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After my most recent long haul flight from Bangkok to Los Angeles I spent 19 hours on a journey that could have been a lot less comfortable had it not been for Japan Airlines and their plush economy service PLUS my 5 international flight essentials.
5 Flight Essentials for International Travel
As a long term traveler, I maximize my cash by taking economy flights which doesn’t leave much room for luxury especially when my goal, full time travel or not, is to pack light.
My luggage includes 1 carry-on size wheeled Osprey Meridian that I like to check after a long trip and the detachable daypack I carry on board with me housing my most valuable possessions and in-flight essentials.
My priorities for flight essentials include items that provide me comfort, warmth, and entertainment. These 5 items make any flight long or short much more bearable and even enjoyable for me. I love to fly!
Surprised to find packing cubes on my 5 flight essentials list? Because comfort is number one on my international flights, I carry on all the warm items I packed for the trip in order to make sure I am never cold on the plane.
In my packing cube you’ll find my sleeping liner (below), a pair of socks, leggings (if I’m not wearing them), hoodie, 2 scarves, and jacket. Not only are these the warmest items I travel with but they are also the heaviest items making my main baggage weight minimal.
Watch the packing tutorial on Youtube!
In 2017, I launched Compass Rose Travel Accessories and my very first product was a 4-Piece Set of Carryon Packing Cubes. These are the only packing cubes sized to fit the exact width of a carryon suitcase and they also have a unique color-coded and numbered organization system – the only kind currently available anywhere on the market.
I put together a five-part YouTube series showing you the different methods to use packing cubes. If you use this specific packing strategy, they can also compress your belongings. This is the secret to traveling carryon only!
Watch this video tutorial to learn how you can compress the space in your luggage, making it easier to travel carry-on only!
While most airlines provide a blanket for you on night journeys, this is never warm enough for me. Without a sleeping liner I would freeze cold on most flights causing me discomfort and making me feel more susceptible to illness.
My sleeping liner saves the day keeping me warm, cozy, and allowing me to sleep a bit easier. If I don’t use my liner on a flight, warm socks are essential.
I also use this sleeping liner in hostels, budget guesthouses, boats, trains, and for camping or multi-day treks. Plus, it keeps mosquitos and sand flies from biting me in tropical areas!
Want to look your best when traveling but still be comfortable. Read my travel tips to Pack Light Stylishly!
I always travel with 1-2 scarves so these are brought on board with me and are essential in my goal to stay warm. Either alone or layered, they are more than a stylish accessory for me when on a flight.
Here are eight different ways to wear a scarf when you travel!
I hardly ever sleep on flights because I enjoy the chance to catch up on reading, movies, and/or music. My versatileKindle Paperwhite E-reader is an easy device to tote around without the weight or bulk of a laptop.
Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream
My skin naturally dries out easily and the air in a plane sucks the moisture right out. I try to keep a super strength moisturizer such as Neutrogena hand cream I can apply on my hands and feet during a flight.
There you have it – nothing fancy on my in-flight essential packing list but definitely all very practical!
What are your 5 in-flight essentials? Comment below!
For more ideas on other travel essentials, please read the following:
- 8 Budget Travel Packing Essentials
- Top 10 Hostel Travel Essentials
- Cross Country Road Trip Essentials
- Travel Gadget Packing List for Digital Nomads
- Money Belts and Anti-theft Items for Travel
I will be packing for a 4.5 month trip in August and this has given me some great food for thought about inflight essentials. Thanks.
Happy to help!
I have Bose Noise-cancelling earbuds. They have been a game changer. I’m a highly sensitive person (HSP). When I’m tired or stressed, too much chaos or noise becomes overwhelming. These earbuds have helped me relax on crowded planes, sleep well in hostels, and enjoy the swarms of crowds in mega cities. They are my number one must-haves on a plane. Also, ibuprofen for unexpected aches, and *blush* Gas-X in case of an active tummy. I always get really gassy in the air. The Gas-X strips save me from lots of embarrassment!
Those along with the more expected things: scarf, thick socks, iPhone with music/books, snacks, hand lotion.
Thanks for sharing this Melissa 🙂 I totally understand the need to block the noise out and simply relax!
Love your list! The only things I’d add are my BOSE noise canceling earbuds ( works just as well as the larger bulky model) and eye shades, both priceless for getting sleep on a long haul flight and fit into a small pocket 😀
GOOD tip – will have to get me a pair 🙂
For long haul flights I like to pack a “morning makeup bag”- a little case that I can grab and head to the loo with in the ‘morning’ – deodorant, face wipes, liners, a fresh tinted lipgloss, some facial moisturizer and a toothbrush and tooth powder, maybe eyeshadow.
Also I can’t sleep at all without a sleeping mask, earplugs and melatonin (from the health food store). And I found out the hard way that I should wear waterproof mascara on an overnight flight!
I have a great cashmere scarf that I travel with- it is blanket/scarf/poncho- really amazing and cashmere!
My e-reader! my last international trip was only 7 days and I had NO TIME for jetlag- so no movies or alcohol on the flight! my e-reader saved the day- I was totally absorbed by my book and didn’t even notice.
I also like to have a cotton scarf incase the person next to me has a cold:( and I LOVE Nieves ‘bad vibe spray”- for the same reason! spray it on the scarf and cover nose and mouth!)
bon voyage! love your site alex!!
great picks! Thanks for sharing them and for liking the site 🙂
I’d add in: snacks/food. I hate airplane food and I always carry something with me for a meal & snacks.
I don’t think I’d want a sleep liner because I’m sure I’d try to stand up in it and fall down in the aisle but I love me my new tiny (and expensive) Bose noise cancellation headphones (earbuds really)!
Oooh sound amazing. I would have loved those on a flight out of Orlando last month!
Would you mind linking me to the exact noise cancelling headphone/earbuds you like? I’m looking for that but don’t have a good idea on what is preferable as I’ve never had any noise cancelling devices before.
Hi Rachel, I don’t have noise canceling head phones but another reader (who is also a flight attendant) recommends these: http://amzn.to/1ok7auW thanks!
Bose noise cancelling headphones
Always chamomile tea bags. The crew will give me as much hot water to brew it as I need and it keeps me chill, and sometimes even lets me sleep, if I drink it throughout the flight.
I have a list of about ten other things that I must have on the plane with me, but the chamomile tea one is probably my most important.
Love your list!