I’m heading to Europe soon and my Type-A self is already thinking about what I’m going to bring. While clothes and camera equipment are paramount, there’s something I’ve been paying more and more attention to with every long-haul flight I take.
The items I bring to use throughout my flights have become very important to me. Why? Think about it. You’re up in the air confined to a small space for 8 – 14 hours. What if you want a snack? What if you get thirsty and there are no flight attendants around (and you don’t want to bother them with the call button)?
There have been so many times I’ve been mid-flight and wished I had certain things. Now that I’ve taken quite a few long-haul flights, I know exactly what to pack in my carry-on to make my long-haul flights as comfortable as possible.
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10 Must-Have Items for a Long-Haul Flight
1. Reusable and Collapsible Water bottle
This is number one for a reason. Drinking water throughout your flight is extremely important since the air is so dry. You can become dehydrated quickly which can cause lots of issues including making your jet lag worse.
I always have at least one reusable water bottle in my carry-on bag. It’s simple to pack if you buy a collapsible one like the options I included below and you can fill it up for free at any water fountain once you get past security.
As a bonus, you’ll have your reusable water bottle to use throughout your trip! Check out some highly rated options below. I personally have one that rolls up, but I like the accordion design as well.
2. Power bank
Yes, most planes have those nifty USB charging ports in the seats. However, have you ever used them? They are awful. I had my phone plugged in for an entire 4-hour flight and my phone barely got to 50% charged.
Do yourself a favor and purchase a power bank. They aren’t that expensive and your phone (and other devices) will charge lightning fast without needing an outlet. The one I have holds a charge for a few days even with using it several times.
Not only will you love having this for your long-haul flight, but this is another item you’ll be able to use throughout your trip. No need to worry about finding an outlet!
The cheaper option below only has one charging port (meaning you can only charge one device at a time). The more expensive option has two charging ports and holds a charge longer than the less expensive option.
This should be a given, but I’m always so surprised by how many people ask for them when they get on the plane.
However, with the iPhone changing their headphone jack, you can’t use the same headphones for watching movies on the plane that you would use to listen to music on your phone. Also, there are so many Bluetooth headphone options out there now, many people no longer own the regular type. I know I’ve almost made the mistake of not bringing the correct headphones with me.
So as you’re packing your carry-on, make sure you have headphones that will work for your phone and the plane.
I have the red headphones below and use the iPhone adapter if I want to listen to music on my phone. This way I only need one pair of headphones. If you want to splurge a little for noise-canceling headphones, make sure you choose an option that can connect via Bluetooth AND wired. This way you’ll be able to listen to music on your phone and watch movies on the plane screen.
4. Eye mask and Travel Pillow
I know so many people that don’t like eye masks (my husband included). But when you’re trying to catch a little sleep while in a super uncomfortable position, every little thing helps.
I always have an eye mask with me because I sleep with one at home every night. I also love having a travel pillow because an injured neck is not how I ever want to start off a trip. Some people say that using a jacket or a plane blanket pushed up against the window is enough, but if you move at all while you’re sleeping you could wake up with a really bad neck ache.
Not only will you save your neck on the plane, but if you have to do any train travel you might get lucky and be able to catch some sleep on there too!
5. Light jacket
The temperature inside any plane can fluctuate dramatically throughout the flight. I always wear a jacket on the plane no matter where I am for this reason.
Even if you don’t think you’ll get cold, you can use your jacket for so many things. If you were planning on bringing a jacket with you on your trip anyway, why not just wear it on the plane to save room in your bag? Also, a soft jacket can double as a blanket or extra support for your head while you sleep (in addition to the travel pillow).
A versatile jacket is a must. Something that is dual purpose will pay for itself over and over. I have a jacket similar to the Columbia packable jacket below that acts as a windbreaker, rain jacket, and keeps me warm in cooler climates. It folds up into its own pocket when you’re not using it so you don’t need to fear about having enough space.
I also love the rain jacket below. It comes in a ton of different colors and is stylish enough to wear out to dinner if it is a little chilly at night. Keep this one in mind for rainy destinations like Ireland or England.
6. Toiletry bag
Even if I am checking a bag, I always end up bringing my toiletries with me on the plane. Long-haul flights especially!
My skin gets so dry throughout flights so I have to make sure I have some sort of body lotion with me (lightly or non-scented like Gold Bond, of course). I’m also a huge fan of face mists (like this one from Evian) which help revive the skin on your face after enduring recycled dry air for 8+ hours.
If you have a long layover, having your toiletries with you is really nice. After being in a plane for so long, being able to wash your face is such a luxury (even if it has to be in a busy airport bathroom).
My new favorite toiletry bag is the one below by Elevation Life. Unlike other TSA approved toiletry bags, it comes with nifty silicone bottles and toothbrush covers. It’s a steal at only $13.99, but right now there is a promotion for 20% off AND as a loyal reader of mine, you can get an extra 10% off with code LETRAVELS10 making your final cost $9.79!
What can I say, I love my snacks! I am that person that asks for double snacks when the flight attendants come around. I promise I’m extremely polite about it.
However, cookies and a tiny snack mix will only hold me over for so long. On long-haul flights, I’ve either been overwhelmed with the amount of food I’ve been given or there’s hardly been anything. This is why I always make sure to bring some food with me for the flight.
My snacks usually include some nuts like lightly salted almonds, some dark chocolate for a treat, and a few granola bars like Lara Bars or RX Bars. If I want to splurge, I’ll bring some fruit snacks because gummies are my weakness. See some of my favorite snacks below!
8. RFID Blocking Travel wallet
Something I don’t think many people think about when going somewhere international is the number of things they will need to have accessible when they get off the plane.
- Customs forms
- Cash (for transportation)
- Printed confirmations (*I print all of my confirmations just in case my phone dies or I don’t have signal)
It’s a lot to keep up with especially if you need access to those things quickly and then need to put them away quickly when customs agents are yelling at you to KEEP MOVING!
Here’s where an RFID-blocking travel wallet comes into play. I’ve used this on every international trip and it always helps me stay organized.
- Keep all of your cash safe in a zippered pocket
- All credit cards will have a spot in the small pockets
- A pen goes in the holder in the middle so you’ll never need to search for one
- All paper confirmations will fit in the side pocket and you can throw them away as you go
- Two passports and any other form of identification fit comfortably inside
It’s so nice to have absolutely everything important in one spot. I can’t tell you how wonderful this is if you’re hopping from country to country by plane!
9. Sleeping pills
Ok, I’m not advocating drugging yourself, but sometimes we need some help getting a little shuteye when traveling internationally.
I am terrible when it comes to sleeping on planes. I’ve never been able to sleep when going to Europe, but I had to try when we were going to Asia. I knew we would be without good sleep for two solid days, so the plane was going to be my best shot at some rest.
Most sleep medication makes me feel awful. So awful I would rather just go without sleep. But I tried out this new sleep aid by Genius Sleep and it was a game-changer! I never wake up feeling groggy after using them and they actually help me get good sleep.
If you don’t like how typical sleep aids make you feel, try out Genius Sleep. It might be just what you need to catch some Z’s on a plane!
As always, please make sure to consult your doctor before starting a new supplement.
10. Compression socks
I’m 29, in fairly good shape, and not pregnant. So why do I wear compression socks when I fly? Because truthfully, blood clots terrify me! Also, my feet swell very easily.
The first time I heard about wearing compression socks on long flights, I didn’t think they would do much for me. However, they weren’t expensive and the fear of blood clots had been consuming my anxious mind.
To calm my anxiety, I purchased them and I’m so glad I did! I didn’t need to wear them the entire flight to keep my feet happy which was nice. I also used them during our trip after long days of walking in the crazy Asian heat. Like I said, my legs and feet swell easily. The compression socks were a welcome relief at the end of each day!
What are some of your favorite long-haul flight items? Check out even more of my favorite travel products in my Amazon storefront. This list is updated weekly and includes promo codes for awesome travel products!
Need more travel product ideas? Check out this article next: The Best Carry-on Friendly Travel Accessories on Amazon
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