Whichever way you look at it, long haul flights are tough. They last for hours, they can be uncomfortable and you can get bored, very bored.
With that said, there are certain items you should take with you to make your flying experience all the more enjoyable and comfortable.
Toiletries will help you to feel fresher during a long period in the area. While packing a laptop and headphones will help to mitigate the boredom that can ensue on long flights.
This list of long haul flight essentials details all the items you should have with you while you’re in the air.
If you’re wondering what to pack for a long haul flight, this is the post for you!
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Table of Contents
Long Haul Flight Essentials
Essential Items For Sleeping on Long Haul Flights
Trtl Travel Pillow
Travel pillows have become popular in recent years. They are a great idea. Instead of leaning against the window, you can put the pillow around your neck and it is supported.
There’s just one problem:
They are big and cumbersome and not ideal as part of your check-in luggage. Instead of using one, I recommend you get the Trtl Travel Pillow instead.
It’s small, easy to pack and wraps around your neck without any issues. It will do the same job as a conventional travel pillow, if not better!
It’s an item you have to take on a long haul flight if you want to be comfortable!
I struggle to sleep on planes. No matter what I try I find it hard to nod off. However, I do manage to get more sleep when I wear an eye mask.
Even when the lights are dimmed, it’s still tricky to get some shuteye. Wearing an eye mask helps as it blocks out all the light around you.
I noticed a big difference when I started wearing one on long-haul flights. It was easier to fall asleep and I stayed asleep for longer too.
If you’re like me and struggle to sleep on planes, make sure you include an eye mask as part of your long haul flight essentials.
You won’t regret it!
Noise on an aeroplane is something you can’t avoid. Whether it’s the engine or something else, there always seems to be a humming noise coming from somewhere.
This can make it hard to concentrate and to get to sleep too.
The solution is to bring a pair of earplugs with you. They won’t get rid of the noise completely but they will go a long way towards minimising it.
I always pack a pair of earplugs in my carry on and you should too if you want to get some sleep during your flight!
Long haul flights are terrible for your legs. You’re stuck in a fixed position for a lengthy period and there isn’t much space to move around.
This can result in blood collecting in your calves, which can lead to clots. If you have an existing condition such as Deep Vein Thrombosis, this can be dangerous if you’re on the plane for hours!
The best way to get around this is to wear a pair of compression socks. They help to promote blood flow in your legs, pushing the blood upwards, instead of it collecting in your lower legs.
As someone with varicose veins, they help relieve the symptoms a lot when I’m flying! Even if you don’t have any issues with circulation in your legs, this is one of the best flying tips you should follow.
Your legs will have fewer aches and pains when you get off the plane if you do! You won’t regret buying a pair!
Essential Items For Entertainment on Long-Haul Flights
As I mentioned before, aeroplanes are noisy. Even with headphones in, it can be hard to hear what you’re listening to. Conventional headphones are good, but they do have their limitations.
That’s why I recommend you take noise-cancelling headphones on long-haul flights.
They cancel out any background noise you may hear allowing you to listen to your music or podcast in peace and enjoy your surroundings.
The constant hum of the plane can be annoying after a while. Taking these headphones with you in your carry-on luggage is the best way to block it out!
I love reading books. Never is this truer than when I’m flying. It’s the perfect time to settle down with a book and make use of the time spent flying.
There’s just one problem:
Books take up a lot of space. If you have more than one book, you won’t have much space left for anything else in your carry on. My advice is to pack a Kindle instead.
This way you can read as many books as you want and they are all stored on your kindle! It’s a much better use of your space as it fits easily into your bag!
If you love reading, a kindle needs to be included on your long-haul flight packing list!
Taking a laptop with you while travelling is essential nowadays. Whether you’re running a company or going on a working holiday in Australia, a laptop is a necessity.
Not all airlines have wifi on board, but some do. If you need to get some work done, taking your laptop in your carry on luggage will enable you to do so.
However, you should put your laptop in your carry on for another reason.
Leaving it in your main baggage in the hold is asking for trouble. the bags move around a lot during a flight. You could pick up your bag up at your destination and find your laptop is broken.
It’s much safer to take it on board with you than worry about it being broken when you land!
A camera is an important item to take with you when you go travelling. Yes, the cameras on smartphones are amazing these days, but if you’re into photography, you can’t beat a good old camera!
While you won’t need your camera while you’re on a long-haul flight, it’s better to pack it in your carry on.
Like a laptop, you run the risk of it getting damaged if you leave it with your main travelling backpack in the hold.
Keep it with you in your carry on luggage and you’ll know it’s safe and have the opportunity to take some amazing snaps of the sky as you fly to your destination!
Health Items For a Long Haul Flight
A toothbrush may seem like an odd item to pack in your carry on for a long haul flight, but you’d be wrong.
If you’re on a flight for 12 hours or more and you forgot to bring a toothbrush, you will start to feel a little gross. Not being able to brush your teeth when you need to is horrible.
That’s why it’s a good idea to always pack a toothbrush. You can freshen up on your flight and you will feel all the better for it.
I use a bamboo toothbrush because it is better for the environment and minimises the amount of plastic I use on a daily basis.
The air conditioning on planes can be uncomfortable at times. I often find I am cold most of the time when I’m on a plane. Most of the time, I have to wear a jumper to keep warm.
As well as the air-con, dehydration is a problem when you’re flying. Due to the lack of moisture in the cabin, you have to drink a lot of water, otherwise, you will quickly become dehydrated.
This can lead to chapped lips, which is not what you want when you’re in the middle of a long flight!
Bring some lip balm with you and you won’t have to worry about this if it happens!
As I mentioned above, the lack of moisture in the cabin can wreak havoc on your body during a long flight.
As well as dehydration, it can dry your skin out too. If you’re on a flight for over 12 hours, this can lead you to feel groggy before long.
One tip is to bring a tube of moisturiser as part of your long haul flight essentials.
Whenever you’re feeling a bit tired, grab your moisturiser, head to the toilet and freshen up. It won’t make you feel amazing, but you will feel a lot better than before!
Hand sanitiser is a useful item to take with you if you want to survive a long-haul flight.
Due to the air in the cabin circulating for large periods, if people are sneezing and coughing, it’s easy for germs to be transmitted around.
The best way to combat this is with hand sanitiser. Use it during your flight and once you land and you will have done your best to avoid falling foul of any nasty germs onboard!
Clear Cosmetic Bag for Toiletries
I know airports offer those clear plastic bags for you to put your cosmetics in, but there are several problems with them.
The main one is that they are disposable plastic and just add to the ever-increasing problem of plastic pollution the planet is facing.
Another issue is that they are flimsy and break easily. This is not what you want if you’re travelling long distances frequently.
The answer is to buy a clear cosmetic bag. this way you’re buying something that can be reused and disposed of. Plus, it will be sturdier than plastic bags and not fall apart!
First Aid Kit
If you’re wondering what to pack for the Philippines, or a similarly exotic location, a first aid kit is a good idea.
You never know when you might run into trouble. Having a first aid kit with you ensures that if you do, you’re prepared.
As unlikely as it is you’ll need one on an aeroplane, stranger things have happened. Including it in your carry on luggage is a safety-conscious move.
Plus, it might get damaged in the hold where bags move around more than you might think!
Other Items to Pack For a Long-Haul Flight
Eco Water Bottle
I only realised this recently, but you can take a water bottle on board with you, provided the bottle is empty as you pass through security.
This revelation has resulted in me including a water bottle on this list of items to pack for a long haul flight.
Taking a water bottle with you serves a few functions. Firstly, it saves you from spending money before your flight. Secondly, it means less plastic ends up in the ocean and you can reuse the same bottle over and over instead of buying bottled water all the time.
Buying an eco water bottle is a great way to care for the environment during long trips abroad!
A pen may seem like a strange item to take with you on a long haul flight, but there’s a reason you should have one with you.
When travelling to most far-flung destinations, you will be required to fill out an entry form for that country. Most airlines offer pens for this, however, it doesn’t hurt to be proactive and have your own.
Plus, you may need to use a pen at a later date! Having a pen with you is handy as you never know when you may need to use one!
A portable charger is a useful item to take with you when you’re on a plane for an extended period.
Most long-distance carriers do have plug sockets or charging points on their planes now, but you will only have one per seat. If you use your phone and laptop during the flight, you will need to recharge both at some point.
By taking a portable charger, you can charge one of these while using the other one.
If you’re devising a packing list for Australia for example, you should include it regardless. They are a useful item to have with you no matter where you travel to!
You won’t need sunglasses while you’re on a plane, however, there are a few reasons you should include them in your carry on luggage.
Like several other items on this list, if you leave them in your main bag you run the risk of them being damaged when you get your bag back.
It’s much more sensible to tale them on the lane with you even if you won’t use them. This way you can ensure they are safe and won’t be damaged.
If you’re looking to get a new pair, my advice would be to purchase polarised sunglasses as they offer better protection for your eyes than bog-standard sunglasses.
Tissues are an item you always wish you had when you don’t have any! Many a time I have had a runny nose or a cold and I forgot to pack tissues.
Yes, you can go to the toilet and get some, but if you have a bad cold, it can be a nuisance to get up and down all the time.
Even if you don’t need any, I would always include tissues on a long haul flight packing list. Even if you don’t have a cold, you may need to use them to clean your face or hands.
They are a handy item to have, just in case the need to use them arises.
Bobby anti-theft backpack
One of my best purchases of recent times has been the Bobby anti-theft backpack!
While you are unlikely to be targeted by pickpockets on a flight, the bag itself is fantastic for storing all the items you need on a long flight.
It can easily fit your laptop, cables and other important items in with room to spare.
Even if the place you’re going is safe, I would still buy one as the bag is excellent. It’s made of top quality, holds up better than other backpacks and is safer!
It’s a no-brainer!
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Tom is a travel addict who first left England to spend a year Down Under. Not satisfied with this, he then went to New Zealand, about as far away from home as he could get. He is now planning his next adventures in Europe and Canada while maintaining this blog. Check out the about me page to learn more!