What to pack in your hand luggage for a long flight

A long flight can seem daunting, but mostly they are just boring and uncomfortable. Especially if you fly economy like me, anything above 4 hours might seem like a lifetime. But packing the right things in your hand luggage can make all the difference. I usually keep these things in a separate little canvas bag in my carry-on to avoid having to rummage through my overstuffed bag while holding up the line.

1. Bring plenty of water and snacks

Some super low budget airline won’t provide more than a light meal and a glass of water (or anything!) during a long distance flight. So be sure to pack a large bottle of water and some snacks like sandwiches, nuts and fruit to tide you over. Hunger and dehydration will make an uncomfortable flight hell and who wants to spend money on overpriced concessions? 

2. Get some shut-eye with an eye mask, earplugs and a neck pillow

Do you ever get jealous of those people that seem to be able to just nap anywhere? No need, with an eye mask, earplugs and neck pillow you can make an airplane seat feel like… well, not a bed exactly, but at least a more comfortable chair. It also helps you block out the noise and light from the people around you so you can get some shut-eye. I can usually get at least 4-5 hours of sleep with these.

3. Take a good book

Sure, the upside of long-distance flights is the in-flight entertainment. But after 6 hours of movies, you might want to give your eyes a break. So bring a good book or audiobook to keep yourself entertained without all the blue light burning through your eyeballs.

4. Freshen up with a toothbrush and toothpaste

Nothing makes me feel grosser than not brushing my teeth before bed. Even if that bed is an airplane seat. The small act of brushing your teeth, whether it is on the plane or after landing, will make you feel so much more refreshed.

5. Combat dry skin with cream and lip balm

The air in airplanes is always super dry so bring some hand/face cream and lip balm to soothe your dehydrated skin.

6. Bring a clean t-shirt and underwear

Air travel always leaves me feeling really frumpy, dishevelled and plain gross. I take an extra t-shirt and underwear so I can change once I get off the plane. Or to tide me over in case my luggage gets lost.

7. Refresh and clean yourself with wet wipes

Wet wipes are great for cleaning your hands between meals, cleaning your face and just to refresh when you wake up all groggy after a three-hour airplane nap.

8. Roll-on deodorant or a small spray

Pleasant for you and your fellow passengers. You can take a small spray or a roll-on deodorant in your handluggage.

9. Keep warm with a scarf, shawl or pashmina

The air conditioning can be quite cold on airplanes and scarves can double as a blanket or roll up into extra neck support. Nothing like cozying up with your favourite soft wrap that smells like home.

10. Bring your own headphones or earbuds

The free headphone you get on your flight are usually pretty crappy. Bringing your own allows you to listen to the in-flight movies with a higher sound quality, and they can help cancel the noise from your fellow passengers.

So, tell me: what are your must packs for long flights?

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5 thoughts on “What to pack in your hand luggage for a long flight

  1. Agree with all of those. I’d add earphone splitters, and a big comfy jersey and scarf. Planes are always freezing. And snacks! I keep à tin of those chocolate coated coffee bean marvels with me at all times.


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