10 Must-Haves to Pack for Every Long Haul Flight

Or, how to stay fresh even after a grueling 18-hour trip.

Traveling is fun, but sitting for 13 to 18 hours strapped to a small chair in a flying capsule isn’t. The goal of packing for long haul flights is two-fold: 1) getting comfy enough to sleep for at least a fourth of the travel time and ease up on jet lag, and 2) pass the time. Thus, here’s a list of what to bring with you on a long flight, many of which will also be handy during any long layovers.

Moisturizer and Lip Balm

Cabin air can get really dry. While you should drink as much water as you feel you need (too much means constant trips to the bathroom, which may prove uncomfortable/inconvenient — especially if you have the window seat), you should also keep your skin and lips comfortably hydrated with moisturizer and some lip balm.

Re-everything Lotion Mini by VMV Hypoallergenics

Re-Everything Face-Hand-Body Lotion Mini (30ml) by VMV Hypoallergenics (PHP515, beautymnl.com)

100% Natural Tinted Lip Balm by Human Nature

100% Natural Tinted Lip Balm by Human Nature (PHP100, beautymnl.com)


Baby Wipes

Never underestimate the power of wet tissues — use them for toilet breaks, or to freshen up, clean up stains, and wipe grease off your gadgets.

Grooming and Toiletry Kit

Keep bottles and tubes of your toiletries in a spill-proof pouch in your carry-on luggage to freshen up during the flight or layover. Make sure you keep them travel-size (100ml and under), lest you’ll need to resentfully ditch them at the airport. The same goes for makeup!

Clear Cosmetic Case

Clear Cosmetic Case by Muji

Eye Mask and Ear Plugs

Understanding that regardless of what time you’re flying, you’ll be in a small cabin cramped with plenty of other people who might be reading or watching a movie, you might want to make sure you can keep your eyes shut for some restful sleep. Remember: the longer you sleep, the shorter the flight will be.

Socks and/or Slippers

Being 30,000 feet above sea level causes our body to expand, thus making closed shoes (even your favorite sneakers) uncomfortably tighter. Slip into some warm socks and sliders (or flip flops) before you get some sleep for optimal comfort, and to prevent your feet from stretching your shoes out.

A Warm (But Preferably Lightweight) Jacket

It’s going to get cold but you’ll also want to consider that you’re going to lug the jacket around after you get off the plane, this could prove cumbersome, especially if the weather’s too warm for a jacket where you’re going. A nice, warm, pack-able one like Uniqlo’s ultra light down jackets would be an ideal choice.

Ultra Light Down Jacket by Uniqlo (PHP2,990, Uniqlo)

Change of Clothes

Make your seat feel a little more like your bed and ease up on jet lag by changing into comfortable clothes to sleep in (up to you if they’re going to be pajamas). This will also prove handy in the unlikely occasion that you lose your luggage, or for flights with long layovers.

Copies of Your Travel Documents

In the spirit of being handy, keep copies of reservations, tickets, travel insurance policies, and the biometric page of your passport (and visa, if applicable) in a sleeve or envelope in your luggage. Chances are, you won’t need them, but it’s always better safe than sorry, especially if we’re talking about a few sheets of paper.

Simple Notebook Sleeve in Brown by Soul Flower Co. (PHP1,450, sundaypaperco.com)

Books and Gadgets

Flying long haul is a good time to catch up on that new album you’ve been wanting to listen to, or that book you’ve been trying to read for the last eight months. It’s also a great time to give the brain a bit of a workout with puzzles and games. Pro tip: If you’re flying Philippine Airlines, don’t forget to download the MyPAL Player app to get access to their movie, TV and music library using your phone or tablet — you even get 30 minutes of free WiFi.

A ‘Luxury’ Item

Be kind to yourself and bring a small thing that will make you happy — this could be a tiny bottle of sriracha for the bland plane food you’re going to eat, or a fidget spinner to calm your flight anxiety down, or even your very own cocktail kit.

The Old Fashioned Carry On Cocktail Kit (USD24, wandpdesign.com)

Got anything you’d want to add? Tell us in the comments!

About the Author

Roanna Jamir

Roanna Jamir

Roanna Jamir was an anchor at CNN Philippines (when it was still Solar News in April 2014), until she left in November 2015. Two months later, prompted to escape the stress and hustle of the news industry she had just quit, she also decided to move her family out of the city and to Boracay Island.  

Jozza Alegre Palaganas

Jozza Alegre Palaganas

Jozza Alegre Palaganas prefers staying in one place for long-ish periods of time when she travels. Partly because she likes to pretend she's local, but mostly because she's sentimental.