Travelling to another country is incredibly exciting. But before you can enjoy your destination, chances are you’ll need to navigate a long haul flight. We all know that this part of the journey isn’t the most comfortable. However, with the right selection of items and a savvy packing strategy, you can certainly make it much more bearable. With that objective in mind, here’s a list of 22 long haul flight essentials that you simply must include when packing.
1. A Carry-on Suitcase or Luggage
Long haul flight essential number one - a quality carry-on suitcase or luggage. Your suitcase must be big enough to carry all of your items, but not so big that it breaches the carry-on size guidelines of your airline. It should also be maneuvrable, easy to lift into the overhead lockers, and well-made. If your luggage ticks all of these boxes, you’re good to go.
2. A Power Pack for Charging Devices
There’s nothing worse than getting stranded without any juice on your phone! A power pack is a must-have on any list of long flight essentials. It will keep your phone (and other devices) running, so you can entertain yourself, and stay in touch with loved ones when you land. Just make sure you don’t put your power pack in checked baggage, as these items are usually only permitted in carry-on baggage.Image by fabrikasimf on Freepik
3. High-quality Headphones
High-quality headphones are a must. They don’t necessarily have to be noise-cancelling (though that’s a big plus) but should be able to produce a decent sound. This makes listening to music or watching movies much more enjoyable. The headphones should also block out some of the sounds around you, including the airplane itself.
4. Comfortable Clothing
Comfort should be your number one priority on a long-haul flight. It’s important that you wear comfortable clothing and prepare for both warm and cool environments. That often means an ensemble of tracksuit pants or leggings, a loose t-shirt, comfortable shoes, and a sweater on hand… just in case it gets a little chilly on the plane or in the airport.
5. A Change of Socks
A spare pair of socks is always a good idea. Travelling to the airport, hurrying through security and passport control, and waiting for your flight all take a toll. By the time you board the plane, you’re probably exhausted… and your feet and socks likely feel a little yuck. A fresh set of socks can make you feel a million bucks, and even help you get a good sleep. Alternatively, save the fresh set for when you’re about to land.Photo by Alí Díaz on Unsplash
6. A small pouch for important documents
It’s important to have a small bag or pouch on hand for important documents and items, such as your passport, boarding pass, any visa paperwork, and customs declarations. This should be accessible at all times, either in your handbag or small backpack. A pouch will keep all of these items safe throughout the duration of your journey.
Any list of essential toiletries should include mouthwash, a toothbrush, deodorant, a small washcloth, and whatever else you need to feel fresh. Ensure you have a sturdy, spacious toiletries bag to store and carry these items and keep it accessible throughout your flight… just in case!
8. A sleep mask
Sleeping on an airplane can be tough at the very best of times. However, a good sleep mask can help enormously. Your mask should be comfortable to wear, adjustable, and block out all light. That’s a must for when the cabin crew turns the lights on when you’re least expecting it!Image by wayhomestudio on Freepik
9. A trusty water bottle
Staying hydrated during a long journey is a must, so a water bottle is one of our top long haul flight essentials. Of course, you can ask your flight attendants for water - but having them go back and forth, only to bring you a small cup of water each time, isn’t exactly convenient. Packing your own bottle is the best way to stay hydrated throughout the flight.Photo by Joan Tran on Unsplash
If you’re prone to dry skin on a long haul flight (as many of us are), make sure you bring a small tube of moisturiser. Apply to your hands, face, and arms whenever required, to ensure your skin stays hydrated. Just remember to make sure you don’t exceed the maximum milliliters of liquid permitted in carry-on baggage.Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash
11. Lip balm
The same rule applies to your lips - look after them! Dry lips are uncomfortable and may take days to heal properly. Applying lip balm throughout your journey will keep your lips moist, and prevent any cracking later on. Simply slip it into your toiletries bag for easy access.Photo by Brittney Weng on Unsplash
12. A washcloth
If you plan to freshen up during the journey, a washcloth is an important addition to your toiletries bag. Use a cloth to wash your face, and stow it away in a plastic bag afterwards. Just make sure you don’t forget to take it out and dry it once you arrive at your destination!Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash
13. A quality travel pillow
Some travellers opt to use a travel pillow when on a long-haul flight. It’s a matter of personal preference of course - but if you do sleep better with some support, a quality travel pillow is essential. Make sure you go for one that won’t simply deflate when you use it - a well-regarded brand is a must.Image by kues1 on Freepik
14. Your book or e-reader
A book or an e-reader is one of the most important long haul travel essentials. Digital entertainment might be enough for some, but many travellers require a break from movies and games at some point. Bringing a novel along, either in the form of a real book or an e-reader, can make for a much more enjoyable flight.Photo by Perfecto Capucine on Unsplash
15. A tote bag
A tote bag is fantastic for storing any additional items that you pick up at the airport, such as duty-free products. A tote will pack down easily, and takes up minimal space in your luggage. Then, when you’re in need of additional storage, it’s right there.Photo by Mediamodifier on Unsplash
16. Comfortable shoes/slip-ons/slides
Walking through the airport can take a toll on your feet. And when you finally sit down on the plane, you’ll want to ensure you’re as comfortable as possible. This is where it’s important to wear snug shoes such as trainers. You can also pack a pair of slip-ons or slides (or wear them to the airport), for added comfort on your flight.Photo by Alexandra Tran on Unsplash
17. Ear plugs
If you’d rather not wear headphones but still want peace and quiet, earplugs are a great option. They’re affordable and easy to find at the airport, if you forget to bring them from home.Photo by Barrett Ward on Unsplash
18. An airplane footrest
This is certainly an added luxury, and not one that every traveller brings along. However, if you have the space in your luggage, and want to travel in comfort, we can consider a footrest a long haul travel essential. This type of footrest works as a sling, and can be secured to the back of the seat in front of you. Then, you can recline with your legs in a more comfortable position.Image by jcomp on Freepik
19. Hand sanitiser
Hygiene is important on a plane, and hand sanitiser is an effective weapon in the fight against bacteria. With so many people packed into such a compact space, germs are inevitable. Keep yourself protected by regularly washing your hands or using sanitiser, especially before and after eating. You can never be too safe when it comes to packing this long haul flight essential.Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
20. A face mask
If you’re sick, or would like to have extra protection, you may choose to wear a face mask during your flight. Do make sure you choose a reliable type that will provide long-lasting protection. It should also be comfortable, and your mask shouldn’t interfere with headphones or a sleep mask if you plan on wearing one.Photo by Vera Davidova on Unsplash
21. A pen
Ever get stuck without a pen when the crew hands out customs declarations? A pen is super useful during a long haul journey, for completing crosswords, playing hangman, or simply doodling. And two is even better than one. You can even lend one to your neighbour!
Last, but certainly not least - snacks. There’s a good chance your airline will be offering a range of tasty snacks throughout the flight. But, it’s never a bad idea to be overprepared. If there are particular snacks that provide comfort for you on long haul journeys, make sure you bring them along. Treat yourself.
So, there you have it - a comprehensive guide to long haul flight essentials. We’re supremely confident that if you follow these tips and pack everything we’ve mentioned here, you’ll have an incredibly comfortable journey. Happy travels!