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24 Top Flight Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

3 day trip plane
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If you’re clever with what you bring on an airplane, then a long flight can go from being a real pain to being a productive or relaxing getaway in the air.

This list has everything you need to organize, know what to wear, 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!

fergusson family on airplane
Us flying to Paris with our 10-month-old son Kingsley
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What to Bring on a Plane – 24 Essentials

  • 1. Neck Wallet

    Long days of jet lag and layovers can have you a bit scattered. You’ll want to keep your valuables close, whether it’s your passport and wallet, phones, credit cards, and other compact personal belongings. A neck wallet is a great way to do this and allows you to have the flexibility to carry your items without showing them off and putting yourself at risk of pickpocketing. I wear it under my shirt in crowded areas so thieves can’t even see my belongings.

    neck wallet

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  • 2. Jet Lag Relief

    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. I never travel without these.

    jet lag relief

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  • 3. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    Did you know that using a VPN can give you a private network that protects you from hackers AND gives you discounts on flights? By offering you a safe and private connection, no one will be able to use ransomware, malware, or phishing scams against you. Along the same lines, airline companies won’t be able to track your IP location either, which means you will avoid customer profiling data that airlines use to charge you more for flight tickets – major life hack, right?!

    We use a VPN while at home and while traveling. Believe it or not, every single time you log in to an unsecure Wi-Fi network at hotels, airports, and cafes – you’re being watched by hackers. We had our personal financial information stolen and used against us when we were in a Paris Airbnb. This is why you will want to use a VPN 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 to popular websites that are censored in certain countries!

    Virtual Private Network (VPN)

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  • 4. Packing Cubes

    Packing cubes are an easy way to organize everything you bring 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.

    Available on with an exclusive 15% discount using the coupon code “HERO”.

    packing cubes

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  • 5. Ear Planes

    If you or your kiddos have any ear trouble at all on planes these are great. Since the birth of our 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.

    ear Plugs

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  • 6. Travel Insurance

    No matter where you’re going – travel insurance is one of the most crucial items on your packing list. Don’t leave mishaps to chance, especially since your domestic provider does not protect you once you cross the border (including Medicare and Medicaid). We had a friend hurt themselves while hiking on vacation – fortunately, they had travel insurance to ensure they weren’t paying out-of-pocket for international medical bills (which would’ve been close to $50K between the medivac transport and treatment).

    In the event that your bookings are canceled, your bags are lost, or you run into some kind of emergency – your expenses could be covered with the right travel insurance plan! Remember that insurance is required in many places and is too affordable to overlook. We use Faye because they modernize insurance with easy reimbursements through their mobile app. Their Claims Specialists are available 24/7 and they’ve had our backs when we needed it most! We tell all of our friends and readers about Faye because they truly saved the day for us at a very stressful time.

    Travel Insurance

    Get a quote in less than 60 seconds with Faye ➜

  • 7. Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

    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 recharge your devices while you are out and about, and it even works while your phone is plugged into it inside your daypack.

    Lipstick-Sized Charger

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  • 8. Luggage Straps

    You can’t expect the airlines to ‘baby your bags,’ and in most cases, they won’t. More than 25-million bags were lost, delayed, or damaged due to mishandling in 2022 alone. Not all bags arrive to their destination. Reinforce your luggage for any bumpy journeys with these adjustable luggage straps that have a built-in ID tag in case anything gets lost.

    They will take the pressure off your zippers and make sure nothing explodes open. The fun colors also make it way easier to identify your bag since the neon straps really pop in a crowd. Instead of pushing past the eager tourists at baggage claim to check every case that vaguely resembles mine, I can immediately spot it from the off-ramp and get on with my day. For a frequent flyer, it’s honestly life-changing.

    luggage straps

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  • 9. Sanitizing Wipes

    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!

    Sanitizing Wipes

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  • 10. Natural Motion Sickness Patches

    These patches are 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.

    motion sickness

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  • 11. Hanging Toiletry Bag

    Once you try a hanging toiletry bag, you won’t go back. This gem hangs on any door or hook (or branch if you’re camping!) and unfolds with 4 giant pockets that can hold all of your self-care items. We use it for our entire family’s toiletries (skincare, haircare, dental products, makeup, face towels, etc.), and since switching to this leakproof design, we haven’t had any shampoo explosions in our suitcases!

    This one by Eco Sun is our go-to because they are a sustainable brand based in Hawaii that is making a real impact on the world. Giving back to women’s education and supporting ethically-made products, their products are quality-tested in the USA, backed by a lifetime happiness guarantee. So if you’re not happy, just send it back or exchange it for another.

    hanging toiletry bag

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  • 12. TSA-Approved Toiletry Bottles

    A wise addition to your list is TSA-approved bottles for all liquids. It will permit passage through the security checkpoints since these bottles fall under the 3.4-ounce size limit. These are leak-proof and will help you avoid the nightmare of standing at the security trash can, throwing out hundreds of dollars worth of your favorite skincare and haircare products, phew!

    TSA-Approved Toiletry Bottles

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  • 13. Personal Item Bag

    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 use it for souvenirs, gifts, and any extra shopping we do on our travels.

    Personal Item Bag

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  • 14. TSA-Approved Luggage Locks

    Luggage locks are an item that we consider essential for all flights. After having items stolen out of our checked bags on an international trip, we always secure our bags for peace of mind. Things can be out of sight for dozens of hours at a time and bags go missing all the time (especially at Fiumicino in Rome!) These locks are TSA-approved to avoid security slow-downs and can be used on backpacks, lockers, and more.

    luggage locks

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  • 15. Natural Sleep Aid

    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.

    Natural Sleep Aid

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  • 16. Noise-Canceling Headphones

    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.

    Noise-Canceling Headphones

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  • 17. Filtered Water Bottle

    We carry this on the side of our backpack when going through security, empty of water and then refill it once we’re at our gate. This Brita bottle is great for having for travel so you’re not buying plastic bottles the entire time. It noticeably improves the taste of your water with a built-in filter, and it’s wise to have autonomy over your water supply, no matter where you’re headed.

    Filtered Water Bottle

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  • 18. Electrolytes

    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.


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  • 19. 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

    travel pillo

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  • 20. 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. Also, bring a Steripod so your toothbrush doesn’t risk falling in the sink or shower (or the floor!), it’s a cover that snaps on and keeps everything sanitary.

    Folding Travel Toothbrush

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  • 21. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    This is one of the most versatile items you can travel with. This quick-dry towel is super absorbent and dries 10x faster than cotton which means you can use it multiple times throughout the day. I use it as a sweat rag, beach towel, seat cover, packing cushion, and any other creative use you can dream up!

    quick-dry travel microfiber towel

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  • 22. 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 liquid bag and it can be saved and reused over and over.

    Solid Shampoo

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  • 23. 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.

    carry bag

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  • 24. Universal Power Adapter

    This universal power adapter works in 100+ popular countries so it will serve you well in global jet-setting. It can charge multiple devices at a time and converts easily for different outlet types. We love this brand because they offer a lifetime replacement guarantee, which means this is the last adapter you’ll ever need to buy, and you can really trust the quality.

    Universal Power Adapter

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What to wear on a Plane

What to wear on flightDressing 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

  • 1.Flammables

  • 2.Firearms

  • 3.Sharp objects

  • 4.Liquids (unless you follow the liquids rule – see FAQ)

  • 5.Household tools

  • 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?

    nervous motion sick flight

    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?

    entertain child 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.