I want to go over my list of things to bring (and some things you shouldn’t bring) on long haul-flights. After being on my share of flights lasting 8+ hours, here’s what I think you’ll need!
1) Passport/ID/Boarding Passes/Wallet/Etc.
This goes without saying – make sure you have your passport, boarding passes, wallet, etc. before boarding your flight! There is nothing worse than forgetting something, but make sure it isn’t one of these things! When I pack my carry-on, I make sure to put all of these things in my bag the night before. That way I know exactly where they are and I won’t forget them. After I check-in and get my boarding passes, I like to keep them with my passport in this handy anti-skimming passport wallet by MochiThings. It has multiple slots for your passport, credit/debit/ID card, and your boarding passes to keep everything organized.
2) A Good Pair of Headphones
On any flight I go on, long-haul or not, I always make sure to bring a pair of headphones. Before I left to go to graduate school in Scotland, I purchased a pair of Bose QuietComfort Headphones. I would buy them again and again, as they are hands-down the most amazing thing to have on a plane. Ever. When you put these babies on and switch on the noise-cancelling function? Sweet silence. No engine noise, no static, no screaming babies.
They work great with just the noise-cancelling function on (not plugged in to anything), and are also great to use with the in-flight entertainment. World better than the cheap, flimsy headphones that are given to you on your flight. Expensive yes, but worth it in my book if you plan on flying often. They are also great on car trips (when you aren’t driving) and to study with! They even come with a case that holds your plug adapter and an extra battery.
3) Something To Read (or do)
When I’m not catching up on movies with in-flight entertainment, I’m reading. If you’ve read my Attention Book Lovers! post, you know I’m an avid reader. I speed read like no one’s business and can easily get through several books on an 8+ hour flight. That’s why, instead of bringing several books or magazines, I bring my e-reader. As you can see, it has the look of a real book, with the added bonus of not taking up a ton of room in my bag.
If you aren’t a big reader, you can always watch the in-flight entertainment. All the recent flights I’ve been on had recently released movies and TV shows, so when I wasn’t reading I would be watching them (with my fancy headphones on of course!). You can also bring sudoku/crossword books or something similar, coloring books, a travel journal to write down your thoughts, etc.
4) Makeup and Toiletries Bag
On long flights, you’d be surprised what you wish you had with you. I keep a random assortment of things in a small toiletries bag. From dental floss and band-aids, to sanitizer wipes and makeup staples. Here is what I usually have in my bag:
- Dental floss – obviously used to floss your teeth, but also handy when a strap breaks or you need to tie something
- Band-aids – you never know when you’ll need one, and walking around an airport with blisters stinks
- Medicine – make sure you bring a small container of medicine – allergy medicine, pain medicine, antacids, etc. Also be sure to bring your usual medications, just make sure you know about TSA regulations when traveling, especially with liquids or large quantities of pills. For information on TSA prohibited items, click here.
- Ear Plugs – If you don’t have/want fancy headphones to drown out the noise, earplugs will be your new friend. If I decide to sleep on a flight, I generally won’t with my headphones on. I use earplugs instead
- Makeup Staples – When I fly, I find my makeup can get a bit messed up. I keep my non-liquid staples for touch-ups during or after the flight. It makes me feel refreshed when I can run into the bathroom after I land and fix everything
- Travel hairbrush – similar to the makeup issue, my hair always seems to get tangled up. I’m also not one of those people that can just throw their hair up whenever they feel like it and still look amazing, I actually have to brush my hair
- Deodorant – trust me, you will sweat at some point while traveling. After 8-12 hours of being in the airport and on the plane, your original layer of deodorant WILL wear off. Do yourself and others a favor and bring some along.
Sensitive to light or plan on sleeping the entire flight? It might also be wise to bring an eye mask of some kind. Typically, the lights will dim on the flight after “dinner” is served to help with jet-lag, but don’t stay that way for more than a few hours.
5) Liquids Bag
This is important! Any, I repeat, ANY liquids you bring must fit in a single clear, closable quart bag when going through security. You’ll be required to remove this from your bag and place in a separate tray. While most airports outside of the US will have a station before security to do this, make it easy on yourself and have it done beforehand. For more information on TSA liquids rule, click here. Here’s what I usually bring:
- Hand sanitizer wipes – I find that sanitizer wipes are super handy to have when you’re traveling, and because they are wipes you won’t have to deal with the actual liquid container restrictions going through airport security. Technically you can put them in with your other toiletries, but I just put them here for some reason.
- Rollerball perfume – like the deodorant mentioned above, it’s to make you smell nice. Yur fellow passengers will thank you.
- BB Cream – The circulated air on planes will dry your skin out. Instead of using regular foundation, grab some tinted moisturizer or BB/CC cream instead! It will keep your skin hydrated and you won’t have to sacrifice your appearance. And, bonus: when you apply moisturizer on top of it at any point, it won’t get messed up like regular foundation!
- Face moisturizer – Like the above mentioned BB cream, your skin will dry out. Instead of being that person on the place with a hydration mist or whatever-the-heck spray for your face, use some face lotion. Seriously. Don’t be that person misting their face every hour.
- Hand lotion – like your face, your hands will dry out. Especially if you are constantly washing your hands (which hopefully you are). I bring a small container of hand lotion to keep them silky smooth and it smells nice as an added bonus.
- Makeup setting spray – I usually have this as part of my makeup stash, but it’s one of those you don’t really need it items. If I know I have a long layover after my long-haul flight and before my next connection, I’ll wash my face an re-apply my makeup in the bathroom. I usually apply a setting spray, so this is just my travel version. Please don’t go around spraying your face on the plane!
- Benadryl cream – Like the above mentioned item, it’s also not required. I have a tendency to randomly break out in rashes around unfamiliar products that my skin comes in contact with, so to avoid looking like I have a crazy disease, I keep this on me.
I also sometimes bring a travel container of face wash in addition to a travel toothbrush/toothpaste. If I have enough time in between flights or once I landed, I try to wash my face, brush my teeth and reapply my makeup. Depending on when/where you are headed, you are looking at quite a time difference on top of travel time.
When I flew from Dallas to London, there was a 6 hour time difference and about an 9 hour flight. If I left Dallas at 4 pm, I would arrive in London the next morning (around 7am their time) and would have to start my day. This also doesn’t take into account the connecting flight I made after that. If I decided to take a nap once I got to my final destination, I would end up sleeping the day away instead of sightseeing. So I decided to essentially do my morning routine once I landed to get my brain ready for the day.
6) Comfy Socks and Jacket
Planes can fluctuate in temperature, and if you’re anything like me you are constantly cold. I make sure to dress in layers, but I almost always bring a backup jacket with me on the plane. Nothing crazy, just a light zip-up one that doesn’t take up too much room. If I don’t end up wearing it, I usually roll it up and use it as a back support.
A nice warm pair of socks is also nice to have. On an 8+ hour flight, your feet are going to swell up and you’ll probably want to take your shoes off. While I used to always bring a pair of socks with me for just this reason, I switched to wearing those wool-lined Toms to keep my feet warm and my toes comfortable. They are easy to get on and off when going through security and stay comfortable the entire flight.
7) Chargers, Adapters, Battery Backups
Planning on bringing electronics on the plane? Can they last for more than 8 hours when used and without being charged? Most likely, they can’t. You better make sure you bring those chargers and, if needed, plug adapters/converters so you don’t have to go without them!
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