Over the past 16 years of travel, I’ve taken my fair share of long haul flights. I even lived in Australia for a few years which meant flying back and forth between Australia and the UK so I’m well versed in long haul flight essentials!
Packing the wrong things or NOT packing the right things for your long flight can make the difference between an enjoyable flight and a flight from hell. So I put together this list of long haul flight essentials to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes I did when I first started taking long flights.
Basically I made the mistakes so that you don’t have to!
Today we’ll be discussing all the long flight packing essentials that will keep you entertained, healthy, well-slept and looking your best.
If you haven’t left yourself long to pack then most of these long haul flight essentials are available for next day delivery with Amazon Prime. You can get a 30-day free trial with Amazon here.
No time to read it now? No worries, pin it for later!
What you can expect from this article...
- 1 Long Haul Flight Essentials Packing List
- 2 Your Long Flight Packing Checklist
- 3 Tips for staying sane on a long haul flight
Long Haul Flight Essentials Packing List
Flight essentials you cannot leave home without
These are the things you should double and triple-check that you don’t leave home without. Trust me, I was that girl who left her passport at home on a flight to Australia. Biggest headache ever (…Dad I am forever grateful!)
- Your passport (if it’s in a pretty cover, CHECK INSIDE!)
- Boarding Passes
- Hotel Address and rental car details
- Prescription medications (plus a copy of your prescription.)
Long Haul Flight Essentials for getting some shut-eye
If you’re anything like me, a flight is just a good excuse to sleep excessively. I try to get a window seat, take a comfy pillow, stick my ear plugs in and I’m out like a light.
But not everyone falls asleep on a flight so easily. These are the things you need on a long flight to give yourself the best chance of getting some kip…
A travel pillow
An absolute essential when you are travelling. I never go anywhere without a trusty travel pillow. I usually tie mine onto my hand luggage so it doesn’t take up precious space.
My only decision is whether I take a traditional square pillow (perfect for camping and when hotel pillows are sub-par) or a U shape pillow (perfect for flights and bus journeys.)
Luckily this problem has now been solved. You can get clever 3-in-1 pillows which fold into a traditional square, u-shaped pillow or a back support shape. Your travel woes sorted!
A travel scarf
Another item I never leave home without is a travel scarf. Useful on a flight as a blanket or a secondary pillow. But it can also be used as a fashion accessory, a sarong, an emergency towel or to wear as a headscarf in religious buildings.
Scarves can even be used to hide your passport or bank cards now with travel scarves that have in-built secret pockets – clever huh?!
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For flights during daylight hours or for occasions where your neighbour’s spotlight is distracting you from sleep, an eye mask can help con your brain into thinking it’s snooze time.
Noise cancelling ear plugs
Screaming children, snoring neighbours, drinks trolleys rattling up and down, there are many noises that will distract you from sleep. So do yourself a favour and pack some noise-cancelling earplugs to get some restful sleep. This is an essential on long haul flights.
A comfy jumper
I am always freezing cold or far too warm on flights. There never seems to be a happy medium. So I’ve learnt that you need to wear lots of layers so you are ready for anything. I usually wear yoga leggings or harem trousers with a strappy top, long sleeve t-shirt and then either a hoodie or an oversized snuggly jumper.
Long haul flight essentials to keep you entertained
Even if you get a few hours sleep, you will likely have plenty more hours to while away on your long haul flight. So make sure you pack plenty of things to keep you entertained…
A tablet or travel laptop
If you are travelling for pleasure only, a tablet will probably suffice. I recommend the Ipad. If you travel for work as I do, you might prefer a small laptop. Download a film or some games or get Lightroom so you can edit your travel photos on your flight.
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I secretly quite enjoy travelling as it’s one of the rare occasions I have time to sit down and become totally involved in a book.
I love my kindle for travel as it’s super light, waterproof, and perfect for reading in bright light (with no sun glare) or in the dark, whilst storing a huge variety of books and magazines so I never run out of books to read.
If you love reading when you travel, check out Kindle Unlimited – a subscription costing the price of 1 book a month allows you to download as many books as you like which can often be very cost-effective if you read frequently. You can get a free trial here.
The latest kindle is also audible compatible so if you prefer to listen to stories or podcasts, you can. Audiobooks are still pretty pricey but it can work out more affordable with an Audible subscription allowing you to download 1 free audiobook each month and offering free podcasts and access to various deals.
A decent pair of noise cancelling headphones
Listening to your music through some quality headphones which cuts out the screaming children will make your flight that much sweeter.
Obviously I am a huge advocate for using travel blogs for travel planning. However, I still love a proper travel book and they are a great way to kill some time on a flight. You can also download Kindle versions if you want to save on space. Lonely Planet books are my guidebooks of choice.
Not a book you’d take away with you, BUT, I highly recommend the New York Times Range of 36 hours in… books. I have 36 hours in Europe – it is great for travel planning as they have some really quirky suggestions for places to eat or things to do on a city break.
A Power bank
I never travel without a power bank which helps keep all my tech charged so I never run out of battery in my phone, laptop or kindle. I recommend getting one with multiple USB ports so you can charge multiple items at once.
A good playlist
I use my phone for both listening to music and podcasts. Make sure you download a good playlist (and a podcast or two) so you can listen offline. I use Spotify for this but Amazon Prime music also offers a great subscription programme for music lovers.
Read next: Get my best flight hacks
Long Haul Travel Essentials to keep healthy
Sitting still for long flights can make you susceptible to blood clots in your legs. Also, many people suffer swollen ankles after long flights. Therefore it’s important to wear compression flight socks to keep you safe from DVTs but also prevent you from getting uncomfortable swollen legs.
Keeping hydrated and regularly stretching your legs can help too.
Refillable water bottle
Usually, drinks are handed out on flights in the tiniest of plastic cups. Not only is this bad for the environment but it never really quenches my thirst – I drink a lot of fluids! So a refillable water bottle is a useful travel essential for a long haul flight.
A headache or diarrhoea can ruin your flight so I would pack Paracetamol and Loperamide (Imodium) just in case! I don’t recommend sleep medication unless you are used to taking them as they can have unpleasant side effects.
Flight essentials to keep you feeling and looking fresh
- Tinted Moisturiser – the air conditioning on a flight can really dry your skin out. A tinted moisturiser will make you look like you are wearing make-up whilst keeping your skin hydrated.
- Lip moisturiser – I always choose something with Vitamin E.
- Hairbrush and hair ties – your hair might not be looking it’s best after a long haul flight.
- Roll-on deodorant
- Wet-wipes – to keep you feeling hygienic
- Hygienic hand gel – avoid picking up lurgies off your fellow passengers by using hand gel.
- Toothbrush and mini toothpaste.
- If you get dry eyes, include an eye lubricant as the air inside a plane can by drying.
- Mascara – instantly makes you look more ‘awake.’
Your Long Flight Packing Checklist
- Your passport
- Boarding Passes
- Hotel Address
- Rental car details
- Wet wipes
- Tablet or laptop
- Flight socks
- Refillable bottle
- Travel pillow
- Eye mask
- Warm jumper
- Lip balm
- Hair brush & ties
- Eye drops
- Comfy clothes
Not booked your flight yet? I recommend searching on Skyscanner!
Tips for staying sane on a long haul flight
- Limit caffeine and alcohol
- Wear lots of layers and stretchy comfortable clothes
- Don’t forget a travel pillow.
- Get to the airport with plenty of time to limit stress levels
- Try to get a good nights rest before
- If you arrive in the daytime, try to stay up until a normal bedtime. Keep yourself busy to avoid napping
- Keep hydrated, keep mobile and wear flight socks to avoid a DVT
- Take your own entertainment in case you get a flight without an entertainment system.
- Eat little and often
- Chew gum or a boiled sweet during takeoff and landing to prevent your ears popping.
Read more of my packing and travel gear guides…
- Southeast Asia packing list
- South America packing list
- Galapagos Islands packing list
- Beach packing list
- Best anti-theft travel bags
- Best cameras for backpacking
- Best laptops for travel
Or read about my best flight booking hacks…
Don’t forget that if you’ve realised you’ve forgotten a flight essential and don’t have much time, you can get next day delivery with a free trial of Amazon Prime!
Hopefully, you now have your own list of long haul flight essentials to pack for your next long flight. Any questions, pop them in the comments below! And don’t forget to pin this post for later!