A long haul flight to Europe can be an exciting, yet daunting experience. With so many places to explore and things to see, it’s important to make sure you pack the right items that will make your journey as comfortable, enjoyable, and stress-free as possible.
Whether you’re flying across the continent or across the world, there are certain essentials that every traveler should have on hand for any long-haul flight. Read on for some of our top tips and tricks for surviving a long-haul flight like a pro!
How to Prepare for A Long Haul Flight Like A Pro
What Is a Long Haul Flight?
A long-haul flight is generally considered to be any flight that lasts more than eight hours. The average length of a long haul flight from the US to Europe is around nine and a half hours, although this can vary by airline and route. Flights from South East Asia to Europe can take more than 12 hours, depending on the airline and journey.
Because of its length, a long-haul flight can be incredibly taxing and uncomfortable, especially you you travel with small kids, or if you have special needs or medical conditions, or even for first-time cross-continent travelers.
Long Haul Flight Benefits
As a person who usually takes at least two long haul flights per year, if not more, I’ve found that there are a few benefits of long haul flights.
Firstly, they can save you money. If you book your flight early enough and take advantage of discounts and promotions, you might find that it’s much more affordable than booking multiple short-haul flights. I don’t mind transit since it’s a nice way to have a glimpse of a destination without committing too much time. Plus, if your transit time is long enough, you can even explore a city for a few hours. For example, Istanbul and Dubai are among cities that allow travelers to get out on their special city tours, but make sure to check all the visa requirements before committing to anything.
Secondly, it’s much more convenient than having to take multiple short-haul flights. This means less time waiting in airports, fewer transfers, and ultimately a smoother travel experience. A long haul flight with one transit is always better than four consecutive flights with four different transits, unless you plan to stay for a few days in each destination (which can be exhausting, IMHO).
Thirdly, and most importantly, it gives you the opportunity to relax and unwind from your hectic schedule at home. With a long-haul flight, you get plenty of time to read, snooze or even watch a movie in peace without any interruption from other passengers.
Essentials for A Long Haul Flight
To make the most of your time and make sure you safely arrive at your destination, here are the essential items you should have with you on any long-haul flight:
Make sure to wear comfortable clothes that won’t cause discomfort or chafing during the long flight. Clothing made of natural fibers like cotton or linen are ideal, as they are breathable and won’t make you too hot or cold.
Avoid skinny jeans and tight leggings by all means, since they can restrict your movement and become uncomfortable, especially if you have to sit in the same spot for several hours.
Travel Pillow and Blanket
A travel pillow and blanket are essential items to make your flight as comfortable as possible. These pillows come in all shapes and sizes, from hooded ones to inflatable ones—so, choose one that suits you best.
The same goes for blankets; some airlines provide blankets on certain flights, but you should always have one of your own in case of emergencies.
Eye Mask & Ear Plugs
Although you will get plenty of sleep during the flight, it’s still important to be prepared for any eventuality. Eye masks and ear plugs can help you get some quality sleep in case of bright lights or loud noises on the plane.
Some air carriers even provide these items for passengers, so make sure you ask about them before the flight. But if you prefer your own silk eye mask for maximum comfort, be sure to bring it along.
Snacks and Drinks
Bring enough snacks and drinks for the duration of your flight. This will keep you hydrated and energized, as well as preventing unwanted hunger pangs during the journey. Although food & drink will for sure be included in the flight, having some extra on hand is always a smart move!
If you travel with small kids, having their favourite snacks and drinks at hand is essential for a calm journey, not only for you but for the rest of the airplane!
If you love music and want to enjoy your favourite tunes in peace, then noise-canceling headphones are the perfect addition to your long haul flight. These headphones help drown out any unwanted background noise, making it easier to relax or even fall asleep during the flight.
Bring a variety of items to keep you entertained throughout your journey, such as books, magazines, and music. You can also download movies or shows on your laptop or tablet so that you always have something to watch. Avoid downloading large files during your long-haul flight, since this can drain the battery very quickly. For young travelers, bring some small games and toys to keep them entertained.
Always have a portable charger with you, as it can be difficult to find charging points during the flight. Make sure to fully charge your devices before boarding and keep them powered up throughout the entire journey!
Medication & Toiletries
Pack enough medication and toiletries for the duration of your light. This includes any regular or over-the-counter medication that you take, as well as items like facial cleanser, moisturizer, toothbrush, face wipes etc., in case of any unexpected needs.
Also, make sure to bring a small bag with all your toiletries so that you don’t have to rummage through your suitcase every time you need something.
What to Wear on A Long Haul Flight
When it comes to hours-long flights, comfort should be your priority. Wear lightweight and breathable fabrics that won’t cause you to overheat or become too cold during the flight. It’s best to wear in layers so that you can adjust your clothing as per the temperature inside the airplane.
Opt for loose-fitting clothes such as leggings, joggers, and sweatshirts, as this will give you more freedom to move around and avoid feeling restricted. For extra comfort, bring a pair of socks or slippers for your feet, which is optional since you may have a simple kit of all these long haul necessities from your airline.
Avoid wearing anything too tight like skinny jeans or tight leggings, as this can restrict your movement and make it difficult to relax. It is also important to wear clothes that you can easily slip on and off when using the restroom, so avoid wearing tight-fitting garments.
Having a scarf or shawl handy is always a good idea, as it can double up as an extra layer in case you feel cold.
For footwear, stick with a pair of lightweight sneakers or sandals that won’t take up too much space in your bag. It is important to note that most airlines do not allow passengers to wear open-toed shoes during the flight for safety reasons, so be sure to check their policy before boarding. And of course, you would like to stay away from high heels if you are planning to take a long-haul flight as well!
Long Haul Flight Carry-On Essentials
For your long-haul flight, remember to bring all your important documents such as passport, visa (if applicable), and any other necessary paperwork. If you need to bring your medicines, make sure to pack them in your carry-on bag so that they remain secure and you have easy access to them during the flight. A prescription from your doctor is also necessary if you are carrying certain medications.
It is a good idea to bring some snacks and drinks with you, as they can help kill time during the flight. If possible, choose healthier options like fresh fruit or nuts instead of processed foods. A small bottle of water is also a must-have, as this will help you stay hydrated throughout the journey.
Bring an extra pair of clothes and underwear in case your luggage gets lost or delayed, so that you have something to wear while you wait for your luggage to arrive.
Finally, make sure you bring enough cash (in the currency of the country you’re visiting), just in case you cannot find any exchange booth and yet have to pay for a taxi to the city center or for some other services that require cash payments.
Long Haul Flight Beauty Essentials
Although it may sound gimmick to pack beauty products on a long-haul flight, it is definitely worth investing in the right items to ensure that you look and feel fresh throughout the journey.
Imagine you have to meet someone special, your business partners, or an important client right after you land, and you are feeling tired and disheveled. Or, you have to head to the airport after an event and have no time to remove your makeups. In these cases, having the right products with you can work wonders!
Investing in a few travel-sized beauty products can help you look your best even after a long flight. Usually, all cosmetics brands will have travel-sized versions of their products, such as a mini moisturizer, sunscreen, lip balm, makeup remover wipes and facial mist. Be sure to pick the right ones for your skin type so that you can keep your skin hydrated and looking fresh throughout the journey.
Having a hairbrush or comb is also essential if you have long hair, as this can help you keep your locks tamed and looking neat. Additionally, it is always a good idea to bring an extra set of contact lenses, contact lens solution, glasses (if you wear them), and a toothbrush with toothpaste.
Long Haul Flight Skincare Essentials
As you already know, the cabins can be very dry, and the air conditioning might make your skin even drier. This is why it is essential to bring skincare products that will help keep your skin moisturized throughout the flight.
A travel-sized facial mist or sheet masks can be great options to pack in your carry-on bag as they can provide an instant boost of hydration. You can also pack a lightweight moisturizer with SPF to keep your skin protected from the sun’s rays. Don’t forget to bring your favorite lip balm, as this can help prevent dry and cracked lips.
One of the best small-size moisturizers I can highly recommend is the Clinique Moisture Surge Intense, available in a 30ml travel-friendly size. It is lightweight, non-greasy, and works wonders for dehydrated skin!
Finally, for those who suffer from dry eyes on long haul flights, remember to bring some eye drops with you as these can help refresh and moisturize your eyes during the journey. Eye cream and eye patches can also be great options to keep your eyes looking bright and refreshed!
Baby Long Haul Flight Essentials
Traveling with babies is challenging—as a mom of three kids under five, it’s legit for me to say that. Regardless, if you are taking a long-haul flight with your little one(s), there are some essentials you should always bring along.
First of all, make sure to pack enough diapers and wipes for the duration of the journey. If your baby is still breastfed, then bring an extra bottle of expressed milk just in case — babies can get really thirsty on long-haul flights.
If your baby is formula fed, then make sure to bring enough powdered formula and clean bottles (with lids) to avoid having to mix the powder in flight bathrooms. Normally, you are allowed to carry up to 1 liter of liquid formula on board, but make sure to check your airline’s policies in advance.
If your baby has started with weaning, bringing some snacks for him/her on board can be a great idea. Pack easy-to-eat finger foods such as crackers, sandwiches, vegetables and fruits in small containers or resealable bags.
Other must-haves include:
- A bib or two
- Baby medicines, including pain and fever reducer, etc.
- A couple of pacifiers or bottles
- Lightweight blanket
- Some snacks and books or toys to keep them entertained during the flight
- A blankie or comforter for when they need nap time
- And last but not least, don’t forget to bring a few extra changes of clothes for your little one in case of any accidents!
Although it’s never a breeze traveling with little kids, it’s always worth it once you reach your destination. With the right travel essentials, long-haul flights can be much more comfortable and enjoyable for everyone.
Other Essentials for Long Haul Flights
When packing for long-haul flights, depending on how long you’re traveling, you might want to bring other items such as:
- An extra set of clothing, just in case your luggage is delayed or lost, then you have something to change after the flight.
- A spare phone charger and/or power bank. You will never know when your phone suddenly runs out of battery and needs a quick recharge.
- Sanitary products, such as wet wipes and hand sanitizer, especially if you are flying to a destination with less hygiene standards.
- Feminine hygiene products
- A fabric tote bag, which will be very useful if you decide to do some shopping during your journey.
The Editor’s Note
No matter how well prepared you are, there will always be something that you forget to pack! To make sure you don’t miss out on any of the important items, it’s always best to create a long haul flight essentials list and check it twice before your journey.
We hope this long haul flight packing list will help you make sure that you have everything you need for a safe and comfortable journey. Happy travels!