While many countries still have COVID-19 restrictions in place, a lot have opened up their borders and airlines are offering some of the cheapest flight deals in recent memory. Not to mention the rock-bottom prices on domestic air travel right now. If you're planning to get back on a plane anytime soon, here are five indispensable items that will ease your way to whatever destination you choose.
- Noise-Canceling IEMs
A lot of frequent fliers swear by their over-the-ear Sony and Bose headphones. But I’ve tested both and can tell you after 20 years of trial and error that they cannot cancel out all the cabin noise like a good pair of in-ear monitors (IEMs). If you want to read a book, watch a movie, or fire up your favorite travel playlist without hearing a baby cry, the chatter of your fellow passengers, and that unsettling droning noise invading your headspace, look no further than Etymotic.
With three decades of experience, their tiny buds go deep into your ear canal for a perfect seal. The only knock on what audiophiles fondly call “Etys” is their relatively flat sound signature. If you like a bit more of a bass bump, then check out Periodic Audio’s IEMs. They recently upgraded their entire line with detachable cables, as this is the part of headphones that breaks most often, and their Carbon model – complete with a lab-made diamond – has more low end punch than the subwoofer in Snoop Dogg’s car.
- Hyperice Hypervolt Go
The original Hypervolt and its latest Bluetooth-enabled iterations are perfect for pounding the soreness out of your aching muscles after a hard workout or that co-ed softball game your cousin conned you into playing in. But the weight and size make taking a full-size massage gun in your carry-on a bit of a stretch – literally. Enter the company’s travel-ready model, the Hypervolt Go. Sure, it can’t put out as much torque as its big brother, but at just over a pound in weight, it’s more portable and allows you to do as much percussion therapy as you’d like.
This handy little tool is TSA-certified, so the agents at security aren’t going to confiscate it or make you go through the rigmarole of putting it back in your checked luggage. Plus, the Hypervolt Go’s motor is quiet enough that you won’t arouse the anger of your seatmates when you use it. Still stiff from that horrid seat when you get back to the hotel? There should be sufficient battery life for more on-the-go massage.
- Doc Parsley’s Sleep Remedy
One of the biggest challenges presented by air travel is the circadian rhythm disruption caused by crossing time zones. Going outside in bright sunlight and fasting until breakfast time at your destination can both help but getting adequate slumber might still be a challenge. Sure, it’s tempting to throw back a couple of drinks at the airport and on the plane or to pop a prescription pill, but both options can cause more harm than good.
Instead, try an all-natural sleep aid like the one developed by Dr. Kirk Parsley. In working with special forces units, he found that sleep duration and quality were major issues, and then zeroed in on a list of ingredients that could help. The resulting Sleep Remedy is trusted by Navy SEALs, pro athletes, and everyday folks, and it won’t get you hooked or expose you to side effects like pharmaceuticals can. If you enjoy a hot drink on the plane, go for the powdered individual serving packets and if not, choose the capsules. Both are equally potent in sorting out mid-trip sleep, thanks to a combination of research-backed elements like vitamin D, magnesium, tryptophan, and so on.
- Clear or TSA Pre
If you asked 100 people, “Do you enjoy going through security at the airport?” they’d all say no. Let’s face it, the process sucks. Taking off your shoes, belt and watch, wrestling your laptop free from your carry-on bag, putting your stuff on the hair covered conveyer belt – there’s nothing redeeming here at all, and I’m getting grossed out just writing about it!
If you have a similar loathing for this part of the already-stressful airport experience, consider ponying up for two services that can alleviate most of the misery. Signing up for Clear takes two minutes and will allow you to waltz through to your gate by simply scanning your retinas like Tom Cruise in Minority Report and placing two fingers on a sensor for recognition. Clear also provides similar fast-tracking at sports arenas and concert venues.
TSA Pre requires a lengthy application process, but your membership will be multi-year instead of the annual fee required by Clear. Plus, TSA Pre is much more widely available. Both offer similarly short lines that will get you out of the cattle call that is regular security and will give you more time to grab a coffee or browse the airport bookstore.
- Calm App
The airport is one of the most frenetic, over-stimulating places you could possibly go. It’s tricky to find any respite from the chaos because people and noise are ever-present. So anything that can bring you a couple of minutes’ peace has to be a bonus. A mobile solution to this issue is Calm. Over the past few years, this app has expanded beyond the rudimentary mindfulness meditation it initially offered. The company partnered with legendary British DJ/producer Tom Middleton to create a soundtrack designed to offer relaxation anywhere – even in a crowded terminal.
If you want to take a nap on the plane, Middleton is also a sleep expert and so the app offers additional playlists to encourage a restorative snooze. Still need help drifing off? Then buy or stream his Sleep Better album, which, if you close your eyes and use the aforementioned noise-blocking IEMs, can make you think you’re lying on a sunny beach listening to waves.