Carry On Essentials For Long Flights
While I can’t claim to be a travel blogger, I can say that I’ve taken enough long overseas flights to have picked up a few tips and tricks. Sitting on a plane for an hour or two isn’t so bad. A flight across the United States isn’t fun, but pretty easy with just a few travel items. But those 10 + hour flights are in a different category. This is the one time I Love the destination but not the journey. However, you can’t have one without the other. So I do the best I can to ensure my packing list includes everything I need to be as comfortable as possible on my flight. This is a list of my top long-haul flight essentials. I hope by reading this you’re able to pick up a few new packing tips for your next trip.
Carry On Essentials For Long Flights
Carry On Luggage
- Weekender Bag A perfectly sized carry-on bag that you can throw over your shoulder and go. This is where I keep my electronics, toiletries, blanket, extra clothes, and other expensive items. This bag I keep up above in the overhead compartments, where I can keep an eye on it and easily reach it when I needed.
- Roller Bag. If carrying a bag over your shoulder isn’t for you, a carry-on suitcase will do fine. Just make sure that it fits the size of the overhead bin. The only reason this isn’t my first carry-on bag of choice is that when overhead bin space is full, airlines will sometimes make you check your bag. It’s usually the suitcases that have to go.
- Purse/Tote Bag. I always use my Louis Vuitton Neverful Gm for all carry-on essentials that I need to have frequent access to. It’s large enough to hold my smaller purse, as well as all my important documents. I also keep my snacks, medication, headphones, lip balms, and anything else I might want to easily grab from inside of there and then store the bag under the seat.
- Passport/ID. These are essential items for boarding your next flight or getting through customs and should always be kept with you.
- Cash/Credit Cards. Never put your wallet or extra money in a checked bag in case it’s lost or stolen. It’s also a good idea to already have some currency of whatever country you’re traveling to.
- Covid Test. Some countries require proof of a negative covid test to enter their country. Make sure you have this on your phone and to be safe print out a copy and keep it with your other important documents.
- Copies Of Important Documents. Keeping a copy of important documents, like hotel information, car rental confirmations, and flight confirmations is a good idea. Especially when traveling in other countries where wifi access can be tricky.
- Pen. Keep at least one good pen on you to fill out customs forms.
- Phone or Tablet. Most planes have inflight entertainment, but you can download your favorite shows and listen to your own music on your phone or tablet. If you don’t want to carry around a stack of books make sure you download all your reading material before your flight.
- Headphones. Even though most planes hand out a set of headphones, we all know that they don’t work very well. Bringing your own noise cancellation headphones allows you to watch your movies or listen to music undisturbed by the rest of the cabin noise. I even keep my headphones on while sleeping.
- Laptop. You can use your computer to catch up on work or watch downloaded movies. Or not, but packing your computer in checked luggage is never a good idea.
- Chargers/Powerbank. Most airplanes now have a plug or USB socket on them which makes charging all your electronics easy. But in case you’re on an older plane a portable power bank will come in handy in making sure you reach your destination with a fully charged phone
- Cameras. Cameras are another thing that I always keep in my carry-on. They’re too costly to risk losing them in checked baggage. On the return flight home, going through all your photos is a fun way to pass the time.
- Face Masks. Pretty much all airlines require that you wear a face mask when boarding a plane at this point in time. Pack a few extra in case the band breaks or you lose one.
- Antibacterial Wipes. The surfaces in Airplanes are dirty. When you first get to your seat wipe down your tray table, armrests, window shade, and any other surface you might touch.
- Hand Sanitizer. With so many people walking around coughing, sneezing, and touching stuff, airports and airplanes are the perfect gathering place for germs. Keeping a bottle of hand sanitizer within reach can help protect you against some of those germs.
- Tissues. These are just one of those things that’s nice to have available. You never know when you’ll need one, but you’ll sure be glad that you had one.
- Protein Bars. While most planes offer small meals on long flights. I personally never eat the meals served on planes. It’s usually not enough food or very satisfying. And in the event, you have any dietary restrictions you may be left with no other options. That’s why I always bring protein bars with me when I travel. Not only do protein bars taste good, but the protein will help hold you over for longer than a snack that’s all carbs. And you can pack several while taking up little space.
- Dried Fruit. If I want a sweet treat, I prefer to have some dried fruit and nuts instead of candy. Favorites include dried mango, apples, bananas, cashews, and almonds. There’s also the chance that your flight could be delayed, so it’s best to always have something extra packed.
- Water Bottle. Most airports have water filters now where you can fill up your bottle before getting on your flight. Because airplanes are so dry it’s easy to become dehydrated. Bringing a large bottle of water with you makes it easy to monitor how much water you’re drinking during the flight, so you can be sure to stay properly hydrated.
- Light Jacket. No matter what the temperature is when you first get on the plane, it will at some point get freezing cold. Wearing a lightweight jacket or sweater will allow you to easily adjust to the changing temperatures throughout the flight.
- Compression socks. While anyone can benefit from wearing them, compression socks are a must for anyone who is pregnant, elderly or has a history of blood clots
- Comfortable Pants. When you sit for 10 or more hours you want to be as comfortable as you can. A pair of soft, loose pants or joggers will keep you warm and feeling unrestricted.
- Travel Pillow. There’s nothing worse than spending an entire night with your head bobbing around as you try and fall asleep. A neck pillow will help you get comfortable enough that sleeping sitting up isn’t quite so bad. Take a few minutes to try out a couple of neck pillows before purchasing one. Some are more comfortable than others.
- Eye Mask. If you’re on an overnight flight the lights in the cabin will be turned off. But individual overhead lights and flashing television screens can make sleep very difficult. An eye mask can solve both of those problems for you.
- Light Weight Blanket. Like I said earlier those long-haul flights can be very cold. Some airlines provide small thin blankets, but I don’t know if they’re washed between flights. It’s something that I don’t want to worry about so I prefer to just bring my own. There’s nothing worse than trying to sleep when you’re cold. Packing a small foldable blanket will help ensure you stay warm and cozy.
- Melatonin. Taking some melatonin at bedtime can help you actually fall asleep. Something I find very difficult to do on planes. If you are suffering from jet lag it’s also helpful in regulating your sleep when traveling to different time zones.
Don’t forget that all carry-on liquids must be 3.4-ounce containers or smaller and packed in a clear ziplock bag.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste. Packing a small travel toothbrush and mini toothpaste allows you to brush your teeth before falling asleep and before landing at your new destination. That way you can walk off the plane feeling fresh. If you’re not up to packing a toothbrush and toothpaste I suggest bringing chewing gum or mints instead.
- Hair Brush. I don’t know why, but I always end up with the worst knot on the back of my head whenever I fly. I like being able to brush it out and have my hair look presentable while I’m walking around. Small hair brushes like this work great and take up very little space.
- Contact Lenses. Contact lenses can be hard to replace while traveling. It’s best to keep this with you so you don’t risk the chance of them getting lost.
- Face Cleansing Wipes.
- Chapstick. The air inside of airplanes is very dry and lips can become chapped pretty easily. I keep a lip balm in my pocket while flying because I reapply it constantly.
- Deodorant. You may want to reapply your deodorant and freshen up before landing in your new destination. Especially if you’re nervous about flying. You might even be able to find your favorite deodorant in a mini size perfect for travel.
- Moisturizer. Like I said earlier, the air on airplanes is extremely dry. I always keep a face moisturizer with me and apply it sometimes more than once on long flights. Just make sure your hands are clean first!
Never pack anything of serious value in your checked luggage. This includes designer bags, jewelry, or sentimental items. Luggage can be lost on flights and even if you get your bags back, some items might be missing.
If you take medication before bed or in the morning as I do, then you’ll need to keep them close on hand during your flight. Really if your medication is hard to replace it’s best to keep all of it in you’re carry on. Just in case your luggage doesn’t show up at your destination at the same time you do.
Packing an extra set of clothes including fresh underwear is always a good idea. In the event, your luggage ends up delayed or missing you will be able to change while you wait. It can sometimes take a few days for your luggage to be found and returned to you.
Final Thoughts On Packing
Everyone’s needs are different when flying. And the more you fly the better you know exactly what you need. But if you’re already looking for travel tips ahead of your next flight then you’re on the right path to surviving your next long-haul flight as comfortably as possible.
Did I miss anything? I’m interested to know what essentials you pack along on all your flights.