Don't get me wrong I love flying, but that doesn't mean I don't get bored after about an hour of looking out the window. That's why I'm super specific about what ends up in my carry-on luggage. And after a couple long-haul flights I've got a whole new list of carry-on essentials. Some of these are my staple carry-on essentials and some only make their way into my carry-on when the flight is longer than 2 or 3 hours.
Phone - It seems obvious but seriously don't burry your phone in the bottom of your bag especially if you have your boarding pass on it!
Watch - I love my Apple Watch and I wear it pretty much all the time. Certainly you don't need a smart watch but I definitely like having a watch of some sort on the plane. I just like to be able to see what time it is, especially if I happen to shut my phone off or I'm on a plane that doesn't have the TV in seat.
iPad - I really try to avoid brining a lot of heavy items with me in my carry-on. That's why my iPad is perfect for me when I travel. I rarely need my computer and on the off chance I did need to check something, everything I need is also on my iPad. Since I also keep my work email and accounts off of my iPad it makes it really easy to disconnect and be fully present on vacation. Plus it's great for watching movies/shows while flying too!
Kindle - I am obsessed with my Kindle Paperwhite! Seriously, I read more books now that I have this - especially on vacation! I download a few before take off and I'm good to go! It beats packing multiple books in my bag, plus the battery life is insane so I'm usually good to go for an entire long-haul flight!
Airpods - Full confession, I'm not a huge fan of using my airpods on the plane the entire time. But, I do like to have multiple sets of headphones for if one pair dies, and my airpods are certainly the easiest to pack!
Noise Cancelling Headphones - These are my personal favorite type of headphones to wear on the plane. Half the time I use them mainly when I'm tryin to sleep because planes are so loud! I'm in the market for a new pair so let me know your favorites!
Chargers - You never know when you're phone's going to die, etc. so personally I like to keep all of my chargers in my carry-on so that I can plug everything in at the airport or even on the plane if I'm lucky enough to be on one with outlets!
Portable Charger - If there aren't outlets nearby and you need to charge your phone ASAP having a portable charger is key!
Outlet Adapter - If you're long-haul flight is domestic this certainly isn't an essential but for international flights having an outlet adapter in your carry-on is key! You never know when you're going to need to switch the type of outlet plug you're using and there's nothing worse than having a charger but no way to actually plug it in!
Toothbrush/Tooth paste - It's always a little bit of a risk checking a bag, so I never pack my toothbrush and toothpaste in my checked bag. Plus. I find that on super long flights (especially if I sleep most of the way) I have to brush my teeth at least once.
Hairbrush/Hair Ties/Clips - Just like brushing my teeth I feel like being able to brush and get my hair out of my face is key in making me feel a little more put together after long flights. Especially if I sleep my way through a red-eye and have something to go to right after we land!
Face Wash - This one might not be for everyone but I really like being able to take care of my skin when I travel. That's why I like having a travel size amount of face wash in my carry-on just so I can wash my face before hopefully falling asleep on the flight!
Face/Eye Masks/Ice Roller - Okay, okay here me out. I've already mentioned planes are dry. Plus flying can make you feel puffy and just kind of blah. That's why I love making sure there are eye patches, a face mask and my ice roller in my bag. These aren't things I reach for all the time on shorter flights but on the last pair of long-flights I was so happy to have them. They're just nice little self-care moments for travel!
Sunscreen - If you don't keep sunscreen in your bag go get some right now. I don't leave the house without it because sun damage is no joke. If you're on a red-eye and landing as the sun is coming up keeping sunscreen in your carry-on is a great way to make sure it's on before you even step outside.
Lip Balm - I don't leave the house without it so I'm certainly not travelling without it! I usually have 3 or 4 in my bag because, well, I like them all!
Makeup - I don't usually like to fly with makeup on but I always like to keep some in my bag for whenever I get where I'm going! I feel like there have been so many times where my bags have been delayed or we make plans immediately after landing that I just like to be prepared.
Makeup Remover - Like I said, I don't like flying with makeup on, but if I'm taking a late flight sometimes I'm still wearing it when I get to the airport. That's why I like to keep a pack of makeup wipes on hand - just in case.
Deodorant - Honestly, I don't leave the house without it, and you never know when you're going to need it so I'd rather keep it somewhere I can find it in a pinch!
Fuzzy Socks - Sometimes planes are cold or at the very least my feet get cold (especially when we're travelling t somewhere warm and I wear sandals or flip-flops. These are great to throw in your bag so you don't spend the entire flight freezing.
Change of Clothes - It's always good to have a backup plan especially if your checked bag get's lost! That's why I always try and keep at least one change of clothes (2 if I have the space) in my carry-on.
Medicine - My mom always taught me, never put your medicine in your checked bag! That's why I always keep my cold medicine, allergy medicine, ibuprofen, etc. in a small bag in my carry-on!
Hand Sanitizer/Disinfecting Wipes - Let's face it, we're a lot more cautious about our space particularly on planes ever since COVID-19. No one wants to get sick, and no one wants to feel like they want to wash their hands and can't. That's why I always keep wipes and hand sanitizer in my bag!
Face Masks - I just feel like it's a good rule of thumb to always have some face masks available from now on - just in case.
Tissues- I remember flying home from Florida one year with a raging sinus infection and no tissues. Let me just say it was less than ideal. That's why I always keep multiple travel size packs of tissues in all of my bags now. Trust me - no one wants to deal with not having a tissue when you need it.
Sleep Mask - I never used to care about packing an eye mask until I was on a flight where people couldn't decide whether they wanted the window shade up or down for 6 hours. After that, I made sure if I was planning to sleep for most of a long flight, one of these ended up in my bag!
Snacks - Sure, long haul flights usually mean a few extra bags of snacks or even an airplane meal depending on the flight. But you never want to be without snacks especially if something happens! I like to keep some granola bars or easy snacks in my bag just in case I need something ASAP!
Wallet - Pretty obvious but it's always a good thing to double check that you have before leaving your house!
Glasses - If you're like me and you need glasses when you read or watch TV make sure you have these in your carry-on and not your checked bag because as someone who's made this mistake believe me, it's less than enjoyable.
Sunglasses - You never know how sunny it'll be when you land so I always make sure to throw a pair of sunglasses in my bag just in case!
Gum - Between your ears popping and frankly being bored, having gum on a flight can be a real win!
Water Bottle - Might I suggest you pack on that has a screw top lid not a straw lid (because I have been one of those people who tries to use a straw lid on their hydroflask and ended up wearing the contents of my water bottle)... But seriously, I find it's always good to have a water bottle because flights are dry and the tiny cups they give you are no where near enough water to keep you hydrated on a long flight. Plus, most airports now have refill stations making it easy to fill your water bottle before you board and after you're through TSA!
Notebook and Pen- I always carry my notebook and pen with me! I usually have 2 if I'm being honest! Sometimes there are things I want to write down so I don't forget and sometimes I like to take the time on the flight to journal. Either way, they're both great things to keep in your bag!
There you have it! All of the many things I have to have when boarding a long-haul flight! What are some of your carry-on must haves? Let me know in my latest Instagram post!