My Top Travel Essentials for Flying

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Photo: Alyssa Dawson Photography

This year has been my busiest yet for a lot of reasons, but especially because of all the travel I’ve done. By the end of April, I had taken six work trips (three to Calgary, two to Winnipeg, one to Victoria), and a whirlwind ten-day trip to Europe that involved five flights, eight trains, seven cities, and even a surprise proposal (more on that later!).

As luck would have it, my fiancé J and I are off again tomorrow, this time to Mexico for the wedding of our dear friends, D + S. Even though we’ve been home less than three weeks since returning from Europe, we can’t wait to get away again – I keep joking that we need a beach holiday to recover from our last trip! It’s going to be the perfect opportunity to rest, relax, and spend time with friends.

Better yet, with this year’s busy schedule, I’ve discovered my favourite travel essentials to keep me sane when I’m away from home. Here’s what I’m packing this weekend – perfect timing for your May long weekend getaway!

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Photo: Alyssa Dawson Photography

Travel-Size Hydration

My skin runs on the dry side to begin with, so when I fly to dry climates like Calgary, it really begins to flake. My go-to skin care expert Amanda Hlatky at Glow Dermal Therapy recommends Intraceuticals Opulence Collection (prices vary). After running through my typical cleansing routine, I apply the Daily Serum, Hydration Gel, and Moisture Brightening Cream, top with a small amount of my daily moisturizer, and then fly bare-faced to stay balanced and hydrated from departure to arrival.

Makeup Removal Washcloths

I always feel guilty washing my makeup off on white hotel washcloths, so when I discovered Sephora’s Black Magic Makeup Remover Cloths ($15 for a set of two), I snapped them right up. Made specially for makeup removal, these super soft cloths are gentle on the skin, but tough on grime. They always leave my skin feeling perfectly clean, and better yet, work even without cleanser when you find yourself in a pinch.

Amanda Haines travel essentials beats by dre headphones travel
Photo: Alyssa Dawson Photography

Noise-Cancelling Headphones

I was always an earbud kind of gal until I flew a six hour red-eye from the Big Island of Hawaii to Vancouver last spring with a two-year-old screaming behind me the entire time. These headphones cut out all the extraneous noise, sit comfortably on my ears, and prevent toddler travel tantrums from cramping my style mid-movie. Enough said.

Blanket Scarf

This item practically saved my life last month! A big cold snap hit pretty much as soon as we landed in Europe, and I was stuck with only two spring jackets and one sweater to keep me warm in the wind, hail, and nearly zero-degree temperatures. Enter the blanket scarf – though I always love to bring one on board no matter where I’m headed (they double as an amazing blanket for napping on drafty airplanes), on this trip it became a saving grace when we were traipsing down cobblestone streets and waiting on train platforms in icy cold conditions.

Amanda Haines travel essentials clean sephora fragrance beauty travel
Photo: Alyssa Dawson Photography

Roll-on Fragrance

Always nervous to travel with my full spray bottles of perfume, I love a roll-on eau de toilette to freshen up after a long flight or throughout a hectic trip. Clean’s Classic Rollerball fragrance set ($53) is a must-have: in scents Air, Skin, and Warm Cotton, they not only layer effortlessly, but also remind me of my teenage favourite Gap scents like Dream, Grass, and Heaven. Bonus: sweet nostalgia.

Cotton Swabs

This one’s a weird one, but for real: how often have you forgotten cotton swabs at home only to discover that your hotel or Airbnb doesn’t have a vanity kit? From emergency makeup applications to mascara smudge removal post-airplane nap, cotton swabs are a must in my travel kit. Keep an eye on these little suckers though – if your travel companion is anything like mine, they are guaranteed to dwindle by the day.

Amanda Haines travel essentials sephora sheet mask skincare beauty travel
Photo: Alyssa Dawson Photography

Sheet Masks

I was skeptical of sheet masks until my colleague G turned me on to the latest skincare craze. I’ll pop one of these on when I’m mid-trip and my skin is in need of a little pick-me-up – you simply remove them from the package, carefully unfold, and press to your face for 10 minutes for a Jason-like miracle skin treatment. Available for $8 each at Sephora, choose from favourites like Algae (purifying and detoxifying), Avocado (nourishing and repairing), or Rose (ultra-moisturizing and brightening) for an instant boost.

Amanda Haines travel essentials etsy socks
Photo: Alyssa Dawson Photography

Cozy Socks

I don’t like to wear slippers, but I do love a soft and plush pair of socks to make me feel at home. I always put a pair in my carry-on in case I want to slip into them on the plane, and pack an extra set in my luggage to wear in my hotel room. The perfect travel accessory, this pair from Sweet Dee Paperie on Etsy (on sale, $18.24) doubles as a creature comfort on the plane (especially when travelling in sandals) and a reminder to the flight attendant to keep those drinks coming.


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