Long-haul luggage

So, you’re heading off to faraway shores…lucky you! But you’ve got a pretty long flight to get there and if you have a bad one it can really ruin the first few days of your holiday.

We’ve compiled our list of essential items to pop in your hand luggage, to ensure the most comfortable flight experience possible…hopefully you’ll arrive either raring to go or ready to unwind, depending on your destination.

Stop that racket!

Flights can be pretty noisy – screaming babies, the sound of the engines and *that* annoying passenger. It can be pretty frustrating if you’re just trying to rest and relax...don’t even think about going to sleep! 

These ear plugs from Boots are inexpensive and don’t just help block out noise, they alleviate ear issues caused by changes in air pressure, especially during takeoff and landing.

If you fly long-haul frequently, or think that you may do in the future, then it’s probably worth investing in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. These Bose headphones are so effective, you’ll have to remember to remove them so you can hear the stewards talking to you! 

Get some shuteye

Your body relies on light to know when to go to sleep so it can be really hard to fool it into sleeping if the lights are on in the plane or it’s actually still daylight outside. Get yourself a really good quality eye mask that’s moulded to the contours of your face to block out the light and give yourself the best chance of getting some zzz’s.

Image by Nick Fewings/Unsplash

Minty fresh

So, you’re possibly travelling for almost a day – your teeth will definitely need freshening up! It also helps to do it before trying to get some sleep as it’s the same routine you would follow at home at bedtime.

Lots of airlines will provide you with an amenity kit on long-haul flights but you may feel more comfortable taking your own mini toothpaste and toothbrush. It’s also pretty handy to take a small mouthwash, and those with alcohol may help with any germs circulating on the flight. A breath spray can also help give you a quick freshen up.

Relieve tired eyes

In the aviation community, a red-eye flight is a flight scheduled to depart at night and arrive the next morning. The term "red-eye" derives from the symptom of having red eyes caused by fatigue. The air on a plane is also very dry and can exacerbate this problem further. If you don’t want to look like the devil when you arrive, consider packing either eye drops or an eye wash to lubricate and sooth your eyes.

Image by Freestocks/Unsplash

Go make up free

You may be a bit apprehensive about going make up free but trust us, once the lights are dimmed, no one will notice! Pack yourself some face wipes to remove your make up before going to sleep – again, similarly to the teeth brushing, this is the same routine you would follow at home at bedtime so it will help your body know it’s time to get some sleep. Your skin will also feel a lot better when you wake up – pop a bit of moisturiser on to ensure it doesn’t dry out whilst you’re sleeping. Decant your make up into mini, reusable bottles or get some free samples from your local makeup counter so you can pop some on before landing and look totally amazing!

Hydrate your skin

As with your eyes, the dry air in the cabin can wreak havoc on your skin. Pop a mini moisturiser in your bag and you can sooth any dry patches. Drinking plenty of water during the flight will also help with this one.

Image by Laura Chouette/Unsplash

Smell like roses

The air can become pretty stale by the end of a long-haul flight. Pack a mini deodorant and decant some of your favourite perfume into a atomiser. It can also be really comforting to have a familiar scent during a long flight.

Dress for comfort

You may want to look glamorous when you land at your final destination but that’s not going to happen if you’ve not slept a wink because you’ve been so uncomfortable. If you look at pictures of celebrities arriving at airports, a lot of them are walking though arrivals in a hoodie and a pair of joggers. If you really can’t bear to enter or leave the plane in such low-key attire then pack some spare, comfortable clothing in your hand luggage. Throw some warm, chunky socks in too!

The temperature in a plane often oscillates between freezing cold and boiling hot so make sure you have some extra layers – maybe a fleece and a scarf that you can adjust as required.

Image by eleven x/Unsplash


It’s also important to keep your brain occupied and you may have many hours to fill. Although you may have plenty of films to choose from on the plane, consider taking your iPad or iPhone with the latest series you’re watching, favourite playlists, podcasts or games. Also, how about something to read such as a kindle, book or magazine? Anything that’s going to help the time go more quickly!

Pick up a pillow

This one may be a bit difficult but you can purchase very thin pillows that you may just be able to squeeze into your hand luggage. If you’re flying in economy and manage to get a window seat, you can use this to prop yourself up and it may help you to get to sleep more easily.

Clean up

Planes are pretty dirty places; to ensure you don’t pick anything up, pack a hand sanitizer and some anti-bacterial wipes so you can clean your tray table and armrests.

Long-haul hand luggage checklist

  • Earplugs or noise cancelling headphones
  • Moulded eye mask
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, breath spray
  • Eye drops or eye wash
  • Facial wipes, face moisturiser and makeup miniatures/decanted make up
  • Moisturiser
  • Perfume atomiser and/or deodorant
  • Comfy clothes
  • iPad, iPhone, Kindle, books music, podcasts, magazines
  • Pillow
  • Hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes