Over the last decade, I’ve been on some pretty long flights, including one back to Palm Beach from Cape Town just a few years ago.

That one felt like an eternity, taking over 24 hours with a layover in NYC, with about 19 of those hours spent in the air.

Lucky for me, I had a good bit of experience with long flights at that point, so I had plenty of tricks to make the economy bearable.

And lucky for you, about to share all my long flight essentials and tips to make your next insane day of air travel easier to manage.

Before You Pack

Checking Luggage Requirements

Ally traveling in an airport with her Away carry-on luggage in Chicago

Before you even consider what to pack, check your airline’s luggage size and weight limits.

Each airline has specific regulations that can significantly change what you can bring.

To avoid extra baggage fees, always confirm your allowance and adhere to:

  • Size limitations: Typically expressed in linear inches (height + width + depth).
  • Weight restrictions: Often ranging from 15 to 50 pounds for checked and carry-on luggage.

Luggage Tracker

Apple AirTag inside Away Carry On suitcase travel tips

Investing in a luggage tracker like an AirTag will be one of the most valuable things you do.

Trust me, after British Airways losing my luggage for almost a week, I will never fly without my AirTag again.

It provides the ultimate peace of mind, even if god forbid the airline delays your bags arrival.

If you’ve not used a tracker before, basically what you need to know is that you can track your bag via GPS or Bluetooth using your phone.

This provides peace of mind, especially if you have connecting flights—-trust me, I know!

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Preparing Essential Documents

International Travel Documents

Gather all necessary travel documents well in advance.

I’m addicted to my passport, but if you’re not like me, I’d suggest digging your passport out at least 6 months before your trip.

Once you’ve found it, make sure your passport has over six months’ validity. If it’s under that, some countries have rules about letting you in.

Depending on where you’re heading, you may also need to think about filing for a visa, since not all counties offer visa upon arrival.

Oh, and if you’re really traveling somewhere remote, you may also need vaccines.

It’s also important to make sure your bank knows you’ll be traveling. The last thing you want is for a credit or debit card not to work.

You’ll also want to make a few copies of the following:

  • Passport
  • ID
  • Visa (if needed)
  • Vaccinations (if needed)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Full Itinerary (hotel addresses, phone numbers, and names)

Carry-On Essentials

Electronic Devices


I’ve always got all my tech in my personal item, because I’m paranoid about having to gate check a bag if the overheads fill up.

It’s happened to me before, and there was nothing more stressful about playing Sophie’s Choice with my tech because the overheads filled up and I was the last one looking for space.

The good news is about this habit also keeps all your entertainment easily accessible.

I always have the following on hand:

  • Phone (charged and downloaded with podcasts, music, and Netflix)
  • Portable Charger and Cable
  • Headphones
  • Kindle (with my latest library book from Libby downloaded)
  • Laptop

Comfort Items


Besides electronics, you’ll want to set yourself up for a cozy flight by packing a few of your own special items, especially if you’re like me and constantly flying economy.

One item I can’t live (or fly long-haul flights) without is my silk sleep mask.

I seriously cannot sleep without it, especially while I’m traveling.

In fact, I now carry two with me when I travel long term, one for transit and one for general nights.

Another item I’d suggest investing in is a scarf or zip up to keep cozy in, since the plane always is freezing or super warm.

I also always default to wearing wide legged comfy black trousers. I love them because they look chic, are cozy to sit in, especially compared to wearing leggings on long-haul flights.

It’s also important to think about what footwear will be cozy. I like wearing sneakers I can slide on or off easily.

Lots of people have an opinion on taking off your shoes, and to be honest, on long haul flights I think it can be done tastefully.

But, first and foremost if your feet or shoes smell, please leave your shoes on.

If they don’t and you’ve got socks on, feel free to slip your feet out and rest them either on top of your bag or the shoes, but never ever on the floor.

And dear god, please don’t put your feet on the seat or through the armrest in front of you.

It sickens me to think of the number of times I’ve seen people do this.

Personal Hygiene

Carry On Hygiene Essentials for long haul flight

Long-haul flights are no joke, especially while in economy.

I like to take care of myself by packing little items that will leave a big impact on the quality of how I look and feel after the flight.

I can’t live without lip balm, lotion, a toothbrush and paste, and deodorant on long-haul flights.

And mascara, a bit of powder, and a spritz of a perfume sample can do wonders for how you feel before braving the line at passport control.

These are items I always have in my bag:

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Hairbrush
  • Lip Balm
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Deodorant
  • Hair Ties
  • Tide Pen
  • Lotion
  • Clorox Wipe
  • Mascara
  • Powder or Foundation
  • Sample Perfume
  • SPF Moisturizing Lotion


Golden Gate Bridge Vintage Postcard3

I used to be team cheap and chic and only eat what they give you on the plane, and then one day I was on a plane that got rerouted from Istanbul to Ankara.

We were stuck sitting on the plane for hours with no food or water, and no information about what we got routed to a city hours away.

All of a sudden, I realized why people religiously carry snacks with them onto planes.

Thankfully, I had run through the lounge in Nice and grabbed a Coke and some Madeline cookies, thinking I’d save them for a snack once I got to my hotel in Istanbul.

I’ve never appreciated these snacks more in my life, especially the caffeine from the soda, as a headache was kicking in and people on the plane were getting rowdy.

Learn from my story and always carry a selection of healthy snacks to stay energized.

I like bringing a selection of healthy snacks like nuts, supplements, dried fruit, or granola bars, plus at least one chocolate item, that take up little space and can tide you over if meals are delayed.

These are some snacks I always grab before a long flight:

  • Peanut Butter Cups (ideally dark chocolate homemade)
  • RX Peanut Butter Chocolate Bar
  • Suja Organic Greens Sample Pack
  • Vive or Suja Juice Shot
  • Cashews
  • Salt and Vinegar Chips

Frequent Traveler Tip: Besides those items, I also always travel with a small jar of cayenne. I like to use it to add flavor to the generally dull airplane food.

Overall, it’s come in very handy, all around the world. I highly encourage you to bring your favorite versatile spice with you if you detest bland airline food.

Though fair warning, out of all the countries I’ve flown through with this in my carry-on, India is the only one who deemed it a security threat and took it.



It’s really important to always remember to be drinking water in the days surrounding travel, and especially on the travel day(s).

Besides water, I also like to incorporate supplement shots on and near travel days to make sure my immune system is top-notch.

Normally I do this by grabbing Suja or Vive immunity shots.

I’ve had this same pre-flight wellness routine for almost a decade.

Typically, I try to do this one a day leading up to my trip, and bring at least one to enjoy in the cab or plane (obviously you can’t keep these refrigerated too long).

I’m also loving Suja’s Organic Greens before flying, and even on occasion while flying, to make sure I’m getting a full serving of veggies in on busy days.

I like to keep my S’Well bottle with me while traveling and will often fill it before getting on the plane.

I’d also like to point out that even if hydrating doesn’t sound fun, it will make getting drinks in the lounge or on the flight better because you’ll balance out the alcohol with the right hydration system (you’ll thank me when you land).

Emergency Kit

Carry On Emergency Kit

A travel emergency kit is a necessary item, especially when traveling outside your home country.

I keep a stock of basic medical things in my checked bag and a few of the following in my person item, just in case the unexpected happens.

  • Aspirin
  • Tampons
  • Kleenex
  • Tums
  • Imodium
  • Sanitizer

Change of Clothes


Whatever you do, always pack a light change of clothes, including an extra pair of panties in case of spills or luggage delays.

This can be lifesaving for your comfort and hygiene.

Trust me, you’ll be thankful you did.


What are the top items to include in a flight essentials kit?


Your flight essentials kit should include items that cater to your entertainment, hygiene, and comfort needs.

It is critical to include multipurpose chargers in your flight essentials kit to keep your devices powered, and make sure your personal toiletry items are travel-sized to comply with security regulations.

What are the best carry-on bags for enduring long flights?


Select a carry-on bag that is lightweight, durable, and has multiple compartments for easy organization.

Look for features like padded straps and, if you’re using a suitcase, smooth, multi-directional wheels.

I normally default to my Away Bigger Carry-On or my old giant backpack I inherited from my dad, depending on the destination.

It’s also important to consider how much space your personal item will take up.

Smaller means you’ll get more legroom, but a larger bag with pockets like Away Everywhere Bag means you’ll have easier access to more things.

What outfit recommendations are suggested for long haul flights?

Ally in Miami Airport before long haul flight to France - travel outfit - monos luggage

Choose loose, breathable layers, and fabric that won’t wrinkle easily.

Pack a scarf or sweater, which can double as a blanket, and wear slip-on shoes for easy removal at security checks and onboard comfort.

What strategies are there for effectively passing time on flights longer than 15 hours?

Laptop travel journal and kindle in carry on bag

Immerse yourself in a good book, listen to podcasts, write in your travel journal, or watch movies on the in-flight entertainment system.

I like to work on a reward program.

Basically, I replicate what my parents did for us on road trips as kids. Every time I hit a specific hour mark, I get a treat.

Normally the treats are candy, or maybe a book, or a beauty product I’ve been looking forward to checking out.

It’s also important to make time intentionally to take the occasional walk about the cabin to keep your body feeling good.

Don’t forget, it’s important to keep hydrated to avoid feeling crummy later.

So a good thing to do is to use the walk to get more water from the attendant.

How can one ensure comfortable sleep on a long-haul flight?

Blue sleep mask flight pillow and stress gummies 2

To sleep comfortably, use a neck pillow designed for airplane use, wear noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs, and bring an eye mask to block out light.

If you’ really want to go all out, think about layers or a travel blanket for temperature control.

Get Ready for Take-Off


One final piece of advice, after a long-haul flight there’s nothing that thrills me more than tossing on sunglasses and getting out of the airport and to my final destination.

Whatever you do, don’t forget to pack your sunglasses somewhere easily accessible.

Oh, and grab a giant coffee or equivalent drink upon landing at the airport before tackling any transportation.

It’s become a routine of mine, in order to regroup, answer immediate texts and emails, and either schedule my Uber or figure out public transit to the city.

The best part is, it’ll leave you feeling revived enough to take on the next part of your adventure.

So good luck, and have a safe long-haul flight. I hope you enjoy wherever you’re heading!


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