10 essentials on a long haul flight

I’m sure there are a few people who enjoy long haul flights, probably because they are up the front of the plane with fully reclining seats, but for most of us normal humans in cattle class, it’s a necessary evil to get to our destination.

Over the years, I have found there are a few items I never travel without in my carry-on luggage.

1) iPad – I use this for reading or listening to music or catching up on podcasts.  Don’t forget the USB cable and charger (on many aircraft you can now charge at your seat using the USB cable).

2) Water bottle – you can’t take it full through security, but you can fill it up once you have been through at the nearest water fountain.  Handy hint – if you are travelling somewhere where the tap water isn’t safe to drink, fill up from the water fountain before you leave the airport.  This means you don’t have to immediately go hunting for water.


3) Earplugs and an eye mask – I find even with a daytime flight, I usually like to have a sleep, even for just a short period of time.  Sometimes I listen to mind-numbingly boring music on my iPad too – that sends me to sleep in no time.

4) Neck pillow – they are cheap, lightweight and make sleeping much more comfortable (and yes, my one is exactly like this one to the right 🙂 )

5) Pashmina – I find the airline blankets aren’t enough if the flight is cool, a pashmina can be a great extra layer.

6) Lipbalm, hand cream and moisturiser – helps keep you hydrated and more comfortable on the flight.

7) Toothbrush & toothpaste (or at a push, mints) – great to freshen up after dinner or just before arrival.

8) Socks and undies – a change of underwear can make all the difference if there are many hours between showers.

9) Snacks – There can often be long hours between meals when travelling.  Help keep the munchies at bay by keeping some manufactured packaged snacks in your carry on – muesli bars, nuts, biscuits, chips.  These are all good options and won’t be confiscated by customs.  Also as I always order a vegetarian meal, it never usually comes with a dessert so I usually take some type of chocolate with me – I’m on holiday!

10) Tissues and/or wet wipes – great for spills and cleaning grubby finger.

I also carry my sunglasses and my camera in my carry on, not because I am likely to need them during the flight, but I will possibly will want handy them as soon as I disembark.  Also if you have medications you may want those in your carry on.

Then there is the passport, travel documents (if you don’t have them electronically) and a pen for filing in all those pesky forms.

What is your must have carry on item?



  1. Your list is pretty much exactly the same as mine! I would also add antibacterial liquid hand gels – these are excellent for just keeping those germs away while on a long haul! I also avoid tea, coffee and alcohol – nothing more dehydrating than drinking these on a long haul.

    • I also avoid the tea and coffee, more because they somehow taste so awful on a flight, I think they stew both, and I am a non-drinker but I confess to having the odd can of soft drink on a flight. I know it’s bad but I figure one won’t hurt ;-). Great tips though!

  2. I like to carry a pen for customs forms. I also carry Zicam just in case I feel a cold coming on. A few blister packs of Tylenol, Imodium, and Benadryl are also on my list. No need to bring the whole box, and the blister packs will contain the drug if it gets smashed somehow.

    • Great ideas, I usually also carry band aids – just in case of a blister or small cut. Most of my first aid kit I keep in my check-in bag but I keep paracetamol handy. Great point about the pen, I always have one on me, but I did forget on one trip and have to borrow it from the nice lady I was next to.

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