If you know us you know that we have logged many, many hours on flights! From conference travel to international travel, we have tried all sorts of products and hacks to get from point A to B, while feeling our best. So the next time youre headed to a conference, consider this!
To start, let’s talk about packing. We know, if done correctly, this will make for a much easier trip. With the number of bags we have packed over the years, it is safe to say we are pro’s at folding and efficiently packing a suitcase…move over Marie Kondo. These packing cubes make a big difference. They allow you to categorize your clothing and avoid the “a bomb went off in this bag” dilemma. I -Michelle- love my Samsonite expandable hard sided suitcase. It is well made, and lightweight, allowing me to pack my bag, never be overweight, and the best part – carry my luggage on! No more getting to your destination to find that your bags didn’t. Andrew and I disagree on this way of traveling, LOL. In addition to my hard-sided suitcase, I also splurged and bought a TUMI Laptop backpack. Verdict: worth the cost, 1000%. 3 years later, my bag is still in the same condition as the day I bought it, regardless of the many miles it has traveled and how rough I am on it. These bags also come with an awesome warranty, so should anything happen to your bag, you are covered! Lastly, do yourself a favor and buy a hanging toiletry bag. It will cut down on the stress of getting ready in an unfamiliar hotel room. It also makes things easy to see and find, and if you have limited counter space in the hotel (hello European hotels), you can leave it hanging with no problem!
Now let’s talk about comfort. Many of us dread getting on airplanes to be stacked in like sardines. We have a few products that allow us to take back some of the comforts we otherwise feel robbed of. Often when we are traveling, we hit the ground running when we arrive, which means rest during that flight is imperative. To help me sleep, I use my Trtl pillow. I use it on short hour-long flights, and on those long 15+ hour flights. I love that it packs up small enough to easily fit into my backpack, yet offers me the support needed to catch some shut-eye. I liken it to a neck brace but in the most comfortable way!
Andrew often takes the red-eye from the west coast for all of our east coast meetings so he uses earplugs and an eye mask to ensure he gets his Zzz’s. Crying children or your neighbor listening to their earbuds on volume 10 can wreck any chance of sleep you have, not to mention those blinding overhead lights. These essentials make him prepared to handle whatever is thrown at him. He also uses a small strip of medical tape to keep his mouth shut while sleeping – pre-covid, people would stare either way so at least this way he was getting better and safer sleep.
I also love my footrest and compression socks. Often the footwells of the airplane are freezing cold, and on those long flights, oh my gosh your ankles can swell! I use my hanging footrest to keep my legs elevated and compression socks to prevent swelling! Pro Tip: You can also wear compression socks for those long days on the exhibit hall floors.
Being the infection control freaks we are at AToTH we all carry travel packs of Clorox wipes. Trust me, you clean the tray tables yourself a few times and see the color of the wipe when finished and you will never forget your Clorox wipes again. I also travel with my own reusable water bottle and coffee mug, allowing me to enjoy my beverages, and do my part to reduce my carbon footprint.
We hope these travel tips and products are helpful in keeping you safe and comfortable for your next dental meeting, whenever that will be. We truly miss seeing everyone and cannot wait until the day that it is safe for us to meet again!
Hopefully you will be as comfortable as Michelle with these tips and products!