What to Pack in your Carry-on Bag for a Long Flight

What’s in my hand luggage

As I write this, I have an empty suitcase staring at me, waiting to be filled for our very exciting trip to Rome and Japan. At least I have my hand luggage sorted! I’ve been on enough painful long-haul flights where I’ve been freezing, dehydrated, or unable to sleep to know exactly what I need to bring with me. You might think this is a lot of stuff, but we are going to be travelling for over 16 hours so I think it’s justified! Read on to find out what I’m packing in my carry-on…


Keeping entertained

Although most long-haul flights have in-flight entertainment, you might still have a bit of dead time at some point in your trip: on the train, waiting at the gate or between flights. I’m flying from Rome to Tokyo via Moscow next week and the first flight doesn’t have any in-flight entertainment, so I’m definitely going to need a few things to keep me busy for 3hrs 45mins!

I’m really into podcasts at the moment so I’ll be downloading a few so I can listen offline (you need to download Serial if you haven’t already). I think they can be nice to listen to as you’re drifting to sleep on the plane. I love my Happy Plugs wireless headphones – it’s great not to have any wires bothering you when you have lots of things to carry around, and the rose gold details on them are so nice.

I’ll also download a few shows on my iPad mini (definitely Peaky Blinders!) and bring along my cute little cactus audio splitter so Chris and I can watch them together (sadly this doesn’t work with bluetooth earphones!). My iPad pouch is a lovely souvenir from my trip to Peru.

Bringing a book with you is always a good idea, just in case you want to take a break from staring at a screen. My current read in preparation for our trip is Modern Japan which is a super interesting history book! I also like to have a notebook with me in case I think of any blog post ideas, and on some trips I keep a daily diary as well. Papier do some beautiful notebooks. A pen is also essential in case you need to fill in a landing card!

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Catching some zzz’s

The number one most important thing for me when I’m on a night flight is to make sure I have an eye mask. I like this one because it doesn’t touch my eyes. I also bring a neck pillow with me – at the moment I have a standard one I picked up at the airport but I’d like to get one with proper chin support like this one. When I’m ready to go to sleep I spritz a bit of deep sleep pillow spray from This Works which has a lovely lavender fragrance, and pop in some ear plugs to block out engine noises and crying babies.

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Getting comfortable

I’m going to be trying these flight socks for the first time on the way to Tokyo. Hopefully they will keep my feet from getting swollen like they usually do! I’ll also be wearing some super warm and comfy leggings that I just bought from Uniqlo because there’s nothing worse than wearing tight jeans on a long flight. Airplanes are often very cold so I’ll bring a the biggest scarf I can find and some warm layers with me too.

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Staying healthy and feeling fresh

Planes dehydrate you so I always buy a big bottle of water (and often a green juice from Pret) before boarding. I know they’ll serve water on the plane but it’s easier to just have your own bottle if you get thirsty in the middle of the night. You should be drinking at least a litre of water to stay hydrated on a six to eight hour flight.

I’m always tempted to buy unhealthy treats at the airport before I board but this time I’ve decided I’m going to bring lots of healthy snacks with me: almonds, fresh fruit, maybe a bag of Propercorn. Apparently the average brit consumes 3,400 calories while flying (!) which I want to avoid!

I always carry some paracetamol and travel sickness tablets, just in case. I’ve caught colds on so many flights that I now also bring a Vicks First Defence spray and some hand gel with me to help ward off the germs!

Also essential to keep me feeling fresh is having all of my dental essentials with me. I’ll bring a toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash with me so I don’t end up feeling gross halfway through the flight.

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Skincare saviours

The low moisture levels in the cabin mean moisturising has never been more important! I always carry some moisturiser and lip balm with me when I’m travelling. I’ll slather some cream over my face as soon as I board and re-apply after a few hours. My favourites right now are Glossier’s Balm Dotcom in cherry (get 10% off using my link) and the Magic Cream Moisturiser from Charlotte Tilbury’s Beauty Icons set. I’ve been using Clarins’ anti-aging hand cream every day so that’s coming with me too. The pink pouches that come with every Glossier order are ideal for carrying liquids and creams in my bag and through airport security.

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That’s it I think! What items do you always take with you on flights?

1 Comment
  • Rachael Henry
    February 6, 2018

    Super handy tips! I’m getting better at packing hand luggage for flights now and use the sleep spray at home – wouldn’t have thought to bring it on a flight!

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What to Pack in your Carry-on Bag for a Long Flight