Travel Essentials for a Long Flight
If you’re going on an international trip, you’re probably working on a packing list of travel essentials in order to get ready for a long flight. Maybe you’re presently trying to put together a list of travel essentials. Spending hours in the air is a lot more enjoyable when you’re prepared. So I’d like to share my ultimate packing list of the best things to bring on the plane. If you’re planning a road trip or taking a shorter flight, it’s still a good idea to read this list of travel essentials. So here’s a list of the best travel essentials that get me through a long flight.
Travel Essentials for a Long Flight
Long flights are generally pretty rough. Depending on the amount of time spent in the car, road trips can feel even more difficult (and long) especially with kids. I’m also not really a road trip person unless I’m back in CA. It’s so fun there. So most of my flying has been without kids. I’ve been to Europe a handful of times and South America (longest travel day of my life) and always feel especially exhausted after being up in the air overnight. If I’m very lucky, I’ll get 2-3 hours of sleep on an international flight (terrible sleeper when flying) which still leaves hours of just sitting there.
Packing for a long flight
It has been a few years since my last big trip, yet I still know a thing or two about getting through a long flight. Since I was once someone who overpacked, I’ve learned a lot about traveling light. And then I just wear a few simple things on a trip. I always convince myself I’ll want to really get dressed and make my outfit a moment but that’s just not me and I end up in jeans and a t-shirt so I’m a bit of a work in progress there. If you’re planning on traveling soon, this is the ultimate travel essentials list for long trips.
When planning your next trip
This is obviously where I really shine as a Virgo. There is indeed an easy way to do this – just make a checklist in your notes app if you have an iPhone, and check things off as you pack them. I’m a planner and for this reason, love a checklist. Even more than that, I love feeling prepared. Long flights are tough (and tougher with kids, but we’ll talk about that another time). So this is really the best part for me – it’s where I get my challenge (not moving for 8 hours) and making that 8 hours not terrible.
I also want to have the best travel kit with the best snacks and the coziest blanket and sweatshirt. I suppose this really applies more toward bringing all the right stuff for my kids and feeling like I have it together when really, who does?
Nothing feels better than being prepared
Dry hands or lips due to that dry, recirculated air? Not to worry – I am certainly prepared with lip balm and hand lotion. Ah, I’m too cold but it’s ok – I have layers. Given that you might find yourself bored or hungry, it is equally important to have both entertainment and snacks. Note that I never sleep on a plane, so for this reason, I skip the travel pillow.
A spinner (carry-on on 4 wheels) is all in all a must-have for getting through the airport. If you’re carrying a laptop and lots of essentials, a spinner coupled with a crossbody is always nice. I generally keep my tote or duffel on top and just glide it through the airport. Instead of carrying multiple totes, keep your must-haves for travel in your tote and choose a bag with comfortable handles or one that slides onto your spinner’s handle. Clear bags are a great way to store makeup, electronics, and snacks once you’re up in the air.
Surely you’ll need a Carry-On
Remember that everyone can bring one carry on and one personal item, so it’s nice to keep travel necessities in your carry-on bag. Additionally, I like to include an extra pair of clothes, medication, travel insurance documents, and anything I can’t live without. This is basically a safety protocol in case my checked baggage gets lost. If you can squeeze one or two packing cubes with clothes as well as some beauty essentials. I’d recommend that, too This will give you peace of mind should your checked luggage get lost.
Make sure you have your international travel essentials like converters and anything else you can’t live without in case your luggage gets lost. It is especially important to make sure you have an extra pair of shoes (depending on the weather) and the basics like underwear, a pair of pajamas, and the essentials to get by. In addition, if I’m taking a summer trip and traveling in sneakers, I’ll bring sandals in my carry-on in a shoe bag just in case.
As I have noted, I like to have a weekender or duffel bag with me. This one is beautiful – I have it in this style and love it. It has so much space – enough for a laptop and all my essentials.
Vegan Woven Tote
This is one of my best-sellers, and is certainly the easiest bag to carry. It’s very lightweight and stretchy, so it holds a ton of stuff. I filled it with all the essentials that we’ll need while we’re up in the air.
Given that you’ll want easy access to your essentials, you are going to want a duffel or travel backpack as your travel bag that will go below your seat. For the purpose of keeping things easy, keep things you’ll want quick access to below your seat. Keep credit cards and important documents (and of course your phone) on you at all times. I like to keep everything that will keep me entertained – computer, iPad, and a book, too. Since I never sleep on long haul flights, I need options to keep myself busy.
I love a tote for this reason – they’re easy to carry and versatile, so they’re great on a flight and depending on the style of the bag, function as a purse when traveling. I have two kids so I almost always use a tote bag these days.
Marie Kondo Pouches
As I have said numerous times, I love these pouches for electronics, snacks, and really, anything that’s in my bag. They are the easiest way to keep things organized while on the go.
Luggage can disappear so for this reason, I always have a makeup bag or cosmetic case with essentials. Depending on where I’m going, I like an end of flight face refresh before landing, so I feel somewhat put together upon arrival. It doesn’t take too much time and a small case won’t take up too much room, so I like to keep this under my seat. These are well made and in my opinion, worth the extra cost. And they’re great for keeping the bathroom counter in your hotel room organized.
These also keep my bag organized – I like them for snacks, an important document or two, cords, and a travel adapter. It’s so much better than having a bunch of miscellaneous stuff floating around my bag. In short this is the easiest way to keep your bag organized. You could use any small pouch – but something like this is one of my favorite travel items for organization.
Protecting your computer is a must, and this will keep it from getting scratched while it’s in your bag. For as long as I can remember, I have loved Cuyana, and this tech case is beautiful. And no, you don’t need a fancy leather computer case, but I do love this one. If you’re like me and use your laptop for work, and additionally, if aesthetics are important to you, this is a great option.
You don’t have to have a passport case but I do like having one when I travel. But I prefer to protect my passport, so I’d recommend having one. It’s pretty much the most important travel document you’ll have with you, so why not protect it? All in all, I feel safer protecting my passport and it’s an opportunity for a nice-looking accessory.
The Best Travel Accessories
Pro tip: given that planes can get cold, bring a cozy travel wrap that doubles as a blanket or pillow and an eye mask or sunglasses to get some shut-eye. And even though you may run hot, don’t forget a cardigan and socks to stay warm, and comfortable shoes, too. If you find yourself getting ready for a long flight, these are pieces that you certainly will not want to leave behind.
I like to dress in layers because you never know when a flight will be hot or cold. So because of this, I always bring a cozy sweatshirt. I am either very hot or very cold while flying. And you never know what you’re going to get while you’re up in the air. I prefer a half-zip or crewneck – something soft and cozy, warm but something I won’t get to hot in, either.
Comfortable pants provided that you like being comfortable (and chic)
These tie waist pants look cute but are so cozy and feel like sweats, so they’re great for a longer trip. Therefore, I cannot recommend them enough! I’ve put them on and my husband has asked why I’m so dressed up but they truly feel like sweats. There are few feelings better than landing and feeling like you’re dressed all while remaining comfortable. And shocker – I tend to stick with neutral colors so everything goes together.
The best cashmere travel wrap
I’ve had this wrap for years and years and still wear it every winter, or while traveling when it’s cold. It is an oversized scarf that also functions as a little blanket while you travel. It’s very oversized and so cozy – I have it in a few colors and live in these during fall and winter. The takeaway is to make sure you have extra layers in case you get cold.
No, you probably don’t need sunglasses on your flight but you might want them by the time you land. They are especially nice to have when windows are open and it’s sunny, or if you just want to drown out the world around you. So do yourself a favor and never forget the sunnies.
You never know when your feet might need a little extra cushion, and having socks when you’re at security is essential. Walking barefoot at the airport (even if only for a minute) is just gross. And I love Bombas – they fit well, are cushy, and the brand donates a pair with every purchase!
You’ll want a comfortable shoe – one that’s generally easy to wear and that goes with everything. They will ideally be easy to slip on and off when going through security. I usually wear my VEJAS (wrote a whole review on them here) when I want to feel a little more like I’m in an “outfit” but my APLs are the lightest and easiest to slip on and off.
In order to stay entertained
Firstly, I always carry my laptop or iPad to watch movies or to work on a blog post. This is generally what makes the time go by quickly for me. However, If you don’t want to bring the extra gear, your iPhone and a portable charger works, too. Most international flights also have TVs with decent movie selections, so that’s also a great option. I usually to like to have my computer in case I need it. If there’s wifi, I’ll do a little work as well as chat with people over my messages app to pass the time. I tried the whole kindle thing but really prefer turning pages, so I bring a good old fashioned book with me.
Of course you’ll need a computer or tablet
It is basically a must-have to have one of these for entertainment on a long flight. Since work serves as the best distraction, I usually try to pass the time productively. I like what I do, have some quiet, and when there’s nowhere to go, it’s nice to just get in the zone. Unless you’re traveling with kids. Then I’m just handing them toys for 8 hours straight.
I always (always!) bring headphones on any flight so that I’ll have entertainment and quiet. If you’re really into music or want to drown out everything around you, plan accordingly and pack a pair of noise-canceling headphones. Because they’re so small, Airpods are my favorite option but your favorite bluetooth headphones or air buds will do.
Because your phone will die in time
Given that I try to travel light, I love the slim design of this charger. A travel charger is always nice to have while traveling, and is right at the top of my list of travel essentials. I tend to rely on my phone’s google maps while traveling (don’t we all?) and never want it to die while I’m on the go. Airplanes now have USB ports, so be sure to have your charger cable with you.
Health & Beauty
I bring my daily skincare essentials with me because you never know when you’ll need them. Even though it hasn’t happened to me yet, given that checked luggage can go missing, I bring refillable containers with my favorite beauty products in my carry on. I do this to be sure I will have everything I need when I get to my destination. The gotoob travel bottles are great on the whole easy to pack use and clean. Given these points, I keep the important products I’ll need on-hand in my carry-on. As long as I have something to keep my hands and lips moisturized, a toothbrush for a mid (and end) of flight refresh, and some cover-up so my skin looks fresh, I’m good to go.
In order to stay hydrated (and fed)
For the purpose of hydration, don’t forget your reusable water bottle to stay hydrated. And when you find yourself hungry, you’ll be prepared with snacks, too. So here are my health and beauty travel essentials in detail.
Reusable water bottle
A refillable or collapsible water bottle will keep you hydrated on a long travel day and is another must-have for a long trip. I just carry it through security empty then fill it up, and can keep filling it up on the plane. And it’s nice to have while traveling to minimize plastic waste.
Few things are more refreshing than a light spray of perfume, oil, and a little concealer. I get so splotchy when I’m up in the air (is it just me?) and like a refresh. Keep in mind these are things I did when I was traveling without kids. No one is getting off a plane with a 2 and 4 year old and reapplying makeup but if you are, go you. But one day, I’ll travel somewhere far away alone with my husband and I will apply some concealer to feel refreshed after a long flight.
Lip Balm, obviously
Long flights will dry out your skin and lips, so keep products on hand that will help you stay moisturized. My lips get so, so dry, so I always (always!) have multiple types of lip balm on me at all times. For that reason, these are must-have travel essentials for a long flight.
For the purpose of hydration
I love hand cream but also find body oil very hydrating. Your body produces oil and not lotion, after all, and should be hydrated with oil.
I love a mid or end-of-flight spritz of perfume if and when I need a refresh. But be considerate and don’t forget to apply this in the bathroom and not while you’re at your seat.
You’ll surely need a toothbrush
I also always keep my toothbrush in my carry on and brush my teeth at the end of a long flight. You’d certainly never skip brushing your teeth in the morning – it just makes sense to add this to your list of travel essentials. Do this right before or as soon as you land – it’s a game changer after a long flight.
I’ve heard great things about these capsules, which, above all, allow you to bring all your essentials while taking up as little space as possible. Anything that comes with a label and makes things more organized is, after all, a must-have. All in all, these seem pretty and functional and what a great way to travel with my favorite face serum?
This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase something using my links, I may earn a small commission at no cost to you.
Although this post was originally written years ago, it has been one of my most popular posts to-date. Since originally publishing this post, I have brought it back with a fresh new look and updated products.