Last year I’ve spent just over twenty-two days on a plane. As you probably know, on longer flights the airlines give you an amenity kit. This is a small bag that contains essentials like a toothbrush, eye blinds and other items that might come in handy if you’re above the ground for a long time.
Amenity kits usually contain pretty standard stuff, but I needed a more personalized one that fits my lifestyle. This is why I got one custom made in China to fit my specs. In the video below, I’ll show you how and why it’s different so you can see why it makes frequent travel so much better.
I’m at the airport in Vienna right now. Tonight I’m going to Yerevan to onboard a new team member so I’ll take the time to talk a bit about how I spend my time on planes.
How to be productive on day flights?
The answer is pretty simple – I do whatever I would do in the office just without the internet. So very often I just work or I read or I listen to audiobooks.
What about night flights?
I try to catch some sleep so that I’m rested when I arrive, especially here where there’s a three-hour time difference between Vienna or Zurich and Yerevan. So tomorrow morning when I arrive at roughly 5:00 a.m. local time, it’s already time to start the day, even though it’s only a four hour flight from here.
I know a lot of people have trouble sleeping on planes and it’s not easy for me either but I’ve built my rituals and my systems and tools over the years and I want to show you a collection of tools that I use in every flight that really makes traveling a lot easier for me.
My Amenity Kit
So in certain business class flights or on long distance economy flights they give you these so called amenity kits. It’s usually a kit that contains a toothbrush, some socks, and maybe some sort of eye blinds.
What I’ve realized is that over the years I’ve kept some of those amenity kits but then I’ve also created something else that helps me.
I created this amenity kit PLUS which I’ve been carrying for the last three years or so. This is custom made in China to my specs and I’ll show you what’s in here.
The first thing you’ll see is that it has a transparent top; this is super important as it has a passport pocket and it has two pockets for my frequent flyer cards. This helps me to immediately see whether or not I have my passport.Nowadays it’s not such a big problem anymore because I always have my stuff with me (everything that I own these days are the 64 things that I always carry with me). But sometimes I travel for like a day or two and I’m sure you’ve been in this situation:
You’re on the way to the airport and suddenly you ask yourself “did I pack my passport?!” This kit makes sure I always immediately see that I have it. It’s also the only non-black item in my list of things so I always see the red immediately and I know my passport is there.
What’s inside the Kit?
Let’s open it:
So there’s a zipper around and when I open it that’s where I get access to my passport or my frequent flyer cards. At the bottom is everything else that I use for flights. First and foremost:
1) Noise canceling headphones from Bose II
These are noise canceling headphones from Bose II. They don’t sponsor me or anything but I would recommend this even if they were three times their price. These are absolute lifesavers – I put them on as soon as I board a plane and they help me focus; they help me relax; everything that’s going on on a plane (crying babies, trolleys going up and down) it just makes it a hundred times less annoying so these are absolute lifesavers.
Here I have a pair of socks – these unfold when I use them and I even walk around in the plane in them – super helpful. They also contain smell if my feet ever smell (which I hope they never do but just in case). They allow me to take my shoes off especially on longer flights.
3) 3D Eye Blinds
This one here is a 3D eye blind. You can see that there’s some structure to this and it’s super comfortable to wear. You can open and close your eyes and they don’t touch your eyelids directly and then also they are extremely dark.
Let me show you how they look. What I really like about them is they’re extremely dark, whereas if you use the ones that they usually give you in your amenity kits, they’re straight here which means they’re always a bit open and so you still get light. They have a thicker band here and don’t give me a headache. So these are $2 that are extremely well invested if you want to sleep on a plane.
I rarely ever take medication but if it’s something serious I do want to have pills with me.
6) USB sticks
These are not mints but a cage full of USB sticks. It also has a lock in it. This has been super helpful in the past when I’m staying somewhere. I quickly lock my bags or if I’m on a train I just want to make sure I would at least notice someone who messed with my bags. I always have that lock with me.
This is my big wallet. It has all my frequent flyer membership cards and all kinds of currencies (although I do not travel with all of them). The wallet is a bit too big – I’m trying to minimize this to something that’s a lot smaller so I probably need to let go of a lot of stuff.
8) Headphone jack
This is a headphone jack I use to connect my phone to a car get doesn’t have Bluetooth.
9) Headphone splitter
On that note, here’s a headphone splitter so if I want to watch a movie with someone else I use this to plug into my laptop or my phone or even the entertainment system on the plane. It has these two ends so you can watch something together and everyone can wear two headphones instead of sharing one pair of headphones.
I have a pen to fill in visa documents when I go to a country – it’s black.
11) Spare phone
Additional phone with a bunch of SIM cards in the back. Cheap phone, was about fifty bucks, has two SIM card slots. I use this to still have my Swiss SIM card and be able to receive SMS for two-factor authentication and stuff like that. I also use it as a backup if something ever happens to my iPhone.
12) Needle kit
This is a needle kit if I ever get too big and buttons fall off my pants – I’ll use this to fix it.
A bunch of shoelace replacements – I can use them as shoelaces of course but also for anything else.
So there’s not too much stuff left, one thing I’ve added is this little carbine or hook to attach the keys that I use at home. My office keys and keys from my home. Every time I go through security in Switzerland I realized I don’t need those keys in my pants – I might just lose them – so I put them in here and attach them to this hook so I always know where they are. They’re never gonna fall out even if I open this quickly.
15) One-off raincoat
Here we have a one-off raincoat. I’m not gonna unpack it but it’s basically a full-size raincoat (for over a year I didn’t own a jacket).
16) Vaccination card
This is my vaccination card so if something ever happens or if I need to check a vaccine (depending on the place that I’m going to), I have this international vaccination certificate that I can show to a doctor and they’ll know what I’ve been vaccinated for and for what I haven’t.
So that’s the amenity kit, I’m gonna use the sleep mask and socks and all that in a minute when I’m on the plane to catch some sleep tonight for my flight to Yerevan. I want to get some rest there and it’s about time to pack and head out to my flight.
Get the amenity kit
By the way, if someone is interested in getting one of these amenity kits, let me know. I’ve been thinking about putting it on Kickstarter in the past but never had time and I didn’t know if other people have the same interest.
Also, if you think something is missing or something is completely useless that I have in there, let me know in the comments below.
And please share this with people that you think could get value out of it.