Having the right long flight essentials can turn a basic plane ride into a pleasurable trip that you can almost look forward to (hey, I said almost!) So, track down the neck pillow that will help you sleep better or prepare a healthy snack for your in-flight cravings. If you’re planning on spending many hours in the air, it’s worth taking the time to factor in comfort when prepping for the trip ahead.
Whether you’re flying across the United States or jetting all the way around the world, consider these long-haul flight must-haves, from carry-ons and comfy socks to the best headphones and TSA-approved beauty and grooming necessities.
A long flight doesn’t always warrant a large suitcase that you have to check. I’m a fan of carrying on the Away suitcase because it’s well-designed with spaces for everything you may need; it even comes with a built-in phone charger. For a smaller carrier that fits under your seat and will hold all your long-haul flight essentials, I recommend this United by Blue genius bag that can convert from a backpack to shoulder bag. It’s light and has zippered compartments to safely stow your things.
The airplane pillow is a highly debated topic among frequent travelers and for good reason. There is no one-size-fits-all solution; we all come in different sizes and shapes and have our own sleeping patterns.
The Infinity Pillow is a versatile pillow that can twist and wrap to transform and fit the needs of the space you’re in. The pillows by Ostrich look a little bizarre, but in the name of comfort, do you really care? If you’re stuck in the middle seat, opt for the Trtl, it’s a neck wrap that gives you support so you can rest in a comfortable position. And if carrying a large travel pillow discourages you from bringing one, try Travelrest’s inflatable pillow for a compact cure.
A footrest is for serious flyers that want to transform their seat into a cozy space. It attaches onto your tray table, allowing you to have a place to rest your feet. Make sure to buy one that separates your feet, or it can get uncomfortable. And don’t forget a good eye mask; it’s is a game changer when your neighbor has a reading light on.
What you wear is one of the easiest ways to achieve comfort on a long flight. Your outfit should be a mixture of comfort and practicality. The “airplane mode” cozy sweatshirt and pants by The Laundry Room are a cozy and quirky option.
Layers are also a good idea to prepare for fluctuations in cabin temperature. Bring a big scarf; not only can you use it as a blanket, but it’s also a great stand-in for a pillow. The Crane & Lion wrap sweater is another long flight essential because it can morph into many different styles to fit your airplane needs.
Compression socks are a must if you have swollen ankles or just like comfy socks, like these by United by Blue.
A lot of planes either don’t have outlets for plugs or they are broken when you’re in dire need of a charge, so traveling with the portable myCharge charger is a must. It comes with a built-in cord to juice up your phone and a USB port.
These Sony noise-canceling headphones will save you from loud airplanes, screaming children and chatty neighbors when you’re trying to snooze.
And this may not be a tech recommendation, but don’t forget a pen! You’d be surprised by how many people don’t travel with this necessity.
There’s nothing wrong with a little self-care in the air! Break out your TSA-friendly beauty and grooming products that are 3.4 ounces or less and keep your skin hydrated and protected from germs, dry cabin air and the sun’s rays (UV light still affects your skin through that tiny airplane window).
Use a face mist like this one from Caudalie to keep your skin fresh, and seal it with Tata Harper’s Retinoic Nutrient Face Oil, which will act as a barrier for your skin from the air on the airplane. Don’t forget lip balm, moisturizer, SPF, hand sanitizer, deodorant and toothbrush. You can also travel with a small tube of pure coconut oil, an all-in-one product that can stand in as a moisturizer, lip balm and more.
Sitting in one place on a plane can wreak havoc on your body. T-Spheres are travel-size aromatherapy massage balls you can use for pain and to increase circulation, and the Gaiam Finger Massager is the perfect tool to help with swollen hands from traveling.
While airplanes offer meals and snacks on the plane, bringing your own nibbles will ensure you’ll actually enjoy them. I prefer to make snacks like roasted almonds or chickpeas if I have time before traveling.
Bring a Klean Kanteen water bottle and fill it up at the airport to avoid having to buy expensive plastic bottles. It’s light and will keep your water cold for hours.
A few more smart items to bring on the plane: a reusable spork and a bandana, so you won’t have to ask the flight attendant for utensils or a napkin, and you can reuse them throughout your entire trip.
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Tell us your long flights essentials in the comments!