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Complete Your Travel Checklist with These 12 Long Haul Flight Essentials
Traveling on a long haul flight isn’t easy. It’s often cramped, cold, and borderline impossible to get any decent rest. However, adding just a few simple things to your travel checklist will help keep you comfortable. If you’re planning to travel abroad, be sure to throw these 12 long haul flight essentials in your carry on.
Trtl Pillow - Super Soft Neck Support
One of the basic essentials for any long haul flight is a good travel pillow. There are a lot of different ones out there to choose from but I use the Trtl Pillow. It wraps around your neck and secures with a velcro patch to keep it in place while you snooze. Plus, it's warm and cozy.
Zarbee's Naturals Sleep with Melatonin
If you have a hard time winding down to rest, pack some melatonin in your carryon. While many sleep aids will leave you feeling groggy, melatonin is a natural and safe way to help you drift away so you can wake up ready to tackle day one of vacation. These Zarbee's are chewable tablets but you can also find melatonin in pill form. Take it about half an hour before your ready to get some shuteye.
Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask
Along with a good pillow, a sleep mask on a long flight is a good idea. I was never really sold on this until I got one as part of my travel kit when we splurged and flew Emirates business class from JFK to Milan. Of course, those fully lie-flat seats contributed to a restful flight; but I continue to pack that eye mask on every long haul flight.
Fortunately, you don't have to fly business class to get one of these. An inexpensive sleep mask like this one on Amazon should do the trick. Catching zzz's on a plane full of people is hard enough, especially if you're sardined into economy. Add this essential to your travel list to block out any light on the plane and help you snooze your way to your next dreamy destination.
ComfortPlus 3-in-1 Premium Travel Blanket
It's an extra item, but it's one worth packing if your trip involves a long haul flight. The cabin air is often cold which can make for an uncomfortable flight if you tend to get chilly. On shorter flights, a cardigan might be all you need to stay cozy. However, on a long haul flight, a travel blanket becomes essential for comfort. Sure, you can use the complimentary blanket offered on-board but they are paper thin and virtually useless.
NIVEA Soft Moisturizing Creme, All-In-One Travel Size
Maybe moisturizing cream doesn't seem like it should belong on a list of long haul flight essentials but, it does. One of the pitfalls of being stuck in an airplane for hours on end is the circulating dry air. This 2.6 oz tube of moisturizer won't make a dent in your carryon but it will help you get through a long haul flight feeling somewhat human.
Rohto All-in-one Cooling Eye Drops
Keeping with the theme of dry air and how it impacts your travel comfort, eye drops are a good idea. My eyes seem to be what bother me the most even on short flights. Grab some Rohto or Visine before your flight and your eyes will thank you later.
Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelette Singles
There's just something about washing your face that makes you feel alive again. Neutrogena Cleansing Towelettes now come in singles and they are perfect for packing in your purse or carryon. I usually keep a sample size of foundation in my bag along with a powder compact and lip gloss or tinted lip balm. When it's almost time to land, I can head to the lavoratory to quickly freshen up before I'm on my way. If I'm not feeling like wearing makeup, just the towlette is a nice refresh.
Nomader Collapsible Water Bottle
If you only take one piece of advice regarding long haul flight essentials, let it be this one. Drink LOTS of water. It is SO important to stay hydrated while flying. That means before, during, and after your flight. Pack this collapsible water bottle in your carryon and refill at one of the restaurants before your flight. At 35,000 feet, you can get dehydrated pretty quickly and those tiny cups from the drink cart are NOT enough. If you ask nicely, flight attendants are generally happy to refill your bottle for you instead of handing you a cup.
Yes, you'll have to make more mid-flight trips to the loo but it's better than being bloated with a splitting headache or worse. Don't be like me and learn your lesson by stepping off of a 10 hour flight only to find yourself literally sick from dehydration. Besides, those walks to the bathroom are good for your leg health. You can read more about that below.
Bose SoundSport Free Wireless Headphones
Headphones belong on virtually every packing list but you will especially want them on a long haul flight. Whether it is to stay occupied with in-flight entertainment or to deter your seat neighbor from attempting to chat, you'll want them in your bag. Really, any pair of headphones will do the job but I especially like my Bose wireless earbuds, They pack up nicely, they aren't bulky, there are no dangling cords, and the sound quality is amazing.
Airfly Wireless Transmitter
If you're like me and you travel with wireless earbuds or wireless headphones, you know that they don't connect to the seat screens. For this, adding the Airfly to your list of long haul flight essentials is a must. This handy little gadget plugs into the in-flight entertainment system through the aux port (liked wired headphones) and transmits the sound to your Bose earbuds or other wireless headphones through Bluetooth. This way, if you ipad dies, you left the portable charger at home, or you forgot to download those Netflix shows, you're still good for entertainment. Voila.
Anker PowerCore 10000 Ultra-Compact Portable Charger, High-Speed Charging
The nice thing about air travel these days is all of the available technology. We can pack a library of books to read on a tiny Kindle, listen to hours of pre-downloaded music on our iphone, and watch downloaded shows and movies on Netflix all at 35,000 feet. However, if enter the sky unprepared, your tech-filled world can quickly come crashing down.
Don't get caught on a long haul flight without this travel essential, a portable power bank. The last thing you want is your phone or tablet to die 3 hours into a 7 hour flight. This Anker charger is small and light so it fits easily in your purse or backpack. Aside from losing some or all of your on-board entertainment, you'll also likely need a charged phone when you arrive at your destination for gps, uber, and other practical purposes.
Long Haul Flight Tips to Help You Stay Less Miserable
Surviving a long flight in economy is an art form. Adding the right items to your travel checklist is only the first step. While these long haul flight essentials will play a big role in your comfort, let’s talk about a few more tips that will help reduce the overall misery of being sardined in a flying can for 6+ hours.
Keep Your Blood Flowing
Moving around periodically during a flight will not only help keep you comfortable, it’s important for your flight safety. Deep Vein Thrombosis is a serious health risk associated with long flights and it’s due to prolonged inactivity. Take care of your health by doing foot and leg stretches at your seat and occasionally getting up to move around. Whether it is to take a trip to the lavatory or just walk down and back the airplane aisle, the movement helps. Some larger airplanes even have areas with standing room.
Of course, stay in your seat when the seatbelt light is on, but don’t worry about bothering your neighbor when you feel like it’s time to stretch your legs. You can also wear (or pack) a pair of compression socks to help improve blood circulation and reduce swelling on long flights.
Gone are the days where it’s customary to dress professionally for a flight and, no, it won’t help you get an upgrade. So, unless you are stepping off of the plane and into a business meeting, dress for comfort. Actually, go ahead and dress comfortably anyway and just change in the bathroom airport. Seriously, comfort is the most important factor when choosing what to wear on a plane. My go-to is a t-shirt with leggings or loose fitting pants.
Wear Comfortable Shoes
Whether that’s a pair of sneakers or, in my case, a pair of leather flats, keep your feet comfortable. Whatever you do, don’t go barefoot on the plane. That’s nasty for both you and others. There’s a big debate out there about taking your shoes off on a plane. I think wearing shoes for the entirety of a long haul flight is supremely uncomfortable. I always pack a nice, thick, clean pair of socks in my backpack. When I’m ready to take my shoes off, I get those out so my neighbors will know I am putting clean socks on specifically for the ride. Otherwise, ewwwww.
Other Handy Items Pack in Your Carry On
- A good book or your kindle for reading. Alternatively, you can download the Audible on your iPhone, iPad, android, or kindle device. Get two free audiobooks when you sign up with this link.
- A toiletry kit with toothpaste and mini deodorant stick to freshen up before and after long flights.
- A complete change of clothes for the really long flight plans or in case your bag gets lost. If you have lounge access , you may get lucky enough to take a shower during a layover or before your flight. That’s the best! Lounge access is sometimes available with upgraded seats, your credit card, or by purchasing a Priority Pass membership. Save 10% on a Priority Pass membership.
- Your travel wallet containing your passport, a copy of your passport, all tickets, cards & currency, as well information for the nearest embassy in your destination. Carrying a travel wallet on your trip is a great way to keep important travel documents in one place.
- An iPad or tablet for watching downloaded shows and movies from Netflix or Prime Video. Amazon Prime Video is free with your Prime subscription or, otherwise, $8.99 per month. You can also sign up here for a free 30 day trial.