Carry-on Essentials That Make Long-Haul Flights More Bearable!


What’s the longest flight you’ve ever been on? I think for me, it was the time I flew from Germany to Australia. That involved two full days of travel as I went from Frankfurt to Abu Dhabi, to Singapore, to Brisbane, to Townsville. Are you still awake? I know I barely was by the time I set foot off that fourth flight.

Travel can often be made to look glamorous on blogs and Instagram feeds, but if you’ve done one of these long-haul flights yourself, you know they are no joke – especially if you’re flying economy!

For today’s post I thought I’d write up a list of carry-on essentials that help make long-haul flights a bit more bearable.

Carry-on Essentials for Long-Haul Flights. Here's what to pack in your carry on luggage!

Sleep & Comfort

Neck pillow – To avoid a stiff neck after a long flight.

Silk eye mask – So you can sleep regardless of whether it’s daylight or the lights are one in the cabin.

Warm socks – I’m always freezing on planes, so even if I’m travelling to a warm destination that will require flip flops, I also pack a pair of warm fuzzy socks for the flight.

Pashmina –  It’s multipurpose plus it keeps me warm.

Hoodie or wrap cardigan – Did I already mention I’m always cold on planes?

Leggings – Because they are super comfortable and probably more acceptable than changing into pyjamas.

Entertainment & Work

Kindle – I always keep my Kindle handy and loaded with 2-3 books. It’s a nice way to pass time after watching a few movies.

Earphones – I used to think all earphones were created equal until my husband got me a pair that changed everything. I always thought audio was really bad on airplanes, but that’s just because I was using the cheap earphones they hand out in flight. I don’t carry large noise-cancelling ones because of their size, but that’s something to consider if you’re really into music and films.

Camera – To capture those spectacular sunrises and sunsets views if you luck out with a window seat.

Phone – I normally don’t use my phone in flight, but I keep it fully charged in my carry-on bag for when I arrive at my destination. I save a map of the area on Google Maps, plot my hotel, and also make notes of transport options and any contact numbers I may need once I land.

USB to Micro USB cable – A lot of planes have USB ports nowadays (though some airlines still have some catching up to do!), which makes it a lot easier to charge things like your phone or Kindle in flight. I keep a charger in my bag just in case any of my electronics run low on battery.

Laptop – While I’m not one to pull out my laptop mid-flight (I find that the space is a little too cramped!) I know some people like to write or do a bit of photo editing while they’re up in the air.

Notebook + pen – To scribble ideas and reminders, plus it’s a good idea to keep a few pens handy for filling out immigration forms once you arrive.

Beauty & Cleansing

Toothpaste + toothbrush – If you’re on a long overnight flight, the airline may hand out small complimentary toiletry kits, but I personally like to carry my own just in case.

Deodorant – Pretty self explanatory.

Wet wipes – Because that’s as close as you’re going to get to a shower.

Lip balm – I hate the feeling of dry lips so I always keep lip balm in my carry-on as well as spares in my luggage. I really like the EOS lip balm (the fun shape has something to do with it) or a stick of Nivea chapstick.

Hairbrush – Especially if you have long hair. Even a travel-sized one will do.

Dry shampoo – Greatest invention ever! I first discovered dry shampoo about two years ago and now I don’t travel without it. It’s not just great in-flight (you’ll want something under 100mL in your carry-on), but it’s also great for days when you don’t feel like washing your hair.

Hydrating face mist – Another product that blew my mind the first time I tried it! Airplanes are really dry and this is such a nice way to rehydrate your skin (again you’ll want to ensure it’s a travel-friendly under 100mL bottle).

Now it’s over to you:

What’s the longest flight you’ve ever been on?

What were some of your carry-on essentials on that flight?

This article does contain a few affiliate links but they come at no extra cost to you.


  • Pam says:

    My longest flight was Beijing to Toronto via Dubai. Definitely a sweater, lip chap, and because I was on my way home I did take out my computer to start sorting through all the photos!

    • Audrey Bergner says:

      That does sound like a long way to go! I’ve only ever done the journey to Asia in the opposite direction over the Pacific. I wonder what the time difference is between the two routes…

  • Mary says:

    Mine would have to be EO Hand Sanitizer Spray! Its great to help you feel a little clean again and it also smells like lavender, so it basically doubles as a perfume. I agree with the dry shampoo and toothbrush for sure!

  • Janice says:

    My longest flight was Santorini – Athens – Frankfurt – Toronto – Winnipeg with the lay-overs of course, and then the drive home since I live a distance from Winnipeg. I could hardly stand up and stay awake by then. LOL I always bring a few snack items along for those long hauls, along with the items you recommended. A new item I have discovered is the In-flight app where you can download magazines for free when you are in an airport. Kind of nice to have some light reading/browsing along the way. Love your blog! Have been following you for a few years now.

    • Audrey Bergner says:

      That sounds tiring just reading it! I feel pretty lucky that I’ve been living in major cities over the past few years so I haven’t had to deal with the long drive home from the airport. It’s pretty nice having it just a short drive away.

  • Leonie says:

    Eye mask is my ultimate number one must on a flight. Great post, all of these are a must!!
    Leonie ♥

  • Mel says:

    Awesome tips. Long haul flights can be so very unbearable. I never go anywhere without my stash of wetwipes ;). And yes, I think the Europe-Australia flights are some of the longest. argh! But so worth it in the end 😉

  • Cecilia S. says:

    I’ve never done long-haul trips but I find this list very useful. I will definitely keep it in mind.

  • as says:

    My longest flight was last week: victoria falls – johannesburg – dubai – toronto (dubai-toronto 15 hrs!) I like to bring sore throat/nasal congestion candy for the road – I have chronic cold/throat problems which get worse on the plane. It also serves as breath freshener and makes you a bit drowsy which helps falling asleep. Plus it’s preventive (I often caught something on the plane).

    • Audrey Bergner says:

      Thanks for the tip! I’ve also had a few people tell me that they load up on Vitamin C candies and ginger candies for long haul flights – also preventive.

  • Lily La says:

    I always see people travelling in jeans and I have no idea how they do it. I find them so uncomfortable on a plane – I much prefer sweats or legging. Also, love wet wipes, makes me feel refreshed even at my most tiresome.
    Lily La recently posted..POKEWORKS: NYC SUSHI BURRITOMy Profile

    • Audrey Bergner says:

      Same here, I couldn’t handle a long flight in a pair of jeans. I could maybe see it working if it were a super stretchy pair of skinny jeans, but then you may as well put on a pair of dark leggings. Looks the same, feels so much better!

  • Tina says:

    My longest flight was Singapore to Philadelphia via Doha and then a month later Philadelphia to Kuala Lumpur…in economy. I love the basic toiletries mentioned and I typically have the same things in my carry on (pen, paper, camera etc.) I also make a habit of having at least one full change of clothes just in case my luggage gets lost. In fact, I put everything in my carry on that I just can’t risk having lost😂😳

    • Audrey Bergner says:

      I’ve also started carrying one spare outfit in my carry-on when I have a series of flights with short connections. My luggage once got lost for 3 days and it just so happened to be a national holiday when I arrived at my destination, so I couldn’t go shopping for clothes right away.

  • Rachel says:

    Great list!! My longest flight was over 50 hours long from Nashville – Philadelphia – North Carolina – Michigan – Las Vegas – Los Angeles – Melbourne – Perth. I wanted to cry!!

  • Jolene says:

    I can go absolutely nowhere with my socks, eye mask, ear plugs and neck pillow x 2 🙂 Nice list!
    Jolene recently posted..Blissful Relaxation on Koh Tonsay (Rabbit Island) in Cambodia!My Profile

  • Andrea says:

    I have an upcoming trip.
    Mexico-Florida (with a Layover of 10hrs) -Oslo(Layover of 19 hrs)-Paris, then a train to Marseille with an hour drive to Avignon.
    Thanks for the list I wont take it for granted!

  • Luminita says:

    Ebooks, headphones and a camera. Those are the essential items that I never forget when I go on a trip. I always forget about the neck pillow, although I always say I’ll bring one…

  • Tiago balas says:

    From Morocco to Cape Verde- Marrakech-Madrid-Santiago-Gran Canaria-Sal(Cape Verde)
    From Cape Verde to Dubai- Sal-Gran Canaria-Madrid-Milano-Bucharest-Dubai

  • Heather says:

    Boston to New York to Johannesburg to Windhoek. The NYC to Johannesburg flight was 18 hours and I had a migraine for half of it. Now I NEVER forget ibuprofen or SOMETHING. Also tissues. Plane flights often give me a runny nose.

    Thanks for the wet wipes tip! Might try that one!

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