21 Long Flight Must Haves

21 Long-Haul Flight Essentials by Alicia Tenise

The first time I left the United States, I didn’t visit Canada or even Mexico—I went to China. At the time, I was only 17 years old and found the 3-hour flight to Florida pretty tedious. I had no idea what to expect while flying halfway across the world.

Several years and several thousand frequent flyer miles later, I’ve learned ways to make those long-haul flights as comfortable as possible, whether I’m traveling in Economy or living large in First Class. 

With just a little planning, you can make your next 10+ hour flight go by in a breeze — no matter the airline and no matter what class your fare is. Today, I am sharing a roundup of essential items that can help make long flights as comfortable as possible

21 Long Flight Must Haves

I’ve decided to break down my long-haul flight essentials into a few categories since I know not everyone has the exact needs or priorities while traveling. If you’re skincare obsessed, you might want to pack a few more of your travel-sized beauty essentials. If you’re someone, like my partner, capable of traveling in jeans, you might want to skip the clothing essentials mentioned here. Feel free to pick and choose what essentials work best for you and your travel style, throw it into your carry-on, and go!

Carry-On Essentials For Long Flights
 

trtl Travel and Airplane Pillow

Best Travel Pillow for Long-Haul Flights: trtl Travel and Airplane Pillow

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I’ve tried many travel pillows over the years, and the typical U-shaped ones just don’t seem to work well for me (or most of the people I know, candidly).

What makes the trtl Travel and Airplane Pillow so different from other travel pillows is that it’s lightweight and washable, and you can choose which side you want support on while you rest. This pillow’s neck support is phenomenal, and I don’t see myself returning to the typical neck pillow any time soon.

Best Water Bottle for Long-Haul Flights: LARQ Self Cleaning Water Bottle

BUY AT REVOLVE  
 
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Let’s face it: airlines don’t always do the best job at keeping you utterly hydrated during a long flight, and a good water bottle is something you’ll want to bring along with you. I’m a massive fan of this LARQ Water Bottle because it uses UV-C LED light to eliminate up to 99.99% of bio-contaminants from the water & bottle. I nearly cried when I left it behind on an Italy trip a few years ago, but even though I had plenty of other water bottles at home, none of them beat the LARQ for travel.

Best Hand Sanitizer For Long-Haul Flights: Touchland Hydrating Hand Sanitizer

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If you’re not traveling with hand sanitizer in the year of our Lord 2024, I have questions—many, many questions. Protect yourself and others, and ensure a hand sanitizer is on you when traveling—no matter how long the flight.

I enjoy the Touchland Hand Sanitizers because they’re genuinely no-fuss—they’re a spray instead of a gel, so you’ll get the right amount of product dispensed each time. It’s also one of the few hand sanitizers on the market that is hydrating, which you’ll need on a super dry plane. 

Best Portable Charger For Long-Haul Flights: Anker Power Bank

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I’m going to be candid with you: this travel bank by Anker is heavier than your typical portable charger. However, it packs a serious punch.

With this power bank, you can charge up to four devices at a time, and the battery has enough power to charge an iPhone 7.5 times, an iPad Pro 3 times, a Macbook Pro 3.5 times, and multiple charges for Samsung phones. I love that this can charge much more than just my phone, and it also works with bigger devices. Plus, if you’re traveling with a friend or loved one, you will be the group’s MVP since they can borrow a charge from you.

Best Disinfecting Wipes For Long-Haul Flights: Lysol Handi-Pack Wipes

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Pandemic restrictions might have been lifted, but let’s keep some of those cleanliness habits when we travel, shall we?

You’re still exposed to plenty of germs while traveling, so give your seat and tray table a good wipe down when you board the plane. I use these on any flight, regardless of the length, to protect myself. My immune system is already a little vulnerable when I travel, so if I can disinfect something, I will!

Clothing & Accessory Essentials For Long Flights

Best Lounge Set For Long-Haul Flights: Spanx AirEssentials Sets
 

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Comfort is key when traveling, and this lightweight set from Spanx will keep you cozy throughout your journey. The fabrics used in their AirEssentials line are incredibly soft and have a 4-way stretch, which is ideal for folks on the move. The Half Zip and Wide Leg Pants are pictured above, but I’m also a big fan of their Crew Neck Sweatshirt and tapered Pants for long travel days.

Best Travel Wrap For Long-Haul Flights: White and Warren Travel Wrap
 

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This cashmere wrap is an investment, but it has become one of my travel essentials. I tend to get cold on flights (especially the long-haul, international flights, for some reason!), and while long-haul flights usually provide you with an airline-issued blanket, I will take it if I can get some extra warmth. The White and Warren Travel Wrap is a great, versatile piece to bring along with you — it works for long flights, can double as a scarf, and works great as an extra layer in the summer if you’re visiting a venue with intense air conditioning.

Best Sleeping Mask For Long-Haul Flights: Slip Pure Silk Sleep Mask
 

Buy at Nordstrom

A sleep mask is essential for a good night’s sleep on a long flight. Even if your neighbor decides to watch a movie or turn on their reading light during the flight, you can still block out the light and get some rest. I love to pack this in my carry-on, but I’ll also use a sleep mask throughout my vacation since light exposure will dictate how quickly you can recover from jet lag. 

I was gifted the Slip Sleep Mask a few years ago, and I have used it extensively over the years. It’s a little more pricey than your typical sleep mask, but since this mask is made with silk, it won’t irritate your skin or cause breakouts. If you’re investing in your skincare routine, you might as well opt for the better sleep mask.

Best Slippers For Long-Haul Flights: L.L. Bean Sweater Fleece Slipper Scuff
 

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I think we can all agree that going barefoot on a flight is a big faux pas, but I am someone who absolutely will change out of her sneakers once I’m in the air on a long flight. My feet swell on flights, so I’ll wear compression socks and slippers for maximum comfort.

These L.L. Bean slippers are fantastic both on and off an airplane — for the price, they hold up incredibly well, they offer excellent arch support, 

Best Compression Socks For Long-Haul Flights: Bombas Everyday Compression Socks
 

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Compression socks for long-haul flights are an absolute non-negotiable for me. Like many women, I take medication that increases the risk of blood clots, and you are also at a higher risk for blood clots when flying. As much as I will try to get up and walk around during a flight to keep my circulation going, depending on your seating arrangement, you might not be able to walk around as much as you’d like on a longer flight.

My go-to compression socks are from Bombas. I opt for their Everyday Compression Socks for flights, as their Performance Compression is designed for much more rigorous physical activity.

Beauty & Hygiene Essentials For Long-Haul Flights

Best Face Mist For Long-Haul Flights: Caudalie Beauty Elixir
 

Buy at Sephora

If you know me, you’ll know that I love my skincare routine. And even on a long flight, I’ll try to do as much skincare as possible. There’s no way someone could complete their entire skincare routine on a flight, but there are ways to freshen up during a long flight.

One skincare product that I’ll always have on hand while traveling? The Caudalie Beauty Elixir. I love that this product can be used in several ways: it works great as a toner and a setting spray, and it just feels incredible for a bit of a refresh. This face mist will leave your skin looking dewy and great for all skin types.

Best Body Wipes For Long-Haul Flights: The Honey Pot Company Feminine Wipes
 

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Speaking of freshening up, you won’t often have access to a shower for an extended period on travel days. And if you take an international flight, there is a chance that you’ll arrive several hours before you can check in to your hotel.

One product that I’ve been traveling with frequently lately is the Hotel Pot Feminine Wipes. I like that you can use these anywhere on the body and face; they’re pH-balancing, sulfate-free, and fragrance-free. These wipes are a great way to refresh on the go.

Best Deodorant For Long-Haul Flights: Megababe Geo Deo
 

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I have to preface this by saying that the best deodorant for you to bring on any trip is the one that works best for your body. I always experience a bit of trial and error when trying new deodorants, and I try to commit to 2 to 3 weeks of use before determining if it will work for me.

If you are looking for a new natural deodorant and have time to try it before leaving on a trip, I’d highly recommend The Geo Deo by Megababe. This woman-owned company normalizes “taboo” body issues. This clean deodorant is aluminum-free, vegan, and dermatologist-approved.

Best Hand Cream For Long-Haul Flights: Nécessaire The Hand Cream
 

Buy at Nordstrom

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One of my least favorite things about flying is that my skin loses pretty much all its moisture while in the cabin! Even if you’re drinking copious amounts of water on a flight, your skin will probably be extra dry before getting off the plane. That’s why moisturizers and masks are essential on long-haul flights.

Whenever I let someone use this hand cream when I’m out and about, they rave over it and eventually purchase it themselves. I love how this product alone provides long-lasting moisture and has become a staple in my beauty routine.

Best Lip Mask For Long-Haul Flights: LANEIGE Lip Sleeping Mask
 

Buy at Sephora

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I love to use this product on long-haul flights and daily in the evening, right before I go to bed. The LANEIGE Lip Sleeping Mask delivers intense moisture and antioxidants, and when I’m in super dry environments, I like to use it over a regular lip balm. It packs a punch and will keep your lips hydrated.

Best Eye Mask For Long-Haul Flights: Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Eye Masks
 

Buy at Sephora

Let’s face it: you have a lot of time to kill during a long flight. What better time to practice some self-care and pamper yourself? These Wander Beauty eye masks are ideal for travel: hydrate, minimize fine lines, and depuff, and no one will detect a hint of jet lag after your in-flight skincare routine.

Best Dental Kit For Long-Haul Flights: Haven Toothbrush Cover
 

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For travel, ditch the disposable travel toothbrushes and grab a cover for the electric toothbrush you use daily. I’ve been using these covers from Haven for the past few years, and I love the price point and how easy they are to clean. They are also designed to fit many different toothbrush brands, including Quip, Sonicare, Oral B, and Aquacare. 

I like to pack my toothbrush in a pouch along with my other in-flight skincare items so I can brush my teeth before I go to sleep and when I wake up on overnight flights. Besides packing my electric toothbrush, I’ll snag some travel-sized toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash from my local Target or grocery store to complete my dental kit.

Best Travel Brush For Long-Haul Flights: Gimme Beauty Mini Travel Hair Brush
 

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Listen: we all sleep in questionable positions when we’re on a long flight, and we could all use a bit of hair touch-up before we land. One of my favorite brushes on the market is the Gimmie Beauty Mini Travel Hair Brush. They have three different brushes designed for fine hair, medium hair, and thick hair, and I love how easily I can detangle with this product. 

These brushes are also heat resistant, antistatic, and anti-frizz, so despite the long journey, you’ll still look like you’re having a fantastic hair day when you deplane.

Best Entertainment For Long Flights

Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones For Long-Haul Flights: Bose QuietComfort Wireless Headphones
 

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If you travel a lot, no matter how long your flight is, noise-canceling headphones will make your travel experience so much more pleasant. I bring these with me every time I board a plane, and blocking out the sounds of every other passenger around you is heavenly. 

I purchased the Bose QuietComfort Headphones a few years ago, and I’m impressed with how well they’ve held up with frequent air travel. You have the option to toggle the noise cancelation on and off, so I can throw these in a bag to use at a coffee shop or bring them with me to the airport—I love how versatile they are. The battery life is about 17-18 hours, so these should get you through even the longest of travel days.

Twelve South AirFly Pro Bluetooth Wireless Audio Transmitter

Best USB Bluetooth Jack For Long-Haul Flights: Twelve South AirFly Pro Bluetooth Wireless Audio Transmitter
 

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The only downside to using wireless headphones is that you won’t be able to plug them right into the headphone jack for in-flight entertainment. However, this won’t be an issue if you pack a USB Bluetooth jack. 

This device will wirelessly transmit audio from in-flight entertainment to up to two different sets of headphones, so you can enjoy the in-flight entertainment with your quality earbuds instead of borrowing the airline’s standard wired headphones. You can also use this product at the gym, rental cars that don’t have Bluetooth, and wired speakers, making it a very versatile product. Don’t miss out on watching your favorite TV show—this transmitter will come in handy!

Best E-Reader For Long-Haul Flights: Amazon Kindle
 

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As much as I love bringing physical books when I travel, sometimes I don’t have the extra space in my carry-on or personal items. I’ve had an Amazon Kindle for years, and it truly is the best lightweight e-reader option that I’ve had. It’s so easy to purchase titles for download on the go, or you can subscribe to Kindle Unlimited and get access to over 2 million titles. 

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Planning your next trip? Check out my travel tips for more inspiration!

Top photo by Tom McGovern

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1 Comments

  1. Christine wrote:

    So many great recommendations on here – taking notes of everything I need to get before my 14-hour flight to Japan this fall! Haha

    I definitely need to check out the face mist and USB Bluetooth jack (do you know if it still works if the airline’s plug-in spot has two prongs)? And those exact Bose headphones and Bombas compression socks are already staples of long-haul flights for me!

    Posted 6.7.24 Reply