My Hand Luggage Essentials For Long-Haul Flights

One of the biggest things I learned from frequently flying long-haul between Australia and the UK, is that what you pack in your hand luggage can have a huge effect on your overall comfort and wellbeing during the flight.

With that in mind, I thought I would share with you the essential items I always pack in my hand luggage, plus the chic but cheap cabin case with genius handbag compartment that I always fly with.

(This post contains some affiliate links to Amazon products. Read disclaimer for details.)

Top 5 Hand Luggage Essentials For A Long-Haul Flight

If I’m flying long-haul I won’t leave home without:

  • The Trtl travel pillow – Regularly voted the best travel pillow on the market, the Trtl provides optimum support for your neck and – as it looks just like a scarf – also has the benefits of being easy to pack and looking fairly chic when you wear it.
  • This Works Sleep Balm – A soothing lavender scented balm that’s great for rubbing on pulse points when you need helping relaxing or want to drift off to sleep. (Find more ideas for how to sleep on a plane here.)
  • Noise-cancelling headphones – Like these ones from Bose which provide superb sound quality and block out cabin noises. Don’t forget to grab a headphone adaptor jack so you can plug into the airplane’s entertainment system.
  • Giant scarf or shawl – I always pack a travel shawl when I’m flying so I can wrap myself in it on a flight – I prefer my own blanket to the scratchy airline ones! (This Barefoot Dreams one is so cosy.)
  • A pen – Don’t forget to pack a pen for all those pesky immigrations forms or you’ll be begging your neighbour for theirs.

Hand Luggage Essentials For Long-Haul Flights - Girl Tweets World

Hand Luggage Items For A More Comfortable Flight

If you’ve got room to spare, these are the items I recommend you pack for a more comfortable flight.

  • Berocca, multi-vitamins and headache pills – To fight jet lag before it even begins. I swear by Berocca Boost, which comes with an extra energy kick, especially when I know I’m going to have to hit the ground running.
  • Lucas Papaw Ointment – The best thing for chapped lips. You can pick one up in duty-free in most Australian airports or buy it online.
  • Slipper socks – As soon as I get on a long haul flight I slip out of my shoes and into a pair of fluffy socks. I love Totes slipper socks with a tread on the bottom as you can walk around in them on the flight. You may also want to consider compression socks, especially if you’re pregnant or have health issues.
  • A hair tie – Because one is never on your wrist when you really need it.

Tips for flying while pregnant

Hand Luggage Items Loved By Frequent Flyers

Feel like a travel pro with these frequent flyer favourites.

  • Kate Spade Passport Holder – Although you have to remove passport covers when you go through immigration, I personally keep my passport in one as it protects the pages and makes it easier to spot your passport amongst all the other items in your bag. I’ve had this Kate Spade Passport Holder for years and it looks smart and has lasted well.
  • Clear cosmetic case for toiletries – I have a TSA approved clear toiletry bag that I pop all my liquid items in at home so I don’t have to mess about rearranging my bags at security.
  • Eye mask – Just in case you end up in a seat near the toilet or next to a passenger who reads for the whole flight. This silk sleep mask is super soft and cosy.
  • Back up battery – I pack a portable power bank in case there is nowhere to charge your phone on the plane. Most airlines now have USB ports so I also bring my iPhone cable so I can charge my phone at my seat.
  • Outfit change – If I’m flying all the way to London from Sydney I tend to book a flight connection with a long enough layover to allow me time to shower and change in the lounge or shower room. I’ll pack a spare top and undies and have a mini pack of face wipes, deodorant and face powder to help me feel more human. Shower gel and towels etc are supplied by the lounge but don’t forget your hairbrush, which often isn’t.
  • Laptop and camera – I keep these items in my hand luggage not necessarily to use them on the flight but because it would be a travesty if my luggage was lost and I didn’t have these with me upon arrival. If you are changing planes it’s a good idea to have a change of clothes and essential toiletries in your hand luggage for this same reason.

Best Carry-On Case For Long-Haul Flights

Best carry on luggage for women
Image thanks to Cabin Max

A fellow travel blogger has designed the ultimate cabin case for female travellers and it’s been everywhere with me this past year.

Featuring a 28 litre main compartment and genius handbag pocket, where you can pop all your toiletries prior to going through security, this cabin case is chic, practical and an absolute bargain to boot. Buy yours on Amazon now or read my full review here.

Do you have any hand luggage essentials that are not on my list?

Hand luggage essentials for long haul flightsYou may also like:

The 10 items of clothing I pack for every trip

How to pack like a pro 

How to sleep on a plane: 8 top tips for getting more kip

This post contains some affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase after clicking on the link, I may receive a small commission. Read disclaimer for details.

Post updated February 2020

About the author

I’m Jayne, a travel blogger, content creator and mum to a 4-year-old son. I’ve been blogging since 2010, travelled to 65 countries and share travel guides and tips to help you plan stylish, stress-free trips.

14 thoughts on “My Hand Luggage Essentials For Long-Haul Flights”

  1. This bag looks sensational, too bad they only ship within the United States! Will definitely look into mail forwarding for this one…

    • They are looking into offering international shipping so maybe join the mailing list so you know when it’s available!

  2. I love that bag! I’m in the habit of only taking hand luggage on any trip now but try to bring a second smaller bag to keep all my flight entertainment in. Definitely agree with the ear plugs! They have never worked for me, I’d rather fall asleep listening to music!

    Adventures with Steph


    • Same! If I’m taking a wheeled carry on I use a small cross body bag to keep my phone in passport to hand. Some low-cost airlines used to be funny about this but even that seems to have relaxed now.

  3. I love spying in other people’s bags! Funny enough, I recently discovered earplugs and love them now for flights! I also always take my own toothbrush – I don’ t like the shape they have on planes and also try to minimize waste. And the bag is beautiful, I want to check out their camera bag!

  4. This was so helpful seeing how I am one of those who packs WAY too much in their carry-on. Every time I tell myself “only the essentials, okay?” and then for some reason I find everything to be essential. I am also still in search of that perfect bag and this might just be the one!

    Fluffy socks are also a must have for me on long trips!

    Jessica | Nearby Wanderer

    • This is a great bag as everything’s organised but overall it’s not so big you stuff too much in it! I have a terrible habit of buying too much at the airport so always have to underpack unless I want to end up lugging the world with me 🙂

  5. Ooh I’ve had my eye on this bag for a while! I have their Pearl bag which I love for walking around a city – it carries everything I need (and more). This is definitely next on my wishlist though!


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