Learn to pack like a pro with this useful travel checklist on what to pack in your carry-on for an international flight! These carry-on essentials will have you feeling comfortable & prepared with useful things necessary for a long haul flight!
I’ve traveled internationally quite a few times over the course of my lifetime, so when it comes time to knowing what to pack in your carry-on for a long haul flight, I know a thing or two! In this post, you’ll find a list of my travel essentials specific to your carry-on, to help create a seamless, stress-free day of traveling! Long flights & travel days can be incredibly exhausting, so being prepared & packing your carry-on like a pro can eliminate a lot of unnecessary stress, which is ALWAYS the goal!
Devin & I are currently in Bergen, Norway & gearing up for our own long haul flight back home this week. The flight won’t be bad – about 8 hours of flying total to get back to the Boston airport, which is the airport we fly into when traveling internationally! The flight to Norway was nothing like our journey home from Indonesia in March of 2020. Our journey home consisted of a 40 hour travel day! 40 hours, 3 different flights, & 2 layovers before we finally arrived home in Boston!
I’ve put together this list of 20 useful items to bring along with you in your carry-on bag based on my own traveling experiences & what I’ve found to be super helpful to have on hand when I’m on the flight or in the airport! When you’re gearing up for a long flight or travel day, you definitely want to be prepared & as comfortable as possible! I’m certain that if you refer to this list of long haul carry-on essentials, all of your bases will be covered!
Other Travel Posts to Check Out:
- Healthy Travel Snacks for Long Flights
- My International In-Flight Skincare Routine
- 10 Tips for Staying Sane When Traveling Abroad
20 Items to Pack in Your Carry-On
1. A Neck Pillow
I used to think neck pillows didn’t make a difference, but they definitely do! Nothing is worse than trying to get some shut eye on a long haul flight & you have your neck swinging around! No need to invest in something fancy! I found my neck pillow at Marshall’s for $10 I think, there’s tons of options on Amazon too! To save on room in my carry-on, I like to snap my neck pillow to the strap of my bag!
2. Comfortable Walking Shoes
Trust me when I say that you don’t want to be stuck walking far distances in an airport in uncomfortable shoes or struggling to take your shoes on & off on the plane or when going through security. Comfort is key. My Allbirds Tree Runners are my go-to travel shoes…they are SO comfy!
3. Comfortable Clothes
I’ve never understood how people can wear tight jeans on a long flight. Any time I fly, I opt for comfort first & foremost. Being comfortable, makes a world of a difference. Lululemon leggings all the way!
4. A Clothing Item That Can Double As A Blanket
I like to bring along some sort of sweater or sweatshirt that I obviously can wear, but also use as a blanket if the airline doesn’t provide one. Airports & airplanes have a tendency to be a bit chilly so I always like to be prepared, because I don’t like being cold! By using a clothing item as a blanket, it helps save you from having to pack one!
5. Compression Socks
I brought a pair of compression socks for my trip to & from Indonesia but ended up not wearing them. Honestly I didn’t feel the need, but compression clothing or socks can be a great option if you tend to swell or get restless. Devin wore his compression socks the entire length of our travel day & prefers to wear them any time we travel!
6. A Cross Body Bag/Fanny Pack/Purse
I love traveling with a cross-body bag because they’re extremely convenient. Everything is close to your chest, your hands remain available, & it’s always on you! I have this Everywhere Belt Bag from Lululemon & I absolutely love it – it’s the perfect size!
7. Portable Adapters & Charging Cords
You’ll want to be prepared with proper adapters & charging cords to keep your devices on full charge, especially if you don’t have a portable charger. Some flights have an outlet below the seats, but it’s not always guaranteed! Most airplanes have US charging outlets, but once you arrive at an international airport to catch a connecting flight, you won’t be able to use the outlets unless you have the correct adaptor! This is the adapter kit that I use & recommend!
8. A Good Carry-On
Before my trip over to Indonesia, I found the best carry-on from a company called Béis. I have their Weekender Bag in beige & it’s perfect – shop through this link for $15 off! It’s an over the shoulder bag, with a cross body option & it can fit a TON of stuff. Now I know that some people prefer a carry on that rolls, which is totally fine, but I like an actual bag that I can fit a lot in & have easy access to, which is why I love my weekender bag so much! No matter what you choose, make sure you’re able to move well & are comfortable with it, especially if you have to carry it.
9. A Safe & Secure Place To Store Your Passport
When traveling abroad, you’ll want to make sure your passport is always close by. I recommend keeping it in a specific compartment in your purse or cross body bag so it’s easily accessible because you’ll be asked to present it multiple times throughout your international travel day.
You’ll want to make sure you carry enough cash, but not too much. Find an amount that you’re comfortable with carrying & don’t feel pressured to convert it all at once because you might not use it all & don’t want to be stuck with it! Also try to convert any money in a safe & reputable place, such as an airport to avoid being ripped off.
11. International Credit Card
I highly recommend finding a credit card that will allow you to use it internationally without any processing fees. Although the fees are small (usually 2-3%), they surely can add up, especially if you’re traveling often. I have a Citi Bank Mastercard that I really like using.
12. A Copy of Your Passport
You’ll want to make sure you have a picture of your passport (or any important document) on your phone or a photo copy of your passport, either with you or with someone back home. Just as a precaution, but it’s helpful to have especially if something were to happen to your actual passport.
13. A Pen
When traveling internationally, you’ll be handed a customs card to fill out before landing. Flight attendants don’t always provide pens, so it’s better to just bring your own, especially in the current climate.
Be sure to check out my post sharing my favorite vegan & gluten free travel snacks to bring along in your carry-on for long haul flights! Having good travel snacks makes a world of a difference! Most food is allowed through TSA, but if you’re bringing any liquid food or drink, you’ll want to make sure it is 3oz or under, or TSA will toss it!
15. Essential Oils
Essential Oils are always something that I enjoy bringing along any time I travel. Whether you use them to stay grounded, fight off infections, relax, or combat anxiety, they’re always smart to have on hand! DoTerra’s On Guard blend is a favorite of mine to travel with!
16. Disinfecting Wipes
Because you might feel better about spending 14 hours in a seat that has been wiped down, right?! There’s many instances that you can use disinfecting wipes throughout your travel day. Whether it’s to wipe down a luggage trolley, a door handle, your hands, your seat on the flight or drop-down table, wipes are always helpful to have on hand when traveling.
Flying can seriously dry out your skin & sometimes the air on planes can even cause “airplane acne” since it’s just continuously circling around throughout the duration of the flight. It’s best to always come prepared & give your skin the love it needs! Be sure to check out my skincare must haves for long distance flights! And I always recommend bringing a toothbrush & travel size toothpaste especially if you have a long layover somewhere or if you’re on an overnight flight, it always feel amazing to brush your teeth either on the flight or in the airpot!
18. A Reusable Water Bottle
Having a reusable water bottle in your carry-on is definitely an essential for making sure you stay hydrated throughout your travel day! Be sure to not fill it up before going through security because TSA will ask you to dump it!
If you need to take any daily medications or supplements, make sure to bring them along in your carry-on. When traveling, it’s always smart to have anything important on you at all times, such as medications, especially if something were to happen to your checked luggage.
20. On Flight Entertainment
Whether you download a few podcasts, purchase the in-flight wifi, read a good book, journal, etc. it’s always good to be prepared than to sit there for hours twiddling your thumbs! I recently started purchasing the in-flight wifi on my long haul flights & it’s made the biggest difference. I always pack my laptop in my carry-on so I’m able to get a lot of work & writing done with minimal distractions! Also! If you want to use the on-flight entertainment, be sure to pack a pair of headphones with a single jack because the update iPhone headphones or bluetooth headphones aren’t compatible with the TV screens on the flight!
So there you have it – my little guide for what to pack in your carry-on for any international flight! I hope these items are as helpful to you as they continue to be for me during my own personal travel days! I’m a big believer that being prepared with everything you need, helps set yourself up for success, traveling included!
Have I missed anything? What do you like to pack in your carry-on?
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