getting ready to go out to a fancy dinner. When I travel with my husband, we use the speaker for relaxing and just hanging out together with a drink.
I used to not travel with perfume after a spill almost ruined my luggage (and wardrobe) during an important trip. Now I travel with a roll on perfume oil (that I keep in a plastic bag, just in case…). I put it on after I finish getting dressed, and it’s the last “accessory” that helps me to feel like my pre-kids self. The scent is one that I only use when I’m traveling, which keeps it special.