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57+ Long Haul Flight Essentials to Survive an International Flight in Coach

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Flying internationally on long-haul flights is hard, no matter where you are sitting on a plane. But a few long flight essentials will help improve any flight no matter how many hours you are in the air.

The first time I flew internationally, I flew in the first-class cabin and had a crash course in learning how to survive a long-haul flight. I was not prepared.

Luckily the flight attendants provided me with an amenity kit, and a glass of champagne, which helped me survive the flight to Brussels.

Most of the time, travelers are not always lucky to score first-class seats while traveling to and from Europe or Asia. I’ve developed a Long Flight Travel Essentials checklist to assist you in future long-haul travels! 

Mallory and sis sitting in the back of the plane - last row; what to wear on an international flight
Mallory and sis sitting in the back of the plane flying from Italy to Atlanta.

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What do you need for a long flight?

You tend to need more than you think for a long flight. You want to make sure you can survive long-haul flights with the most amount of comfort ever. Being comfortable will include packing a few amenities and extra clothes into your carry-on bag.

How do I prepare my body for a long flight?

The best way to prepare your body for a long fight is to drink plenty of water and ensure that you are well rested. You do not want to combat something like dehydration while also dealing with changing different time zones while crossing multiple countries.

Prepare for your trip

Preparing for your long haul flight is something that you need to do before your flight.

You need to take inventory of any travel-sized liquids to ensure that you have enough for your entire trip and purchase anything else that you need from the below long haul flight essentials list.

1. The Perfect Carryon

I prefer to check my luggage, but if you are looking for the Perfect bag for a carry-on, I suggest you get a backpack!

I travel with an Atlas Supply Co backpack that I adore because of its supply leather.

Some other backpacks are an excellent substitute for hand luggage and a great way to bring all your long-trip travel essentials without extra cost.

Finding the perfect Carry-on bag will help you pack this list of long-flight essentials.

2. Secure your trip with Travel Insurance

We never want to talk about it, but purchasing Travel Insurance for long-haul flights is one of the best ways to ensure you are prepared for your next flight.

There is nothing worse than getting off of an overnight trip, walking down to the luggage carousel, and finding that your luggage is missing.

Travel Insurance will assist you in this instance and is a good idea for any long trip, especially to a foreign country.

Arch RoamRight travel insurance

3. RFID Passport Holder and Travel Wallet

You may want to invest in an RFID Passport Holder and Travel Wallet to protect yourself while traveling on long-haul flights.

When it comes to scammers out there, you can never be too careful. When getting some shut-eye, ensure the Passport Holder and Travel wallet are close to your feet instead of in the overhead bin.

4. Copies of your passport

Make sure you have copies of your passport and other travel documents.

You want to ensure the replicas are separate from the originals in case a carry-on is lost or misplaced, but you do not want to put the copies in your checked luggage.

Find the perfect seat for your Long Flight

Sitting in the perfect seat could make or break your long haul flight. It would not be fun to be so close to the bathroom that you are disturbed every few minutes by passengers going to and from.

Seat selection is a personal preference, but with these tips, you should be able to find the perfect seat for you and your travel partners.

5 . Use SeatGuru to find the perfect seat

The best thing about SeatGuru is that it tells you which seats might be troublesome. Love sitting by the window so you can look out of it? SeatGuru will tell you if the window is blocked or partially blocked.

Seat Guru will also tell you if your seat might be noisy because it is close to the galley or bathrooms.

6. Where to sit for a long-haul flight

There are many choices on the plan for where you should sit on a long-haul flight. If getting a selection of meals is essential to you, sit as close to the front as you can.

Airplane food isn’t anything to rant and rave about, but if you want to make sure you have first dibs on food choices, the closer to the front, the more options.

I prefer to be a few rows away from a bathroom and sit on an aisle seat. If possible, try to get an exit row seat which is a great option to have as much space as possible for your legs.

7. Sit in the back to try to get more room

There is a possibility that your flight might not be full. If this is the case – you will want to sit in the back where it is more likely to get a row by yourself.

8. Use miles for a luxury cabin

My favorite way to travel is, of course, in first or business class. If you have enough points from credit cards, you can splurge for a first-class ticket.

But don’t worry. Even if you do not have the luxury to upgrade, the following tips will ensure a comfortable flight.

last seat on a long haul flight; long flight essentials
In case you wanted to see what the last seat on the plane looks like. This is seat 43D.

Long Haul Flight Essentials

Below are some travel tips I’ve picked from flying to and from New Orleans. Many of the items on the long haul flight essentials checklist may seem frivolous, but when you are on a flight for 12 or 24 hours, there are just some things you need – and some that you want.

If you have any long flights in the future, I ask that you go through these carry-on essentials, decide which travel tips are right for you, and start putting together your long-haul flight essentials.

If there is anything that you think I’ve missed on the list, please leave a comment below, and I can try it out on my next flight and add it to the list!

9. Make an Amenity Kit

The perfect airplane essential is an amenity kit. Even though those in Economy class do not get an amenity kit, you can easily make one or purchase one premade!

I find that having a small kit of your airplane essentials helps you get through the flight.

Amenity Kit
Such a cute premade Amenity Kit from Etsy!

10. Bring some antibacterial wipes

People are gross. Airplanes are gross.

Even with advanced cleaning methods, no matter what, an airplane will be dirty.

Even before the start of this decade, I always wiped down my seat, tray table, and entertainment system. If I’m going to be hanging out in this space for over 8 hours, I’m going to use some antibacterial wipes.

11. Bring mints and gum

Air travel is notorious for making people’s ears pop. To help alleviate some of those symptoms, bring gum to chew on to help equilibrize the pressure.

You can also bring mints instead to freshen up your breath between meals.

12. Toothpaste, Mouthwash, Small toothbrush

The first thing you will want to do when waking up from a long-distance flight is to brush your teeth!

After eating, drinking, and mouth breathing all night, you can quickly freshen up in the bathroom. I like to use this Travel Size toothpaste and mouthwash.

13. Bring Glasses, Extra Contacts, and Eye Drops

I prefer to fly with glasses because you never know how long you may sleep on a flight. Packing a pair of glasses, extra contacts, and eye drops will help with any eye issues on the plan.

I generally have my glasses on when it is time to sleep and change into my contacts for breakfast. Warby Parker Glasses are the perfect pair to bring because they are inexpensive and stylish.

I also get these pocket pal red eye drops wherever I go.

14. Pack a Chapstick or Lip Balm

Flying dries you out! From your eyes to your lips! You will want to make sure you bring a high-quality chapstick or lip balm with you, so your lips don’t chap.

I love bringing along Sugar Lip Treatment to exfoliate and refresh my lips.

15. Make sure to Pack Lotion

After that, hand washing, hand sanitizer, and dry air – you will dry out your hands and body. I like using Cetaphil in the 3-ounce package because it is easy to smooth over your hand or place on other parts that might be dry.

16. Pack a travel size of Saline Solution

We all know where this is going, but you will dry out while flying in the air for a long time.

Saline solution is one of my tricks to ensure my nose is well rinsed and to prevent nose bleeds. However, I wouldn’t just use saline solution anywhere.

Using this in the bathroom and not in your seat is better.

17. Hand sanitizer

The tap water on planes is not the healthiest. I always bring hand sanitizer to sanitize my hands after washing them.

Mrs. Meyer’s hand sanitizer spray is my favorite because it doesn’t tire your hands out that much, but if they become dry, check out the packing item above.

18. Bring a travel pillow and blanket

Depending on your flight, everyone gets a travel pillow and blanket on international flights! It is one of the perks of that long-haul flight.

But sometimes, the airline may run out of blankets and travel pillows. Or – another passenger may swipe yours before you get oh board!

I prefer to bring my travel pillow and blanket because they come in handy while going on road trips or even in the hotel. I bring this Ugg blanket because it keeps you warm while all that cool air recirculates. !

If I’m lucky enough to score two travel pillows – I add one under my lower back for extra lumbar support.

19. Bring a Neck Pillow

Even though you may get a rectangle pillow on the flight, a neck pillow still makes the long flight essentials list. The neck pillow can help support your neck while trying to sleep on the plane.

20. Bring a sleep mask

You will also be offered a sleep eye mask on many international flights to catch some ZZZs.

I always make sure to grab one from the flight attendant if it is offered, but I prefer the Ugg eye mask that came with my matching UGG blanket.

If you aren’t interested in eating the different meals served on a plane or walking around to prevent the risk of blood clots – grab your sleep mask and go to sleep!

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21. Don’t forget the Earplugs

When you grab the eye mask from the flight attendant, there is generally a set of ear plugs in the package.

The free earplugs aren’t the best but bringing your wax earplugs will make sure to drown out all the noise. I prefer wax ear plugs because they can mold and block out the noise inside your ear.

Create your own amenity kit
Create your own amenity kit for long haul flights with your favorite products!

22. Bring a few hair ties

Make sure you have the proper hair accessories with you at all times. Whether that is a hair tie, hair clip, or scrunchie, a few of them are in an easy access spot in case of an air emergency.

23. Take a small notebook 

Make sure you carry a small notebook with you.

The notebook will help you write down any ideas that come across your mind while flying, and if you speak to someone on the plane, you can jot down any places they tell you you should go!

24. Bring a pen

You should always have a pen on you when you travel, but especially when you are doing international travel.

There are items that you may need to write down in a notebook and forms that you have to sign when landing.

25. Bring a small travel purse

When traveling with a carry-on or a backpack, I like to make sure I have a small travel purse to put all of the little things I need to keep track of.

I make sure my money, wallet, passport, and other important items cannot be replaced in that purse. I keep the purse in my seat when I go to the bathroom on the plane.

26. You will want to bring snacks

Whether you have a different diet or dislike plane food – make sure to bring some extra snacks on board. You can bring healthier snacks or purchase junk food from the airport shops.

27. Bring a Reusable Water Bottle

The little disposable cups of water you get on an airline are not enough. Bring a reusable water bottle or a reusable, collapsible water bottle so you can refill it at the airport and use it while traveling!

28. Jet Lag essential oils 

To beat Jet Lag and ease the frustrations of travel, invest in a small bottle of essential oils! This bottle is filled with a blend of Rosemary, Lemongrass, Geranium, Peppermint, and Juniper Needle, which assists with travel’s mental and physical fatigue.

It will also help cover up any smells you may encounter on the plane!

29. Bring a Neck Gaiter

Even though using a face mask is not required on many flights, getting a neck gaiter is a smart idea in case your face and nose get cold. The last thing you want is for the cold air to hit your face and you develop a runny nose on the flight.

30. Don’t forget the Tissues

If you develop a runny nose on the flight – make sure you bring tissues! I always keep a pack of tissues with me when traveling.

31. Baby wipes or Dude Wipes

You may not have time or the luxury of taking a shower after going on an international flight. Having baby wet wipes or Dude Wipes will allow you to do a quick wipe down of all of your sweaty bits before changing for the day.

32. Deodorant

I don’t know about you, but I always need to put another swipe of deodorant whenever I get sweaty from travel.

Packing your deodorant in our carry-on bag helps you feel fresher when you reach your final destination.

Important Over Counter Medicines to bring

There are a few over-counter medicines that you need to have in your carry-on at all times. Having these few medicines not only makes the flight more enjoyable but if you do start to feel ill or can’t sleep, you have something to take care of that!

33. Bring Vitamin C

Grab a few packs of Vitamin C and bring them along on your long-haul flight! You can help boost your immune system and ward off any unwanted sniffle by just taking a little Vitamin C precaution.

34. Consider different sleep aids

I do not take anything more substantial than melatonin, but my mom and sister use Unisom to fall asleep on longer flights.

If you are considering taking a sleeping aid, practice with it a few weeks before to ensure the medicine doesn’t adversely affect you.

35.  Prescription medicines you need to take on the flight

If you take prescription medicines, ensure they are with you and not in your checked luggage.

If you have prescription medicines on a schedule, you may need to work with your doctor on how to adjust your schedule.

You should bring prescription medicines in the original bottles but you can pack a travel pill case to organize the pills once you get to the hotel.

36. First Aid Kit

The flight attendants should have everything you may need on board, but I ensure a small first aid kit or at least some bandaids in your bag in case you get a paper cut.

37. Bring a decongestant

If you tend to get a drippy nose from the recirculated air, you may want to bring a decongestant to help with that issue.

38. For motion sickness, bring Dramamine

Some people experience motion sickness from flying – to help prevent nausea and other ailments associated with motion sickness, you can take Dramamine. You can also get a ginger chew variation of the medicine.

39.  Tiger Balm for sore muscles

If you experience sore muscles or trouble sleeping, then Tiger Balm is a must-have to bring with you.

The balm can relax any achy pain, and the smell can relax you. Make sure to wash your hands after application so you do not get any in your eyes! 

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What to wear long haul flight economy

Figuring out what to wear on a Long Haul Flight can be confusing. Will you be Hot? Cold? Both? Check out the tips below and more tips on what to wear on a long-haul flight.

40. Dress in layers and loose clothing

It’s either freezing or super hot on airplanes. There is no doubt about it. I wear Spanx jeans or yoga pants, a cute top, a sweater, and a light scarf.

This way, I can take everything off when I’m hot, but when I’m chilly, I can place the layers back on. The main idea is that you want to wear comfortable clothes.

41. Bring a large blanket scarf

One way to save space in your carry-on is to bring a large blanket scarf. If your scarf is large enough, you can wrap yourself up and stay warm.

It might not save a lot of space, but it is an easy way to bring one less travel item.

42. Wear Sneakers to save room

I am not a fashion blogger, but wearing comfortable shoes like sneakers or Tennis Shoes is best for a flight.

First – they usually take up too much room in a suitcase. Second, you will not mind having them on hour feet if they are comfortable.

43. Bring slippers or slides.

One of the best tips I ever got when traveling on an international flight was to bring slippers. Who wants to wear annoying shoes while on an 8+ hour flight.

But also, no one on the plane wants to see your feet, so make sure they are covered up with slippers.

If slippers are not your thing, FitKicks are unique because they are just like slippers but with a hard bottom.

44. Light or warm socks

So this tip is contradictory. Depending on your sweat level, you may need to bring a light pair of socks or a warm pair of wool socks.

I am generally not cold, but these travel-themed socks are perfect for your carry-on. You want to ensure you can keep your feet warm but not let them get sweaty!

45. Avoid Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep Vein Thrombosis is a life-threatening condition when blood clot forms in your body’s deep veins – usually your leg when you sit in a cramped airplane seat for an extended period.

To help avoid Deep Vein Thrombosis, ensure you have plenty of legroom, get up and walk every 60-90 minutes, wear compression socks and do feet and leg exercises.

46. Change into glasses

If you wear contacts, you must change into your glasses after dinner. Nothing is worse than having sticky contacts after waking up after a long nap.

I always travel with my spare pair of Warby Parkers in my carry-on luggage.

I wear daily contacts, so I throw away my contacts in the bathroom and then emerge a new woman with my glasses.

47. Bring an extra change of underwear

Suppose we are honest on this blog. There is nothing better than changing your underwear mid-flight. Seriously!

I do not wear the same pair of underwear for 24 hours on a typical day, so why should I do it on a flight?

When I change into my glasses, I swap out my underwear (very discreetly) in the bathroom.

I carry my glasses and underwear in a ditty bag, place the dirty underwear in my laundry bag back inside the ditty bag, and I’m ready to take on the day when I land.

48. Bring a Change of Clothes

Listen, I prepare for the worst-case scenario where you either drop a full glass of wine on yourself, someone gets ill onto your lap, or some other accident happens.

Having a change of clothes allows you to slip into something else when an accident happens or when you land.

Just bring something comfortable like a Plaid Shirt and Yoga Pants. The extra pair of clothes will also be handy if you experience lost luggage.

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Long haul flight Entertainment essentials

Entertainment is something that needs to be preplanned before getting on your flight! It is best to download a few items to your iPad or tablet before you leave the country to ensure that everything is downloaded correctly.

49. Invest in a Travel Media Pouch

You need to bring so many forms of entertainment with you on a long haul flight that a Travel Media Pouch may be the best thing to pack in your personal item to ensure all of your cords and entertainment accessories are together.

This will allow you to provide everything you need within your arm’s reach.

50. Power up your devices the day before

The worst thing to do is to get on a flight with a half-dead phone or tablet.

Make sure to charge all your electronics the day before getting on the flight. I do not like charging my device in the power outlets provided on the plane.

51.  Bring a Portable Charger or Power Bank

You may want to invest in a portable charger or power bank for when you are flying. Just in case your device is not fully charged and the USB ports are acting strangely on the flight – a Portable Charger will help you keep your devices charged for the whole flight.

52. Bring your headphones

Unlike domestic flights, you get free headphones while on board. Unless you use fancy headphones in first class but don’t trust them for quality sound, pack a pair of noise-canceling headphones or your Wireless Airpods.

53. Bluetooth adapter/transmitter

If you prefer wireless earbuds like the Apple Airpods, grab a Bluetooth adapter/transmitter to bring onto the flight.

This way, you can easily use your favorite earphones while enjoying movies or TV that most airlines provide.

54. Bring a Headphone Splitter

If you are traveling with a family member or loved one, make sure a headphone splitter in case you want to watch a movie together.

A headphone splitter allows you to watch a movie from an iPad while both have your earphones plugged into the device.

55. Download movies and TV shows to your tablet

Even though most planes and inflight entertainment TVs and WiFi – sometimes technology doesn’t work when flying. Other times, I find that I’ve seen all the new releases, so I put on an oldie but goodie (my favorite is any Jurassic Park or Harry Potter)

A 10+ hour flight is the best time to catch up on all of your favorite shows. Hulu can’t download shows, but Netflix and Amazon do.

Some of my favorite Netflix Bing suggestions:

  • Travels with my Father
  • Schitt’s Creek
  • OffSpring
  1. Download podcasts to your phone

If you don’t have a tablet but do not want to spend hours watching TV, download a few podcasts to your phone! Podcasts take up less battery than watching movies and TV shows.

Some of my favorite podcasts:

56. Download books or magazines from your local Library

A great way to save money on books or magazines is by downloading them to your tablet! Did you know your local library has a collection of books and magazines you can rent for free?

I can download a book at my Library and keep it for 21 days! Best thing? No late fees! Renting from the Library is one of my favorite money-saving tips.

Some of my favorite magazines:

  • Travel and Leisure
  • Southern Living
  • SunSet

57. Bring A Good Book

Sometimes you just want to unplug and not have screentime when traveling long distances. Long haul flights are the perfect time to bring a good book you have been meaning to start or finish!

Between flights there and back, you can get a good chunk of it read! It is the perfect backup entertainment when an electronic goes crazy.

flight tracker from italy to USA
Ten hours doesn’t seem like long until you are a few hours in and wishing for it to be over.

The Final Tip for Surviving a Long Haul flight

Packing all of the items listed above is just some sound travel advice.

You may find that your personal preference is to fly with less stuff. Ensuring you have your long-haul travel essentials will help you get a few hours of peace while flying across the world on a plane.

Flying Long Haul Flights

I hope you enjoyed these tips for surviving long haul flights in coach.

Creating your amenity kit and having the right travel essentials will prepare you to tackle any international trip.

If you love - share with a friend!

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Steve Davenport

Tuesday 30th of April 2019

#12 - You would be amazed at how much your feet sweat and travel related activities, you know, getting to the airport, getting inside the terminal, checking bags, getting through security, getting to your gate and boarding the plain...all that stuff doesn't help any. You would also be amazed at how quickly sweaty socks will cause your feet to get cold. Change those socks! And...if possible...leave your original pair some out-of-of-the-way place where they can dry in the plane's typically ultra-dry climate. Same goes for your undies (#20)...but don't leave those out to dry.

What's your Hogwarts House?

Mallory

Tuesday 7th of May 2019

HAHHAHA I usually just hide the undies in a plastic bag and wash them later when I do laundry! I would say I'm Gryffindor.

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