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Does the thought of cabin air have you feeling blue? Here is our list of airplane essentials that might make your flight bearable — even enjoyable!
Table Of Contents
We’ve rounded what to bring on a long flight to make air travel more comfortable. Before you head out on a long haul or even a short hop, pack these airplane essentials. They will keep you feeling good while you travel!
What to Bring on a Long Flight
Empty Lip Gloss Balm Container
Long Flight Beauty Essentials
Holding 0.3oz of product, this tube is the perfect size to hold your favorite beauty products. The small size makes these balm containers perfect for carrying as part of your airplane essentials.
One reader says, “I love these for everything from a tinted moisturizer, sunscreen, hair gel, to medicated ointments, you name it. I bought a label maker just to keep them all identified.” Another adds, “I have these as well! I use these for most of my creams. They seem small but they hold enough for several weeks.”
We recommend reusable travel containers that you can use for toiletries for in-flight or general travel use!
Keep Connected with this Airplane Essential
While in-seat electrical plugs are becoming more common on airplanes, not all of them come equipped with one. So why take a chance?
This handy Anker Portable Battery Charger is SUPER popular with readers! It’ll keep everything charged while on-the-go, which is a must while traveling and is especially useful in situations where a changing station isn’t readily available. It’s slim, lightweight, and works with all kinds of phones.
If you’re an iPhone user, you’ll love the iWalk portable charger. This reader fave is super convenient, as it plugs straight into an iPhone, no extra cords needed!
When it comes to packing my airplane travel kit, I like to pack a portable charger, especially in cases where I bring entertainment that might need a charge!
We round up some of the best portable chargers!
Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Straw Lid
Stay Hydrated on Your Long Haul Flight
You can’t bring a water bottle through TSA, and purchasing water, especially at the airport, is quite expensive. What do you do? A must-have in my travel essentials of what to bring on a long flight is a reusable water container!
When you’re looking for a water container, you’ll want quality. That typically means easy to use, portable, reusable, and BPA-free! The Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Straw Lid has all of those things and more! It’s reusable, portable, flexible, and dishwasher-safe. Plus, it comes in some pretty cute color choices.
Staying hydrated is essential for feeling fresh after a long haul flight, and that means having regular, easy access to water during your flight.
Yes, they serve water on the flight. But you often have to wait a while after take off for them to come by with it. Then you have to wait a while for them to come back again! But if you have a reusable water container in your airplane travel kit, all you have to do is fill it up before you board, and voila, you’ve got water!
Find the best travel water bottle!
MZOO Contoured Cup Sleeping Mask with Ear Plugs
Shut the World Out on a Long Flight
If you’re lucky enough to fly in a Boeing 787 Dreamliner that has optimal lighting — this probably doesn’t pertain to you. But for the rest of us, bringing along a sleep mask and earplugs is a plane essential!
If you’re hoping to get any sleep at all on the plane, an eye mask and ear plugs is one of the long haul flight essentials. An eye mask helps you control the lighting in the airplane, without disturbing anyone else. And earplugs help to shut out unwanted noises, especially if you’re a particularly sensitive sleeper.
These are especially important if you’re headed on a long haul flight and don’t want your first day to be completely lost to sleep and time adjustments. Plus these aren’t restricted to use on a plane. You can use them during your trip so that you’re ready to take on whatever sleeping accommodations you end up at!
I highly recommend adding a sleep mask and a set of earplugs to your airplane travel kit, so you can arrive at your destination well-rested!
These are the best eye masks for long-haul flights!
Wear Compression Socks
Compression socks can help reduce the risk of blood clots in your legs and help you avoid that restless leg feeling when you’re trying to relax. One reader says, “I fly from Australia to the UK almost every year (a 24-hour flight) and I used to get really sore, aching legs until I discovered compression socks.” This could easily be the number one piece of advice on how to survive long international flights.
Along with socks, wear comfy clothing you can easily move around in, like leggings or loose pants, plus a t-shirt and layers in case it gets cold.
Find out how compression socks helped bring my toes back to life!
Bose QuietComfort 45 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones
Take Noise Canceling Headphones
Between the normal plane sounds and loud children, planes can be so noisy, which is awful when you’re trying to sleep or watch a movie.
So many readers recommend taking noise canceling headphones. We love over the ear headphones for comfort, but some prefer earbuds.
One reader says, “They are worth every penny,” while another says, “Noise canceling headphones help immensely on long flights. We bought Bose and they are definitely worth the investment.”
Here’s more tips on the best noise canceling headphones!
Purell Hand Sanitizing Travel Wipes
Things to Bring on a Long Flight: Antibacterial Wipes
My plane essentials ALWAYS include antibacterial wipes. The first thing I do when I get on the plane is wipe down my armrest and table tray — yes, I know they clean the plane before you get on, but they’re on a time crunch, so you never really know!
These Purell have an antibacterial formula, are hypoallergenic, and made with skin-conditioning aloe. They’re portable, convenient, and totally not greasy. Plus, unlike hand sanitizers, wipes actually remove dirt and grime (not just rub it in). I personally like the individually packed ones because they don’t dry out as quickly.
As an added bonus, having a pack of these around can be a lifesaver if you drop a spot of something on your blouse or brush your pant leg on dirt. Just wipe the mess down with one of these wipes, and you’ll be set!
These Wet Ones are definitely a must-have in your airplane travel kit, regardless of whether you’re on a long haul flight for a short trip!
Pack like a pro with my minimalist packing list!
Emergen-C Dietary Supplement Drink
What to Bring on a Long Flight: Vitamin C
Speaking of germs, even the thought of “cabin air” screams germs! That’s why one of my airplane essentials is vitamin C. Vitamin C helps keep my immune system up, to prevent any colds from taking hold in my body while I’m traveling to my destination.
These bad boys are chocked full of vitamins to keep your immune system in tip-top shape, without any of that sugar or other additives that you don’t want. These packets are caffeine-free (so it does not replace your morning coffee, should you have one), and the açai berry is the best flavor.
Keep in mind that these are actually a drink mix powder, not a pre-made drink. So you’ll need some water (which you should get after going through TSA so you can keep it) to mix it with on the plane. They are quick to dissolve packets, so you should have your fizzy vitamin C drink in no time.
No one wants to arrive at her destination and spend the next few days sick in bed, recovering from something she caught on the plane. So make sure your airplane travel kit includes something that helps your immune system, so you can explore your destination to its fullest potential!
Learn to choose the best luggage for travel abroad!
Avoid Ear Pressure with Mints or Gum
While the ear pressure that develops during take-off and landing is normal on a plane, it can be really uncomfortable. I’ve found one of the things to bring on a long flight is chewing gum or mints to avoid ear pressure pain, so I always make sure to bring a pack along in my airplane travel kit.
PUR Sugarfree Chewing Gum in many flavors help with that uncomfortable pop. Providing you 8 flavors, these are definitely a go-to. They have just the right amount of kick — Sugar Free + Aspartame Free + Gluten Free, Vegan & Keto Friendly
Whatever you choose to go with, something like this should definitely be considered a travel necessity, whether you’re on a long flight or not!
Find the best travel purse with our tips!
Long Haul Flight Essentials: Scarf to Keep You Warm
Is it just me, or do airplanes often feel a little on the cold side? They always tend to be colder than I’d like, which is never really welcome, but especially not on those long-haul flights. Since I can never seem to get the airplane temperature just as I like, I always bring along a scarf in my airplane travel kit to keep me warm, an awesome stylish addition to your travel capsule wardrobe.
A scarf like this Mer Sea Travel Wrap is great because, as the name would suggest, it not only acts like a scarf but can double as a blanket. It’s cozy and portable. I like this one, in particular, because it’s not only cute but incredibly soft because of its cashmere and silk blend.
Really though, any scarf will do for your airplane essentials. Just make sure to pack one — or wear one — especially if you don’t like the idea of airline blankets!
Lessen the bulk in your suitcase by adding a light, stylish travel wrap to moderate and hot destinations!
What to Bring on a Long Flight: Entertainment
Your flight essentials must include entertainment, especially if you are on a long haul — you can only read the in-flight magazine and SkyMall catalog so many times (no, you do not need an electric egg cooker!).
I personally recommend a tablet like the Fire HD 10, because it provides a host of entertainment options. Instead of having your bag stuffed with two books, five of your favorite magazines, an adult coloring book, and a notebook to pen your next bestseller (I don’t know what I’m going to want to do on the flight), you take one tablet.
What can you do on a tablet? Download television shows and films from Netflix, Prime Video, or Hulu for your flight. Read an e-book — if you’re looking to keep costs low, check and see if your local library has an e-book program — magazine, or “save for later” offline articles. Play a game, write a book, solve a puzzle, or even color. The options are endless!
If entertainment is not on your airplane travel kit, it’s going to be a really long flight.
Laptop or tablet? Which to choose for travel?
TSA Approved Clear Travel Toiletry Bag
Keep Your Airplane Essentials in a Carrying Pouch
As a general rule, once I stow my carry-on luggage in the overhead bin or underneath the seat in front of me, it stays there. I don’t touch my luggage until I get off the plane. Instead of rummaging through my carry-on, I pack my airplane travel kit into one of these carrying pouches.
These TSA-approved bags are small and see-through. They fit into the seat pocket in front of you, so you’re not spreading out all over your fellow passengers. The pouch’s dimensions are 2 by 5 by 7 inches, making it perfect for carrying all your airplane essentials — except maybe your tablet, but you can just put that into your seat pocket on its own!
It might be an odd item in the what to bring on a long flight list of airplane must-haves, but it’s a time saver that will keep you organized because you don’t have to dig through your carry-on luggage. All your travel necessities will be easily accessible in the travel pouch!
Here’s how to pack liquids for carry-on!
Airplane Essentials Comparison Chart
|BRAND / MODEL||REVIEW||RATING/PRICE|
|Empty Lip Gloss Balm Container||“I love these for everything from a tinted moisturizer, sunscreen, hair gel, to medicated ointments, you name it. I bought a label maker just to keep them all identified.”||Check Price|
|iWALK Ultra-Compact Portable Charger||I like the iWALK Portable Charger, because not only is it reasonably priced, it’s small and lightweight yet holds 1-1.5 full charges, and has a sleek design that comes in a variety of cute colors.||Check Price|
|Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Straw Lid||The Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Straw Lid has all of those things and more! It’s reusable, portable, flexible, and dishwasher-safe. Plus, it comes in some pretty cute color choices.||Check Price|
|MZOO Contoured Cup Sleeping Mask with Ear Plugs||An eye mask helps you control the lighting in the airplane, without disturbing anyone else. And earplugs help to shut out unwanted noises, especially if you’re a particularly sensitive sleeper.||Check Price|
|Bombas Compression Socks||Compression socks can help reduce the risk of blood clots in your legs and help you avoid that restless leg feeling when you’re trying to relax.||Check Price|
|Bose QuietComfort 45 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones||“Noise canceling headphones help immensely on long flights. We bought Bose and they are definitely worth the investment.”||Check Price|
|Purell Hand Sanitizing Travel Wipes||These Purell have an antibacterial formula, are hypoallergenic, and made with skin-conditioning aloe. They’re portable, convenient, and totally not greasy. Plus, unlike hand sanitizers, wipes actually remove dirt and grime (not just rub it in). I personally like the individually packed ones because they don’t dry out as quickly.||Check Price|
|Emergen-C Dietary Supplement Drink||These bad boys are chocked full of vitamins to keep your immune system in tip-top shape, without any of that sugar or other additives that you don’t want.||Check Price|
|PUR Sugarfree Chewing Gum||PUR Sugarfree Chewing Gum in many flavors help with that uncomfortable pop. Providing you 8 flavors, these are definitely a go-to. They have just the right amount of kick — Sugar Free + Aspartame Free + Gluten Free, Vegan & Keto Friendly||Check Price|
|Mer Sea Travel Wrap||A scarf like this Mer Sea Travel Wrap is great because, as the name would suggest, it not only acts like a scarf but can double as a blanket. It’s cozy and portable. I like this one, in particular, because it’s not only cute but incredibly soft because of its cashmere and silk blend.||Check Price|
|Fire HD 10 Tablet with Alexa||The Fire HD 10 provides a host of entertainment options.||Check Price|
|TSA Approved Clear Travel Toiletry Bag||These TSA-approved bags are small and see-through. They fit into the seat pocket in front of you, so you’re not spreading out all over your fellow passengers.||Check Price|
Keep Your Carry-On Organized with Packing Cubes
At TFG, we love packing cubes! Use slim packing cubes to organize your carry-on to help you maximize your luggage space, and allow you to fit more stuff in! When it comes to how to pack for a flight, packing cubes help you pack smaller, pack smarter, and stay organized.
Watch this tutorial to learn how to use packing cubes to their fullest ability!
And don’t forget to carry your essentials in a carrying pouch (or even a packing cube!), that way you have access to what you need right away!
Packing cubes will change the way you pack!
Watch the video below to see TFG’s editor’s in-flight essentials:
What are your must-have airplane essentials when you travel? Please comment below!
For more airplane essentials, check out:
- What to Wear on the Plane
- Airplane Beauty Tips: How to Look Good after A Long-Haul Flight
- Watch What’s in My Bag: In-Flight Essentials
- What to Wear for Business Class
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Hope you liked our list of must-have airplane essentials. Please share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thanks for reading!
We’re so excited for our upcoming trip to Europe and this list and your packing lists have been so helpful! Thank you for taking the time to compile then!
That is so kind of you, thank you Tracy! Have the most amazing time on your travels!
The lip balm containers are an amazing idea!
Thanks for the tips! I have flown a lot and always keep learning how to be more efficient!
This will be my first trip abroad. I have been concerned about the long flight. These tips are so helpful and will help with my anxiety. Thank you.
This is such a lifesaver – thank you! I am going to send this information to mu mother-in-law.
Ever since I got a seat with a broken reading light on a 12hr flight (overnight so cabin lights were off for most of it) I always ensure a small torch or book light in my carry-on.
I absolutely love the empty lip gloss container idea for traveling with creams and lotions. Especially handy if you are only going for a weekend / short trip…even some of the “travel size” containers are still too big for a short trip. I’m going to use this idea!
Thank you so much for the amazing tips…my wallet doesn’t thank you but my piece of mind does!
Agree with and love everything listed…and:
1. Small bottle of my favourite leave-in conditioner to freshen hair and fight static.
2. Crossword/sudoku puzzles from local newspapers so you can share with person sitting beside you, rest your eyes from screen time, and then dispose when completed
3. Take photo of passport and boarding pass on my phone so I don’t have to dig through my purse to fill out the landing cards.
Hi Jessica, so pleased you enjoyed the article!! Thank you for sharing your essentials for making your flights more bearable with us. ✈️
They sell those exact wet ones at the “dollar Tree” near my home. New York area chain Store. They have an online shop.
Hi Kathy, thank you for sharing this with us. Happy travels! ?
I’ve recently flown on the 787 Dreamliner in Ecconomy Plus with United, it was an amazing experience.
Hi Christine, thank you for sharing your experiences of your recent flight, so pleased your had an amazing time!! 🙂
What was amazing? Would love to know.
This is a great list much of which I follow already! I’m curious, what do you include in the carrying pouch? I seem to be unable to do without my backpack being easily accessible from my seat. In addition to a change of clothes I also have my kindle, toiletries (lip balm, hand lotion, face cream, toothbrush & paste), Boise headphones, ipod, blanket-scarf, water bottle, ipad or laptop, extra battery, camera, all the electronic cords, medicines, trip paperwork, passport, credit cards, money …. I think that about covers it! Other than the change of clothes I don’t think I can do without any of this stuff at my seat! Help !!!!!!
The carrying pouches are for the things I want to be easily accessible during the flight, like headphones, etc. A lot of the things you’ve listed don’t need to be at your seat with you. Medicine, for example, can go in the overhead! Happy travels!
Have to also have my toothbrush and paste, and some makeup for when I arrive. And a couple of books – all my flights are v. long so I need a lot of reading material – my Kindle is a godsend.
ah yes, must have those in my day bag and ready to go 🙂
I love a Turkish Towel! They are huge, but fold up tiny, and dry fast. I use mine for everything; as a blanket on the plane, as an extra wrap if needed, to protect fragile souvenirs. I also love that the tight weave means they don’t collect sand if I use it as a beach towel.