I’m packing for a longer trip, 5 days, so I thought this would be the perfect time to show you what I bring with me on my trips. For the short layovers I use a small suitcase, but for this multi leg trip I’ll be taking my larger suitcase. But either way, I have to make sure to pack stuff for wherever I’m going, for working the flights themselves, and for backup in case anything goes awry from diversions to change of schedule or flight at the last minute.
The hotel we stay at in Edinburgh doesn’t have a gym which is something I can’t fathom, but otherwise I make sure to bring a pair of sneakers and my Converses for when I’m exploring. Lastly are my cabin shoes, which I’m trying to soften a bit so I like to keep them underneath anything heavy. I keep all of these as close to the bottom near the wheels as I can. This is a weight distribution I learned so your suitcase doesn’t tip over as much.
Next is my normal clothes. I use packing cubes to keep everything a little more organized and save a little more space. I always bring a pair of jeans, a couple plain t-shirts I can dress up or down, socks and undies, a hoodie, pajamas, a bathing suit (which I could take out, none of our hotels have a pool but you never know) and my gym clothes, including my flex belt, which I highly recommend. I don’t mind keeping things in my sports bra, but the flex belt makes it so much easier to carry my phone and room key without getting them covered in sweat or risking them falling out.
As the weather gets cooler I think I’ll switch my shorts out for leggings, which I could also wear out or under my jeans if it’s really cold. And probably add a scarf, hat, and gloves while I’m at it. Even with these additions, this only takes up one packing cube.
My second packing cube is smaller and holds everything I need for when I’m in flight and working. I keep a book (currently The Skull and the Nightingale by Michael Irwin), extra pens, tea bags, lip gloss, my serving apron, and deodorant. This way, when we board the flight to start work, all I need to do is pull this and my shoes out and I’m good to go. Eventually I’ll switch this out for a crew lunch box when we receive them and be able to save a ton of room in my suitcase. Hopefully we’ll be getting them in September.
Next is my make up/liquids bag. I’m very minimal when it comes to my make up because I don’t like wearing it so it doesn’t take up that much room. Just some eyeliner, a few different color shadows, and a mascara. Make up is mandatory during flight but past that it’s up to us how we want to do it. The most important for me though is my cover up from ULTA which has lasted me a very long time and works well enough. I have a tattoo on my collar bone that can be seen under some of my shirts so I make sure to use the cover up liberally. I also carry band aids with me for added protection in case it’s very hot and I sweat it off or I spill something on myself and wash it off by accident.
Also in the bag I keep make up wipes, lotion because it’s insanely dry on the planes, my Dead Sea salt face cream (I try to use it every few days and it just rejuvenates my skin), dry shampoo, leave in conditioner, and regular conditioner. I hate the 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner we get at some of the hotels because it never detangles my curls enough and I don’t wash my hair every day, sometimes I only condition it, so I learned to just bring my own.
We are subject to the same liquid restrictions as passengers and some airports are more stringent than others. The UK is definitely where my bag gets searched the most, because we carry clippers for our trolleys, so I have to be careful with how much I bring along. I use reusable silicone bottles that I just put my lotion or conditioner in and refill as I run out. This way I also don’t miss my preferred brand (Garnier Fructis, the only one that seems to be able to manage my mane).
Finally, I keep a bottle of hot sauce with me at all times. The pressurized air in the cabin does a lot to your body, including drying out your skin and taste buds. That’s why airplane food tastes funny. It’s not that it’s bad, its just the air that makes you taste differently. A trick some pilots taught me is hot sauce, which I find really helps. Once I get my lunch box I also plan to bring my own food from home as well, just to be a little healthier.
In my purse, which is all I need when I’m done working, is my wallet, headphones, and my camera. Before leaving, I always check to see how much cash I have so I know if I need to stop at an ATM when we land or before I start enjoying my day out. There’s nothing worse than trying to hang out in Scotland and finding out you only have Euros still.
I throw my hair straightener, adaptors, and chargers on top and close the main pocket. The next pocket I put my yellow vest in. It’s not a procedure in the US (I believe it’s against customs and security regulations) but in some airports in Europe we walk across the tarmac to get on the plane instead of using a jet bridge. When we go out we must wear high-vis vests for obvious safety reasons.
Finally, in the front pocket I keep my flight log book where I can grab it quickly during our pre-flight briefing. Also in there is my notebook where I keep all my important documents such as my passport, my medical certificate, and other certificates I got during flight training. If I don’t have these documents with me, I am not allowed on the aircraft so I always triple check that they are all in there and up to date. I also keep my Kindle in here. While I don’t normally post while I am on my trips, I do a lot of my writing when I come back in for the night. I can also use it for Netflix or reading if I can’t sleep.
That’s all I need in the end for a week-long trip. Most everything I use can stay in my bag when I’m home as well meaning I’m mostly packed when I have a standby day or if I really just don’t feel like unpacking.