15 Hour Airplane Essentials

I used to think I could not sleep on a plane.

Probably half the reason: I really enjoyed flying = excited.

The other half : the sleeping in public bit. I didn’t like it.

That changed pretty quickly when I moved overseas.

My job was based in Dubai. So anytime I would go home on vacation (which was whenever I could) I had to make this quick little 15 hour flight. Twice (don’t forget the return trip).

DXB – SFO : 8,099 miles

That’s halfway around the world!

I got pretty good at sleeping on planes. And knowing what I would need for these airplane rides (my go-to carry on essentials). I thought I would share it with the internet world in case it might help someone.

1. The Clear Bag


This see-through bag is my favorite accidental discovery! I had been given a toiletry bag (with the little shampoo and conditioner travel bottles) which is how I came to have this magical bag.  Nothing is more annoying than having a tangled mess of ear bud cords wrapped around everything else. Bonus: you can see what is inside!

Items inside:

Ear buds to listen to music, Adapter if you need it, Chapstick it’s the worst when your lips are chapped and you can’t do anything about it at 30,000 ft. Eye DropsEye Mask : life changer when you are trying to sleep. I could sleep anywhere, anytime with this bad boy. Cough Drops, extra Bobby Pins/ Hair Ties : because not having one sucks, Perfume to hide that airplane smell, Breath Mints/ Gum to hide that airplane food, Passport if you need it, Lotion for my face/ hands, Ibuprofen or some type of pain reliever .


And then you have all your other standard items; Sweater, Book, Makeup, Hairbrush, Sunglasses, Phone Charger, Food Bars, Tissues, Water, Socks, Pens.

Tips I want to highlight:

Nothing is worse than being cold, hungry, or thirsty.

H20 : I would always buy a water bottle. Or two! Especially longer flights, usually the water they provide with the service is just not enough.

Food Bars: I made sure I brought food bars/snacks with me. I remember one time I had to fly the 15 hours to LAX and then catch an hour flight up to northern California. I had slept through the last food service before landing into LAX and didn’t have time to eat in between the hustle of changing planes. The food bar was a life saver. Also, sometimes airplane food isn’t enough or doesn’t taste very good and its nice to have another option.

Sweater/Jacket: Airplanes are cold.

I hope this list was helpful or at least reminded you of something you might have been forgetting.

Happy travelling !


Gorilla Trekking

Things you should know before going Gorilla Trekking

{one} Gear

I had planned on wearing jeans and a t-shirt when I went gorilla trekking. The day before we were supposed to leave we found out that you actually need some special equipment. A quick trip to the mall fixed that problem!

-Shoes & Socks (hiking shoes, thick socks that are long)

-Rain jacket with a hoodie (light weight and water resistant. rain in the rain forest is no joke)

-Long sleeve shirts (So you don’t get scraped from brush and trees. You do some pretty heavy hiking through some nasty brush. I wore my rain jacket the entire time so this didn’t really even matter)

-Pants (You need a material that is pretty water resistant. I bought some adidas jogging pants that was made to be water resistant.)

-Backpack (size doesn’t really matter because you don’t need to hold too much. Just your lunch and water, and anything extra you want to bring when you are hiking. My friend had a camelbak which she liked.

-Gloves & walking stick (The guides at the rain forest recommended these items, and some people had them. Gloves were for when you had to grab vines and onto trees etc and the stick for walking. We didn’t bother with them and I don’t think you really need it. And the walking stick seemed to be in the way sometimes.)


{two} The 10 Hour Drive

This depends where you fly into and how far away you are. But I think its going to be a long drive no matter which direction you come.

We flew into Entebbe Airport and drove 2 hours to our hotel, Red Chili Hideaway in Kampala, where we spent the night. We bought a  3-day package deal with the gorilla trekking that included transport, meals, and lodging. But what we didn’t realize that it would take so long to reach the Gorillas. As we were getting into our little bus, our driver told us how long it would take. Road trip across Uganda?!

This means you have to plan when you drink water, and be prepared to do your business on the side of the road. Sometimes you have no choice! In our case, this happened twice.

Our driver stopped at the equator line for pictures and breakfast.

Pretty cool.

(pictured is our little safari car we drove in)


{three} Skin

 mosquito/insect repellent!

sunscreen !

face wipes !

I think the first two are a given, most people know to bring them. But the last item was a savior ! I just brought along some makeup remover wipes. And we used them for everything. Wiping our hands, our sweaty faces and bodies, cleaning things.

{four} Etc

Things we brought that I was glad to have : snacks for the early morning wake up calls,  a good water supply, battery charger , lots of cash – they take US dollars. I would actually bring some more smaller bills, by the end of it we only had 50’s and 20’s and it got a little tricky. But even if that was the case, we just got change back in the local currency which I think is a cool souvenir.

Also, I have never felt like more of a celebrity than in Uganda. Especially once we got out of the city (Kampala) and the closer we got to Bwindi National Park. Everyone stares. But its not really a rude stare, it just feels like they never see white people. The kids are super fun,  big smiles and they love to wave. Keep your waving hands ready.

Also, gorillas smell.

Like really bad B.O.


Our guide with his machete ! Sometimes he would have to cut brush to create a path.


Our group spying on a gorilla.


We were very lucky with our gorillas. We saw them playing/wrestling, a baby 1 month gorilla climb a little tree, it rained (not too much but just enough to say , oh hey rainforest), and two gorillas climbed to the top of some trees to eat.


Once we got back to our camp, it rained soooo hard. We enjoyed the show as we drank our coffee and rested.


Try a rolex ! Its chapati bread with omelette and onions and tomatoes. Basically a breakfast burrito. Ask them to add avocado. Yummmm.