Save your trip with these long haul flight essentials! Let’s face it – long flights and international travel sucks.
If you’re stuck on a plane for an extended period of time it could leave you tired, dehydrated, uncomfortable, and even hungry. There are things that you can do to cope with a long haul flight on the way to your next international destination.
The long haul flight essentials listed below are sure to help you enjoy smooth sailing while in flight. Don’t fear the distance between the departure and arrival signs anymore, come to the airport prepared with these fundamental travel products.
It’s time to fly smart.
There’s a number of things we like to use and wear in flight to make sure we’re comfortable.
Our last flights took us 30+ hours to get from Ruaha National Park in Tanzania to New York, and then another 10 hours of layovers and flights to get to our homes. If we wore safari clothes to the airport we would have been in for a miserable experience.
We not only had to cross the Indian Ocean to Dubai, but it was followed with a transatlantic flight to New York. This is why we each have a long haul flight outfit we rely on.
48+ hours later Tasha considers it one of her worst travel days.
That day would have been awful if we didn’t have the right items with us. What you take in your hand luggage for a long haul flight can make or break your trip.
For your next trip, we suggest throwing the following long haul flight essentials into your carry-on bag.
Long Haul Flight Checklist
Long Haul Flight Essentials
A proper travel pillow is a carry on essentials for long flights. The Everlasting Comfort travel pillow comes in the shape and size of your typical normal travel pillow.
However, it comes with all the bells and whistles of something much more. This memory foam pillow has orthopedic raised lobe contouring on both sides for a comfortable rest.
The high-density memory foam allows the travel pillow to conform to your neck for optimal comfort as well. Are you ready for the best part about this airline pillow? It has a cell phone pocket so you can always be listening to your music even walking through the terminal.
An eye mask is especially helpful for catching some sleep on a plane! We often find they’re slow to turn off lights and there can be a lot of distractions between other screens and reading lights.
One of the best things to take on the plane with them for a good night sleep is a quality eye mask. Our favorite is the cooling masks that are good for relaxation, headaches, migraines, and sinus pain.
These are a small, but essential long haul necessity as they can be crucial to your sleep. Whether you’re flying in business class or economy airplanes are pretty noisy. A good pair of earplugs will help you catch some important shut-eye.
This is a long haul flight essential we picked up from backpacking in the mountains. Airline blankets suck if you’re traveling in anything, but business/first class. However, it’s not very practical to carry a traditional blanket on a plane as it will consume your carry on luggage.
A down quilt is made for hiking backpackers who’s main concern is weight and space. So, it makes for an exceptional blanket on flights. It’s warm, soft, comfy, and takes less room up in your bag so you’ll feel right at home. If we’re spending 12 hours on a flight we have no problems pulling a blanket out.
This should be a no brainer, but don’t forget your toothbrush. We’ve actually taken to packing two toothbrushes. We pack a regular toothbrush in our carry on bag and our electric one in checked luggage.
You never know if you’ll be separated from your checked baggage and if you’re on a long haul flight it’s great to be able to brush your teeth so always have one on you.
A great item to have for your toothbrush is a small toothbrush cover to protect it from germs and allows to throw in your bag. We’ve tried out a few different types over the years, but love the Steripods.
All Natural Deodorant
Deodorant is great to have for a long haul flight. We like to bring a special all-natural deodorant on our flights as it’s easy to feel not so fresh after a long haul flight, followed by border patrol, customs, and travel.
If you use specialty products like this make sure to bring it with you when you travel as sometimes they can be very hard to find. However, generic roll-on sticks can be found at pharmacies around the country.
Planes are known to be cool and dry at altitude so it’s easy for your skin to dry out. We like to fight this by making sure we have a lip balm and lotion in our bag before we hop on the plane. Not only does it keep our lips and skin from drying out it keeps you feeling refreshed and clean.
Try to pick up a natural product like Burt’s Bees lip balm. However, we like their metal tins, as aluminum is much more efficient at being recycled. We’ve also picked up locally produced products like shea butter in glass jars. If you have an option for container keep in mind plastic is the most difficult product to recycle, and if does make it to landfills plastic contains harmful chemicals that can leach into the ground.
Just like your skin, it’s easy for your eyes to become dry and irritated on a plane. To make it only worse you’ll probably arrive at your destination a little tired and groggy. A bottle of eye drops does a great job of keeping your eyes happy and healthy.
Never ever pick up a plastic cup again with the GoCup. This thing is so perfect for traveling, hiking, or a long haul flight. It’s compact, made from FDA food grade silicone, and a fitted lid with an integrated pill container should you need medication. We like to mitigate our consumption of single-use plastics on planes by carrying our own cup and a water bottle.
Dehydration is one of the most common challenges that frequent flyers traveling a long distance will face. It’s very easy to get dehydrated which compounds the effects of jet-lag. We both like to carry a great travel water bottle with us on flights.
We suggest checking out the Klean Kanteen. A water bottle also helps reduce plastic waste instead of using the disposable plastic cups airlines like to use on their flights.
If you need a refill simply ask the flight attendant to fill your water bottle back up. Another great flight tip is to pick an aisle seat that way you can make frequent bathroom trips.
We have a whole post on travel water bottles. What to pack with you depends on your final destination. We might sound bias as we recommend them for the next product too, but we really do love Hydroflask insulated water bottles.
Hydroflask Insulated Tumbler
Coffee on flights sucks! Did you know that most of those coffee cups we grab from Starbucks every day are not recyclable? I actually just learned this and it blew my mind that the UK alone throws out 2.5 billion of them a year.
Of course, I’m not saying to give up your coffee, but why not completely switch to a reusable coffee to go tumbler? We just got this last year and have traveled the world with it ever since. Yes, I’m serious.
The Hydroflask coffee tumbler was the first travel coffee thermos we ever invested in. It’s one of the best-insulated coffee mugs out there and continues to remain the favorite that we have in the cupboard.
Not just because we absolutely love Hydroflask products but because they come in so many fun colors, have vacuum insulated stainless steel, and the lid can be interchangeable so that you can have it with coffee or with a reusable straw for iced coffee or other cold drinks.
The tumbler comes in both 22 and 32-ounce sizes, and in our opinion, the 22 is perfect for travels and packing up the tumbler in your suitcase. A reusable coffee mug is an essential travel accessory for coffee lovers.
Long Haul Flight Essentials – Clothing
We like to pack a mix of underwear and garments on extended trips. Travel specific underwear is often antibacterial and quick drying, but not as tight as sports underwear.
For me, there is a fine line between cotton underwear and tight sports underwear. Cotton underwear tends to not hold up very well when worn for literally 30 hours, but 30 hours in sports underwear would be borderline torture due to the tight-fitting nature.
Travel underwear is specifically designed to offer support and function like sports underwear in a more relaxed comfortable cut. For men, I have a couple of pairs of the ExOfficio boxer briefs I’ve been traveling with for years now. For women, it’s all about personal preference, but the Patagonia Barely underwear comes in both bikini and thong versions.
I’d test them out a few days before the flight that way you aren’t suprised with an uncomfortable pair of underwear while stuck in a seat for hours on end — I’ve been there.
I love to wear a comfortable shirt on a long travel day. However, I tend to sweat when running between gates and don’t want a cotton tee shirt that will gross. A simple tee looks clean and not slobbish if well fitted, but has all the comfort you could need for a full 24 hours.
You should look for a fabric that is lightweight, breathable and has quick dry qualities such as merino wool, nylon, or polyester. If it’s a particularly long travel day and I have space in the luggage I’ll pack a spare to change into once I arrive at my destination so I’m ready to hit the ground running (metaphorically).
Planes can be notoriously cold so a comfortable fleece is a great option that is more stylish than a sweatshirt. Sweatshirts tend to be bulky and lead to overpacking as well as they’re too informal and lack any technical features for any type of trip.
We own a bunch of fleeces, but one of our favorites is the Patagonia Better Sweater. It’s comfortable and looks great from one of our favorite brands.
Guess what? Two years and 100 days of wear later it still looks and feels amazing, after I washed the smell out of it of course. Their fleeces like these keep me warm and comfortable in the fall and winter.
Comfortable Travel Pants
We both love to travel on a long haul flight in a comfortable pair of pants. Sometimes, I’ll even wear a pair of chinos or jeans on the plane before changing pants in the bathroom after take off.
My favorite pants in the world for their comfort and long haul flights is the prAna Vaha (men) or Mantra (women) pant. The waistband is super soft and stretchy and the loose hemp/poly blend is stain resistant and antibacterial so they last longer between washes.
The pants are made out of hemp and recycled polyester while offering 50+ UPF protection. The men’s version are the Vaha Pant and I live in these. Best men’s pant ever!
These pants are lightweight and weigh nothing in a carry-on bag. Most importantly they don’t look bad and the straight leg cut keeps some style rather than a frumpy looking pair of sweat pants or informal yoga pants.
We’ve learned to love our feet with a good pair of socks. You will want to keep your feet nice and dry while you walk around. Most importantly wool socks stay fresh for several days as they have natural antimicrobial properties.
Sitting down is terrible for your circulation so it’s great to try and stand up a number of times on a flight. To aid with circulation, a nice tight fitting pair of socks helps push the blood out of your feet. (Not too tight!)
We travel with a couple of pairs of the Darn Tough Merino socks and our feet have never felt cold or wet. You have several options for size, but for flights, we like to wear thin wool socks similar to dress socks.
Your shoe choice really depends on your destination. In the winter months, we’ll combine comfortable hiking pants with boots, but for most days we’ll stick comfortable travel sneakers and the prAna pants above.
We’ve come to like these Tropicfeel shoes as they’re easy to slip on and off for security and on the plane. It may be shunned by some, but taking your shoes off on a long haul flight is more comfortable and like the socks aids in circulation.
We were stoked to nab a pair of these as they are a great all terrain sneaker that is perfect for running through an airport, hiking around waterfalls, or just walking around a city in the summertime. They look stylish, ultra light (7oz), and are super comfortable.
Long Haul Flight Essentials – Entertainment
Almost all international flights have entertainment systems on board, but the headphones are often lackluster. That’s why I think headphones are an air travel accessory you need. It’s best to travel with a decent pair of noise canceling headphones to save your ears.
They’re also great for entertainment with long layovers. These headphones by Sennheiser may not be the best in the pack, but they’re affordable and will sound great to the average ear.
I also really recommend a pair with Bluetooth as it makes things a lot easier when paired with your own devices. No need to worry about your cords tangling.
I picked my pair of headphones up in BestBuy and have been happy with them for the most part. If you have big ears I would suggest finding a pair with large ear cups that fully cover your ear for comfort.
We just got our hands on the Google Pixelbook which is an ideal computer for most travelers who don’t have to work all the time on the road. It’s super slim, lightweight, and does everything your computer at home can do. We love the way it flips around too so that we can stand it up and watch movies on the plane with it.
Some other fantastic features of the PixelBook is that it houses all apps, like a phone – except it’s a computer! An all-day battery delivers up to ten hours of power from just one single charge.
The folding computer allows for it to stand on it own and with apps like Netflix you can download your favorite series or movie. I really loved this on my last flight and look forward to more trips with my choice of movies.
Journal & Pen
Keeping a journal of your travels is timeless. It helps one digest the information they receive each day and has proven mental health benefits. Moleskin’s line of journals is classic, well made, and stylish. Screen time can be overwhelming when on the plane and sometimes the flight gives you time to think. For that, we love to have a notebook or journal in our bag.
We both carry a moleskin journal and love them for long plane rides, sitting in the back of the bus, or laying on the beach. This is great a great essential to carry on a long haul flight.
Most importantly don’t forget a pen to write in your journal and fill out custom declaration forms before arrival. Even if you don’t have a journal you should definitely have something to write with on the plane.
A Kindle is an essential travel gadget for those travelers that love to read. As much as I love a real book, they are too heavy and take up too much room in my suitcase. As a big plus kindle paperwhites read similar to a real book and they’re really easy on the eyes to read.
I’ve recently upgraded to the Kindle Paperwhite and absolutely love it. It’s small, has touch screen functions, and a backlight so we can read without a having to turn the overhead light on.
You will definitely need an adaptor for your electronics if you’re traveing internationally, pretty much any long haul flight. We always keep one handy in our carry-on bags, that way we can charge electronics on arrival or at the airport. (Or even worse, not getting our checked bags)
You’ll need one that can hanle a multitude of ports as you never know if you get stuck on a connection. Check out the one I have which is good for most of the world.
I love traveling with a power bank to make sure my phone never dies. The majority of the time I don’t need to use it on long flights as some of the nicer airlines provide entertainment systems with USB ports!
We also make sure to find a charging point during layovers, but getting to a new city without your hotel reservations and map can be a major pain in the ass. I recommend purchasing this power bank because it’s a great value with solid reviews.
Not everything can be charged from a power bank and even that is limited to the number of charges. Whenever we’re flying we like to come prepared to spend a day without our checked bag. That way should the worst happen we can live for a few days.
Long Haul Flight Essentials After COVID-19
It’s really no secret that airline travel is going to change after COVID-19. Everyone will be more conscious of sanitization. One of the first things that should be on your long haul flight packing list is hand sanitizer so that you can always clean your hands after touching everything at the airport on the airplane.
Don’t touch the TV screen in front of you without wiping it down first. While you’re at it go ahead and wipe down your arm rest and anywhere else you’ll be touching on your flight. These are things I should have been doing anyways before the pandemic, but now it’s more important more than ever.
A great way to protect yourself and others around you is with a face mask to be worn throughout the airport and on the airplane.
- Best Travel Towels For Backpacking Around The World
- Best Travel Water Bottles For Your Next Trip
- The 10 Best Hiking Backpacks to Conquer Mountains in 2019
- The 15 Best Honeymoon Destinations in the World to go in 2019
- 12 Reasons Why You Should Travel to the Faroe Islands
- The 11 Best Cameras for Travel Blogging
- Airbnb Coupon Code Up To $100 In Travel Credit + Tips!
- The Eight Best Osprey Backpacks for Women
- Best Travel Pillows for Long Haul Flights