Nothing ruins a holiday more than a stressful journey to your travel destination and back. But whether you're flying solo or with the entire family, there are a number of useful products that can upgrade your transit experience. If you're antsy about juggling your luggage, documents and electronics through the airport, read on for some expert advice from frequent globetrotters, based in Dubai.
We asked travel bloggers in the UAE for their must-have items on flight, and they share commonly overlooked essentials as well as hacks they've recently discovered. Vipin Sumithran, better known as The Explorer on Instagram, has a deep affinity for uncovering hidden gems in the UAE. As a nature lover, the adventurer says if you have a lot of hiking and exploring planned, then pack light in a travel backpack.
For long-haul flights, Sumithran's suggestions include an entertainment device, an all-in-one toiletry kit for your soap, hand cream and lotion, a pair of your best joggers to tackle long walks, and a power bank with a built-in flashlight.
If you're travelling with the kids this winter, Nawrin Ela Huq, a Dubai-based luxury travel influencer on Instagram, has some in-flight tips for you. "I travel at least five to six times in a year, but after 2020, I had my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, so travelling with a child became a whole new dynamic. I had to do a lot of learning," said Huq, who's recently been to Turkey and Oman.
She highlights investing in a travel-friendly baby stroller that can go right up to the aircraft. Huq's number-one choice is the Babyzen YoYo travel stroller, which has braved several destinations with the family. For in-flight entertainment, she brings along no-mess colouring books for her toddler.
We took down more suggestions below, all of which you can shop easily from Amazon. Browse helpful tech essentials for travel, from Bluetooth transmitters to universal adapters, in this dedicated list. Make sure you're subscribed to Prime for free, same- or next-day delivery.
1. Best Carry-On Backpack: Amazon Basics Slim Carry-On Travel Backpack
Breeze through the airport with a slim carry-on backpack that doesn't weigh you down. Amazon Basics' weekender holds enough to pack for a two-day getaway trip, but works brilliantly in place of a carry-on suitcase as well. Its back pocket slides through your luggage handle for easy manoeuvring. Inside, there's a fleece-lined top-load tablet pocket along with a dedicated laptop sleeve. Smaller items go in the second main compartment, for your travel documents, pens, water bottle and more. Parents in the reviews say it's extremely useful to bring along when travelling with children, since it has enough pockets for stashing away supplies. Check out our other options for carry-on luggage.
2. Best Mini Power Bank: Charmast 5000mAh Mini Power Bank
- Charges without cables
- Pocket-sized and lightweight
- 20-watt power delivery
- Includes the charging cable
- Doesn't have enough capacity to deliver a full charge to a smartphone
Juice your phone quickly in the airplane using a mini portable power bank. If streaming TV shows and movies on your handset is what you plan on doing, then do it cable-free with the Charmast charger plugged in. Despite being a palm-sized battery pack, weighing only 90g, it's equipped with 20W power delivery fast-charging. The 5,000mAh capacity doesn't deliver a full charge to an iPhone, but the power bank does charge AirPods six times over. You can save power on your main battery pack and opt for the Charmast Mini for charge boosts. Reviewers love how there's no wire hassle with this gadget, and it keeps their iPhone 13 Pro Max running the whole day. For Android phones, you can shop the Charmast Mini here.
Bonus: Get 20 per cent off when you apply a coupon.
Warranty: The manufacturer offers a two-year warranty.
3. Best Travel Stroller: Babyzen YOYO2 Stroller
- Shock-absorbing wheels that navigate tight corners well
- Lightweight - steers with one hand and parks anywhere
- Storage basket has 5kg capacity
- Stores into cabin baggage easily and can be carried on the shoulder
- Requires both hands for the first step of the fold
Our best baby stroller pick of 2022 and Huq's essential travel item, the Babyzen Yoyo2 is the perfect lightweight buggy for your child. It's suitable for babies up to 22kgs in weight and can be carried over the shoulder when folded. Weighing just 6.2kgs, the stroller steers with one hand, so it's going to be less hectic for mums and dads to juggle all of their belongings. Supplies can be stored in the zipped back pocket and inside the 5kg-capacity under-seat basket. Reviews appreciate how the stroller stays put when strapping in their baby and attest to the sturdy frame.
Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh187.08 for 12 months with select banks.
4. Best Flight Socks: aZengear Compression Socks for Women and Men
Huq always carries a pair of compression socks to her flights: "I cannot do without compression socks - our legs swell up when we're seated for too long. These socks keep the blood circulating". This pair by aZengear protects the legs from cramping, reduces fatigue and improves muscle recovery. They're made of moisture-wicking fabric and reach just below the knees with non-slip cuffs. Reviews say these socks are snug without being uncomfortably tight and have kept the swelling down even after their 14-hour-long flight.
5. Best Toiletry Bag: Boomrich Travel Makeup Bag
Snap up a toiletry bag approved by flight attendants. Reviews swear by this large Boomrich travel bag for their makeup and skincare products. The organiser has a main compartment for storing bottles, a waterproof pocket for towels, toothbrushes and other toiletries, and another side pocket for makeup brushes. Some buyers even report storing their travel-sized flat iron and hair dryer inside this bag.
6. Best Tablet Case: Bam Bino Space Suit (Blue)
Consider childproofing your tablet, if it's going to be the main source of flight entertainment for the kids. Bam Bino has various cases compatible with Samsung Galaxy tablets and iPads, ranging from 10.1-inch to 12.9-inch screens. They have a large handle on the top for children to haul around their gadget easily, come with a shoulder strap that keeps the tablet safe with your child, and have foldable legs on the back for comfortable viewing on the food tray. This case absorbs all sorts of impact and falls, especially with the built-in screen protector. Make sure to pick the right case for your device, from the available options.
7. Best Portable Soap: Paper Soap Sheets, 9 Boxes (450 Sheets)
These viral on-the-go soap sheets are a great addition to the travel toiletry bag. The paper sheets dissolve upon contact with water and foam up quickly for a sanitary handwash. You can store them anywhere, thanks to the palm-sized container. In this pack of nine, you're getting a whopping supply of 450 sheets, so everyone in the family can have their own portable soap. It's going to come in handy when you're met with a broken or empty dispenser in the airport and aircraft toilets. Reviews say each sheet produces a lot of lather and has a pleasant scent.
8. Best Electrolyte Powder: PowderVitamin Electrolytes Powder Plus Keto, Lemonade (100 Servings)
If you find yourself avoiding aircraft toilets, don't give up on hydration, says Huq. A hack she's found to keep dehydration at bay and avoid frequent bathroom visits, is mixing electrolyte powder in water. This PowderVitamin pack is a sugar-free electrolyte powder, which includes potassium, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C and zinc, all of which deter cramps and replace electrolytes naturally when they're lost while travelling. This pouch makes 100 servings and is lemon-flavoured. Reviews say their energy levels are replenished every time they fix themselves an electrolyte drink.
9. Best Travel Pillow: Cabeau Memory Foam Evolution S3 Pillow, Jet Black
Designed for long flights, this Cabeau memory foam pillow is orthopaedic expert-approved for support during any seated activity. It has seat straps at the back and an adjustable clasp in the front to accommodate different neck sizes. You can attach it to any airplane seat and prevent slouching as you doze off, keeping your spine in perfect alignment. Reviews report having slept throughout their flight without sustaining any cramps, thanks to the Cabeau pillow.
10. Best Travel Toy: Melissa & Doug On the Go Water Wow! Activity Pad, 6-Pack
Huq says this no-mess colouring book works wonders for her toddler during travel. Children can use a water pen to reveal the colours underneath the activity pad and reuse it when the pages dry. In this pack, there are six books by Melissa and Doug, each featuring a fun theme. Parents in the reviews approve the books for flights and mention how it keeps their toddler entertained for hours. The pad is suitable for children aged three and above. Check out more travel toys to keep your little ones occupied here.
11. Best Travel Shoes: Skechers Gowalk 6
- Air-cooled insoles
- Slip-on design
- Lightweight cushioning
- The sole design can collect debris
Prepare to clear kilometres at the airport with a pair of soft slip-on shoes, like the Skechers GoWalk 6. They have lightweight, responsive cushioning and an air-cooled breathable insole, all of which keep your tread comfortable and protected. The best part is that they're machine-washable, so you can toss them into the laundry basket post-travel. Reviews say they're very comfortable and are easy to slip on and off. Find the women's GoWalk 6 pair here.
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.