The seemingly mundane decisions you make before your trip, can impact your comfort level on the fight. Check out our list for useful swaps that will improve your travel experience. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Preparing to travel is as much an art, as it is a logical checklist to follow. You might jot down things like shoes, headphones or hand cream – but which kinds work best for long hours on a flight? That may be a little trickier to figure out.

While your choices ultimately come down to personal style, you’ll likely agree with us that there are a few things passengers should avoid wearing, using or taking onboard the plane. We scoured social trends and top-rated reviews for better options instead, and curated this new checklist you can use ahead of your upcoming vacation.

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1. Best Screen: Tablet


  • Powerful device
  • Lightweight and compact
  • 12-megapixel ultra-wide front camera
  • Includes Touch ID and Apple Pay


  • Accessories must be bought separately

Should you take your laptop on the plane, or will your tablet suffice? Both have their advantages, and it ultimately comes down to what you’ll primarily be using the device for. If it’s to entertain yourself while you’re on vacation, then we’d recommend a tablet as your go-to travel device. It’s smaller, lighter, just as user-friendly and can substitute a laptop for both work and play functionalities, especially if you clip on a detachable keyboard. Our top pick is the Apple iPad. Its striking 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display brings your favourite movies to life, and its A14 Bionic chip with six-core computer processing unit and four-core graphics processing unit makes it a powerful, fast device, whether you’re working or gaming. It has both Wi-Fi 6 and 5G capabilities, and excellent camera quality for video calls in case you’d like to stay in touch with family and friends while on holiday. Add the Magic Keyboard Folio if you’re going to check the occasional email on your break.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent installments and pay Dh145.75 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers one-year extended warranty for Dh114, one-year accidental damage protection for Dh190, and two-year damage protection with one-year extended warranty for Dh242.

2. Best Travel Gadget: Bluetooth Audio Transmitter


  • Wireless
  • Long battery life
  • Long range


  • Some users experienced a lag

Flimsy headphones handed out by airline crew, with wires that tangle easily, don’t create the best flight experience. Noise cancelling headphones are a great option, but if you’re not looking to splurge on a new pair, consider a unique alternative. Shelina Jokhiya, professional organiser and managing director of DeCluttr Me, a Dubai-based home organisation and decluttering company, previously advised us on how to avoid overpacking before travel. Now, she shares a travel hack that can instantly change the game. She said: “My new gadget for travelling is the Airfly. This gadget enables you to connect your wireless headphones to the airplane entertainment system, as well car systems on rentals. No more spending hours trying to get it to work over Bluetooth on the inflight entertainment and having to disclose your phone details in rentals.” With this wireless device, you can continue to use your AirPods or other headphones. It has a range of up to 10m, and a battery life of over 20 hours.

3. Best Travel Pillow: Memory Foam Travel Pillow

If you find you’re just not able to get comfortable enough to sleep on a flight, it’s likely because of your travel pillow. Typical travel pillows are cushioned all the way around, and don’t offer the support you need to sleep while seated. Switch to Cabeau’s Evolution S3, which features dual-density memory foam and a customisable clasp for chin support, so that no matter where your head leans, it’ll find a soft spot to rest. Reviewers say the best part is that the back of the pillow is flat, so you can sit up right against your seat, rather than be forced to tilt your neck down from a rounded pillow. You can strap the pillow to the headrest of your seat, as well, to take the pressure off your neck. It comes in a sleek cylindrical bag that you can clip onto your carry-on luggage for the ultimate convenience.

4. Best Skincare: Moisturiser and sunscreen

A full face of make-up is not ideal on a flight. Although a touch of mascara or blush is unlikely to do you any harm, piling on the make-up can wreak havoc on your skin when combined with the dehydrating recirculated air on a flight. It’s best to put on a hydrating moisturiser, followed up with some sunscreen, before you board. If you’d like to reapply any of these products during the flight, or just bring some in your luggage, don’t forget to pick travel-sized versions. All our options here are 100ml or under, based on carry-on luggage requirements for international flights.

5. Best Clothes: Athleisure

With hours of sitting ahead, jeans may not be the best option on a flight. Your stomach will have to deal with a stiff denim waistband and non-breathable fabric. Something that’s a lot more comfortable to wear is an athleisure set. Bonus: Some of them have matching tops and bottoms! The trousers or joggers in these sets usually come with elasticated waists or drawstring, and the fabric used is lightweight and breathable, like linen or cotton, so it doesn’t require dry cleaning. These clothes are best to nap in on long flights, and easy to work with, in the cramped aeroplane bathroom.

6. Best Shoes: Slip-ons

Ditch your trainers, which will have you awkwardly squatting to tie your laces in the middle of a moving queue, and avoid open sandals that are just asking for stubbed toes. Instead, opt for a sturdy pair of flat slip-on shoes, like ballet flats (which are back in style), mules or loafers. They’re easy to slip on and off, comfortable and sturdy – perfect for walking long distances. Regardless of which shoes you pick, remember to wear socks – you don’t want to have to walk on your tip toes through airport security, when your shoes are off!

7. Best Travel Bag: Carry-on Trolley Bag

Backpacks and totes are great for road trips or short flights, but if you’re flying for five hours or longer, nothing will serve you better than carry-on luggage. These trolley bags fit the exact luggage allowance required by airlines, and are easy to lift, manoeuvre and wheel along at a fast speed. Our options come with double spinner wheels, along with plenty of storage pockets, both internally and externally. The Samsonite Solyte has a handy USB port for charging devices on the go, while the Briggs & Riley Zdx bag expands up to 34 per cent to fit all your essentials.

8. Best Second Bag: Crossbody or belt bag

While the focus for the carry-on bag should be quality, durability and storage capacity, the main priority for your secondary bag is all about function. You’ll need a lightweight, hands-free, easy-to-carry bag for essentials, like passports, keys, wallet, and phone. If you’re travelling solo, look no further than trendy belt bags, which were all the rage this year, for their portability and versatility. You’ll also find crossbody bags to be safe, since everything is within easy reach, and always in sight. Baggallini’s Journey bag, for instance, is machine-washable, and features built-in Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) blocking technology so you can travel knowing your data is safe.

9. Best Bottle: Reusable water bottle

It might be tempting to pick up bottled water once you’re through security, but consider this. One of the biggest sources of plastic waste by travellers is single-use plastic bottles, according to the United Nations Environment Programme. Our bodies lose an average of 236ml of water an hour during a flight, so bringing along a bottle of water is vital. But, make it reusable. You can fill up your reusable water bottle at a designated spot and keep it handy on the flight.

10. Best Accessories: Simple gold or silver jewellery

Have you had an airport scanner beep at you, even when you’ve walked through twice or thrice? It’s likely because of the jewellery you’re wearing. Scanners at airports detect magnetic metals, which are often found in clunky watches or costume jewellery. So, to keep time spent at a minimum at security, it’s best to store any such items in your hand luggage, and instead opt for simple gold or sterling silver jewellery. This way, you will not need to remove items like wedding rings and 18-karat earrings when you’re going through security checks.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.