The Ultimate Packing List for Long-haul Flights
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Here’s all the gear, toiletries, and accessories you need for long-haul flights.
The golden age of flying — when travelers dressed in their finest as flight attendants manned carving stations in the aisles — is long gone. Nowadays, it’s more often about enduring cartoonishly cramped conditions without so much as a meal included in some à la carte tickets.
These circumstances make it all the more important to prepare adequately for a long-haul flight and bring your own comforts and conveniences because you can’t always count on airline-issued perks. However, packing and dressing in anticipation of how you’ll feel at hour 10 takes careful planning.
Packing Checklist for a Long-haul Flight
Here's a list of things to pack for a long-haul flight including supplies to strategically carry stuff, picks for grooming and cleaning mid-flight, and other items to help you get shut-eye or generally stay comfortable in the air. Use this as a checklist and read on for everything you need — and need to consider — when you know you’ll be spending many (many) hours on a plane.
Clothing and Shoes
Best Lounge Set: JJ Winks Jet Setter Top
Best Cozy Socks: Alo Cashmere Jet Set Socks
Best Slip-on Shoes: Sabah El Paso Shearling Baba
Best Wearable Wrap: L.L. Bean Cozy Sherpa Wearable Throw
Best Travel Pillow: Cabeau TNE S3 Travel Pillow
Best Ear Plugs: Mack's Ultra Soft Foam Earplugs
Best Sleep Mask: Manta Sleep Mask Pro
Best Travel Blanket: Away The Travel Blanket
Best Lip Balm: Lanolips 101 Ointment
Best Under-eye Mask: Grace & Stella Under-eye Mask
Best Hand Cream: Weleda Skin-food Extra Rich Cream
Best Dental Kit: Kulusion Dental Travel Kit
Best Hand Sanitizer: Touchland Power Mist Hand Sanitizer
Best Facial Mist: Mario Badescu Facial Spray Collection
Best Portable Charger: Anker Portable Charger
Best Airplane Footrest: Everlasting Comfort Airplane Footrest
Best Headphones: Bose Noise-canceling Headphones 700
Best Phone Mount: Universal In-flight Plane Holder Mount
Best eReader: Amazon Kindle
Best Reusable Water Bottle: ThermoFlask Stainless Steel Insulated Water Bottle
Best Underseat Bag: Herschel Sutton Duffel
Best Backpack: Everlane ReNew Transit Backpack
Best Tote: Calpak Haven Laptop Tote
Best Waist Pack: Dagne Dover Ace Fanny Pack
Long gone are the days of dressing up to fly. Now, especially under no-frills coach-class conditions, comfort is the name of the game. Dress for relaxation, warmth, and versatility on and off the plane. Layers are key for unpredictable temperature changes mid-flight, too.
JJ Winks Jet Setter Top
Best Lounge Set
My affinity for matching sets when traveling is well documented, and I say coordinated lounge pieces are key for a pulled-together look with the comfort of pajamas. I love this breezy Jet Setter top with a built-in shelf bra for max comfort. Pair it with the Cloud 9 leggings and coordinating Midnight Duster robe for an ultra-soft set that works equally well indoors and out, for both lounging and sleeping.
Price at time of publish: $126 for top, $96 for leggings, and $168 for duster
Alo Women’s Cashmere Jet Set Socks
Best Cozy Socks
Cozy socks are a must on a long-haul flight, both for warmth and for foot protection against the dubious airplane floors. This super-soft, cashmere-blend crew sock keeps feet warm, while still being breathable. Wear them tall or scrunched; the versatile ribbed socks come in black or gray.
Price at time of publish: $44
Sabah El Paso Shearling Baba Shoes
Best Slip-on Shoes
You definitely won’t want to be fussing with buckles or laces on a long-haul flight (and the associated airport screenings), when you're likely to be taking your shoes on and off many times. Made in Texas, this incredibly chic and comfy slip-on is made from undyed, vegetable tanned saddle leather with shearling interior — and comes in men’s sizing, too.
Price at time of publish: $235
L.L. Bean Cozy Sherpa Wearable Throw
Best Wearable Wrap
This super-plush wearable wrap is both super comfy and multifunctional: It’s a wrap and a blanket at the same time. The one-size-fits-all piece has a hood and comes in four neutral colors: white, tan, gray, and navy.
Price at time of publish: $69
Sleeping on long-haul flights requires preparation. Dress comfortably, in layers, and bring along gear that supports the pursuit: a travel blanket, pillow, ear plugs, and an eye mask. Avoid caffeine and choose a window seat, if it’s feasible, to avoid neighbors tapping to wake you up when they need to use the loo.
Cabeau The Neck's Evolution S3 (TNE) Neck Pillow
Best Travel Pillow
Make your coach-class seat with the tragically slim pitch more tolerable for a long-haul flight with a neck pillow to support your head for shuteye. This ergonomic memory-foam one even attaches to the back of the seat for added in-flight comfort, and features a compression carrying bag and fully washable cover for afterwards, too.
Price at time of publish: $50
Related:The 14 Best Products for Sleeping on a Plane of 2023
Mack's Ultra-Soft Foam Earplugs 50 Pair
Best Ear Plugs
These ear plugs are not only effective for blocking out flight noise so you can get some sleep on a long-haul flight, but the pack comes with 50 pairs so you can use them to block out street noise at your urban hotel, or nearby all-night dance parties before your huge meeting abroad. (They’re the same ones I use every night at home, too.) These foam earplugs have a noise reduction rating of 33 decibels.
Price at time of publish: $9 for 50
Manta Sleep Mask Pro
Best Sleep Mask
A sleep mask is a must to facilitate shuteye on a long-haul flight. And this one is next-level: It provides true blackout light protection and it’s fully customizable to fit your head and face. The carved out c-shaped eye cups also put no pressure on lids or lashes (so you can, say, keep that new set of lash extensions looking flawless throughout your trip). The mask comes with a case and wash bag; it’s fully machine washable.
Price at time of publish: $89
Away The Travel Blanket
Best Travel Blanket
Gone are the days when you could depend on an airline-issued blanket in coach. Bring your own to cozy up and get some sleep on a long-haul flight. This one is lightweight and made for travel, with an interior kangaroo pocket for keeping essentials safe, as well as a foot pocket for comfort and warmth.
Price at time of publish: $95
Customize your toiletry and grooming kit for a long-haul flight: Think hand sanitizing spray and/or wipes, pain killer, lip balm, moisturizing cream, and hair ties. Don’t forget a toothbrush and paste to brush up after a long night in flight. While not essential per se, additions like hydrating eye masks and refreshing facial mist can feel downright luxurious after a night in the air.
Lanolips 101 Ointment
Best Lip Balm
A highly moisturizing lip balm is a life saver amid such dehydrated cabin air on a long-haul flight. I swear by this lanolin-based balm because it’s so much more than just a lip balm and it’s clutch for travel: Use it on dry lips, skin patches, cuticles, elbows, and more.
Price at time of publish: $14
Grace & Stella Under Eye Masks
Best Under-eye Mask
Address dark circles before landing with under-eye masks so your flight can double as self-care time. Packed with hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and plant extracts, these patches tackle puffiness, while cooling and hydrating at the same time, and are clean, vegan, and paraben- and sulfate-free, too.
Price at time of publish: $24 for 24 pairs
Weleda Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Cream
Best Hand Cream
The air on planes can be so drying — as can the repeated hand washing and sanitizing that goes along with travel-day vigilance. Use this fan-favorite, ultra-hydrating cream from century-old company Weleda not just on hands, but on elbows, feet, and even faces, too. The 2.5-ounce size is fully TSA compliant.
Price at time of publish: $20
Kulusion Dental Travel Kit (Set of 2)
Best Dental Kit
It’s hard enough to shake off a long-haul flight and move into the world with any sense of alertness; it’s even harder when you can’t brush your teeth because you didn’t think about bringing a toothbrush in your carry-on. Handle your business with this travel set, which comes with two foldable travel toothbrushes, each with a built-in, refillable toothpaste container.
Price at time of publish: $14 for 2
Touchland Power Mist Hand Sanitizer
Best Hand Sanitizer
Hand sanitizer is essential for keeping your hands clean (and for your peace of mind) on a long-haul flight. This mist version comes in mood-boosting scents, like lemon-lime spritz, frosted mint, and citrus grove. Each bottle contains 500 sprays in a moisturizing aloe vera formula.
Price at time of publish: $10
Mario Badescu Facial Spray Collection
Best Facial Mist
A facial spray is a great way not just to hydrate the skin but to refresh when you’re feeling bleary. This travel-sized set of four two-ounce sprays comes with one of each calming or invigorating fragrance: aloe, herbs and rose water; cucumber and green tea; chamomile and lavender; and sage and orange blossom.
Price at time of publish: $20 for 4
You’ll need a range of gear from analog (a pen for filling out customs documents) to high-tech (devices, headphones, and chargers). Don’t forget snacks and a water bottle to stay hydrated and nourished, especially if you’re traveling overnight without consistent food and drink service.
Anker PowerCore Slim 10000 Portable Charger
Best Portable Charger
Hell is finding yourself on an interminably long flight with a dead battery separating you from your movies, podcasts, or audiobooks. Stay charged up in flight with a portable charger like this slim and lightweight 10,000mAh version.
Price at time of publish: $22
Everlasting Comfort Airplane Footrest
Best Airplane Footrest
You know the inner scream you emit when you walk past all those lie-flat business class seats on your way to coach for a long-haul flight? Mitigate the pain by bringing your own footrest. This hammock-style memory foam rest installs over the tray table in front of you and rolls into a travel pouch when not in use.
Price at time of publish: $30
Bose 700 Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
Noise-canceling headphones can make all the difference both for sleep and entertainment on a long flight. This top-quality, editor-loved pair has a lightweight and compact stainless steel headband. Get up to 20 hours of Bluetooth listening on a single charge — that’s enough to cover any single long-haul flight and then some.
Price at time of publish: $379
Related:The 10 Best Noise-canceling Headphones of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
Perilogics Universal In-flight Plane Holder Mount
Best Phone Mount
Full Review:This 'Genius' $13 Phone Stand Makes Watching Movies So Much Easier During Flights
Use this universal clip to clamp your phone to the tray table to watch hours of your preferred movies or shows on your own device. Dual joints rotate 360 degrees so you can watch horizontally or vertically at just the right angle for comfort.
Price at time of publish: $13
Even purists who prefer to travel with actual books might be persuaded to invest in an eReader for a long-haul flight; it’s so much lighter and more convenient to carry. Amazon’s version is affordable and small, with a paper-like display and a battery life that will allow you to read for weeks without a charge.
Price at time of publish: $100
Thermoflask Double Stainless Steel Insulated Water Bottle with Two Lids
Best Reusable Water Bottle
Stay hydrated (and environmentally conscious) by traveling with your own refillable water bottle. This one is easy to carry, keeps water cold for hours, and has a truly leak-proof lid.
Price at time of publish: $35 for 40-ounce
Related:The 11 Best Water Bottles of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
You’ll want to have what you need nearby during a long-haul flight; that is, your most frequently used essentials should be stowed right at your seat. Consider traveling with an underseat tote or backpack, as well as a smaller pouch — like a waist pack — to compartmentalize your most valuable essentials and keep them close.
Herschel Sutton Duffle Bag
Best Under-seat Bag
Choose a bag that fits under the seat in front of you and keeps frequently used essentials nearby, instead of in the overhead compartment (or, gasp, the cargo hold). This classic style has top carrying handles, a removable shoulder strap, and a front sleeve for storage.
Price at time of publish: $70
Everlane ReNew Transit Backpack
Keep everything handy and organized for a long-haul flight with a thoughtfully designed backpack. This one has a 15-inch laptop pocket on the outside for easy TSA access, zip pockets for essentials like passports, an interior slip pocket, two water bottle holders, a magnetic closure, and a trolley strap for rolling luggage. It’s also made from 100-percent recycled polyester.
Price at time of publish: $95
Related:The 14 Most Stylish Travel Backpacks for Women in 2023
Calpak Haven Laptop Tote Bag
This tote is an organized traveler’s dream. It has a removable insert with multiple compartments: a spacious laptop pocket, three smaller interior pockets, and four exterior pockets. Still it’s lightweight and has thick handles, with an adjustable, removable strap, plus a trolley strap for easy carrying.
Price at time of publish: $178
Dagne Dover Ace Fanny Pack
Best Waist Pack
Like the brand’s other travel luggage staples, this Dagne Dover fanny pack is brilliantly designed for maximum function. Neoprene gives it water resistance plus a sleek look, and four pockets keep everything tidy and well-organized. Plus, it’s made from recycled polyester derived from 100-percent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.
Price at time of publish: $95
Related:The 13 Best Fanny Packs of 2023
Tips for Packing for a Long-haul Flight
Keep what you need close at hand
When you’re flying for hours upon hours, you’ll want an array of comforts and conveniences. But they’ll be no use to you if they’re in your checked luggage — or even if they’re in the overhead bin when the seatbelt sign is on. Make sure you have what you need close at hand, under your seat and in the seatback pocket.
To help sort your most essential items from the rest, consider packing a smaller travel pouch to compartmentalize these and keep them close. A tiny keychain flashlight — or even the flashlight on your smartphone — can help you search for small but vital things when the cabin lights are off.
Prioritize versatility and comfort
When you’re getting dressed for a long-haul flight — fresh, rested, alert — it can be hard to imagine how you’ll feel 12 hours into the journey. But try to channel that feeling when you’re choosing clothes: They should be comfortable enough to spend many hours wearing, and ideally to sleep in, too. You should also choose a wardrobe and gear that is versatile enough to wear awake and asleep, on the plane and in the airport, and even as a multitasking item upon arrival. For instance, a drapey layering piece can also serve as a blanket and/or pillow when needed.
Plan for sleep and awake time
Pack items you’ll want for restful sleep such as an eye mask and ear plugs, and bring what you need to make your seat as cozy as possible (like a blanket and pillow). But equally consider the time you’ll spend awake: Have enough entertainment (like movies, books, or games) to keep you busy and allow you to enjoy — as well as just pass — the wakeful time.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I wear on a long flight?
For a long-haul flight, dressing for comfort should be top priority. A coordinating loungewear set is an easy, versatile pick as it's something you’re equally comfortable wearing while awake and asleep, in the airport and on the plane. And dress in layers: Airplane cabins can be unpredictably cold or warm, and any layers you’re not wearing can double as blankets or pillows, too.
How can I fall asleep easier on the plane?
Getting sleep on a long-haul flight will be key to feeling alert on arrival — and it sure helps pass the time, too. Set yourself up for sleep success by dressing in non-constricting clothing. Pack comforts like a blanket and pillow, as well as an eye mask to block out light and distractions, and ear plugs (or noise-canceling headphones) to banish cabin sounds. And avoid caffeinated beverages as well as alcohol as these can disrupt sleep (tempting though they may be).
Why Trust Travel + Leisure
T+L contributor Alesandra Dubin used her experience as a travel and lifestyle writer and professional product reviewer, as well as research, to highlight the most important items for this long-haul flight essentials packing list.
Related:The 11 Best Checked Luggage of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
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