If there’s one downside about circling the globe, it’s the dread of preparing for a long-haul flight. Spending hours cramped in a tight airline seat can be unbearable, but worth it once you reach your destination. To survive a long-haul flight, you must be prepared to have everything you need for the journey. We help you out with these 19 long-haul flight essentials.
Fortunately, our intrepid lifestyle as full-time travel bloggers has helped us sharpen our packing skills. To get ready for each travel adventure, we’ve crafted an essential list of items for every long-haul flight. From electronic devices to comfy clothes, we go through the list before leaving for the airport.
There’s no other way to put it, long-haul flights aren’t fun, and that’s why we’ve made this ultimate packing list. Whether you have a transatlantic flight to Europe or heading to the “Land Down Under,” don’t leave without packing these essential items for your epic trip.
1. Refillable Water Bottle
Although you can usually ask for water whenever on your flight, having a full water bottle is more convenient. Staying hydrated on a long-haul flight is imperative, and we recommend filling up your water bottle before boarding the plane. You won’t have to constantly ask for water when you’re thirsty or waste plastic to soothe your thirst.
Consider adding a collapsible water bottle to your packing list to save room in your carry-on bag.
2. Hand Sanitizer & antibacterial wipes
Aircraft cabin surfaces are often disgusting and covered with germs. You won’t have unlimited access to soap and water, and hand sanitizer is an essential alternative to keep your hands clean. After you touch trays, seats, door handles, and other dirty surfaces, always use hand sanitizer to protect against germs.
For your long-haul flight, ensure you have travel-size bottles of hand sanitizer to pack inside your carry-on bag.
To disinfect your entire seating area, antibacterial wipes are more effective than liquid gel. From your seat and tray table to anything else you touch, antibacterial wipes kill 99.99% of germs and save your hand sanitizer for your hands. WET ONES Antibacterial hand wipes are easy to pack and hypoallergenic to protect you from germs on your flight.
3. Travel-Sized Toothbrush & Toothpaste
After eating snacks and napping for hours on the plane, you’ll need to refresh your breath before reaching your destination. That’s why we added a toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste to this list with long-haul flight essentials. You’ll be able to brush your teeth either in the aircraft cabin or the airport bathroom upon arrival.
If you wish to freshen up before landing, make sure the toothpaste tube meets carry-on size requirements. Otherwise, you’ll have to toss your toothpaste in the trash at security or pack it inside a bag that you check in. You can stock up for your long-haul flights with these travel-size Colgate tubes and on-the-go toothbrushes in your carry-on bag.
From the time you leave your home or accommodations, you won’t get to shower until reaching your destination. To prevent your pits from stinking, pack a travel-size stick of roll-on deodorant to freshen up. It won’t be satisfying like a hot shower, but at least you won’t have rancid body odor.
Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant keeps you fresh and doesn’t include nasty chemicals like many other brands.
5. Lip Balm
Flying at high altitudes often makes your lips dry and cracked inside the aircraft cabin. Keep your lips hydrated by packing a small tube of lip balm inside your carry-on bag. Burt’s Bees is a 100% Natural Lip Balm that comes in a variety of flavors to nourish your lips on your flight.
6. Neck Pillow
Economy seats aren’t exactly meant for comfort and falling asleep can be next to impossible on long-haul flights. Even if you’re able to snooze, it’s easy to slump into a position that makes your neck extremely sore. To give your neck extra support on your flight, bring a neck pillow to provide relief when you nap.
Many neck pillows, such as the Phixnozar Memory Foam Travel Pillow, are lightweight, machine washable, and provide tremendous support.
7. Ear Plugs
When you’re trying to fall asleep on a long-haul flight, earplugs are essential to help eliminate noise from the aircraft and other passengers. If you’re a light sleeper, then forgetting your earplugs can make falling asleep impossible. Between crying children or chatty neighbours, there could be lots of noise around you.
Be careful about which earplugs you choose since a cheap pair can be uncomfortable after several hours. You don’t want your earplugs to feel like balled-up pieces of toilet paper. Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs mold to fit your ear, help relieve airplane ear pressure, and include six pairs in their value pack.
8. Slip-On Shoes
If you’re going to be on an airplane for a long time, it helps to have shoes that are comfortable and let your feet breathe. A pair of light, cushioned slip-on shoes come in handy while lounging in your seat for hours. Whenever you need to walk to the bathroom, you can easily slide them on your feet to move around the aircraft cabin.
In case the aircraft cabin is chilly, have a jacket with you to stay warm while lounging in your seat. If you’re flying to or from a cold destination, you’ll need a durable jacket for your travels. You may not include a jacket to your packing list when going to a tropical location, but many airplanes blast the air conditioning.
To avoid shivering in your seat, at least bring a light jacket to layer up on your flight. A wind & water-resistant pullover rain jacket can be a quality option to keep you warm and dry in case of stormy weather when you land.
10. Eye Mask
Between cabin lights and your neighbor’s reading light, it can be hard falling asleep on a long-haul flight. To block out all lights, an eye mask can be a lifesaver to help you catch up on much-needed sleep. Plus, wearing one shows flight attendants know you’re trying to sleep and don’t wish to be bothered at the moment.
For something comfortable and easily adjustable, try this Jersey Number 100% Silk Sleep Mask helps you get deep, uninterrupted sleep. The mask comes with an adjustable strap to fit your head in any sleeping position.
11. Compression Socks
After a busy day getting to the airport, nothing feels better than sliding off your shoes to relax. You’re going to be on the plane for a long time and want to wear comfortable socks. A pair of thick compression socks will keep your feet warm, comfy, and improve circulation.
Check out these Copper Compression Socks to boost your collection with stylish, comfortable, and durable socks. Their material provides premium support, keeps your feet dry, and promotes better circulation for your flight.
12. In-Flight Entertainment
When you’re unable to sleep on your flight, a movie or TV show helps kill time while in the air. Whether you have a Kindle, iPad, smartphone, or small laptop, you won’t be bored waiting to reach your destination.
If you work online, a long flight can give you extra time to accomplish work tasks. Packing your valuables in your carry-on bag also prevents them from getting damaged or lost during your flight.
13. Noise-Canceling Headphones
Most airlines hand out complimentary headphones or for a couple of bucks, but they’re usually poor quality. Also, they often do a terrible job eliminating noise when you’re trying to watch a movie or listen to music.
To enjoy your in-flight entertainment in comfort and zero outside noise, bring your own noise-canceling headphones.
14. Portable Charger
Despite the advances in technology, not many airplanes have USB features to charge your electronic devices. Whether you need to charge your phone or Kindle, a portable charger is a long-haul flight essential that enables you to have a full battery when you land. A long-haul flight gives you plenty of time to juice up your devices and not wait around the airport charging your dead battery.
Many portable chargers have dual compatibility, quickly charge your devices, and don’t take up much space inside your bag. The Miady Portable Charger Power Bank is a lightweight option that charges 99% of smartphones and tablets on the market.
15. Book or Magazine
If you get tired of looking at your laptop or Kindle screen, a paperback book or magazine provides backup entertainment. Save the battery for your electronic devices and catch up on the material you’ve been itching to read for a while. Just flip on the light above your seat to prevent damaging your eyes when trying to read.
16. Chewing Gum
Flying at high altitudes causes pressure on your ears, and you’ll constantly feel them pop while in the air. While not full proof, chewing gum can help relieve pressure and ease pain. Just make sure you don’t fall asleep to risk choking from your gum.
Gum can also freshen your breath if you don’t feel like going to the bathroom to brush your teeth. Bring a small pack of sugar-free gum to keep your breath somewhat tolerable until you can properly freshen up.
If you’re trying to save money, pack your favorite snacks to ease your hunger during your long-haul flight. Some international flights reach double-digit hours, and food is often limited or expensive. Unless you want an extra meal served by the airline, save room in your carry-on bag for high-calorie snacks. Trail mix, energy bars, and granola all make fantastic options between meals.
On an 8+ hour flight, you must have any essential medications inside your carry-on bag. The last thing you want on a long-haul flight is to pack your prescriptions inside a checked bag or forget them altogether. Even if you need to create a list of packing essentials, ensure any important medications are within reach in case you need them.
When you’re on a long-haul flight, you likely have to fill out an arrival card before your flight lands. If you’re flying to another country, you’ll need to return your card to passport control to enter the country. Pack one or two pens in your carry-on bag to complete the info before you land.
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Thanks for checking out our list of essentials you need to survive a long-haul flight. Hopefully, this has provided the information you need to update your essential packing list for your next long flight. If you have taken long-haul flights before, or if you have a question, please leave a comment below.
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