My first international trip was when I studied abroad in Florence. I knew very little about long-haul flights and was excited about a double-decker plane and the opportunity to get to Europe. I have traveled a reasonable amount for work and pleasure since that first trip and have learned a few things about packing to make the journey more comfortable. A little bit of planning goes a long way. Below are some of my favorite long haul flight essentials. I hope this helps when it comes to preparing for your own upcoming trip!
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I have been wearing a sleep mask on long-haul flights since the beginning. It helps block out the light and calms me to go to sleep. Between a face mask and sleeping eye mask, my face is pretty well covered. If you add the cashmere shaw or blanket you have a pretty comfortable sleeping situation.
My chargers, SD cards, and any electronic cable can fit into this tech pack. It makes life so much easier. I recently brought it to Cincinnati for my road trip and realized I returned the car with this on the floor. I just reordered one. I bought my fiancé one as a gift and he loves and uses it.
I get cold on flights year round with the air. You can pack a light sweater for the summer. My aunt gave me a cashmere shawl that I use for travel. It can double as a blanket and is so soft and warm. I don’t love the plane blankets and prefer the cashmere shawl over what is provided. It also makes me happy knowing she is along for the adventure since it is a personal item. This cashmere scarf is similar to the one she gifted me. I am not a big travel pillow person but it is a good idea to bring one (if you prefer it) along with ear plugs if you want to make your flight more enjoyable. Getting a good night’s sleep really helps with jet lag. If you can’t upgrade to business class, this is an easy way to make your airplane seat the best it can be for a comfortable flight.
I have had the same passport holder since 2013 when I moved to Paris. A friend gave it to me a gift and it has worked out well that I don’t need to change it. It is a larger leather envelope which I keep my COVID card, euros, and my passport. I also can keep my boarding pass in here along with any important travel documents to make them easily accessible. I also think a passport holder makes a great gift for a newlywed as you can monogram it with some retailers. This one from M.M Le Fleur is a great option as well as this passport holder.
I keep an extra portable charger in my travel bag. I have a new iPhone which holds a good charge but with delays and google maps, it is always good to have extra battery life. The seats on the airplane have USB ports to arrive charged up and ready to go when you hit the ground. I also think it is important to have an extra battery for a charge just in case you can’t charge when you land. As a single female traveler, it is always important to me to have a fully charged phone especially when landing in another country or riding in an Uber. I recently purchased this one from Amazon. This one is also a great option.
I have been asked a lot about my travel bag that sits on top of my carry-on. This It is the easiest way to keep all my important things in one place. I have my camera, lenses, laptop, SD cards, and all my tech cords, travel items, and accessories. I use the Away bag mostly but also love the Cuyana system tote. Both bags have the ease and comfort of sliding on top of my carry-on bag to make it easy to move around the airport. The bag isn’t light with all of my equipment and laptop, but the ease of fitting it on top of my rolling bag helps balance everything out. If you don’t have camera equipment like me, you can also throw in a change of clothes if you are checking a bag. This is a great way to avoid any mishaps with a delayed bag. You can change once you get to your hotel room.
I have been using the same carry on suitcase for years. It makes life so much easier when you on have a carry on bag vs checking a bag. I think we have all experienced some sort of delay or loss of bag over the years. I have had a delayed bag for an international flight and it wasn’t a fun experience. Taking a carry on makes it easier knowing that everything you need is right with you when you land and you can exit the airport quickly. It is a bit of a challenge sometimes for longer trips to only pack in a carry on but I have managed pretty well. Packing cubes are a must for the carry on to keep everything organized when packing. I use the larger Away carry bag which has been totally fine on international flights. I always get this question and it fits in the overhead compartment.
It is great to have a mini insert bag for your larger carry on. I have a lot going on between my travel photography business and being on the go as a full time travel blogger. I usually have a journal for notes and ideas as well as a card reader for my camera and pens. I keep all the little pieces in the small bag to keep me organized and make all my important items easily accessible to save time.
I don’t leave home without this lip balm in my bag. I have a million and they are in every bag I own. It’s the best. If you make it to France, buy them in bulk. If you can’t, it’s worth the $12. Trust me.
Masks are optional on flights, but I am keeping mine on. After running the risk of getting sick with a cold or COVID, I just prefer to take the extra step and mask up. These are the ones I use and love. You can also boost your immune system with Emmergen C.
This Sisley black rose mask is a splurge but worth it. I am on my second tube and love it. Not only does it smell amazing, but it also plumps and moisturizes dry skin. Perfect for long flights. I also love the Sisley eye contour mask. A little goes a long way. I arrive at the airport with no makeup and a very glowy face from oils and creams. By the time I land, it is all absorbed and keeps my skin feeling good on the flight. You can also use these Klorane gel eye patches which I keep in my bag as well. They are packaged individually so you can slip them into your bag.
I keep this available on an inside pocket. I love this lavender one which smells so good. This is a given and keep it easily accessible.
My hands always get dry when I fly and with washing often. Caudalie makes a great mini travel hand cream that can pack in your carry-on.
This is great to have in case you check a bag and your bag is delayed. It is the first thing I do when I get to my hotel is have a good long brush. You can get a travel-size toothpaste. My dentist always gives me extra. Also, I don’t leave home without dental floss. I have to have it on me at all times.
I use the same lavender wipes that make my hand sanitizer. The plane should wipe down everything in between flights but there is no guarantee how well they do it. I like to take a quick wipe down of my tray table, seat belt, and headrest. It’s the first thing I do when I get to my seat.
I have these from Apple that does the trick. I used to have the BOSE large ones but they were way too bulky and hurt my ears. I wish I splurged for the noise-canceling ones. Maybe they will be a gift for an upcoming holiday. I don’t know what I did before these and I have no idea why I waited so long to buy them. I prefer to have my own headphones.
Compression socks aren’t the most attractive fashion accessory but using them might be a good idea. It helps with blood flow in your lower legs and reduces swelling and discomfort which can come from sitting for an extended period of time. I highly recommend moving around a bit during the flight to get blood flow and circulation. Drink lots of water and try to reduce alcoholic beverages on long haul flights.
I try to wear the biggest and bulkiest pair of shoes on the flight so it saves room in my luggage. This is usually a pair of sneakers and in the winter months, a pair of boots. Between moving from the security line, baggage claim, and your gate there is a lot of walking. It’s best to be comfortable when you reach your final destination. You can see my list of comfortable walking shoes here.
Take the time before you have limited wifi access to download podcasts, tv shows, and movies for your iPad or phone. I love to read on the plane because there aren’t so many distractions. You can pick up a book at the airport or plan ahead and pack one or two in your bag. I like to bring two if I can squeeze them in just in case I finish one. I read this book in BVI in less than a day. I wish I had a backup!
I like to have a small wallet with me with a credit card and ID with easy access in my bag. If you are traveling domestically, you will just need a driver’s license. If you are traveling internationally, you will need a valid passport. I like to have euros on me for tipping and my first coffee/snacks upon arrival. You don’t want to have to scramble for an ATM.
For travel insurance, I use world nomads travel insurance which have been great for peace of mind. I have been using them for a long time. There are two options but as a full time travel blogger, I prefer the explorer option which covers my laptop and camera equipment. It is about $140 for two weeks. It depends on your age and what type of coverage you are looking for. It is an extra cost but it is important to me to have this extra coverage. Check with your local insurance provider to find out the best options for you.