Updated: 10 September 2021

I love flying. But I also love my comfort. And sometimes flying can be…well not so much fun. That’s why I have a bunch of essentials for long haul flights at the ready when I fly.

It’s not just that you have to deal with long lines, security checks and delays. The worst part about flying is being crammed into uncomfortable seats for hours on end, sometimes without any entertainment or food options.

You know what I’m talking about – those tiny little TV screens that are broken, no headphones available, and a measly snack bar where the only thing they serve is overpriced coffee and stale pretzels. 

Did I mention, I actually really do love flying?! And travelling in general! But sometimes things just don’t work out the way we’d like them to.

Essentials for a long haul flight

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Travelling to a new country, far, far away is exciting. But let’s be honest, long haul flights in economy class are not the nicest or most comfortable.

You take your seat and watch as all the other passengers walk down the aisle towards you. You hope against all hope that they don’t stop to put their carry-on above your head and sit in the empty seat next to you that you wanted to stretch out on. But they always do.

In order to be comfortable on long haul flights, you want to bring along a lot of stuff, but you don’t want to travel with too much luggage either.

I’ve got everything you need to make your next flight as comfortable as possible! Whether it’s a short domestic flight or an international journey across multiple time zones I’ve got all of your travel needs covered from head-to-toe.

In the airport

If a really long flight isn’t daunting enough, you have to be at the airport 3 hours before the flight. Which usually means a very early morning (and I am NOT a morning person).

Book yourself into one of the airport lounges to get some shut eye and sustenance before the flight. Some credit cards offer free lounge access, or you can use your airmiles. If they’re not an option, check the price and pay for it if it’s not too expensive.

It’s especially handy if you have time during a layover as you can use their showers to freshen up before your next long flight.

For me, it’s an essentials for long haul flights I can’t do without.

In order to survive your next international trip, take a look at my 13 essentials for long haul flights

Carry on to fit all your essentials

I have become a bit of a pro when it comes to packing recently. I always manage to stuff a crap load into my carry-on, including my long haul flight survival kit. Rarely am I asked to weigh my carry-on and if I am, it’s always my suitcase. So, I just make sure the heaviest items are in my backpack. Of course, some airlines are a lot stricter so do make sure to check out airline cabin allowances before you travel.

Usually for long haul flights, I have with me:

Travel Wallet

I absolutely love my travel wallet! There’s nothing worse than getting to the check in counter and struggling to find where you’ve put everything – this travel wallet holds everything! Your money, cards, phone, passport, medical certificates, tickets and a pen.

Price: $14

Crossbody Bag

I almost always use a crossbody bag when travelling. It’s safer than a clutch or an over the shoulder bag and they can easily be transitioned from a day bag into an evening bag. My top choice is this Travelon Crossbody as it has anti-theft measures, such as anti slash fabric and a cut proof strap.

Price: $50.99

Backpack

When choosing a backpack for myself, it always has to have space for my laptop, as I’m always working on the go. I prefer to take a backpack on board because I can fit all my flight essentials into it and keep it under the seat in front of me for ease of access during the flight.

Price: $35.99

Cabin Sized Case

If I’m travelling on a quick trip and only need carry on luggage, I tend to bring my hard case, But for longer trips, where I already have a case checked in, I tend to bring my soft roller case. This way, when I get my checked case from baggage claim, I can put the soft carry-on on top of it for easy maneuvering!

Price: $46.99

Top Tip: If you’re not using all your baggage allowance on your way out but plan to shop while you’re away, pick up one of these handy foldable bags so you can fill it on the way back!

My long haul flight essentials list

#1 Neck Pillow

I have neck issues so a good neck pillow is really important to me. I have this memory foam travel pillow, which has been the best I’ve found over the years and has lasted longer than any other I’ve had too.

It’s super comfy memory foam and you can wrap it around your neck and clasp it shut so it never slides from under you and lands on the guy behind you…(oops)!

Price: $21.99

#2 Blanket

I’ve always been a bit of a germaphobe (even before pandemic life!). I once read an article where they interviewed a flight attendant and she said you’d be surprised how often they actually wash blankets (it was not a good surprise).

The Cabeau Fold-n-Go is an inexpensive, soft, comfortable blanket which comes in an equally soft travel case which you can double up and use as a pillow.

If you find you don’t have enough carry on space for your blanket, just carry it! They won’t take it off you if you’re going to be wearing it on the flight.

Price: $19.99

#3 Foot sling

I can’t tell you how much I love my foot sling! I have short legs which barely touch the ground. This means that there’s a lot of pressure on my thighs during a long haul flight if I can’t move about, especially if there’s someone next to me who believes they should get all the leg room space just because I’m a shorty!

But this foot sling isn’t just recommended for short legged people. Long legged people get to stretch out using it too! The Sleepy Ride foot swing is memory foam, so comfortable for those long haul flights.

Price: $17.99

#4 Phone charger

Another one of my essentials for long haul flights is this Anker battery pack which can be used for either iPhone or Android. You definitely don’t want to be arriving in a new country without a fully charged phone.

Price: $49.99

#5 Snacks

As I’m gluten free, I always bring snack on a flight with me, just in case they don’t have food I can have (I once asked if they had a gluten free option to be told, ‘No, but we have vegetarian if that will do?’)…

But even if you don’t have dietary requirements, I always recommend bringing snacks on a long haul flight. You don’t know when you’re going to be fed and you may end up sleeping through dinner! Try not to bring anything that will melt or get squashed in your bag though.

#6 Slippers

Maybe I’m a little strange to wear my slippers on long haul flights, but if you’re anything like me, you’re not going to be comfortable for a long time wearing shoes on a flight. I always bring my booty slippers to change into to keep me comfortable on long flights.

Price: from $20.99

#7 Noise cancelling headphones

I’m not the kind of person to give a parent dirty looks if a baby is screaming (I mean obviously it’s not their fault!) but that still doesn’t mean that I want to listen to a baby crying for a really long flight.

And I AM the kind of person to give a drunk adult making loads of noise a dirty look, which can get me in trouble, so noise cancelling headphones are definitely essentials for long haul flights for me!

These Sony headphones are perfect for long haul flights as they have a 30 hour battery life to keep you going all the way from leaving your house to arriving at your hotel.

Price: $249.99

#8 Collapsible water bottle

These are super handy for travelling in general, not just for long flights. As soon as you’re through airport security you can fill your bottle up and, once empty, it stores down to fit into small spaces.

I love this one as you can use it for hot drinks too and it comes in different colours (always a must for me!)

Price: $11.99

#9 Compression socks

If you suffer from poor circulation, compression socks are a must to avoid blood clots on long haul flights.

Compression socks are not sexy. There’s no two ways about it. But I like these ones as they’re a little more funky than the usual ones you’ll find.

Price: from $5.98

#10 Hand sanitiser & masks

This has been essential for almost two years now, and it may be something that we need to do on flights going forward.

Some airlines are giving out packs of hand sanitiser and masks, but either way, it’s best to make sure you have a good supply of your own.

#11 Eye mask

Essential if you have a neighbour who falls asleep with their overhead light on. Sure they can sleep with the light on but not me! These eye masks are super soft and comfortable for long haul flights. They’re also blackout so that annoying neighbour’s overhead light shouldn’t interfere.

Price: $8.99

#12 Ear plugs

I prefer to take off my headphones while sleeping as it’s more comfortable, so I always bring ear plugs whenever I’m on a long flight where I’ll sleep. I also keep them for the hotel I’m staying in, just in case I don’t have a quiet room.

#13 Lip balm & eye drops

Sitting in an airconditioned plane for hours at a time can leave your lips and eyes feeling dry. Don’t forget to stay hydrated, drinking lots of water, but also keep the lip balm and eye drops coming. If you use contact lenses, eye drops are most definitely an essential for long haul flights.

Related:Pack Hacks For The Savvy Traveller

And there you have my absolute essentials for a long haul flight (or even a short one). Start gathering together your flight survival kit for when it’s safe to start travelling again.

Do you travel with this many items in your carry-on? Let me know your essentials for a long haul flight in the comments below.

Ellie-M

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42 Comments

  1. Fab tips! I hadn’t heard of a foot sling before but I’ll have to look into it – like you, my feet are often just about touching the floor. I’d love to wear slippers too, they’re so comfy! Thanks for sharing x

  2. This is a pretty handy list, long or short haul!
    I have a little carry on essentials bag, which has everything from handy wipes – from the days before sanitiser – which are great for hands and face, just to freshen up; to pocket tissues and lip balm. I even have a little mini toothbrush and mouthwash, because sometimes you just want them you know!
    There are definitely some things I may add now (not just the funky flight socks!)
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. The flight socks are so cute aren’t they?! I always have wipes with me too. Great idea to bring a little toothbrush and paste onboard too – I love to freshen up just before landing.

  3. I haven’t had a long flight ever since this pandemic. But before the pandemic, these are the things I carry for a pong flight. Travel wallet is a must. It helps me to be organised.

  4. These are some really good suggestions to help you when travelling. I would definitely take hand sanitiser, a face mask and a blanket.

    Thank you for sharing.
    Lauren – bournemouthgirl

  5. I’ve only done one longish haul flight, UK to Florida and back. My issues with flying is having long legs and not enough space. Any tips for managing that on a long haul flight? I wish I could get by with something like a foot sling. Public transport and flying sucks when you have long legs

    1. I can only imagine. My nephew is super tall and I know it’s really uncomfortable for him when flying. Obviously short people designed the seating in airplanes! Unfortunately, the only way to guarantee a more comfortable seat is to pay for one with the extra leg room, but that’s not always ideal.
      One thing I always do when I get to the gate is ask if there are any empty rows – number 1, because I’d rather not sit next to people, and number 2 because I like to put my legs up and lie down. This could be something you try too and if there’s nobody sat next to you, you can turn slightly to use the extra leg room. I’ve often been on flights where the front of the plane is packed but there are lots of empty rows towards the back.

  6. That’s a great list! And as they say “better to be looking at it then looking for it…”. Meaning, make a list and bring along what you think you’ll need. Thanks for sharing,

  7. Right here is the perfect webpage for everyone who hopes to find out about this topic.
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  8. Great list! I must try the foot sling. I swap out the wallet & cross-body bag for a single Baggallini Time Zone Crossbody. Big enough for everything but small enough to stash easily in my day pack.

    Just started following. Looking forward to reading more as I plan the next trip.

  9. These are great suggestions. I am also small and short and my legs don’t touch the ground so a foot sling is so genius. I always wear slides or slip ons for travel to eliminate the need to carry an extra pair of shoes and usually end up taking off my shoes anyway (blessed with feet that don’t smell).

    Nathalia | NathaliaFit – Fitness & Wellness blog
    http://www.nathaliafit.com

  10. Yes to ALL these things!! (I mean I’ve never tried a foot sling but it sounds like an absolute must-have!)

    I doubt I’ll ever fly long-haul again because my husband’s fear of flying is starting to rub off on me but I’d consider most of these essentials for any kind of trip no matter the length or type of journey. You’d be great at guessing the contents of my bag during a train journey, that’s for sure haha.

    1. Aw I do hope your husband get’s through his fear of flying. If you’ve seen some of my earlier posts, I used to be terrified of flying! Absolutely terribied. And then I jumped out of a plane! I love that you bring all these things on a train journey. Comfort is a necessity, right?!

  11. Such a helpful list! I’ve heard great things about foot slings. I’ll definitely have to check it out before my next long flight.

  12. Great tips and must-haves for a long flight! I chug a lot of water throughout the day and always have to have some on me. A collapsible water bottle is key any time I fly. And I love the idea of a foot sling (didn’t even know that was a thing)! Thanks for sharing.

  13. I bring almost none of these things with me on flights. I really need to step my game up. Thanks for giving me so many ideas for the next time I fly.

  14. Noise-cancelling headphones are seriously the best! I bought mine literal hours before a flight to England, and they’re a total game-changer.

  15. This is such a useful post! I don’t do long haul but I do a lot of journeys around the UK which can be hours at a time so this is handy for that too. I’m definitely going to look into the Knomo backpack, sounds perfect for all-day travelling!

    Anika | chaptersofmay.com

  16. You’ve managed to get so many essentials on this list! I used to fly a lot of red-eye flights for work – I’ve found that an eye mask is absolutely essential to my getting any decent sleep. An eye drop has been only a very recent addition to my carry on, and of course, all this was before the lockdown cycle started!

    – Shirsha | thegoodlivingblog.com

  17. This is a great list of essentials! I have only been on a plane for 2 trips, but I can tell you mints are an essential for me and my family! They settle tummies, help with the take off and are just something nice to bring back the taste buds! Thank you for sharing

    Em x

    1. I hope you get some more travelling in soon, there’s nothing like it! And yes, I can’t believe I forgot mints – great for popping the ears.

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