Over the last few years, I’ve taken my fair share of cross-country and international flights, and the Type-A part of me gets off on the challenge of packing exactly what I need (not too much, not too little) to make the flight bearable – and even fun. Instead of viewing a long flight as mindless hours to slog through getting to my final destination, I try to embrace it as an enjoyable part of the journey: one in which I can truly rest, have time for deep undistracted thinking and journaling, and catch up on the podcasts/books/TV shows that I’ve been wanting to dive into. With our trip to Mallorca around the corner (insert all celebratory, dance party emojis here!) I’m starting to make my list of the items that’ll be in my carry-on. Read on for my must-haves, and I’d love to hear in the comments what you consider necessary for the best long flight.
Devices loaded up with way more entertainment than you think you’ll actually need.
Since digital media doesn’t take up any physical space, this is the area where I go hog wild. Make sure to load them up before you leave home since wifi connections at airports can be spotty. Think a good mix of podcasts, videos, books, audio books, and magazines. The key here is variety – for example, I love to read magazines during takeoff, but while I’m drifting off to sleep, a good audiobook will help me get in the zone. And remember, you need enough entertainment to get you through your trip home, too.
Chargers for all your devices – phone, computer, iPad, headphones, cameras.
Even if I don’t think I’ll need them, I always keep my chargers with me in my carry-on in case of flight delays or lost luggage. Make sure you have a USB cord within easy reach on the flight, since most of the new planes have chargers at every seat. They won’t give your phone a very powerful charge, but keeping it plugged in will at least prevent your phone from running down too low.
USB Battery Pack
These external batteries are invaluable for long hauls or airport delays. My Away suitcase has a rechargeable battery built in that I can pop out at airport security and toss into my purse.
Many people like noise cancelling headphones on a flight, but most of them are pretty bulky. I like being able to toss my tiny wireless earbuds into my bag and not have them take up any room. Plus, for me the sound of the airplane’s engine does a lot of the noise cancelling work anyway. I always download a white noise app to my phone to drown out any surrounding noise while I sleep.
Pillow and blanket
If you’re flying business or first, you’ll get a decent pillow and blanket on the flight that usually does the trick for me. In coach, it’s pretty flimsy if you get one at all, so a set like this will make a huge difference in making you comfortable.
Sweater and socks for layering
Airplanes are notorious for having unreliable temperatures, so come prepared in case you get cold. Especially if you’re in a window seat, it can be freezing. I bring a sweater that I can pullover whatever I’m wearing to go to sleep, plus a cozy pair of socks that I wear for the duration of the flight.
Clean healthy snacks
There’s something about being on a plane that makes me want to eat all the pretzels, peanuts, and those warm chocolate chip cookies they sometimes give out on the really long flights. But I’ve learned by now that I inevitably feel gross by the time I get to my destination, and I’d much rather save my indulgences for my actual vacation, you know? Now I pack clean, protein-filled snacks that’ll keep me satisfied and feeling good. Here’s my list:
- Raw carrots and celery – sometimes with a little hummus
- Clementines – lots of them, since peeling them is a great boredom buster
- Pistachios – again, they take some time to open which slows down the pace a bit
- Jerky – I like salmon, but any type of clean brand like Epic is great for a major protein boost, and there are even vegan versions
- snack packs of roasted seaweed. Sounds weird I know, but it’s packed full of nutrients and almost calorie free. If you bring an avocado, you can roll up little pieces in the seaweed for instant sushi vibes and healthy fat.
Make sure you’ve got it on the flight with you, since you’ll need the numbers to fill out your immigration form.
Makeup bag stocked with:
- hydrating lip balm – this is my fave
- nourishing hand cream since planes are super dehydrating
- exfoliating cleansing wipes – I wipe off all my makeup before I go to sleep
- followed by a lightweight travel-sized moisturizer
- for touch-ups before I get off the plane, I need multitaskers! This CC+ Cream, my all-time favorite mascara, and this multiple stick that adds glowy color to cheeks, eyes, and lips.
Comfy cute sweats
I insist on flying comfortably, but I also don’t want to look like a slob. Luckily, sweats are so in right now, and on my Mallorca trip I’ll either be wearing these from Outdoor Voices or these from Lunya. Done!