15 Long Flight Essentials that You need to buy Before Traveling
Next week, we are heading to Cambodia and Vietnam for 12 days, and if anyone has ever flown economy to these countries, you know that it’s a long haul! After one 24-hour flight to Bali and even a shorter 12-hour trip to Scotland (heck even short trips across the country), we quickly realized how critical it is to have a bag of long flight essentials with you at all times. Someday we will be able to afford first class but for now, it’s Amazon to the rescue with these items!
These 15 long flight essentials will keep you looking and feeling your best so that you can arrive ready to explore without any downtime.
1.) PACK A LONG FLIGHT ESSENTIALS MINI-KIT
This little mini-kit should be in a small bag that you can easily pull out of your carry on and keep with you as needed. It’s basically an airplane survival kit!
Here’s what we always have in ours:
Lip balm and lotion
Facial spray (not necessary but nice to have)
Ibuprofen, first aid needs, and/or other meds - If you’re anything like me, my entire body tightens up when I fly and popping two ibuprofen before flying keeps me from wiggling around the whole time. We also suggest looking into any natural pain remedies as well such as CBD, Turmeric, Curamin (we swear by these), etc.
Headphones (2 pairs just incase something happens to one)
Wall & portable chargers
Folding toothbrush and toothpaste
Tissues - You would not believe how much these come in handy. From spills to allergy attacks, to weird things that you touch on airplanes and everything in between.
Box or bag of earplugs
Zicam or other immune boosters
Batteries for any device that might need them - Pro tip: most noise-canceling headphones need AAA batteries and might need to be replaced at least once during a long flight
2.) DUAL OUTLETS, PHONE SPLITTERS, INTERNATIONAL ADAPTORS, AND OTHER CORDS
There is nothing worse than not having enough outlets or not being able to charge your phone/tablet and listen to music at the same time (THANKS A LOT APPLE!) We recommend bringing a mini outlet port - not sure if airplanes really allow this but you can probably get away with it if it’s small.
Here’s some that we like:
International adaptor - we recommend always having two or three of these!
3.) CORD AND ELECTRONICS ORGANIZER
With all of your new cords and fancy splitters, you’re going to want a way to keep them nice and organized. As photographers, we travel with all of our gear and computer equipment so this is a must! I honestly used to stuff all of my cords in one pocket in my backpack and it became a tangled nightmare. Trust us, this thing is a game changer!
Electronics organizer - comes in all different sizes and colors.
4.) A TRAVEL PILLOW AND BLANKET
Travel pillows and blankets come in all shapes and sizes so this will all be a personal preference as to what kind you buy but they are definitely a must for a comfortable travel experience.
Inflatable pillow - I love this thing! It’s small, fits in my airplane survival kit, and I can adjust the firmness with the amount of air
Hoodie pillow -because no one wants to put their head on the seat
and if you’re into this over the top pillow, by all means!
For blankets, most airlines will provide blankets on international flights (however I have heard some horror stories about these not being washed.) I usually bring a big scarf or a wrap that doubles as a blanket. James just uses whatever is provided because he’s a dude and doesn’t care!
5.) WATER BOTTLE AND COLLAPSABLE CUP
Always carry a water bottle with you when traveling! We’re not going to get preachy here but please help save the planet and use a reusable bottle and/or cup on your travels. Traveling to other countries opens one’s eyes to the MAJOR plastic problem that we have on this planet. We’ve not only seen plastic bottles all over forests and in the ocean but we’ve seen (and smelt) the horrible act of burning plastic in Southeast Asia. Do your part and bring a reusable bottle and be sure to fill it with safe, drinkable water. Tip: worried about water? carry iodine tablets or a small water filter (can be purchased on Amazon or at REI.)
Hydro flask - expensive but worth it!
6.) COMPRESSION SOCKS
If you’ve been on a long flight without compression socks and tend to swell, you know that this is not fun for anyone (speaking from personal experience). Compression socks actually work and greatly reduce swelling.
7.) EYE MASKS, EARPLUGS, AND OTHER WORLD BLOCKERS
If you aren’t reading or watching movies during your flight, chances are, you’ll want to sleep and block out all sounds, slights, lights, smells… you name it.
Here are some of our top recommendations
“Bugged-eyed” eye mask so that it doesn’t press on your eyes when you sleep
Macks putty earplugs - these things work SO well
Normal earplugs if you aren’t a fan of the putty
Noise canceling headphones
Face masks if you feel like you want to block out germs too
A hoodie, blanket or scarf to cover your face
Essential oils - rub a few drops on your hand or pillow and drift into a blissful, airplane-smell-free world.
8.) TRAVEL WALLET OR FANNY PACK
Having all of your travel documents in one convenient spot is extra helpful when you’re running through the airport or carrying a million and a half things. These fanny packs (and these) may be nerdy (although back in style) but they come in handy every time. Keep your passport, boarding passes, drivers license, one or two credit cards, cash, tissues, and any other immediate essentials in here. We’ve also seen people using travel wallets which seem great as well.
Movies and TV: Word to the wise, don’t rely on the airplane to have TVs or even working TVs for that matter. We’ve been on flights were one of us ends up being the unlucky one with a broken TV. We’ve also been on long flights that don’t have TVs or zero good options. If you’re one of those people that can either just read or sleep on the plane then we applaud you! But we both have short attention spans and need a mixture of all types of entertainment. Download movies and tv shows ahead of time to your laptop, phone, or tablet. We use the Netflix app which allows you to download unlimited movies and shows.
Books: Either in a tablet or in real paper form. Have enough variety and topics that will satisfy whatever mood you’re in. I’ve made the mistake of only bringing a few business books on the plane and really just wanting to relax into a novel and not use my brain.
Games: again, phone, tablet or in a book. Find something to keep your mind and hands occupied. Our current favorite is the 2048 app. Be careful, it’s addicting!
Journal: Sometimes ideas or thoughts hit in the middle of the flight and you’ll want a place to jot those ideas down.
10.) SLEEPING REMEDIES AND JET LAG MEDS
Ok so we aren’t here to tell you to go a drug yourself into zombie mode but we do have some recommendations for natural sleeping remedies to take the edge off.
No-Jet-Lag - homeopathic remedy for jetlag. We haven’t tried these yet but will report back after the trip!
Melatonin and other natural sleeping pills
Lavender essential oils
Calm App or relaxation music
Herbal supplements such as valerian, lemon balm, passion flower, and chamomile - check with your doctor before taking herbal supplements if you have any health issues.
11.) DISINFECTING WIPES
You don’t even want to know what kind of gross things have been found on airplanes especially on the tray tables. Sometimes I don’t care but other times I feel like my area needs to be clean! I realized how useful these are when I opened my tray table to a gooey mess from what looked like jelly or a melted candy and the lady next to me handed my a Lysol wipe. THANK YOU WHOEVER YOU ARE!
12.) ZICAM OR OTHER IMMUNE BOOSTERS
We recommend taking these, along with vitamin C or echinacea a few days before your flight and then maybe even a few during the flight (just be sure to check with a doctor if you have health issues and read the bottle for correct dosage.) Zicam makes fruit gummies that are awesome and actually work, however, they do have sugar and some dyes in them so be mindful of this if you’re trying to be health conscious.
This is something that we seem to always forget! Airplanes usually provide food but it’s limited to mealtimes and sometimes the food isn’t great. We recommend packing healthy snacks that will keep you going such as power bars, nut bars, fruit, and anything else your heart desires!
14.) BEAUTY NEEDS
A lot of you may not need this tip and some people care more than others but planes can be very dehydrating to your skin, hair and nails. Pack a facial spray or hydrating face mask so that you’ll look and feel your best when you arrive. I like to put some oil in my hair and then tie it up during the flight. Lotion and cuticle oil are also great to keep your hands moisturized.
15.) COMFORTABLE CLOTHING AND SHOES
I’m not sure how people still can dress up for long flights. This may go without saying but the key to a great flight is to be comfortable! Loose fitting clothing, comfortable shoes that you can easily slip on and off, and wool socks (wool stays dry and helps you stay warmer and cooler.) Dress in layers that you can easily take off if the plane is too warm or add on if it’s too cold. Planes can never seem to get the temperature just right!
CARRY ON BAGS
We highly recommend only flying with carry-on bags when traveling internationally. There is too much risk for bags being lost when you’re traveling across the world. Check your airline regulations before choosing or packing your carry on bags. I once made this mistake and had to check my bag and carry all of my extra electronics in my hands onto the airplane. It was a mess. Thankfully the bag arrived on time and all was fine but this is an important lesson.
We both travel with an Away roller bag and a backpack.
Some bags that we love:
AWAY - Lifetime warranty and incredible quality make this high price totally worth it!
Osprey - another lifetime warranty. We love their Porter 30-Liter for carry on
Travel bag from Amazon
TripIt is an awesome app that connects with your email to automatically pull in flight itineraries and hotel reservations. It also pulls in all of the information like confirmation number, gate number, duration, maps of the airports, layovers etc to make your trip extra easy. 24 hours before your flight, just open the app and click check in and TripIt will automatically connect to your airline’s website and pre-copy your confirmation code.
You can also upload copies of your travel documents in case something is misplaced and protect them with a pin. We love that the app sorts all of our upcoming trips as well, by name, so that we can see what’s next on the calendar.
GET TRAVEL INSURANCE
Travel insurance gives you peace of mind and allows you to travel worry-free. If you do decide to check a bag and the bag gets lost, travel insurance will have your back. As well as if something is stolen, a flight gets canceled with no refunds, you get sick and can’t continue the journey, etc. World Nomads is a great place to start.