People always ask us how we survive long international flights. And while we’ve been traveling frequently for awhile now, its taken us a while to be fully prepared for long flights. We are firm believers in traveling “light” and packing as much in your carry-on (or backpack if you’re backpacking in Southeast Asia) as possible. Preparing for a long-haul flight can be rather intimidating. If you’re preparing for a international flight, make sure to pack these essentials in your carry on. Being in the air for a long time can make you uneasy, but having these items in your carry-on will make your flight that much more enjoyable. If you have a long flight coming up, we’ve put together a list of our carry on essentials to make your packing easier.
What You'll Find in This Post
Carry On Essentials for Long Flights
What to Pack in your Carry On
Carry On Luggage
- Roller Bag
We take our small carry-on luggage all the time. This is our favorite carry on bag. Small and compact but enough space for all your carry-on essentials, including laptop or tablet.
If you want more of a backpack, we also love this backpack because it fits in the overhead compartment, but can fit all our electronics and other fun carry on essentials!
For women, a nice big purse is ideal as well. I like this tote because I can stuff lots of things in there, but can still find them easily. Its nice to have separate pockets for everything, like laptop, passport, and other things youll be bringing in your carry on.
- Wireless headphones
These headphones are the absolute best for the airplane because the charge lasts forever. 5 hours of listening time on one single charge, plus the case has a charge also. Plus no cords at all!
- Chargers and Electronic organizer
With a long flight and a lot of electronics, its important to have all the charging cords so you can charge your electronics while on the plane. Because we have so many electronics, we bring this organizer to keep everything in its spot. Even if you only have a few cords, it is still handy.
We obvisiously work while we travel, so the laptop is important. You may not need it, but it does help pass the time, with movies, work, or offline games.
If you have a long flight, having a powerbank will keep all your electronics charged. That way you dont run out of things to do. This one is awesome because its lightweight, has a fast charge, and can charge our macbook.
- Podcasts and Music
Find some good things to listen to. It helps if its something you enjoy and calms you, it takes your mind off the long flight.
- Phone or Tablet with offline games
Having a tablet or ipad while you travel is great for podcasts, audiobooks or offline games like sudoku or crossword puzzles.
- Journal or coloring book
A travel journal or coloring book will both help speed up the time. We carry a jounral when we travel anyways to write down places we visit or things we want to remember on our trips. Adult coloring books are the new craze and supposed to be great for managing stress!
- Neck Pillow
This neck pillow is a super soft pillow that supports your head as you sleep. Super light and attaches easily to your luggage.
- Sleep mask
Obvisouly it can be hard to sleep on the plane with the lights on, so a good sleep mask is key to getting a good night sleep. These are awesome because they are so light you can’t even feel them and they come with ear plugs too!
Most people should be taking magnesium anyways, but magnesium is a great relaxer. It works better than melatonin as it’s a naturally occuring mineral in the body. Take these packets with you, and use it to help sleep on the plane. This is also good if youre traveling through lots of time zones, to help regulate the body’s normal sleep pattern.
- Light scarf
We all know it can be a little cold on the plane, so bring a light scarf that you can use as an extra layer. It wont weigh much but its always super useful! This one is great because it has a pocket to store your passport.
- Light jacket
With the everchanging temperatures on the planes, bringing a lightweight jacket is a great idea. Its easy to carry around and will keep you warm during the flight.
- Compression socks
Wearing these socks are a great way to decrease pain and swelling that can happen on long flights. Where these on any long flights to help circulation.
Snacks and Drinks
Sometimes you get hungry, at the airport or on the plane, so bring some snacks. Travel can be a real pain when your hungry! Some of our favorites are these and these.
- Water bottle
Having a refillable water bottle is the best for traveling. You can fill it up before you get on the plane, and youll have plenty of water to keep you hydrated. Plus, its the best to carry when you are at your final destination, as you dont have to buy tons of plastic water bottles.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
Some airlines will give out toothbrushes (thank you Singapore Air), but not all of them. After a 12 hour redeye flight, there’s nothing I want more than to brush my teeth. We always bring our travel toothbrush with us because it folds up and is easy to use!
- Face cleansing wipes
A quick and easy way to feel refreshed and rejuvenated after a long flight. These wipes are so refreshing and easy to pack. Use them right before you arrive at your destination to feel refeshed and ready to explore.
For immune support take these packets We take these everytime we travel. We end up mixing a couple packets with water when were on long (7+ hours) flights in order to keep our immune system working well.
Since it’s easy to get dehydrated on the plane, lips tend to get chapped easier. Having lip balm in your carry on is so important!
If you don’t have time to shower when you get to your destination, having some wipes and a small deodorant like this one is key to reapplying before you get to your destination.
- Hand sanitizer
You must have some sanitizer on the plane! This sanitizer is the best because it’s small enough to carry on, it’s made with essential oils and it’s a spray.
**For all your small toiletries, pack them in a ziploc bag. Remember to carry on liquids, they must be 3.4 ounces or smaller, and fit in a quart sized, resealable bag**
Everything above is replaceable and can be purchased almost anywhere you are going. These are the things that mean the most and cannot be replaced so don’t forget these
Obviously you won’t be getting anywhere if you dont have your passport or even ID, so don’t forget this!
- Cash and Credit Card
Always better to bring all of this with you on the plane. Never put anything valuable in your checked bag
- Copies of Important documents
Make sure you make and bring copies of any documents you made need, such as car rental, hotel reservations, itinerary, travel insurance and so on.
If you have any medications, make sure you bring those in your carry-on. It’s also safest to bring them in their normal containers with the names on them.
- Travel wallet
Having all your cards, cash, and passport in one spot makes traveling much easier. This travel wallet keeps everything organized plus it has RFID blocking pockets to protect against thieves.
So there you have everything you need to pack in your carry on for long haul flights. This is everything we pack in our carry on. We find it easiest to just keep these in one spot to make it easy to pack it all at once before our trip. Getting ready for a long international flight can be stressful, so having all your carry on essentials in one place makes it so mcuh easier.
What are some carry on essentials that you make sure to pack on your longer flights? Let us know if we’ve missed anything that we should be packing in our carry on
If you enjoyed this carry on packing list, check out our other packing lists:
- Ultimate Cruise Packing List – all the cruise essentials and cruise packing tips
- Southeast Asia Packing List – how to pack for a month in a carryon