Tips | 03.28.2024

What to Carry On a Long Flight for a Relaxed Fight

By Franki Hanke

A comfortably spent 12+ hour flight is a testament to preparation. Bringing all the right things (and hydrating well ahead of time) is the difference between a peaceful, disconnected mini-vacation in the air and an international flight in a cramped tin can. By packing the right travel essentials in your carry-on bag, you’ll be comfortable and prepared for the most common interruptions to a good flight. 

Want more packing tips? Learn how to pack with a carry-on only

If you’re using your carry-on for your trip, put your flight items inside a tote bag inside your carry-on to easily bring out your items for the flight once you want them. 

What’s on our packing list

Don’t forget your other essentials including travel documents and credit cards

Be Comfortable

Ear Planes Ear Plugs

If you struggle with the pressure change of flying, try these silicone ear plugs to ease the work your ears do to equalize the pressure. Follow the package instructions properly to be sure they’ll work. 

You can pair these plugs with other techniques like allergy medication, decongestant, chewing gum, and/or menthol cough drops. 

Buy on Amazon

Petite Pillbox 

A headache is a fast track to a terrible flight, so bring your most-used medications in a portable, pocket size. It will be a lifesaver! This two-pack features a removable three-space divider to customize what you bring. 

Buy on Amazon

Bombas Compression Socks

Long-haul flights have us sitting for a long time, which can be uncomfortable and introduce risk for blood clots. As we age, our risk for these blood clots increases, so actively avoiding them becomes more important. 

Pair compression socks with movements that move blood through your ankles and legs throughout your flight. 

Buy on Bombas

Change of Clothes

Flights can be delayed, and if you’re jumping right into an activity on your arrival, changing clothes will make the time until you’re checking into your accommodations more comfortable. If you’re limited on space in your carry-on luggage, bring extra undergarments and socks to refresh your base layers on a layover or upon arrival. 

Remember to dress in layers for the flight to adjust your temperature at will. A hoodie or sweater over a comfortable base. I avoid any hard buttons or firm waistbands, too. 


Sometimes you need a little extra snack outside of meal times, so bring a few stable options to avoid hanger. Remember, TSA won’t like any creams, which includes foods so include those in your liquid math or avoid packing them. 


Planes are dry. It’s essential to hydrate in a variety of ways. 

La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Hand Cream

Your hands take a beating when we travel. We wash them more, and we care for them less. Cicaplast’s travel-sized hand cream is full of star ingredients like niacinamides and glycerin to add a protective layer to your hands. 

Shop on Amazon | on Target

Hydrapak Stash Collapsible Water Bottle

Instead of your usual, hard-sided, reusable water bottle, this collapsible option takes up less space when it’s not in use. It’s a frequent favorite of hikers with a higher quality than most trendy silicone bottles marketed for travelers. 

Buy on Amazon

Lanolips 101 Ointment

Functioning as a lip balm and spot treatment for dry cuticles, Lanolips is a pure lanolin that is thick and protective on the skin. 

Buy on Amazon

Hero Cosmetics Glow Balm

To avoid dragging dirty fingers over your skin to apply your moisturizer, bring this handy stick formation with hydrating ceramides and linoleic acid. 

Buy on Ulta

Staying Fresh – Toiletries 

Pacifica Underarm Deodorant Wipes

If you hate that post-flight grunge, pack my most overlooked carry-on essential. These odor-neutralizing wipes are gentle on the skin while wiping away any sweat to leave you feeling revived. 

Buy on Target

Colgate Waterless Toothbrushes

Simplify your refresh routine with disposable, all-in-one waterless toothbrushes to clean teeth and freshen breath without a whole toiletry bag or toothpaste using up your liquid allowance. 

Buy on Target

Sleeping on the Flight

Sleeping at the right time on an international flight can help avoid jet lag, but it means you have to be able to fall asleep! 

Bose Bluetooth Noise Canceling Headphones

The one flight I forgot my noise-canceling headphones on was the longest, most uncomfortable… three-hour domestic flight ever. Forgetting comfortable, effective headphones for a longer flight means listening to all the other passengers and engine noises for hours. Compared to earbuds with Airpods, over-ear headphones are usually more comfortable for extended use. 

Buy on Amazon

Infinity Travel Pillow

More versatile than the classic neck pillow, this looped, infinity pillow can be worn in various ways to support your neck, arms, or lower back as you try to nap. More than the classic neck support, I use this more to give my arms a contained, supported position to sleep sitting up. I also find it easier to carry through the airport as it loops across your body or on a bag handle.  

Buy on Amazon

Eye Masks

An eye mask is essential for sleeping on a flight, but there are a few different styles to pick between. 

For Helping Falling Asleep

Speed up the initial fall into sleep with a soothing scent and gentle warmth. These eye masks are always in my travel bag for getting over the hump to sleep in an odd environment planes and hotels alike. 

Buy on Amazon

For Prioritizing Eye Comfort

Create total darkness while allowing yourself to blink with the cup-shapes of the Manta Sleep Mask. The mask is gentle around your head with adjustable spacing between the eyes.

Buy on Amazon


Even if you plan to sleep most of the flight, bring entertainment options to avoid being wide awake and bored over the Atlantic. 

Phone Holding Mount

Free up your hands and protect your neck by mounting your phone higher with this cheap, pocket-size mount. It’s sized to clamp onto the tray table or a variety of other places to go hands-free. 

Buy on Amazon

Kindle E-Reader

A good book is essential entertainment, but on a long-haul flight, you may want more to read than one book. An e-reader lets you bring a whole library without adding any weight to your bag. 

Kindle is compact and ultra-easy to carry while the Kindle Paperwhite is larger and waterproof. 

Buy on Amazon

Anker Portable Charger

Make sure all the devices you bring for entertainment stay charged with a power bank. While most long-haul planes have USB ports, you can end up with a faulty one that ruins your trip. No battery means no podcasts, movies, or anything else you downloaded while you still had WiFi! 

Buy on Amazon

Stay Safe

Flying increases our exposure to illness. To avoid being sick on a trip, keep your hands clean, especially around eating.  

Noshinku Hand Sanitizer 

Noshinku creates unique hand sanitizer scents with the same effective germ-fighting power as the usual alcohol-y ones. This discovery kit includes four different scents for frequent travelers to try, and once they know your favorite, the packaging is designed to be re-filled with a bulk refill bag so there’s less plastic waste long-term. 

Buy on Amazon

The right long haul flight essentials make that initial flight the start of your vacation, so don’t forget anything you might need on hand in your personal item. Whether you’re off to London, Paris, or somewhere else, pack right and enjoy the trip! For more travel tips, continue reading.

The above content may contain affiliate links. When you click and shop with our links, we receive a small commission to support our writers. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. 

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