Author: Sara Goodnick
In the past 12 months I have traveled to Europe five times, and also to Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Hawaii, California, Oregon, and South Carolina. I’ve become pretty good at getting comfortable on planes, especially the long flights to Germany. I thought I’d share some tips for fellow travelers/photographers.
After lugging around my full sized DSLR with all the lenses, and getting a very sore neck, I made the switch to a micro four-thirds mirrorless camera system for overseas trips. While no camera is perfect, the mirrorless is the only camera I take to Europe anymore. There is even a great little tripod for these cameras, from MeFoto, and it comes in colors, too!
En route, there is much to be said for arriving rested when you get off the plane. To that end, I create a nice little nest with the items shown here.
For entertainment, I love Bose headphones for movies and music, but will switch to ear buds and iPhone when trying to sleep. I put a green clip on the headphone case so they can be hung easily on the outside of the seat pocket, or on my carry-on bag. Writing in my travel journal has been one of my favorite activities over many years. It has also served to settle arguments between my husband and me when our memories differ.
Many planes now have electric outlets between the seats, so to keep the electronics charged, I bring my phone and laptop chargers. Once at my European destination, a foreign electronic adapter is necessary, but not necessarily a converter. Check with your own devices, which may have converters built in. In the US, there are never enough outlets, or they are in odd places, so I bring an outlet extender. A little device with elastic, made by Cocoon Bags, helps keep everything in its place. Available online through Travelsmith and Magellan’s, and at The Container Store.
For comfort, the best neck pillow ever, is the Evolution Pillow by Cabeau. It’s filled with memory foam, can be secured under your chin, and has a pocket for an iPod. Not as small as some others, but really comfy! My own travel blanket has kept the chills away when others were shivering, and the lumbar pillow is great support for my back against those horrible airplane seats. For me, at 5’2″, because my feet don’t always reach the ground, an inflatable foot pillow has been a godsend. It’s also good insulation from the floor, since I always take off my shoes and slip some over-socks on for the trip. Your feet will swell, so get those shoes off!
That little pink thing is not what you are thinking it is, so stop snickering. It is the most comfortable eye mask ever made, and for you ladies, it won’t smear your mascara. It also comes in black. In order to sleep, your pituitary gland, just above and between your eyes, must be in the dark, so an eye mask does the trick. Earplugs can help with the screaming child or non-stop talkers behind you problem. Did you know there are disposable toothbrushes that have tooth cleaner already in them and that you don’t need water to use them? I found them at my dentist’s office and ordered some for myself. End of yuck-mouth when you finally deplane. If those little electric device lights in your room keep you awake, get some “Dimmys”. They temporarily stick on to block those lights, which are believed to disrupt sleep.
Last of all, ScottEVests makes great travel clothing with tons of pockets! Your vest or light jacket can become another carry-on with all your small items in it. Just throw it on the security conveyor belt with all your stuff in it, and you won’t have to empty your pockets. Once on board, you won’t have to rummage through that carry-on bag for those things either.
Sara Goodnick is a volunteer trip leader for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.