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When it comes to long flights and even longer layovers, let’s be honest, it SUCKS. There are few things in life I really hate, and long flights is right up there with diarrhea and Donald Trump (arguably synonymous, but I digress).

Gloria on plane

As a full-time traveler, I figured I can’t keep hating on the most efficient mode of transportation that exists today. However, I’m open to inevitable futuristic options. Looking at you, teleportation. Until then, I think I’ve figured out the sorcery that is coping with long flights by making sure to always have these five carry-on essentials.

1. Deck of cards This applies more to long layovers in airports. Without a deck of cards, you’re just another boring fellow passenger waiting for paint to dry, I mean, your flight. I promise you, the next time you’re in the waiting area with at least an hour or two to spare, just whip out your deck, and you become an instant party. If you dare exalt yourself to King status by bringing a set of Uno cards, you might just opt to miss your flight and standby because the good times won’t stop.People will ask to join in, you’ll make new friends, and you’ll now have a new friend in-flight. Win-win, eh?

2. Thick scarf I have this plaid wool scarf I got in Barcelona last winter and I’ve held onto it like it were anointed with holy water. The reason it makes such a great carry-on item is because it repurposes as not only a pillow or neck cushion, but also a blanket when your non-menopausal self has menopausal hot flashes and you can’t decide whether you need it or not.

Gloria with scarf

They are so much better than the ones airlines have and there’s a comfort that comes with snuggling your own things, especially when that thing isn’t a man (#SingleForLife). They’re great, fashionable and functional. We’ll put scarves in the win category.

3. iPad or Kindle
Because, 2015. As much as I would’ve liked to compile a list without anything digital, the fact of the matter is they’re convenient, they’re awesome, and they’re practically made for killing time. Sadly, I only remember I have an iPad when I have a flight or my laptop breaks down. It serves as a great backup and mini desktop to do all the things you could do on your laptop, minus burning a hole in your jeans from overheating.

4. Killer music playlist
Music is medicine and it’d be a crime to waste all that dead air when you could be having a party in your head and rocking out to your favorite tunes. The best part is, you don’t look entirely crazy to everyone when you’re rocking your head back and forth in the zone, because all other smart travelers are rocking out simultaneously as well. Silent disco, commence.

5. Alcohol
Sorry, Mom, but wine is the closest thing we have to time-travel. We take two sips. Two sips turn into two glasses. Two glasses turn into a good night sleep and waking up in a new time zone and country. It’s beautiful.

Gloria with wine
Even a beer will do the job, because all your responsibilities are on hold until you touch down. So sit back, relax, whip out your deck (careful!), snuggle into your scarf, turn on those tunes, and take-off will turn to touch-down in just a few moments.

Read more about Gloria’s travels on The Blog Abroad.

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Gloria Atanmo
Gloria Atanmo is an adventure-junkie currently on a 2-year jaunt through Europe after booking a one-way ticket. She enjoys discovering the unequivocal education of travel, risks, and hustle. Follow her journey on Instagram (@glographics) or her blog (
Gloria Atanmo

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