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Airplane Essentials | Travel Tips

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Airplane essentials for the modern woman. What to pack in your carry-on for easy and stylish traveling by air for arthritis and autoimmune disease. Read more from brendadalton.com!

For some people – like myself! – half the fun of traveling is packing and over the years, I’ve perfected my airplane essentials list. I’ve figured out the things I can’t live without while traveling by plane and the things that make my life with arthritis, a gluten-free diet, and autoimmune disease much easier. Most importantly, I’ve figured out the things that aren’t worth bringing because they never get used. I’ve even figured out the items that help me speed through security without an additional bag check, because that can slow down your race to the gate by a few minutes to half an hour!

First, it’s important to start with what’s on your body before you get out the door.

Things I never wear to the airport:

  • Statement jewelry
  • Dresses – especially maxi dresses – you’re more likely to be stopped by TSA for additional screening
  • Flip flops or strappy sandals – Mostly because you don’t want your bare feet touching the floor where thousands of others’ have, especially if you have autoimmune disease
  • Layers that are difficult to remove, like over-the-head sweatshirts and jackets
  • Belts
  • Hairstyles that require lots of bobby pins or metal hair accessories
  • Outfits that would work well in hot weather – because airplanes can be cold!

Things I do wear to the airport:

  • Sneakers, Sperrys or slip-on Keds
  • Socks (and if not, I have them ready to slip on at security/TSA Checkpoint)
  • Leggings or stretchy jeans
  • Tank top or plain tee
  • Oversized cardigan, preferably with pockets!
  • Simple necklace and earrings (these go in my carry-on until I’ve passed security)
  • Crossbody purse as a personal item

The number of items you may wear or pack depends on your ultimate destination, but here are my can’t-leave-home-without-’em airplane essentials that make traveling a breeze!

Travel Pillow & Blanket

This guy is a lifesaver. Not only is it easy to strap to your carry-on, but I also put some of the items that appear in this list in it: nose spray, facial spray, earbuds, a spare pen, Kindle, eye mask. What I love about this travel set is the pillow inflates when you take the blanket out, so you can control the firmness.

It works great as a lumbar pillow, regular pillow or just something to rest your hands on when tray tables are in their upright position. Shoutout to my arthritis friends! It’s also nice to have a little pillow and blanket in unfamiliar hotel rooms, too.

Lavender Mini Towelettes 

One time while traveling, I realized I was down to only one of these and still had a flight left before I was home. It was not pleasant. These delicious-smelling towelettes are a lifesaver on dirty planes, in not-so-clean hotel rooms and a great way to take makeup off or refresh your face at the end of a long travel day or a mid-flight nap. The lavender scent is also a great way to naturally ease any jitters before takeoff.

Since they’re antibacterial, I use these to wipe down the tray table, seat belt and everything around me when I board a plane. These are also great to do a little extra cleaning when you get to your hotel room, because trust me, it’s not as clean as you think!

Evian Mineral Water Facial Spray

My husband teases me about this one when I remember to bring it, but especially when we’re traveling early morning or late night, this is a lifesaver. It’s a great way to restore moisture to your face when you’re in a rush. And this spray lasts forever. Once you’ve stepped off the plane, spritz this facial spray under or over makeup. It’s especially lovely whether you’re on your way to your destination or back home to the real world.

Filtered Water Bottle

I do not travel anywhere without this thing. Seriously, it’s such a life saver. As someone with autoimmune issues, I’m not keen on drinking out of the tap or water fountains. I bring this empty water bottle through airport security and fill it up before I get on my flight.

This water bottle is also a big money saver! Ever notice how water bottles can get pretty expensive in hotels? The filter in this water bottle removes all the gunk and leaves you with delicious water even from your hotel bathroom. The ounces markings also make it easy for me to track how much water I’ve had for the day. Gotta stay hydrated!

Kindle & Kindle Unlimited

If I had the time, I would read three books a week, minimum. While I use my Kindle at home, it gets the most use when I’m traveling. I’m a fast reader and once I start a good book, it is impossible for me to put it down. This is especially true when on planes and in airports where the wifi is spotty, expensive or non-existent. Plus, it feels a little better to pass the time reading a book than it does to mindlessly play games on your phone or scroll through Facebook, right?

My favorite thing about my Kindle – besides the fact I got it half-price through a Black Friday sale – is Kindle Unlimited. For anyone who reads more than one book a month, it is 100% worth it. For $10 a month, you have access to over a million books on your Kindle.

Considering Kindle books can be anywhere from $5 to $15+, if you read one or two a month, you get your money’s worth. They even have super popular books, like the Harry Potter series and The Handmaid’s Tale.

With Kindle Unlimited, you also get access to thousands of audiobooks and magazines in addition to the massive library of regular e-books. Double win!

Portable Electronics Charger

It’s hard to imagine traveling without a smart phone, laptop, tablet, and ahem, Kindle! Even on short flights, I bring a portable charger. This thing has saved many a situation and is at the top of my airplane essentials list. You never know when you might have to bust out the navigation on your phone, which is a total battery suck, or research gluten-free restaurants near your hotel without access to an outlet.

This particular charger from Anker has been my favorite. I’ve gone through a few, but the Anker PowerCore has lasted me a few years. It holds a charge for a long time (fully charges an iPhone from 0%), is so small it can fit anywhere – even a pocket! – and recharges itself quickly. As of June 2017, it’s on sale for 50% off (under $20!).

Smith’s Rosebud Salve

I’ve mentioned this staple in blog posts before, but it bears repeating: This stuff is amazing. It’s on the list for airplane essentials and life essentials. This sweet little balm goes beyond a simple lip balm: Calm cuticles, patches of dry skin, smooth flyaways, keep brows in place, and even as an emergency makeup remover.  It’s perfect for ladies with psoriasis to help soothe skin! It’s soft, gentle, and the little tin gives it a luxurious feel and makes it incredibly durable for travel.

Saline Nose Spray

This is a pretty recent addition to the carry-on essentials list and not super glamorous. About two years ago, I started to get incredibly painful headaches and facial pain upon descent on airplanes, no matter what. My husband’s grandmother recommended a simple saline spray… and it works like a charm. About 30 minutes before landing, I pop this guy out, spray twice and relax.

I later learned this headache actually has a name: Aerosinusitis or an airplane headache, as it is commonly known. What happens is some folks are unable to equalize the change in barometric pressure when a plane begins to land, and that causes pain around the eyes and face. It typically clears up within 30 minutes of landing.

Snacks on Snacks on Snacks

Airplane snacks and meals can be expensive and if you have food allergies, finding gluten free or dairy free food can be a challenge! Some of my favorite travel snacks are nut mixes, oatmeal, popcorn, jerky and dried veggies and fruit. For morning flights, I love to bring a banana (or two!) from home with some of Justin’s individual nut butters; however, but bananas don’t always travel well in a purse or bag. Check out my full list of favorite traveling snacks and where to buy them in this blog post.

Overnight Essentials

Knock on wood, I’ve never had my checked luggage lost, delayed, or stolen, but I am always prepared just in case. In my carry-on, I pack the necessities that will last me overnight once I get to my destination. These overnight airplane essentials include: A comfortable tee (for pajamas or another outfit), linen shorts or leggings, underwear, bra, swimsuit, travel toothbrush, makeup and skincare basics, comb, hair ties, flip flops, mini first aid kit, and so on. And for my spoonies: Always, always, always carry all of your medications (even over-the-counter meds) in your carryon or personal item.

Backpack

For the longest time, I only traveled with “cute” or designer bags. After I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, my doctors suggested I stop carrying heavy bags on my shoulders. I love fashion, so I was devastated. …Until I realized the joy in traveling with an adorable backpack. Backpacks – or bookbags – are 100% in now. They make travel so. much. easier. And so much less painful!

I picked up a Herschel backpack in a gorgeous gray and can fit all of the airplane essentials on this list, plus a few other essentials like my laptop, notebooks, and more with room to spare. I typically check my larger luggage because arthritis can make it difficult for me to lift and carry for hours on end, so having an easy-to-transport piece of luggage as my carryon has changed airplane travel for me.

What are some of your favorite airplane essentials?

Rosemary Beach, Florida | City Guide | 30A

Where to dine, shop and play in Rosemary Beach, Florida

This is the final post in a City Guide series on Florida’s 30A. This post: Rosemary Beach, Florida. View previous posts in the series: Seaside, Alys Beach

City Guide to Rosemary Beach Florida 30A - Places to eat Where to Shop BrendaDaltoncom

Rosemary Beach is a lovely mix of locals, weekenders and vacationers and could possibly be the quietest, most peaceful community on Florida’s 30A. The folks are friendly, happy to give recommendations whether you’re walking the sidewalks beneath the beautiful canopied trees or chatting with a sommelier at Wild Olives Market & Cafe.

Rosemary Beach Florida - A Gluten Free Travel Guide on 30A
It’s a beautifully idealistic community on either side of 30A, designated by the Gulf side or the Park side and like Alys Beach, is the home of a number of breathtaking pools and parks. A morning walk around the Park Side of Rosemary Beach will lead you to a butterfly garden, fountains that make you feel like you’re on an adventure in a little Italian town and even a community garden with fresh veggies.
With a fitness and tennis center located within the community for residents and guests, you could spend weeks in Rosemary without ever having to hop in a car. In fact, one trip we spent four nights in Rosemary Beach and never once used our rental car until we were heading back to the airport!
Rosemary Beach Florida - A Gluten Free Travel Guide
When we first arrived at Rosemary Beach, we stopped by the Rosemary Beach Cottage Rental Company to pick up our keys to our adorable little carriage house nestled in the park side of the community. Just a block from the town center, it was a convenient location – just like all rental properties offered in Rosemary Beach – and was well-decorated and well-stocked with essentials. It even had an adorable balcony that overlooked the community. They offer a wide variety of carriage houses and larger homes, whether it’s a girls getaway, a romantic weekend or a big multi-family vacation and have top-notch customer service (and free movie rentals and bicycles!).

Our carriage house just a two minute walk from a number of shops on the park side. Some not-to-miss places are the Rosemary Beach Trading Company, Hissyfits Boutique for the littles, The Hidden Lantern Bookstore and Vivo Spa & Salon. It was especially convenient in the morning to take a short walk to Amavida Coffee & Tea!

And y’all, if you’re in Rosemary Beach on Saturdays, you must visit the Farmers Market. We had just finished brunch when we walked through the dozens of vendors and even though I wasn’t hungry, I walked away with countless number of gluten-free goodies. Blueberry hand pies, macarons, infused vinegars and oils and more fresh fruits and vegetables than you could wave a stick at!

Rosemary Beach Florida - A Gluten Free Travel Guide

Havana Beach Bar & Grill

One of the most recognizable buildings on Rosemary Beach’s gulf side is The Pearl Hotel with its black and white striped canopies. The hotel is nestled closest to the Gulf of Mexico on Main Street, which is the home of Havana Beach Bar & Grill.

Havana Beach is incredibly accommodating when it comes to food allergies. Not only does it have an incredibly view of the Western Green and Gulf of Mexico from the covered patio, but the decor is luxurious and furniture plush. The staff was so friendly and absolutely on point; however, I’d highly recommend reservations for brunch, especially on weekends.

When dining out, especially anywhere but home, there is always a teeny-tiny (or sometimes HUGE) worry that we’ll walk into a restaurant that has stated gluten-free options, but the staff or servers aren’t up-to-date on the safety behind it. This is definitely not the case at Havana Beach. Once I asked for gluten-free options, our sweet server knew them off the top of his head, then mentioned he would speak to the chef to triple check. They even have a gluten-free bread!

And y’all, this was one of the best brunches I’ve ever had. On top of having a create-your-own Bloody Mary bar, delicious mimosas and fresh squeezed juice, the food itself was five-star. They pride themselves on farm-to-table ingredients, from the eggs and meat to even the honey.

Their menus feature a Cuban and Spanish flare, no matter the season. I had the huevos revueltos con chorizo, which essentially translates to a chorizo omelet. The chorizo was deliciously spicy and the onions and peppers mixed in had a slight crunch that made it even more savory.

If the patio is packed, head up to the rooftop for a brunch cocktail and food. The views are just as lovely and the atmosphere a little more casual.

Havana Beach Bar & Grill gluten-free musts: Ask your server what’s available for the season. Their menu rotates quite often, but you can’t go wrong with your server’s suggestion. The Bloody Mary bar is a can’t-miss.

La Crema Tapas & Chocolate at Rosemary Beach Florida - A Gluten Free Travel Guide on 30A

 

La Crema Tapas & Chocolate

It’s something wonderful when a restaurant is not only knowledgable about gluten-free, but has a gluten-free menu, especially with more items than just salads! La Crema Tapas & Chocolate’s gluten-free menu is quite expansive. Tapas (smaller bites), Grand Tapas (entrees), desserts, and a kid-friendly menu. The only problem was choosing what to have for dinner. In fact, anytime we visit Rosemary Beach, Florida, the trip isn’t complete without a dinner at La Crema.

If you’ve never had tapas before, it’s a shareable affair – they recommend sharing several appetizers and entrees with the table, which makes it a fun experience because you don’t have to choose just one. We split several small tapas before enjoying our own appetizer; however, the entree could have easily been split, too!

The serrano-wrapped figs are definitely something to write home about! It’s perfectly sweet, savory and a hint of spice (but not too much spice). The La Crema salad was perfectly fresh with a light balsamic vinaigrette with sweet walnuts, goat cheese and cranberries. Both tapas were small enough not to fill two of us up, but large enough to cull our appetites before the main course.

Both tapas paired perfectly with their red sangria. It was fresh, fruity and not too sweet, a perfect complement to the warm spring evening. Since you’ll be dining for a while, I recommend sharing a carafe!

Rosemary Beach Florida - A Gluten Free Travel Guide on 30A

The wonderful thing about La Crema is that they don’t rush you as you enjoy dinner in the cozy, patio seating. It’s the perfect place to people watch on Main Street in Rosemary Beach. When dining at La Crema, plan to give yourself at least an hour and a half to two hours to fully enjoy the experience. Tapas are meant to be savored, with life moving a little bit slower in the best way possible.

In terms of  entrees, the paellas are gluten-free, filling and, wonderfully spicy and savory. As a lighter entree, the lamb lollipops are not to be missed either, especially with the red wine reduction. As for the non-gluten-free diners, the lobster was a winner. Overall, the Grand Tapas servings are quite large and meant to be shared. Our plates weren’t eaten clean because… hello, chocolate fondue.

Yes, us gluten-free folks can have fondue here! You absolutely cannot eat at La Crema without having the chocolate fondue – it’s what they’re known for. We went with the classic milk chocolate, which – as a gluten-free option – came with apples, bananas and strawberries and marshmallows, which replaced the typical poundcake.

By the time we finished our meal at 7:30, there were plenty of folks waiting for a table. They do have a waiting list, which makes it easy to put your name on the list and jump down to another shop, take a quick walk on the beach just down the street or stop for a drink elsewhere while you wait.

All in all, La Crema is definitely a can’t-miss for any gluten-free diners in Rosemary Beach!

La Crema Tapas & Chocolate gluten-free musts: Sangria, serrano-wrapped figs, lamb lollipops, chocolate fondue.

Rosemary Beach Florida - A Gluten Free Travel Guide on 30A

Last minute tips for a perfect stay on 30A in Rosemary Beach:

  • Get to the beach early: Take advantage of the beach chair rentals when you stay with Rosemary Beach, but bring a credit card – they don’t take cash!
  • Rent a carriage house for a romantic getaway for two and enjoy the pools, fitness center, tennis facility and beach access
  • Check out the weekly wine tastings at Wild Olives every Friday from 5-7 p.m.

Disclaimer: Always contact restaurants in advance for their current gluten-free options and alert the restaurants you’re dining at if you have a gluten allergy or celiac disease. Reviews on brendadalton.com do not guarantee a cross contamination-free zone and complete safety from gluten or wheat.