There are a lot of things people will consider to be essentials for a long haul flight. I, however, only have a list of a few small things. This is because I can sleep anywhere, do not enjoy wearing eye masks and loathe neck pillows. Also, I am excellent at keeping myself entertained/occupied with just a book.
So! I’ve grown up flying across the Pacific (think 20+ hour itineraries) and am quite a champ at weathering a long haul flight. These are what I consider to be essential. I’m flying to Hawaii today, and you bet I’ve got all of my essentials packed away in my carry on. Below my list of essentials I’ve also mentioned some things that are important but not crucial. I guess it all depends on how bare-bones you like to fly!
Without my Kindle, I would wither and die. I always make sure to load more books than I think I need for the entirety of my trip (unless, of course, I am moving somewhere) because if I can’t read them all on my flight or during my vacation, I can still read them when I get back home! I much prefer Kindles over paper books for a bunch of reasons, but paper books are fine too. Or even magazines, graphic novels, newspapers, etc. Whatever you like to read that can keep you occupied for hours, go for it.
Or any music player, really. When I want to sleep on a flight, I’ll put in my headphones, turn on the music, and sleep. This can be done without music, but music is good to help drown out typical flight noises. Like a crying baby.
Flight cabins can be pretty chilly, and there’s few things worse than being too cold to fall asleep. I know long haul flights provide a blanket and pillow to each passenger, but I like to also bring a light cardigan that I can layer with if I’m too hot or too cold. Plus, thinking in layers is always good for travel anyway.
Face mists are fine too, but with the restrictions on carry on liquids I find face wipes to be easier to deal with and more practical. I never use face wipes when cleansing my face ordinarily, but last time I flew to Hong Kong without using face wipes during my flight and was alarmed at the heavy slick of oil that I washed off my face when arriving at my mom’s apartment. HORRIFYING. Having some face wipes to use during a flight, or even just before landing if one wants to freshen up, goes a long way into helping you feel human again.
There is NOTHING WORSE than the feeling of lips parching and cracking due to the dry cabin air. NOTHING.
Because you don’t want to find yourself filling out the customs form in the immigration hall while everyone zooms ahead in line with the forms they filled out during the plane ride when the flight attendants handed them out, do you?
Other Important Stuff
Weird that this is important but not an essential, right? I used to always bring snacks on board but then I realized I rarely ever ate them, or I just felt kind of gross after eating them. (This is what I get for bringing junk food and then bingeing on it because portion control when eating out of a bag is hard.) Snacks were much more important when I was a kid, when I would hardly touch the food served in the airplane meals. But now, even if the food is finicky, I’ll manage to eat most of it, so snacks aren’t an essential for me anymore.
My feet get cold easily, and I find it a little weird to use the airplane bathroom when wearing just my socks. So sometimes, if I don’t feel like putting my shoes back on, I’ll bring an extra pair of socks to use as an “outer layer” when going to the back of the plane to stretch or use the bathroom. When it comes time to put my shoes back on and get off the plane, I’ll take off the extra pair of socks, fold ‘em up and toss them in my bag to wash later.
Brushing teeth in an airplane bathroom always seems like a lot of effort to me (hope my dentist isn’t reading this) but I’m definitely not against bringing those in carry on luggage. However, I just opt for a Listerine strip or an Altoid and consider it good enough.
There’s soap in the airplane bathrooms, but hand sanitizer is never a bad thing to have on hand. Just as long as it meets all of the liquid restrictions and all that.
What are some things you consider essential to pack in a carry on for a long haul flight?