Packing Guides Travel Planning

My Carry-On Essentials for Long Haul Flights

As you can probably tell at this point, I LOVE to travel. Seeing new places, meeting new people, learning about a new culture, all of these things thrill me. Now the one aspect of travel that I do not always love is the long, often exhausting plane ride. In order to survive these flights, I have come up with a few essentials that I always pack in my carry-on to help me stay comfortable and sane no matter how many crying babies are on my flight. Keep in mind, this list is the items I bring with me aside from clothes and necessities. To know more about how I pack those, check out this post.

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  • Tablet/computer

As a travel blogger, I always have either my iPad or my computer with me so that I can keep my site updated on the go. Having these accessible during the flight allows me to get work done while in the air and if I am traveling on flight without free movies these double as an entertainment option. If you are looking for a great small laptop for a small price, I highly recommend this Asus Netbook! I have had mine since June and love it!

  • Phone

This one feels pretty self-explanatory, but I always have my phone on me during a flight. I love when airlines have free in-flight wi-fi(shout out to JetBlue) because it allows me to keep in touch with friends and family on the ground while in flight. Plus, my phone is always full of games to play when I get particularly bored.

  • Headphones

I made the investment in a great pair Beats Over-Ear headphones before I moved the UK because I knew I would be making more long-haul flights and they are LIFE CHANGING. They completely block out the noise of the crying baby in 37C and provide quality sound for any music you are listening to or movies you are watching. Bonus: they don’t hurt your ears the way that in-ear headphones start to after a while.

  • Portable power bank and charging cables

I honestly never leave home without a portable power bank and the cables needed to charge any electronics I have with me, namely my phone. While newer planes are equipped with USB ports and outlets, that still isn’t a guarantee so until it is, I travel with my power bank and charger! I recommend getting a larger power bank so that you can get multiple charges from it, especially if you are anticipating any long layovers.


  • A change of clothes

After a long flight, a fresh change of clothes is absolutely essential, especially if you anticipate going straight from the airport to begin sight-seeing. I generally look somewhat like a mess on the flight, but upon landing I change into a much cuter outfit, especially if I am trying to look cute in any photos taken that day as I discuss in this post of mine.

  • A blanket scarf

Airplanes are notoriously cold and a good blanket scarf does just as the name suggests: it doubles as a blanket and a scarf. Rather than having to be the person who bring their duvet on the flight, consider investing in a great blanket scarf that you can use on the flight and then accessorize with at your destination.


No one likes having cold feet–literally and figuratively. Avoid this by throwing a pair of socks in your carry-on to put on once in the air if you wore shoes without socks, or just wear shoes with socks on the flight and save yourself the hassle. So invest in some cute and comfy socks to make your flight more enjoyable!

  • Sweater

This one is pretty self-explanatory by now, but I will say it again: Airplanes are cold. Pack a sweater. I love a good neutral cardigan because it can be repurposed throughout your trip and a darker color is great because it won’t show any dirt or spills from in-flight turbulence.


  • Lotion

The recycled air on flights is notorious for drying out your skin. If you are like me and have dry skin to start with, this can make for a very uncomfortable flight. I carry both a face lotion and a hand/body lotion on every flight with me to help with this. For my face, I love the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream for its lightweight and long-lasting moisture. For my hands, I use Ahava Mineral Hand Cream. This hand cream is life changing and magical; 10 out of 10 would recommend.

  • Face cleansing wipes 

Anyone that has even dealt with acne knows the importance of washing your face, but airplane bathrooms aren’t exactly the easiest place to make that happen. I always carry a pack of Yes to Tomatoes Charcoal Face Wipes with me to cleanse on the go.

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste

Morning breath combined with jet lag AND post-flight aches is not a pretty picture. Pack your toothbrush where it is easily accessible either right before landing or as soon as you land. Plus, if something happens to your checked bag, at least this way you will have your toothbrush on hand!

  • Cosmetics for freshening up when you land

Now, I am not suggesting you have your full make-up arsenal in your purse for the flight, but having the basics like a good pressed powder, an eyebrow pencil, and your go-to mascara can help you look like a real person again even after an 8+ hour flight. If you want to see more about which make-up items I take on trips, check out my makeup must-haves for travel.


  • A good book

Whether you choose to bring a traditional book(my preference) or some new books on your Kindle, flights are a great time to get caught up on your reading. Be sure to check out my Pinterest board dedicated to books to get some great ideas for new reads!

  • Journal and pens

I am an avid Bullet Journal user and I carry my journal and color coding pens with me everywhere. Generally, I use my return flight to journal about my trip because it is still fresh in my mind and there is plenty of time to kill. I love a good Moleskine Journal and these are my favorite pens to use in my Bullet Journal.

  • A Fun Coloring book and pencils

If you get easily stressed while traveling, it may be worth bringing along a coloring book and some good colored pencils to help you relax on your flight. The coloring book choice is entirely up to personal preference, but pencil-wise, I recommend Prismacolor pencils. They are very high quality and well worth the money.

  • Water bottle and Granola Bar

Do yourself a favor: bring your empty water bottle through security and fill it before your flight departs. This will save you from spending money on drinks in the airport and it will help you stay hydrated throughout your flight. I personally love my Tervis Water Bottle and it comes in a ton of fun colors and designs. Speaking of favors to do for yourself, throw your favorite granola bar in your purse. In-flight meals come at weird times, some having something to snack on is a great way to keep yourself from getting hungry mid-flight.

  • Eye mask and Neck Pillow

These are an absolute necessity on overnight flights and a strong recommendation for all longer flights. If you need to get some sleep on your flight, the sleep mask will help block out light, especially since planes are never completely dark, and the pillow will help you avoid landing with a messed up neck. Definitely invest in a quality pillow like this one though because the cheaper versions won’t do you much good.

From one misguided millennial to the world, I hope you enjoyed my carry-on essentials for long haul flights and that they can help you survive your next long flight!

P.S.- Be sure to follow me on Pinterest to keep up with all my travel ideas!


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