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18 Long Flight Essentials for Your Carry-On or Personal Item

From comfy flight wear to old-school gadgets, these 18 long flight essentials can greatly improve your experience on a long journey!
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Looking to survive your next long-haul flight? You've come to the right place!

These 18 long flight essentials can make your journey go swimmingly. From comfy flight wear to old-school gadgets, you'll never wonder what to do on a long flight again.

1) Comfy clothes

When choosing what to wear on a long haul flight, aim for comfort but try not to show up at TSA in your pajamas! Think loose-fitting, breathable fabrics like cotton leggings or joggers with a bit of stretch in them, plus a hoodie or roomy sweater to keep you warm.

2) Comfy socks (or compression socks for improved blood flow)

Whether you opt for cotton socks or the more medical-grade compression variety, these long flight essentials can keep you comfy, improve your circulation, and reduce the risk of swollen ankles.

3) Slip-on shoes

Forget having to tie laces in a cramped space, especially if you make frequent trips to the bathroom. Check out brands like On Cloud, Allbirds, and Vans' classic slip-on, all of which offer comfort and style in equal measure.

4) Reusable water bottle

Flying can leave you feeling dehydrated, so make sure to bring a refillable bottle. The bonus of having it with you is that you can fill it up in the airport, cut down on single-use plastic, and stay hydrated during the flight.

Pro tip: Consider a BPA-free water bottle with a carrying strap and pair it with a nifty carabiner for easier transport.

5) Snacks

Let's face it, airplane food isn't the tastiest, and it may not be enough for those extra-long flights. So why not bring your own food? Stick to non-perishable items like granola bars, dried fruit, and nuts that will keep you energized and full without taking up too much space in your bag.

6) Entertainment

For this section, we want to help you answer, "What to do on a long flight?" Our recommendation is to mix it up with a variety of tech and non-tech sources. Download a few movies or TV shows to your devices, load up an e-reader or tablet with your next read (or re-read), and bring along some podcasts to listen to. Don't forget paper-based distractions like magazines, crosswords, or a classic travel game like Sudoku.

Pro tip: If you own a library card (or several), check out the Libby App. It's easy (and free!) to access thousands of e-books from your local library directly on your tablet or smartphone.

7) Power bank and charging cord

It can be frustrating to have your devices run out of battery during a long flight. So bring a power bank and charging cord with you and avoid running out of juice mid-flight.

8) Phone or tablet mount

If you want to get extra comfy while watching movies or reading the latest bestseller, then consider investing in a phone or tablet mount. You can choose a mount that hooks to the top of your table tray, like this one, or opt for a stand that sits on the tray itself, like this one.

9) Eye mask

Another suggestion for what to do on a long flight is to catch some much-needed ZZZs. For this, we recommend an often-overlooked long flight essential: the eye mask! Get one with a silky-smooth fabric and adjustable straps for maximum comfort.

10) Earplugs

The sidekick to the eye mask, earplugs are long haul flight essentials for blocking out the noise of your fellow passengers or the drone of the engines. Foam earplugs are a classic, but if you want something quieter (with better sound cancellation, in our opinion) then try these reusable silicone earplugs that mold to your ear's unique shape.

11) Neck pillow

After a long flight, no one likes arriving at their destination with a sore neck and shoulders. This is why we recommend bringing along a neck pillow. Make sure to choose one with a removable cover so you can wash it after your trip.

Pro tip: Pair your neck pillow with an insulated travel blanket for extra warmth and comfort. Ours packs down into a pillow, so you have the option to use it as either! 🤯

12) Tissues

You never know when you might need them, so why not err on the side of caution and add a travel-size pack of tissues to your long flight essentials list?

13) Lip balm

If the air conditioning is running full blast (which it usually is), then your lips will thank you for bringing a tube or jar of lip balm. Look for one that's both moisturizing and long-lasting, like this lip mask from Mario Badescu.

14) Breath mints

If your long haul flight has you feeling less-than-fresh, then grab some mints or gum to keep your mouth cool.

15) Hand sanitizer

Keep germs at bay with a travel-size bottle of hand sanitizer. Look for one with moisturizing ingredients like aloe vera and vitamin E so you don't dry out your skin.

16) Painkillers

Another long flight essential that's often overlooked is some kind of pain reliever. Make sure to bring a small bottle of ibuprofen or acetaminophen (aspirin if you can tolerate it) to help with any headaches or body aches that may pop up in flight.

Pro Tip: Looking for the best place to store these long haul flight essentials? Pick up a toiletry bag or travel pouch that's easy to access mid-flight.

17) Pen

If you're flying internationally, then you'll probably need to fill out a customs form, which means having a pen handy is an absolute must. Make sure to include this on your long flight essentials list!

18) Corded headphones

Last but not least, don't forget to bring a pair of corded headphones. Yep, we're talking old-school AUX because the in-flight entertainment systems don't always offer wireless options. Not only that, but chances are you only have enough juice in your power bank for your larger electronics, like your laptop and tablet, so it's best to bring headphones that don't need to be charged.

Pro tip: For even more comfort, add a pair of noise-canceling headphones with a cushioned headband.

The Bottom Line

Choosing the right items for your personal bag or carry-on can greatly improve your experience on a long haul flight. So before you take off, make sure to pack these 18 long flight essentials and you'll never wonder what to do on a long flight again!

Also, get some airplane exercise by following these in-flight fitness tips. Doing so can help reduce fatigue and jet lag, and keep you feeling more energized once you land.

Looking for creative ways to wish someone a safe flight without using the same old phrase? Check out our guide on the best flight-related phrases and other travel tips and hacks on our blog.

Happy travels! 🛫🚀✨😊

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