I hate flying, so when I do fly I tend to freak out and buy things I think will make the trip more bearable. Here is what I bought last month for my first red eye:
I’m the dork who stands in the travel store and tries on all the sleep masks, and this one was my favorite. I bought it in plain black, but there were plenty of bright colors and patterns (which look suspiciously bra-like to me, thus the black). This mask is made of very light weight molded foam and has deep pockets where your eyes go so there isn’t any pressure on my eyelids or tickling of my eyelashes. The foam conforms to your face and blocks out light very effectively, Scott even used it to take a mid-bright-day nap in our hotel room. The elastic strap has some velcro at the back so you can adjust it but it’s not too intrusive. Of all my freak out purchases this was the one I liked the best.
I bought this at Wide World Books and Maps, whom I love dearly, in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle.
I was looking into travel pillows when I remembered a blanket that folds into a pillow that I read about a few years back. The Nap Sac goes one step further. It’s a travel blanket that folds up into a pouch which acts as a pillow, but it also comes with an inflatable pillow insert so you can use the blanket and pillow at the same time. It’s made of muppet-cuddly material and it has a handy wrist strap so you can hang it from your luggage or your hand. It’s also, I found after the fact, Oprah approved.
I used the pillow at a hotel where the feathers in the down pillows kept poking me in the cheek, the blanket on the plane, and hugged the whole thing to me during a particularly rough landing. The blanket has a pocket in the middle of it that can hold an iPod or cell phone. I’m glad I got this, I think it will be handy to have for car trips as well.
I called around to find a place that carried this and ended up going a little ways to get one, only to see it innocently hanging at a nearby Whole Foods after we’d returned from our trip.
I hated this. When looking at neck pillows I was warned that the inflatable ones don’t offer much support when you lean on one side and all the air moves to the other side. The Bucky pillows were widely recommended but I was reluctant to buy another bulky thing to bring on the plane, and I found the seam along the center back cut into my neck a bit. I hoped the Thermarest pillow, which is an outer layer of foam over an inflatable chamber, would be the best answer but it was too small to offer much support at all and only served to make me frustrated. Lesson learned: listen to the people who clutch their Bucky pillows to their hearts. If I ever find myself needing to sleep on a red eye flight again I’ll try the Bucky Fuzzy Wuzzy.
One last note: The girl in the travel shop highly recommended the Thermarest Compressible Pillow. She said she’s used it for lumbar support on planes, as seat padding on rickety buses in South America and for both airplane and tent sleeping as a regular pillow. She says it hasn’t gotten flat no matter what she puts it through and washes really well.