What to Pack in Your Long Flight Carry-On

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If you’ve ever been on a long-haul flight, you know that it is absolutely no fun. Unless you are miraculously bumped into first class or you are a glutton for punishment, flights over three hours tend to be the worst. Even if you pay for the good airline, it can be difficult to just sit and relax for those hours.

So what can you do? Well, the only thing you really can do is plan to keep yourself occupied and comfortable. You’re relegated to what you can fit on your body and into your carry-on, unfortunately. Here’s a rundown:

What to Wear

You want to be comfortable, which means stashing some clothing in your carry-on. Most people wear comfortable clothing and shoes for the airport, but that doesn’t always carry over to the plane.

Bring a nice pair of thick socks to keep your feet warm. Choose a pair that won’t make your feet sweat, but will keep them comfortable. You also want to get a pair that won’t lose their shape as you wear them so that you can use them on the return flight. If you need them, remember to bring compression socks.

Bring a scarf so that you can use it as a cover, a pillow, or a way to shield your eyes from the lights.

You may also want to bring a sweater or a hoodie with you. Since you can put this on your body, do so. This will save you room in your carry-on and your luggage. If the flight is too warm, you can use the hoodie as a pillow. Of course, it is also the universal sign of “don’t bother me” when you have your hood up.

Try to wear pants that aren’t too tight either. While those skinny jeans might look cute, trying to pull them up in an airplane bathroom doesn’t.


Speaking of things that aren’t cute: airplane food. It is a joke that writes itself. You want to bring snacks onto the plane if you can. For long flights, you will get meals so you might want to bring things to supplement them if you can plan ahead. For your snacks, bring protein. Stick with the basics: unsalted almonds, jerky, dried fruit, whole fruit, trail mix, protein bars, and dark chocolates. Avoid bringing anything that is too smelly. While you might love that salad with spinach, kale, and tuna, the rest of your cabin will absolutely hate it and you.

Make sure to bring a water bottle as well. Plane cabins are notoriously dry and if you want to look your best on your trip, you have to hydrate. Put a reusable water bottle into your carry on and then fill it before you get onto the plane. From there, most flight attendants will help you and fill it for you.


What is there to do on a plane? A whole lot of nothing. Bring things that you know will keep you entertained for a long amount of time. There is no time like the present to download all of the Harry Potter books on your Kindle and reread them. Don’t try to read your homework because you know it won’t happen. Bring a book of crossword puzzles or sudoku if you think that will keep you occupied. Whatever you do, bring a few pens because someone else will ask you for one and a sheet of paper from your book.

You can also download those movies you wanted to watch, binge watch a show, or listen to that podcast. Just make sure you have headphones.

Of course, you will also have your companions, so think of things to talk about or do with that person.


Depending on when your flight actually gets to your location, you might have to be ready to go. Sitting on a plane for fourteen hours can make you feel absolutely disgusting. This is why you absolutely need to put some toiletries into your carry-on, even if you don’t think you’ll need them.

The first step is to have a toothbrush and your toothpaste. Brushign your teeth will make you feel like a new person. The same thing goes for washing your face. If you do that, you may also want to bring some makeup.

Having deodorant or perfumes wipes never hurts either.

Some of the other items you want to bring include Tylenol, lip balm, a brush, moisturizer, and gum.

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Remember to always look ahead and see what you can take on a plane and what you can’t. Make sure that your carry-on meets the requirements of the airline or you will be stuck with a whole bunch of nothing at all. Your bag should fit under the seat in front of you. Keep everything organized because you might not have the room to root around to find your charging cable.


What to Pack in Your Long Flight Carry-On

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