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Packing Essentials for Long-Haul Flights

When embarking on a long-haul flight, proper packing becomes essential for a comfortable and enjoyable journey. From staying cozy to staying entertained, having the right items in your carry-on can make all the difference.

Let’s explore the packing essentials to help you survive and thrive during those long hours in the air. Because while I may love flying, once you reach 5+ hours up in the air, it can all feel a bit daunting.

What to Pack for Long Haul Flights

These are my essentials for my carry-on. As a seasoned traveler who’s done long-haul flights to Australia on at least 4 separate occasions recently, plus countless flights between Europe and Asia and the Americas and Asia, I know what you’ll need.

Comfortable Clothing

First and foremost, prioritize comfort when selecting your travel outfit. Opt for loose-fitting, breathable clothing made of soft fabrics like cotton or linen.

Avoid tight-fitting clothes that can restrict circulation. Layering is key, as temperatures onboard can vary throughout the flight. Dress in comfortable layers that can be easily adjusted according to your preference.

Don’t forget to pack a cozy pair of socks to keep your feet warm and a lightweight scarf or shawl to provide extra warmth during the flight.

Travel Pillow and Blanket

To enhance your comfort during long-haul flights, invest in a good travel pillow and blanket. Listen: I know they look cheesy and silly, but after a few hours, you’re going to want it.

Sitting in an upright position for an extended period can strain your neck and lead to discomfort. A neck pillow provides support for your head and neck, preventing stiffness and allowing you to relax or sleep more comfortably.

Choose a travel pillow that is compact and easily inflatable or a memory foam option that molds to your neck’s shape. Additionally, a lightweight, compact blanket will keep you warm and cozy, especially during overnight flights when cabin temperatures can drop.

Look for blankets made of soft, breathable materials that can be easily packed and stored in your carry-on.

Noise-Canceling Headphones

Block out the noise of the cabin and enjoy some peace and quiet with noise-canceling headphones. These headphones not only provide excellent sound quality for music and movies but also reduce ambient noise, allowing you to relax and sleep undisturbed.

They work by creating “anti-noise” to cancel out external sounds. Opt for a pair of comfortable, over-ear headphones that effectively minimize background noise.

You can choose wireless options or ones with a wired connection, depending on your preference and device compatibility. Personally, I use my Apple Airpods and then I always bring along AirFly Pro which serves as a bluetooth connector so I can connect to the in-flight entertainment.


Long flights can be a great opportunity to catch up on movies, TV shows, or indulge in a good book. Load your tablet or e-reader with your favorite content before the flight.

Make sure you have a sufficient amount of entertainment material to keep yourself engaged throughout the journey. Bring a portable charger to keep your devices powered throughout the flight.

Many airlines now provide in-flight entertainment, but having your own options ensures you have something you enjoy.

If you prefer physical books, choose a lightweight paperback or consider a compact travel guide that can keep you entertained and informed during the flight.

Snacks and Hydration

Airline meals may not always satisfy your hunger or cater to your dietary preferences, so it’s important to pack some healthy snacks to keep you energized. Nuts, granola bars, and dried fruits are excellent choices as they are portable and provide a good balance of nutrients.

Avoid snacks that are overly greasy or salty, as they can contribute to dehydration. Additionally, bring an empty water bottle through security and fill it up once you’re inside the terminal.

Staying hydrated is crucial during long flights, as the cabin air can be dry and lead to dehydration. Consider packing herbal tea bags or powdered electrolyte drinks to add flavor to your water and provide some variety during the flight.

Toiletries and Personal Care Items

Maintaining personal hygiene and comfort is important during long-haul flights. Pack a small toiletry bag with travel-sized essentials such as toothbrush, toothpaste, face wipes, moisturizer, lip balm, and hand sanitizer. I’ve even used face masks during long-haul flights.

Brushing your teeth and washing your face can help you feel refreshed and awake and it’s one of my favorite tips for surviving a long-haul flight. Moisturize your skin frequently to combat the dry cabin air.

Lip balm is essential to prevent chapped lips, and hand sanitizer helps keep germs at bay. Pack any necessary prescription medications and over-the-counter essentials such as pain relievers, motion sickness medication, and any other medications you may need.

Keep them in your carry-on bag for easy access and in case of any delays or lost luggage.

Travel Documents and Money

Never forget to pack your essential travel documents, including your passport, boarding passes, and any necessary visas. Make sure your passport is valid for the duration of your trip and check visa requirements well in advance.

It’s a good idea to make copies of these documents and keep them separate from the originals, either in your carry-on bag or digitally saved in cloud storage.

Additionally, bring some local currency and a travel card for convenience and emergencies. Having a small amount of cash is useful for situations where cards may not be accepted or for tipping.

Keep these items secure in a travel wallet or a separate compartment of your carry-on bag.

When embarking on a long-haul flight, packing the right essentials is crucial to ensure a comfortable and stress-free journey.

Prioritize comfort, entertainment, and personal well-being by including items such as comfortable clothing, a travel pillow, noise-canceling headphones, entertainment devices, snacks, toiletries, and essential medications.

By packing thoughtfully, you can make the most of your long-haul flight experience and arrive at your destination feeling refreshed and ready to explore.