Hand luggage for long-haul flights

Posted in Travel, Travel Tips
on January 21, 2018
Hand luggage for long haul flights what to pack

On a long-haul flight, hand luggage is really important. Before I flew, I did a lot of research on what people take in their hand luggage, because I’d never been on such a long flight before, and I wanted to be comfortable and avoid being grumpy about needing something and not having it (mainly food!)

I also asked on Twitter for advice, so thank you to the lovely people who replied. I have to say, I think my bag was fairly comprehensive for everything I needed on the flight. So, I thought I’d share with you what I packed:


Totally essential. On our layover, I was absolutely freezing and was so, so pleased I had a nice big scarf to wrap up in. It also doubled up as an extra blanket when I was chilly and trying to sleep.


Notebooks & pen

For random writing inspiration and list-making. Also useful to have a pen for filling out immigration cards. Or, if you fancy a game of noughts and crosses.


Documents & passport

Obviously can’t get anywhere without these. We had a folder with our booking info and visas inside, in the order we’d need them. How very Monica of me.



We hadn’t planned an awful lot after the first week, so I wanted to do a bit of research on the place, and decided to do it the old-fashioned way with a book.


Warm socks

I was so relieved to get these on just before I went to sleep on our second flight. It was a little extra comfort when it was much needed!


Change of underwear and socks

I knew I’d want to feel freshened up after our layover. So, just before we switched flights, I got fully changed in the airport, and then again before we landed.


Change of clothes

Again, I knew I’d feel uncomfortable stuck in the same clothes for nearly 2 days. I flew in jeans and jumpers, but I changed into more comfy leggings, long-sleeved top and hoody. I kept the same trainers on throughout. I recommend my Adidas Originals ones – they’re so comfy and light.



Thankfully, there were USB chargers on both our flights, so I didn’t need to worry about my electronics dying on me



I didn’t actually use my headphones much because, when I wasn’t writing, I was either sleeping or watching movies, but always nice to have the option



I spent a lot of time on the first flight writing away with no distractions. Heaven.



Necessary for comfort and warmth. I’m always cold on planes so I loved snuggling up in this for a nap.



I was intending to just pop these on when we landed, but they actually came in handy when the sun was really bright during the flight and I couldn’t see my screen



I took my La Roche Posay Anthelios XL (review here) to slap on before going out into the sunshine. Depends where you’re going, but SPF is pretty essential everywhere tbh.



Long-haul flights are notorious for drying out your skin. I moisturised a few times during the flights, especially after we were given hot towels – so refreshing!


Lip balm

No matter how much I tried to stay hydrated, I still got chapped lips, so this was needed to help with that



For freshening up purposes. I wasn’t too hot, thankfully, but it was still nice to have it to hand



I have miniatures of my favourite perfumes which are great for the hand luggage restrictions, and it was nice to wear some to feel a bit more ‘put together’


Toothbrush & toothpaste

I couldn’t go 30 hours without brushing my teeth!


Snacks from duty free & water

I’m probably quite difficult to cater for, food-wise, so I made sure I had plenty of snacks to keep me going, and I tried to drink at least 1.5 litres of water on each flight.


Eye mask

I didn’t actually use this because our second flight was through the night, but, had I wanted to nap through our daytime flight, this would have been useful


Hand Sanitiser

I just like this for making me feel clean. The bathrooms on airplanes can get pretty rank after a few hours, so it’s a great little thing to have. Plus, people often get ill after being on long-haul flights, because of the recycled air, so it goes a little way to prevent that, too.


And I packed it all in a floral Vans backpack – the kind I had for school! You can find similar ones on ASOS.



I’d love to know if I’ve missed anything off this list – what do you take on long-haul flights to stay comfortable and entertained?

Hand luggage for long haul flights

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  • Josie

    I think you’ve nailed it! All the essentials in there! I always think of any flight as just a couple of hours and having my first layover one going to Australia, I was so glad I packed things like toothbrush, cleansing stuff and change of clothes, definitely need to freshen up on long-haul flights!

    JosieVictoriaa // Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle

    January 24, 2018 at 12:04 Reply
    • North

      Totally! I packed it all but underestimated how much I’d want it. It kind of helps you segregate ‘days’ if you’re on a long haul with very different time zones – like when you went to Australia! I did like a night time routine – brushing my teeth etc. when I wanted my brain to think it was time to go to sleep!

      Thank you for commenting 🙂

      January 26, 2018 at 08:16 Reply
  • Rachael

    This was so helpful and easy to read! Also loved the Friends reference 😉 More of these posts would be fab Xo

    – Rachael Reads

    January 31, 2018 at 14:44 Reply
    • North

      Thank you very much 🙂 that is much appreciated – there will definitely be more of these kinds of things coming, as I’m doing lots of travelling at the moment.

      There’s always an appropriate Friends reference for any situation! x

      February 2, 2018 at 07:46 Reply
  • Laura

    Baby wipes are also a good one for refreshing yourself, especially on layovers! I’m a huge fan of my compression running tights, stops my legs swelling too much. Great post, good ideas x

    February 2, 2018 at 11:53 Reply
    • North

      Thanks m’love! I think I should buy some compression tights for the way back, and walk around a lot more than I did! My OH took face wipes so I stole his 🙂 x

      February 3, 2018 at 06:11 Reply
  • Rachael Stray

    Really useful post. I’m doing my first solo long haul flight in two weeks so bookmarking this post!!

    February 18, 2018 at 11:02 Reply
    • North

      Thanks so much for reading Rachael & for your lovely comment. I’m really glad you found it useful 🙂

      February 18, 2018 at 23:19 Reply

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