14 Things to Bring in your Carry-On Bag on a Long Flight

What To Bring In Your Carry-On

I made it to Zurich (follow me on snapchat — megbiram — for live video on my trip!). As I packed for the long flight, I was thinking about what I needed/wanted/had when I flew 15+ hours to Hong Kong last year. I thought I’d work and read on the flight — I’ve never been one to sleep on planes. To my surprise I slept almost the entire time, and otherwise watched movies while I ate.

Similar to my flight to Hong Kong, my flight to Zurich was overnight so the lights were off half of the flight. The key to jet lag is to try to get on the time of where you are as fast as you can. So no matter how tired you are on the first day, you should try to get on the local time, and if you can start while on the flight (by sleeping or staying awake) that’s even better. Personally I found that my jetlag is much worse on the way home, versus when I get somewhere.

Even though sleeping and watching movies I haven’t seen yet are my favorite things to do on long flights, I still bring a little entertainment with me, but it’s the other items that are really important.

I recommend having a small pouch to keep in your lap or seat with all the small essentials so you aren’t constantly getting up and down (although it’s good to get up and stretch and move around a little, so up to you!). Having my lip balm and moisturizer in my lap so I could reapply with ease was a life saver.


14 Items to Bring in your Carry-On on a Long Flight


1. NECK PILLOW — This is #1 for a reason. It’s that important. I didn’t have one on my way to Hong Kong last year, but bought ended up buying it in the airport for the flight home. Best $40 I’ve ever spent. This neck pillow is the best! On my flight home from Hong Kong I slept so much longer and better, and I didn’t wake up with a crick in my neck like I did on the way there.

2. SOCKS — If you get cold like me (and planes are always so cold!) I always bring extra socks. Especially if I’m not already wearing some. I bring a cozy cashmere pair with me. Keeping your feet warm is the key to keeping the rest of your body warm!

3. FACE MOISTURIZER — This was super important for me. If I didn’t have my moisturizing balm with me I would have been very uncomfortable. Your skin dehydrates in the air, and being able to apply my balm throughout long flights is key for me.

4. LIP BALM — I can actually use my face balm for my lips too, but I prefer a separate lip balm. I reapplied this countless times, so make sure you bring some with you!

5. HEADPHONES — Unless you want to pay for the airline’s (usually crappy) headphones, I recommend bringing your own!

6. WATER — Some international flights won’t even let you bring water purchased after security on board (happened to me on my way back from Hong Kong) but typically it’s fine. I couldn’t get enough water. I drink a lot of water during the day in general, and the flight attendants are always willing to bring water, but I like to have an extra bottle with me just in case!

7. SANITIZING WIPES — If you’re a slight germaphobe like me, you’ll want to wipe down all the things you are going to touch with your fingers (tray, buttons, arm rests). Also good to make sure you don’t get sick when you are on your way to a vacation or work trip!

8. PILLS — If you get headaches, or need sleeping pills, or even anticipate allergies where you are going, make sure to take your pills with you in flight!

9. SWEATER OR SCARF — Planes are always freezing, so I always have to bring a sweater and a scarf!

10. SNACKS — I don’t know about you, but I usually am not a fan of airline snacks or food, so I always bring something on board with me. Usually a granola bar with lots of protein.

11. HAND CREAM — My hands always get dry on long flights (especially in the winter) so I always bring a little tube of hand cream to put on during the flight. I love the light scent and non-greasyness of this hand cream.

12. EAR PLUGS — Light sleeper? Bring some ear plugs, especially if you really need to get some sleep on your flight. You never know when you’ll get a screaming baby near you.

13. BOOKS & MAGAZINES — My ears can’t handle headphones after a few hours so I switch to reading books and magazines! I started reading this book on my flight to Zurich.

14. JEWELRY — I would NEVER check any jewelry that you aren’t OK with losing. Always carry it on with you!

If you are checking your main bag to your destination, you might want to consider bringing a few changes of clothing and your beauty items in your carry-on (or just adding another small bag with these emergency essentials in case your bag doesn’t make it).

What do you bring in your carry-on for long flights?


Photo via Lo & Sons