Tuesday Travel Tips: Carry-on Essentials for Long Haul Flights

Friday I’m flying home to the states. As per usual, unless I’m pleasantly surprised by an unlikely upgrade, that means an eight hour flight in the close quarters at the back  of the bus in coach followed by a three to four hour layover at JFK  (I don’t care what Delta has to say about it, two hours almost always means missing your connecting flight), followed by another two hour flight to Kansas City. For this length of flight, having certain essentials in your carry-on is a must. Everyone has different priorities and needs for comfortable travel, I suppose, but my list could be a good jumping off point for less-experienced travelers.

Chris’ Carry-on Essentials for Long Haul Flights:

For comfortable sleeping:

  • eye mask
  • neck pillow
  • antihistamines, or night-time cold meds.
For physical comfort on board:
  • glasses (don’t fly long-haul in contacts, trust me)
  • eye drops (flying dries out your eyes, big time)
  • chapstick (flying also dries out your lips)
  • facial lotion (and your skin)
For entertainment purposes:
  • reading material for 8-14 hours. This was a big problem for me before I was given a kindle last Christmas, because I read fast, and I like to have a selection of different things to read depending on my mood, which meant an uncomfortably heavy carry-on. The kindle made this a non-issue for me.

Note: If you plan to buy a kindle anyway, follow the above link and Amazon, without raising the price for you at all, will give me a small kick-back commission–thanks!
  • laptop for if I want to work, or watch dvds (I use a MacBook because I’m an Apple girl from back in the days when Apple had the rainbow-colored logo)
  • laptop charger
  • a notebook to draw, write and scribble in. And if I’m traveling accompanied to play hangman and tic-tac-toe in.
Practical stuff :
  • watch (to keep track of the time electronic devices have to be switched off, and in the airport)
  • phone
  • phone charger and converter if necessary (pay phones are hard to find, and harder to use, so bring your charger, as an outlet hunt is easier by far)
  • local money in cash for all airports (for me this usually means euros and dollars)
  • credit or debit cards (Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted outside the U.S. at least in my experience)
  • A change of underwear, socks, and clothes for if you get stuck somewhere or to freshen up if the kid sitting next to you pukes on your shoulder.
  • Don’t check anything really expensive or important you’re traveling with (jewelry, hard drives, antique books), carry it on.
 joyeria en equipaje de mano

My jewelry always goes in my carry-on because while it may not be worth a fortune, I love it and hate to lose it. Besides, it means I can change my look if I get stuck somewhere- Chris Ciolli

Money-saving stuff:
  • A refillable water bottle. I have the brita one that filters the water for you. It saves me a lot of money on pricy airport beverages.
  • healthy snacks…I like to pack raisins and raw almonds. They help keep the temptation of buying a massive and massively expensive bag of pizza-flavored combo crackers or cheetos at bay. Besides, after flying, who needs the extra salt?
To freshen up after  or during a long flight:
  • travel-sized face wash
  • travel-sized toothpaste
  • toothbrush
  • dental floss
  • tinted moisturizer
  • facial powder (I prefer mineral based)
  • mascara
  • contact lenses
  • travel-sized contact solution
  • a headband, hair tie or hat–something to help conceal the dreaded plane-hair.
  • deodorant (no explanation required)

Worried about what to wear for your next long flight? See this post on comfortable clothes for your flight.


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