Whether you’ve booked a long flight to embark on a working holiday, semester abroad, international internship, or backpacking trip – you have lots to look forward to. Traveling to a new country is exciting, soul-stirring, and life-changing. The flight to get there… not as much.As thrilled as you are for the next chapter in your life, we understand if you are feeling nervous for the long flight that you have to take to get there. It can be difficult predicting how the flight will go – especially if you have never been on a long haul flight before. Will you be able to sleep? Will you get motion sick? Will the flight be delayed? Will your bags get lost?While we can’t control the travel gods, our travel experts have shared what 12 items you need to pack to make any long-haul flight more enjoyable.
1. Blanket Scarf
Big scarfs (a.k.a blanket scarfs) are amazing because not only are they fashionable, but they can double as a blanket or pillow on a long flight. These scarfs are especially useful if you have an overnight layover in a cold airport because you can use them as a blanket – just like the name says!
2. Empty Water Bottle
Airplanes are very dehydrating so it is important to drink as much water as possible. Airlines often only provide you with one or two tiny cups of water throughout your flight. To prevent dehydration, bring an EMPTY water bottle to the airport and fill it up after you get through customs so you can stay hydrated throughout the flight. Staying hydrated will help you battle jet-lag and keep you feeling fresher and more energized when you arrive at your new destination!
3. Motion Sickness Pills
Motion sickness pills are helpful for obvious reasons – they prevent you from getting sick on a long flight! However, they have additional benefits – their side effect of drowsiness helps you fall asleep. Just be sure to avoid the ‘non-drowsy’ version.
Don’t forget your headphones! Even though the airline will likely give you some so you can watch movies, we recommend bringing your own. The headphones you get on airplanes are usually cheap with poor sound quality.
5. Music & Podcasts
Watching movies is a great way to pass time on a long flight. However, when it’s time to get some shut eye, play some music or a podcast to help lull you to sleep. You can set a sleep timer so that it doesn’t continue playing for the rest of your flight. Need silence to sleep? Bring earplugs! They will drown out the sound of the crying baby five rows down and help you sleep longer.
6. Eye Mask
If you’re a light sleeper, and eye mask will be your best travel companion. Eye masks block out any light on the plane so that you can sleep better. As an added bonus, when you have a sleep mask on, it lets people know not to disturb you – a polite way to let the person next to you that you don’t want to chat.
7. A Good Book
Travel is a great opportunity to get lost in a good book. While you’re waiting for your flight, have a layover – or worse, a delay – a good book will make it more tolerable. If you don’t get motion sick and can read on a flight, reading can also help you to fall asleep. Check out these booksfor some reading (and travel) inspiration!
It is always a good idea to have some food in your bag just in case your flight gets delayed or you sleep through the complimentary meal. When packing snacks it’s best to avoid fruit and vegetables because you may not be able to bring them through security – and you might find yourself in trouble if you haven’t eaten them and try to bring them into the country you’re entering.
9. Toothbrush and toothpaste
After (and even during) a long flight you are really, really going to want to brush your teeth – trust us. I’m sure the person sitting next to you will also appreciate you brushing your teeth. Bring a toothbrush and travel size tube of toothpaste in your carry on to freshen up. If you want you can also bring a travel size bottle of face-wash to feel even more clean and fresh.
10. Extra clothes
Make sure to bring an extra change of clothes (and underwear) in your carry-on luggage just in case your luggage gets delayed or lost. If you arrive in a new country without your luggage you will be over-joyed that you planned ahead and have a fresh pair of clothes in your carry-on.
11. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Instead of listing just one item here – we have three! Hand moisturizer, eyedrops, and cough drops. We all know that airplanes are very drying (which is why we recommended bringing a water bottle with you) but that won’t be enough to battle the hours of recycled-air blowing around the plane. Your skin, eyes, and throat will all get very dry, which can lead to an uncomfortable trip. These three items will save you from drying out and help you feel healthy and fresh(ish) when you land!
12. Infaltable pillow
When your airplane seat only reclines a couple of inches, it can be difficult to get some good shut-eye. Even if you are lucky enough to fall into a deep slumber, you will probably wake up with a sore neck because your head was bobbing around…or was resting on the stranger sitting next to you. To create a comfortable sleep, inflatable travel pillows like these are amazing. They pack up very small so you can bring them into your carry on and then whip them out when you’re ready to doze off.
Those are our favourite items to pack to make long flights more comfortable so that we can wake up feeling rested and ready for our adventure abroad. Comment below to let us know what you like to bring on long-haul flights!
Tessa is the Program Development Manager at Stepabroad and a travel lover at heart. Her passion for travel started during a summer in university when she moved to New Zealand on a Working Holiday. She was immediately hooked and since then has lived in Europe and Asia and backpacked through more than 40 countries.