My 7 Airplane Essentials For The Minimalist Traveler

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I remember being on an airplane over a dozen times in April in May of 2020 when Covid fear was at it’s peak. The airlines and airports were empty it was nice. Before that and after that, I’ve continued to fly a lot mostly traveling around in the pursuit of mountain biking. 

While traveling I like to keep things minimal. I’m a minimalist by nature. I hate dragging a ton of shit with me.

Through all my travels I’ve made a list of the airplane essentials that help make my flights more comfortable that I’ll share with you now!

Here we go.

Wired Earphones

I’m a bit of a an audiophile so I have an expensive paid of wireless earbuds with me at all times by nature.  But wireless earbuds don’t always workout well on flights. 

Wireless earbuds don’t always workout well on flights. They can die, or more than likely you don’t charge them all the way. They also don’t connected to any inflight entertainment. So if you don’t have something downloaded on your own device, or you want to watch something on the inflight entertainment system you’ll be relinquished to using the airlines provided headphones (that you may have to pay for) and sounds absolutely shitty.

I keep these cheap Skull Candy earbuds with me which can be had for about $10 and sound a light year better than airline provided headphones and also seal your ears off pretty well from the noise of the engine or snoring person behind you. 

Downloaded Entertainment

These next two go hand in and hand in, so I am considering them ‘one’ — and they are both digital.

Airline App

Always, always, always, download the airlines app BEFORE you begin boarding. On many flights with ‘entertainment’ the entertainment will come via the airlines app — which you cannot download with out wifi. 

It’s a weird and shitty catch 22 to be stuck in. You board the flight. Go to access the entertainment. Need the app. But cannot get the app because you’re not connected to the internet. And then in desperation you look to pay for the airline internet but cannot get that, because you don’t have the app. 

lol it sucks.

Download the airline app before you board.

Movies & Shows

The airline movies and shows may not be what you want to watch, and if you fly a lot you may have burned through all the the stuff you wanted to see anyways. 

So download your own shows and movies from Netflix, or HBO Max before you go.

Sleep mask

Sometimes you want to sleep on a flight. And crossing time zones and the light coming through the windows on the planes, or the light from another passengers eyesight and throw a curveball in that idea. 

A sleep mask is the magic ticket. With a sleep mask, the inner parts of your eyelids will be dark helping you get shut eye.

I’m a sensitive sleeper and use a Manta Sleep mask, which has been a god send for flights or sleeping in places that get sunlight much earlier than I want to wake up.

Ear plugs

Crying little shithead a few rows back? Chatty family across the aisle?

You’re going to need earplugs to keep it nice and quiet if you want to sleep. I keep a little pair tucked into a pocket in my carry on back pack.


Airplane seats aren’t award winningly comfortable as it is. If you wake up with a stiff neck, or kink in your back, a flight can be miserable. 

That’s why I like to keep some Tylenol or other pain killer on hand. It’s a life saver.

Snack — Quest Bars

I love those little Bischoff cookies they give out on airlines. And ginger ale… something I never care for until I am on a plane (lol). But otherwise food on the planes is crap. Even the food you can pay for tastes horrible and is poor in nutritional value. 

So I bring some snacks, and suggest you do as well. 

Quest Bars are my choice as they pay a lot of nutrients and can relatively fill you up.

Portable charger

Nothing blows more than your phone dieing. And then you actually have to wait until you are off plane and find a charger for your phone and wait for it to power up… in addition to losing it during flight. 

A small battery pack costs less than $20 on Amazon and will keep you charged while you circle the globe it is a must have!

About the Author

I have been in the 'online business' space since 2009 when I started an eCommerce business selling motorcycle parts (sold in 2012). Since then I have owned and operated several successful online business (and had a fair share of failures), along with owning offline home services businesses. Currently my focus is online businesses that are profitable with paid traffic. As a 'self employed individual' I do not use Linkedin, but you can connect with my on my personal instagram and youtube which largely revolve around my mountain biking passion!