Flying can be equal parts exciting and stressful. Yes, you’re looking forward to that destination touchdown, but you can’t avoid the steps necessary to get to that point. One of those steps happens to be packing, which, more often than not, is a dreadful experience for many flyers.
Plus, that’s not the only thing you have to take care of, either. If you’ve been flying for a while now, you’ll know that the events leading up to the packing itself—shopping, making calls and arrangements, and more—can only add to the stress of the situation.
For the purpose of easing the load on your next flight, we’ve compiled a list of carry-on essentials for long flights. This is to help you stay ahead of the game and fly like a seasoned traveler.
Carry-On Essentials Checklist
Before putting your packing skills to the test, make sure you’ve grabbed all these essentials first. Also, since personal needs differ, you’re free to tweak the checklist as you see fit. What’s most important is that you’ve covered the basics, namely:
1. Cash, Credit Cards, IDs, Etc.
What should be inside your backpack or tote bag? Aside from housing your passport, your carry-on should also contain your wallet, a pack of tissues, and a hygiene kit. Make sure you have your ID, a bit of cash, and some credit cards in your wallet, too.
Beginning October 2021, the TSA will require travelers to present REAL IDs to fly within the United States. This could be either a compliant or state-issued driver’s license, a valid passport, U.S. military ID, or other forms of identification deemed acceptable.
2. Hygiene Kit
With a pandemic wreaking havoc around the world, it is all the more important to take extra health and safety precautions during a long flight.
Pack some antibacterial wipes, a travel-sized sanitizer, and a bottle of alcohol in your hygiene kit. In this way, you can disinfect handles and surfaces before touching them. Also, if you’re traveling alone, make it a point to keep to yourself and observe social distancing at all times.
3. Travel Toiletries and Airplane Essentials
A TSA-approved extra small cube is where you may place travel toiletries and airplane essentials, like earplugs, eye masks, chargers, pens, and journals. This clear and easy-to-grab container, when packed with all these flight must-haves, can make long hours in the air much less stressful.
4. First Aid Kit
Using another extra small or small cube that’s TSA-compliant, you can bring a first aid kit on your flight. There’s really no telling what could happen during your time in the air—you could feel sick from the airplane food or trip and fall on your way to the bathroom.
When packing a first-aid kit, make sure it includes the following:
- Pain medication
- Nasal spray
- Altitude meds
- Anti-diarrhea meds
- Antibacterial wipes
A first-aid kit might not be necessary if you’re only flying for two hours, but what if your flight is 18 hours? This may subject you to some serious boredom and some potentially “messy” and hassling situations.
5. Anti-Boredom Items
If sleeping doesn’t work, then there’s a bunch of items that just might help kill the boredom during a lengthy flight. You can pack a good book, an iPad, a pair of headphones, a charged laptop, or even a coloring book for an entertaining way to pass the time.
Again, you can place these items on a TSA-approved cube. Its compact size and transparency help you identify the contents in the cube and pull it out of your carry-on.
6. Stuff for Beating the Cold
There’s no questioning how cold it can get as you get higher and higher up there. As such, you’ll want to ready the following items to beat the chill and stay comfortable while flying. Here’s what you need to bring:
- Neck pillow
- Small blanket
- Extra socks
You may also call the airline ahead of time to see if they can provide any of these items. In most cases, a small blanket is usually available on the plane.
6. “Fresh” Pack
No one wants to arrive at his or her destination looking tired and out of it. Although a long-haul flight can leave you looking less than appealing, a “fresh” pack should be able to come to your rescue.
When packing a “fresh” pack, include the following items:
- Travel toothbrush and toothpaste
- Hand sanitizer
Long Flight Must-Haves
Besides the basic travel essentials you need, there may be additional items you want to bring. We know our list isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to your long-flight traveling woes, so feel free to make adjustments as you see fit. In this way, you’ll never have to worry about packing or going on a long-haul flight as much as you used to before.