Updated on February 26, 2020 by Asher Fergusson
This list has everything you need to organize and prepare your carry-on luggage. Between TSA guidelines, and preparing for the possibility of flight delays, this list has you covered to get the most out of your long flight!
After clocking millions of miles traveling all over the world, the biggest tips we have is to be well prepared, be early to your airport and then relax and enjoy the adventure!
What to Bring on a Plane – 17 Essentials
1. Neck Wallet
You want to keep your valuables close, whether it’s your passport and wallet or other compact personal belongings. A neck wallet is a great way to do this, and can allow you to have the flexibility to carry your items without showing them off and putting yourself at risk of pickpocketing.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could simply prevent jet lag? It kind of sounds like a commercial, but these homeopathic pills definitely help! This natural jet lag relief is surprisingly effective, and is my go-to preventative for those first couple of days of drowsiness, dizziness, and sometimes nausea that plague travelers abroad. Use it preventatively or as a treatment after the fact, though it typically works better if you use it beforehand.
Packing cubes or an easy way to organize everything you bring with you on your trip. If you’re sick of having to rummage through your bags for diapers, children’s clothing, your contacts case, or any other small items that are easily lost, use these storage compartments to keep your items organized and compacted throughout your travels. They even come in multiple sizes so you can switch some from your main travel suitcase to your day pack if you want to.
4. Ear Planes
If you or your kiddos have any ear trouble at all on planes these are great. Since the birth of my last baby I’ve had some serious ear trouble, but thankfully I’ve still been able to fly thanks to these puppies. One note: always check with your doctor prior to flying if you have ear pain, as ear pain can sometimes be a symptom of more serious troubles. Pressure on a plane can irritate these issues.
Never risk your devices running out of power while you’re on the go. You never know when you’re going to need navigation or communication in an emergency. This tiny portable charger can be recharging your devices while you are out and about, and it even works while your phone is plugged into it inside your daypack.
Forbes recently revealed that the dirtiest places on an airplane also happen to be the ones we have to touch most while traveling – places like the seat-back tray and even seatbelts! It’s always a good idea to bring sanitizer wipes with you to keep germs at bay, but this is especially important if you’re traveling with a child or anyone else who is more susceptible to infections!
Believe it or not, every single time you login to an unsecure Wi-Fi network, you’re being watched by hackers. We had our personal financial information stolen and used against us when we were in a Paris Airbnb. You will want to use a virtual private network like NordVPN to add an additional layer of encryption to your information so that you don’t fall victim to thieves like we did. It can also help you gain access in other countries to security information that you may not have access to otherwise!
This patch is miraculous. If you get motion sickness at all this patch is a 100% natural way to alleviate the problem. Don’t allow nausea and dizziness to get in the way of you truly enjoying your trip – I’ve been using these patches for years and swear by them.
9. Carry-On Bag
After multiple cheap carry-on bag handles breaking on me mid-travel (in Heathrow airport – on my honeymoon!), I finally found one I love! It’s hard to find a carry-on bag that isn’t a piece of crap and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, so this bag is a total game changer. It holds up really well and won’t break the bank. It’s the only one we use.
We love this bag because it slips conveniently onto the handle of your carry-on, so it’s incredibly easy to travel with. It’s super lightweight and is collapsable into the tiny bag it comes with so it takes up next to no packing space when not in use.
We don’t travel without these. They take the stress of travel down drastically – you can listen to calming music and you don’t hear the noises of the plane but can still hear important announcements and will notice if your kiddos are trying to get your attention.
12. Travel Insurance
It’s never a good idea to leave travel mishaps up to chance. You don’t want to get stuck footing the bill for anything that goes wrong on your excursions, so travel insurance is a great solution. In the event that your bookings are canceled, your bags are lost, or you run into some emergency medical or travel expenses, your expenses could be covered with the right travel insurance plan!
13. Travel Pillow
This is our top pick for a travel pillow, and after YEARS of travel, that’s saying something. The ergonomic support, machine washable cover (a must!), collapsable and compact design, and the fact that it includes earplugs and an eye mask make it an absolute no-brainer.
Sometimes when you are traveling, your natural circadian rhythm and sleep patterns are disrupted. A sleep aid can help immensely, and will prevent you from waking up grumpy and over exhausted when you miss out on valuable hours of snooze time. This one is gentle, natural, and non-habit-forming.
Jet lag, motion sickness, exhaustion, and any bugs you may pick up while traveling will always be compounded by dehydration. Traveling itself causes you to lose electrolytes and hydration, and any of those factors will simply amplify that effect. Keep hydrated and keep your electrolytes boosted with these delicious electrolyte supplements which are safe and effective.
16. Folding Toothbrush and Toothpaste
I don’t know about you, but my teeth always end up feeling nasty and fuzzy while I’m traveling. I like to bring along portable toothpaste and toothbrush, because I don’t like to go without clean teeth in case I need to make a good impression. I am partial to the activated charcoal toothpaste, so I go for this one.
17. Solid Shampoo
I love solid shampoo – it makes traveling so much easier and works just as well as its liquid counterparts! Plus I don’t have to shove it into my quart-sized liquids bag and it can be saved and reused over and over.
Other flight packing list items to bring
Foot Elevation Sling/Footrest
What to wear on a plane
Dressing in layers is key, since airport and airplane temperatures are notorious for fluctuation. Try to wear soft, comfortable clothes, since you’ll be sitting in cramped quarters for a long period of time.
Wear sweatpants or leggings, a tee shirt, and wool socks. It’s also a smart idea to bring slippers or slip-on sandals to slip on to wander around or go to the restroom during your flight. Definitely do not wear denim and any other material that doesn’t breathe well. Remember to keep an extra change of clothes in your carry-on in case you want to change before landing.
What NOT to take on flight or through airports
These items are TSA prohibited:
3) Sharp objects
4) Liquids (unless you follow the liquids rule – see FAQ)
6) Camping equipment
7) Medical tools
8) Various miscellaneous items
FAQs about long flights
1) Do they serve food on long flights?
Yes, airlines almost always serve meals on any flight longer than three hours. Check with your particular airline before you go if you need more information or have food restrictions.
2) How can I stay active on a long flight?
Try some airplane yoga. Yes, it sounds bizarre but it is actually very important to stay a little active during your flight. Here are seven poses to try on your next long flight.
3) I get nervous before flying. Any tips?
Try meditating. There are all sorts of apps that claim to bust anxiety, and there’s no reason they won’t work for airplane anxiety. Sleeping aids are also a good alternative, so that you can stay conked out for the majority of the flight.
4) What is the rule for carrying on liquids?
You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item.
5) What counts as liquids?
Any liquid, aerosol, gel, cream or paste. This includes contact solution, mascara, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, etc. Keeping your liquids in a separate zip lock bag will make the security process go so much more quickly.
6) How can I keep my child entertained on a long flight?
We’ve found that reading books and drawing can last for hours – you’d be surprised how engaged children get when you’re participating in their fun on a plane! If they really need some solo entertainment time (or you just need a break – travel stress happens!) you can certainly go the electronic route and use a kid-safe device. Try loading up a Kindle with kids books or another device with educational or stress-relief games for your child.