I spent 22 hours on planes with a carry-on bag and a backpack. Here are 5 items I regret not packing and 7 items I'm glad I brought.
On my flights to and from Paris I have only relied on the items in my backpack. Kirsten Acuna/Insider
I traveled abroad for the first time. My direct flight to Paris took 10 hours while my return took almost 12 hours.
For my 22 hours on planes, I took a carry-on bag and backpack to accommodate my onboard needs.
I regretted forgetting about melatonin, but I was glad I had noise-cancelling headphones and a pre-taped toothbrush.
In July I traveled abroad for the first time on a 10 hour non-stop flight to Paris, France and was a bit apprehensive about what to pack.
I can be a bit forgetful so I tried to plan everything in advance. These are some of the necessities I brought with me. Kirsten Acuna/Insider
Ever since I moved to California from New Jersey a few years ago, I've been used to five or six hour cross-country flights.
But a 10-hour direct flight to Paris still seemed daunting.
I had a window seat on my flight there. Even though I had a carry-on, I hate disturbing others by rummaging in an overhead bin, so I stuffed everything I thought I'd need into a backpack. As my personal item, the backpack could remain under the front seat for the duration of the flight.
Here's what I regret not packing and what I'm glad I stashed in my trusty backpack.
I was glad to have my Bose noise canceling headphones.
These are the best headphones I've ever had. Kirsten Acuna/Insider
Bose headphones are expensive, but I'd say they're worth every penny. My wireless over-the-ear headphones significantly reduce the loud noise of the plane, as well as noise from fellow passengers.
Whenever I took them off to talk to a flight attendant, I was amazed at how much background noise the headphones blocked out.
I also made sure to have a spare pair of wired earbuds on hand in case I needed to charge my wireless ones or in case I had Bluetooth connectivity issues. But Air France also made earplugs available to all passengers.
Although I packed a few physical books, my iPad mini was the device I used most for in-flight entertainment.
The iPad mini was one of the best gifts I've ever received. Kirsten Acuna/Insider
I always envision myself being productive on long flights, so I like to be over-prepared with printed books, an iPad full of other downloaded audiobooks, comics, shows, and films, and a journal in case I feel like writing. This is almost never the case.
I could have thrown away the tangible books that weighed down my backpack because I was attracted to my iPad mini.
As I write about TV and Movies I'm always trying to catch up and this was the perfect opportunity to download some series I've always wanted to watch to stay up to date including Westworld, All of Us “. Are Dead" and "Ms. Marvel”.
I decided, "Ms. Marvel” to avoid being spoiled online after my flight. Best of all, my Bluetooth headphones were connected to the iPad, so I didn't have to worry about an annoying cable getting in the way in my somewhat cramped quarters.
My Trtl wrap kept my neck from getting stiff and helped me feel more comfortable.
The combination of travel case, Bose headphones and mask is not great. Kirsten Acuna/Insider
I don't like packing bulky items when I can avoid it. A few years ago I started using Trtl's slim neck support travel pillows and they have become my number one choice when flying for more than two hours.
I prefer those bulkier neck pillows that I often see people traveling with because the Trtl case is super soft around your neck, lightweight and doesn't take up much room in your bag.
The only downside was that the cushion to rest your ear against was not designed to be worn with headphones or a mask.
Dressing all three together made for an awkward situation. My mask started poking my eyes, and the travel pillow and headphones competed to be closest to my ear.
I was impressed with this reusable toothbrush that made it easy to keep my mouth clean between meals on the plane.
This toothbrush made it easy to keep my mouth clean on a long flight while I was being served two meals. Kirsten Acuna/Insider
I thought it would be difficult to grab my toothbrush, toothpaste and other toiletries to brush my teeth and freshen up during a long flight.
Since we were given dinner shortly after takeoff and breakfast before landing, I didn't want food particles sitting in my mouth for so long and wanted an easy fix.
Although I had packed a toothbrush and dental floss, I had a toothbrush with paste.
It was my first time using one so I had no idea how effective it would be or really knew how it worked. But for on the go it turned out to be perfect.
The mint flavored toothpaste came dried onto the toothbrush and when I wet the brush there was more than enough on it to get the job done. It provided an easy and clean brushing experience.
The best part is that the toothbrush is reusable, so I'll take it with me on my next trip.
I have really long hair so was glad I had some hair ties to tie back while eating and wearing headphones.
That would be something I wouldn't have considered for my flight, but I always wear a few extra hair ties on my wrists like bracelets. Kirsten Acuna/Insider
My Scunci ties came in handy when I was being served in-flight meals and didn't want my hair getting into my food or drink.
The hair ties also helped keep my hair from getting tangled in my headphones or becoming a static mess when I put my travel case around my neck.
I was glad I packed two portable chargers, but all I really needed was my phone's charging cable.
Although I used my chargers throughout the trip, I only needed my cable onboard the plane. Kirsten Acuna/Insider
With someone to meet me in France when I landed, I needed to make sure I had phone access after a long flight and was prepared with two Mophie portable chargers to hand.
Since Air France had charging stations at every seat, all I needed was my iPhone cable to plug it in and make sure it's juiced up.
Having the portable chargers—which I needed later on in my trip anyway—was a precaution in case my seat outlet didn't work.
I was glad I brought some packs of disinfectant wipes to clean the entire seat, tray table, screen and plane window.
I think you can never be too careful during a pandemic and on a crowded flight. Kirsten Acuna/Insider
In addition to a small hand sanitizer bottle, I brought these travel-size sanitizing wipes to quickly wipe down the seat belt, chair, armrests, screen, table tray, and any other areas my hands might touch.
I also wiped down the wall and window as I had a window seat on the way there. I knew that at some point I would rest my head against these areas.
I packed a few towels so I would have enough for both flights.
Although I made many wise decisions, I made a few critical mistakes. My biggest regret was not packing a sleeping aid like melatonin on the way there.
I packed a lot of vitamins, allergy meds and aspirin, but never thought that I might need some help falling asleep on my long flight. Kirsten Acuna/Insider
With Paris being nine hours ahead of Los Angeles, I knew the time adjustment would be the hardest for me. It felt appropriate to get some sleep. However, since it was my first time abroad, I was so excited that I had a hard time calming down.
Unfortunately, I didn't have a sleeping aid with me. As a result, I couldn't rest at all on my flight. That wasn't good news when I had plans for the day.
I ended up staying awake for over 30 hours, which threw me off track for the next few days as I navigated a stacked itinerary.
Arriving in Paris, I got myself some melatonin for my even longer flight home. This has helped me sleep easier.
I brought a refillable 10 ounce Yeti mug to keep liquids cool, but I wish I had a larger refillable bottle on hand.
Although it kept my water cold, this Yeti bottle serves me better in the car. I should have considered one of my Contigo containers. Kirsten Acuna/Insider
I usually love Yeti's insulated mug because it keeps liquids cool or hot for hours, but it fell out of my backpack's side pocket on both legs of my trip.
When I got back to the US, it fell out one last time. This time the lid came off and water spilled all over the floor which was a bit embarrassing.
I wish I had gone for one of my larger, more failsafe Contigo water bottles. These wouldn't have spilled - even if they slipped out of the pocket - and also would have held more water to keep me hydrated during a heatwave in Paris.
I should have worn more comfortable shoes on the plane.
I just wanted to look cool at Disney and not risk losing these shoes if my luggage doesn't show up after landing. Kirsten Acuna/Insider
I was planning to spend a few days at Paris Disneyland parks and thought it would be a great opportunity to wear some fun Mickey themed Vans.
Unfortunately, the sneakers take up a lot of space in the suitcase. I figured I could suck it up and wear them on the plane. If they got uncomfortable, I could trade them in for my comfy Sanuk sandals during the flight.
Sitting in a window seat, I quickly realized I wouldn't be able to contort my body to untie my tightly-laced vans and squeeze out of them.
That was rather short-sighted on my part. I internally kicked myself for not swapping sneakers for sandals before boarding my plane.
I decided to live with the consequences and got stuck in them for the full 10 hours of my flight to Paris and – as my luggage was taken the moment I got to my hotel to be taken to my room later – it was then forced to continue wearing it for the rest of the day after I landed.
On the flight home, I threw the vans in my checked baggage. I now know that I should always choose comfort over fashion on a long flight.
The story goes on
Former GA high school coach indicted on 22 charges after arrest for sexual exploitation of children
Starbucks customers on TikTok are ‘horrified’ by the chain’s new menu item: ‘This cannot be real’
Ukrainian soldier brings down Russian Su-25 attack jet
River Thames drying up in England
Explosions rock Russian military base in Crimea
Lisa Kudrow recalls Jerry Seinfeld taking some credit for early 'Friends' success