20 Travel Essentials for Long Flights

My first international trip was when I studied abroad in Florence. I knew little about long-haul flights and was excited about a double-decker plane and the opportunity to get to Europe. Since that first trip, I have traveled a reasonable amount for work and pleasure and have learned a few things about packing to make long-haul flights more comfortable. A little bit of planning goes a long way. Below are some of my favorite travel essentials for long flights. I hope this helps you prepare for your upcoming trip!

For ease and organization, I highly recommend keeping these carry-on essentials in one drawer in a closet for easy access. When planning a long flight, you can grab all the essentials and make packing easy. My husband and I have a travel drawer in our linen closet with chargers and adapters for international flights. 

You can use this packing list to help you prepare.

*This post includes affiliate links. I make a small commission off of items purchased from my links. Merci

20 Travel Essentials for Long Flights

Eye Mask for Overnight Flights

Since my first trip abroad, I have been wearing a sleep mask on long-haul flights. It helps block out the light during the flight. If I am on a short overnight flight, I like to sleep as early as possible because of the time change. This eye mask from Quince is affordable and easy to throw in my bag. I keep it in a pocket for easy access and my melatonin gummies to grab before I put my bag up in the overhead compartment. This is key because I have spent way too much time searching at the bottom of my bag and surrendered in the past.  If you add the cashmere shawl or blanket, you have a comfortable sleeping situation.

Travel Essentials for Long Flights: Tech Pack Travel Organization

This is a game-changer for cords, chargers, and adapters. Everything is in one spot, which makes it easy to pack. I highly recommend getting extra chargers for your watch, phone, and other electronic devices and keeping these just for travel. It helps to have extra of these, so they don’t go missing at home. My SD cards for my camera go in this tech pack, my adapters for European travel, and an extra charger for on-the-go.

Travel Blankets for Long Flights

A blanket or large scarf is essential for overnight flights. Even in the warmer months, I will pack one in my carry-on bag. My aunt gave me a cashmere shawl that I use for travel and reminds me of her.  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 she gifted it many years ago. 

This cashmere scarf is similar to the one she gifted me. I am not a big travel pillow person, but I am bringing one (if you prefer) and earplugs to make your flight more enjoyable, especially when trying to fall asleep. Getting a good night’s sleep is important on long-haul flights. If you can’t upgrade to business class, this is an easy way to make your airplane seat the best for a comfortable flight. This one from White & Warren is also an excellent option for a cashmere travel wrap, and I also love this one from J.Crew. 

Tips for Fighting Jet Lag on International Flights

Drink a lot of water and stay hydrated to help with jet lag. Flight attendants regularly walk through the plane cabin and offer water to passengers. If you have room in your carry-on, a reusable water bottle is a good idea. I love this one and use it at home and for workouts. 

Check out this blog post for more helpful jet lag tips. 

Passport Holder/Larger Wallet : Travel Essentials for Long Flights

Keeping important documents such as your passport in a safe spot is key for traveling internationally. I keep mine in a zippered pocket inside a bag while traveling. My passport envelope was a gift from a friend when I moved to Paris years ago, and I have used it ever since. Since it is a leather envelope instead of a traditional flap passport holder, I can keep euros inside and my boarding pass.  A passport holder also makes an excellent gift for a newlywed as you can monogram it with some retailers. This one from M.M. Le Fleur and this passport holder are great options.

Phone Charger or Extra Battery for Travel

I keep an extra portable charger in my travel bag. I have a new iPhone with a reasonable 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 charge up and ready to go when you hit the ground. An extra battery for a charge is essential just in case you can’t charge when you land. As a single female traveler, I always need a fully charged phone, especially when landing in another country or riding an Uber. This one is also a great option.

flight essentials for long flights

Travel Essentials for Long Flights

Travel essentials for long flights Away Bag

I have been using the same carry-on suitcase for years. It makes life so much easier when you have a carry-on bag vs. checking a bag. We have all experienced some delay or loss of bags over the years. I 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 sometimes a challenge for longer trips to only pack in a carry-on, but I have managed well.

Packing cubes are a must for carry-on luggage to keep everything organized, more on that below.

My Away Everywhere Bag: Travel Essentials for Long Flights

As a travel photographer and blogger, I carry a lot of extra essentials, including my camera, lenses, laptop, SD cards, and accessories. These all fit into my AWAY Everywhere bag that sits on top of my suitcase. This is the easiest way to keep all my essential things in one place. When traveling for work, I mostly use the Away bag when I have a lot to carry, and it slides on top of my suitcase handle. This is my personal item and can fit below my seat or in the overhead compartment. I am often asked about the AWAY suitcase and if it works as carry-on luggage for international travel, and the answer is yes. Check with your airline if you have specific concerns. United is the airline I fly most frequently, and I haven’t had any issues with it. 

AWAY suitcases for long flights

The bag isn’t light with all of my equipment and laptop, but the ease of fitting it on top of my rolling suitcase helps balance everything out. If you don’t have camera equipment like me, you can add a change of clothes if you check your bag. This is a great way to avoid any mishaps with a delayed bag. You can change once you get to your hotel room.

Travel Essentials for Long Flights: Carry-On Bags

Travel essentials for long flights. Cuyana leather tote

What I love about the Cuyana tote is the new system they introduced a few years ago. They keep expanding on the features, and I want every one of them. Cuyana started with the system tote, which allowed a few of their pieces to snap in and out easily. They continue this feature on more of their bags, making it even more versatile because I can use multiple bags. If I travel for a long weekend, I love carrying the Cuyana bag because I can slip in this crossbody flap bag for nights out or quick errands. It helps transition from work bag to evening without packing multiple bags and taking up space. 

travel essentials for long flights

Packing Cubes Help Keep You Organized

Packing cubes are a must for carry-ons to keep everything organized. Each cube holds a different category, making it organized and easy to find items when you unpack or need one thing. This also helps hold more items if you pack them in a carry-on instead of checking a bag. My packing cubes come in assorted sizes. Use the larger sizes for shirts, pants, and sweaters and the smaller cubes for underwear, socks, and bras.

Small Insert Bag for Long Flights

It is great to have a mini insert bag for your larger carry-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 and a card reader for my camera and pens. The small bag keeps me organized and makes all my essential items accessible to save time.

The Best French Lip Balm: Travel Essentials for Long Flights

Caudalie Lip Conditioner  travel essentials for long flights

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 $14. Trust me.

Pack a Beauty Mask To Keep Your Skin Hydrated on A Long Flight

Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask

This Sisley Black Rose cream mask will leave your skin feeling hydrated and good when you land. Apply it before you leave for the airport. I use an oil on top, which absorbs quickly on the drive. Your skin will be glowing when you land. Flying can leave your skin dry. This helps so much and smells fantastic!

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 without makeup and with a glowy face from oils and creams.

When I land, it is 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. They are packaged individually so you can slip them into your bag.

Lavender Hand Sanitizer

I keep this available in an inside pocket. I love this lavender one, which smells so good.

Hand Lotion

My hands always get dry when I fly and with washing often. Caudalie makes a great mini travel hand cream to pack in your carry-on.

Face Wipes

Bioderma has a great formula with cleansing water for a quick refresh with face wipes. These are great for when you land and take your face mask off.


When I arrive at the hotel, the first thing I do is brush my teeth after a long flight. I keep a travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste in my carry-on bag for just this moment. My dentist always gives me extra toothpaste in travel sizes, which I use for this occasion. Also, I don’t leave home without dental floss. I have to have it on me at all times.

Antibacterial Wipes

A good wipe of my airplane seat and tray table is essential, especially since I also use the table as a work surface for my computer. I use the same lavender wipes that make my hand sanitizer. The plane should wipe down everything between flights, but there is no guarantee of how well they do it. I quickly wipe down my tray table, seat belt, and headrest. It’s the first thing I do when I get to my seat.

Long Flight Essentials: Airpods

I recently invested in Apple’s noise-canceling AirPods, a game changer. ( I found them at Target for a better price than Apple) They are on the pricier side but worth it. Charge them up before your trip. They charge quickly if you need them. Download a few podcasts or one of my favorite guilty pleasures lately, audiobooks. My husband also has a pair of AirPods, and mixing and grabbing each other is an easy mistake. I purchased this colorful case to distinguish mine from his and future mix-ups.

Compression Socks for Long Flights

Compression socks aren’t the most attractive fashion accessory, but using them might be a good idea. I found the best ones are from Bombas. Plus, I love the brand and the mission. Compression socks help with blood flow in your lower legs and reduce swelling and discomfort, which can come from sitting for an extended period. Plus, they help reduce the possibility of blood clots during long flights. I recommend moving around during the flight to get blood flow and circulation. Drink lots of water and try to reduce alcoholic beverages on long-haul flights.

Comfortable Shoes for Traveling

Travel essentials for long flights comfortable shoes

I try to wear the most significant and bulkiest pair of shoes on the flight, so it saves room in my luggage. This is usually a pair of sneakers and a pair of boots in the winter months. There is a lot of walking between moving from the security line, baggage claim, and your gate. 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 Wi-Fi access to download podcasts, TV shows, and movies on your iPad or phone. I love to read on planes because there aren’t so many distractions. You can pick up a book at the airport or plan 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. Update: I got a Kindle, and I love it for traveling. I don’t use it as home as much as I would like but it is perfect for bringing multiple books on a trip. The Kindle is compact and lightweight and holds a charge well. Just make sure to download the books before you are off of Wifi. I am downloading The Women for my next long trip, which is coming up soon!

travel essentials for long flights

Small Wallet: Travel Essentials for Long Flights

I like to have a small wallet with a credit card and ID with easy access in my bag. If you travel domestically, you need a driver’s license. If you are traveling internationally, you will need a valid passport. I like to have euros for tipping and my first coffee/snacks upon arrival. You don’t want to have to scramble for an ATM.

I use World Nomads travel insurance, which has 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 the type of coverage you seek. It is an extra cost, but it is important to me to have this additional coverage. Check with your local insurance provider to find the best options.

*This post includes affiliate links. I make a small commission off items purchased from my links at no cost to you. Merci!

Photos by Rebecca Tyler Photography

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. I love the Away luggage and I have the carry on with the front leather pocket which I use all the time! I also have the Away Everywhere bag in the pink leather. It is great but I do wish it had the opening flaps like the new one have. I used to take charge my portable charger from my carry on but found I never use it but maybe I will charge it just in case but it is the old charging style, now I need an adapter. Excited to see Paris in spring!

  2. I do take all the things you listed, except for the extra portable charger! Have 2 of them, and always take them into NYC, but never internationally — DUH! On my list, thanks!!

  3. Hi Rebecca – thx for such great tips! A few questions – do you wear the facial mask overnight on the plane (or even for a few hours)? How do you keep it from getting on your clothes or blanket?! Also do you think the wallets with the RFID blocking is worth it (or needed)? I’m headed to London and Paris this fall and saw one online that is both beautiful and very functional as it has four “slit” pockets for everything so it doesn’t take up much room or weigh much either. Thank you!