How to Travel In Comfort, Even If You Have a Middle Seat

As dictated by two experts.

Courtesy of Madewell

Picture this: You’re stuck on a long haul flight, picking at airplane food that may not be 100 percent FDA-approved, and ruing the day you got stuck in a middle seat. As anyone who has ever experienced this will tell you, it only takes one bad flight to teach you exactly what to do differently the next time you travel. But if you’ve been blessed with above average trips thus far, don’t wait until you’re in that less-than-ideal situation to prevent it from happening.

The first thing you need? Cozy textiles that’ll keep you warm inside a frigid aircraft and help you get to sleep faster—because let’s be real; the best way to deal with a long flight is to sleep right through it. Enter: Madewell and Parachute’s timelessly chic and uber soft travel kit, which features a simple cream and navy palette set against luxe merino wool. It’s a small way to make your trip less stressful, and make traveling economy a little more elegant.

“We wanted to create something unique but functional; for it to feel just as luxe and cozy as it is compact and useful,” explains Joyce Lee, Madewell’s head designer, of the inspiration behind the kit. “We landed on the indigo accents to give a little nod to our denim obsession.”  

Once you’ve got the essentials in place, set about figuring out other small ways to make every part of your trip easier. We tapped Lee and Ariel Kaye (Parachute’s founder and CEO) to share their top tips on traveling in style—because who better to ask than the women actively making chic, cozy travel a reality?

BEFORE THE FLIGHT

Don’t forget to pack smart. Whether it’s prepping for whatever affront to the culinary industry is masquerading as airplane food (“Packing healthy snacks that are light on sugar and preservatives, and drinking tons of water are essential,” says Kaye) or tossing a few small luxuries into your carry-on, make sure that whatever you bring with you serves a purpose. Kaye recommends bringing face oils on board—she loves these OSEA products—to keep your skin hydrated, while Lee opts for multipurpose items to minimize the products you have to lug around. She carries Lucas’ Pawpaw to moisturize both hands and lips.

In terms of what to wear, both Kaye and Lee are advocates of bringing a lightweight throw (which is only fitting, given their recent partnership) to combat cooler aircraft temps and keep you cozy in your hotel room while you catch up on emails and work. Lee also suggests layering in comfortable fabrics for the flight, which not only feels cozier while you’re stuck on a plane, but also helps you accommodate whatever climates you’re traveling to and from.

And as important as the in-flight essentials are, don’t neglect the things that’ll make your trip more enjoyable overall. Kaye recommends packing items that remind you of home; which doesn’t mean you should bring your entire apartment with you—baggage restrictions are real, and so are the fees incurred by going over them—but instead, bring a few key pieces that’ll reduce stress once you get to your destination.

“I permanently keep a Parachute candle and my favorite herbal teas in my suitcase, so I’ll always have them accessible,” shares Kaye. “Maintaining my nightly rituals—no matter where in the world I am—keeps me centered.”

AFTER THE FLIGHT

The first thing Kaye does as soon as she arrives in a new time zone? Exercise. She recommends working out as a productive way to fight jet lag: “It’s one of those annoying hacks you hear everyone talk about, but it honestly works,” she says. “Exercise improves your health, happiness, and productivity—and that means on the road, too!”

However, if the last thing you want to do after a long flight is head to the gym, take a page from Lee’s book and indulge in some pampering. “I am a big fan of sheet masks after a flight. Karuna makes really nice ones—they rehydrate tired skin, and it’s fun to try their different kinds of masks,” she says.

The limited-edition Madewell x Parachute travel kit is available to shop now at madewell.com for $130.

See more travel stories:
Why You Should Visit Dublin for Design, Not Beer
The Alpine Village Where the Royals Spend Their Winters
Why You Should Honeymoon in the Seychelles

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Published on March 20, 2018 - 5:00am EDT

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