What to pack for a long flight

Image: m-o-n-i-e-k/deviantart


Comfy pants: Firstly, what you wear is just as important as what you pack. Make sure you wear something that is comfortable and that is going to continue to be comfortable for the next 11-24 hours in a seated position. Tights might seem like a good idea but the tightness around the waist. Jeans, they might feel good for the first couple of hours, but when you’re trying to curl your legs up onto the seat or make yourself comfortable for a bit of a kip, those jeans are going to be more uncomfortable than ever.

Extra clothing: If your flight, like mine, is going to go over a couple of days, then you want to bring an extra pair of underwear, loose singlet and loose pants, if you have the space for it. You don’t want to arrive at the airport smelling and looking like you haven’t showered in days. Your friends and family might not be too enthusiastic about giving you a welcome home hug.

Shoes: At most international airports you are required to remove your shoes when you pass through the security gates. To avoid fuss and time go for a pair of slip-on shoes, sandals or thongs.

Carry-on luggage

  • Lip balm: I am a pretty big fan of pawpaw cream and I never get on a flight without it. The air conditioning and the adjusted air pressure can make for very dry air which means chapped lips and a dry nose too. But when you start feeling dry, slather on some pawpaw or lip balm on your lips and nose and you will feel much more comfortable, albeit looking a bit greasy.
  • Water: While you won’t be able to bring a bottle of water with you through the gates, you can definitely buy a bottle of water once you’re through. And it is worth it again because of the dryness of the air in the cabin. You are going to feel dehydrated at the most inconvenient of times, like when everyone is asleep and it is so much easier when you have a bottle of water on hand.
  • Socks: I generally wear a pair of thongs all the time during long-haul flights and my feet tend to get cold so I always pack a warm pair of bed socks. Make sure they’re nice and wooly and thick. Trust me, you’ll thank me later!
  • Hand sanitizer: Airports and airplanes are filled with people from across the globe. Avoid the spread of bacteria by regularly using hand sanitizer so you don’t have a nasty cold when you touch down at your destination.
  • Deodorant: Self-explanatory really, no one wants to sit next to someone with B.O.
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste: If you’re going to be in transit for at least a day, and have connecting flights, bring a toothbrush and toothpaste. You never know if you’ll miss a flight and have to stay overnight somewhere. If you do pack toothpaste make sure it is less than 100ml.
  • Gifts: Australia is seriously hardcore about border security so have your gifts and anything that you have to declare separate so when you go through there isn’t any awkward rummaging to do.
  • Phone and charger: If you’re stuck at the airport for a few (or 8) hours waiting for your connecting flight, make sure you have something to keep you entertained. Most airports have wifi and wifi is even available flights now too. So, check your email, stalk people on Facebook and tell you’re loved-ones where you are and how you’re doing.
  • Notepad: I don’t know about you, but I seem to do some of my best writing on planes. It’s the stillness, being oblivious of the passing of space and time that invites time for reflection.
  • Book(s): When I came to Colombia I packed about 7 books to take with me. I was backpacking and travelling light but insisted they come with me. Lose yourself in a book and the time will literally fly by!
  • Hairbrush: I don’t know if it’s just me but my hair goes a bit gross if I don’t brush it every once and a while and it gets pretty knotty too so I always pack a hairbrush.

On a long flight you usually receive a pillow and a blanket on board so I don’t mind so much about bringing my own but I do make sure I bring a jacket and pants I can tuck into my socks.

What do you think? What would you add to the list?