8 Carry on Essentials for Long Haul Flights

Often a long-haul flight means an exciting trip to a far-off destination, however, the prospect of the journey itself is something that can fill us with dread. With a handful of carry-on essentials, long haul flights can easily be turned into something rather enjoyable if you are prepared.

As a seasoned traveller, I have spent the last four years calling nowhere ‘home’ for longer than a few months. In turn, this means that I have now refined my carry-on essentials and I’m here to share them with you so you never have to fear a journey longer than 10 hours ever again. 


  • Get Yourself a Great Travel Pillow

This is high up on the list of essential travel items that are worth investing in. A good neck pillow will revolutionise the way you travel long-haul. Today, there are a wide number of engineered pillows to suit every type of sleeper so do your research, try them out in the shops and invest. You will not regret it. 

Most travel neck pillows clip onto your bag so you won’t even have to worry about it taking up an inch of space in your carry on!


  • Entertainment, Entertainment, Entertainment

Imagine buying a new book especially for your long-haul flight and three chapters in you realise it’s not a very good book. Then what? 

Of course, there’s the in-flight entertainment but chances of picking up where you left off on your favourite Netflix series are slim. 

It’s best to give yourself several sources of entertainment on a long-haul flight. Especially if you have set your clock to your destination’s timezone, so you have committed to spending a considerable amount of the flight awake to adjust. 

A combination of Netflix episodes downloaded to your phone, a book, a good music playlist, an audiobook and possibly a puzzle book will mean that you will have an entertainment source for every mood. 


  • Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Okay, perhaps not an essential but in my eyes they are. 

Purchasing a good quality pair of comfortable noise-cancelling headphones will enable you to be completely absorbed into whatever you’re watching or listening to. Plus, even if you don’t have music playing on them, they act as a buffer to the noise of other passengers and the aircraft itself. 


  • Eye Mask & Ear Plugs

These are the ultimate sleeping essentials for long-haul flights. 

Blocking out the sights and sounds of the aircraft will enable you to drift off into a natural sleep. Whilst it may not be a deep sleep, it will certainly be good enough to enable you to feel refreshed on the other side. 


  • A Change of Clothes

Believe me on this one. There are two types of people when it comes to dressing for the airport: those that come in their ultimate comfies and those that dress nicely. Whichever one you are, a change of clothes is still an essential carry-on item for long-haul flights. 

Dress normally for the airport, change into pyjamas or comfy clothes on the plane, then change into a fresh set of clothes just before landing or on your final flight if you’re taking several. This enables you to disembark feeling fresh. 

This works especially well if you are arriving into a different climate; you won’t have to stand in arrivals sweating into that pair of jeans in 30 degrees Celsius.  


  • Face Wash, Moisturiser & Toothbrush/Toothpaste

Perfectly complementing essential item #5 above, this handy little set of items will set you on your way to feeling clean and fresh throughout your flight.

At home, you would normally wash your face, perhaps moisturise and certainly brush your teeth before bed. So, why travel for over 12 hours and without doing any of those things? 

Brushing your teeth a couple of times during your long-haul flight is half the battle towards feeling fresh when you land. 


  • Compression Socks

Often associated with the older generation, these are great for any person of any age on long-haul flights. They keep the dreaded swollen feet and ankles at bay that may ruin the first few days of your holiday and keep the blood circulating in your feet. 

If you don’t tend to get up too often during a long flight, then compression socks are essential. Trust me, they work wonders. 


  • Charger Cables & Power Packs

If you’re planning on bringing all the entertainment then make sure you bring your charging cables so that you can enjoy them throughout the journey and still have battery when you land. 

Most planes nowadays give you the ability to charge your devices but it’s not always wise to solely rely on this. Bring your own power pack and you won’t have to worry about running out of juice.  

With these eight essential carry-on items, your next long-haul flight will be plain sailing. Bon voyage!

Author Bio: Grace Homer

Having been on the road for a while now, I have accumulated a fair amount of travel experience, especially so when it comes to travelling and living in Asia. My favourite thing to do now? Share my experience with others!

Since moving my job online and launching a career as a full-time travel writer, I am on a constant adventure and don’t plan to stop this nomadic life anytime soon. 

Check out my tips and tricks, you won’t be disappointed!