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Water

My guiding travel principle is “prepare for the worst.” Which is why I never board a flight without a bottle of water, usually a stainless-steel one I’ve filled up post-security. You never know how long you’ll be stuck waiting for that trolley to come around. And even when it does that plastic cup contains, what, four sips? Quench your thirst and feel self-righteous about avoiding the single-use plastic. It’s a win-win.

Snacks

I once upgraded an international flight at the last minute and it proved to be money well spent. We were stuck on the tarmac for almost four hours and then when we did take off, turbulence prevented economy from being served a meal for at least another hour. But at the front? Oh we got plenty of food and drink while we waited. I felt so sorry for anyone in row 45 who hadn’t BYOSnacks.

Entertainment

Inflight entertainment systems are truly a gift from above – but they are not foolproof. Fly one 14-hour flight with a squiggly seatback screen and you learn the importance of always having a backup plan. Bring a book, pick up some newspapers, have a book of crosswords. Whatever floats your boat. Just make sure it’ll keep you occupied for a sufficient amount of time.

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Charger

Never put your phone charger in your checked baggage. You are just inviting trouble by doing so. Just imagine: You could be stuck at the gate. Your flight could be delayed, or you could miss your connection. And the entire time your phone – your key to a solution – is slowly dying, leaving you to beg smarter strangers to share theirs for a few precious moments.

Medication

Always have at least two days of medication in your carry-on bag. This is the one item on this list that could literally be a matter of life or death. When things go wrong, you don’t need anything adding to the panic – and worrying whether your heart is going to keep working definitely would up the anxiety. If you need to take it at a certain time, keep it on you, not in the overhead bin.

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