What To Pack For A Long Flight

What To Pack For A Long Flight

What to pack for a long flight. It seems like just as soon as my life starts getting complacent, I’m on a plane to somewhere. For a while I used to do short, 5 hour-ish flights, but I’ve done plenty of 8 plus hour ones as well. Now, the direct flights aren’t so bad, but when you have 1 or even 2 layovers then the transit time can be totally brutal. There’s really no nice way to put it. One thing I’ve learned is to always be prepared. Anything from bad weather to a missed flight can slow you down and make the whole trip almost unbearable.

A few years ago I was flying from Vancouver BC to Warsaw Poland for my grandmother’s birthday. There were no direct flights and the only 1 stop flight was extremely expensive, so I had two stops, the first in Toronto and the second in Frankfurt. The first stop was supposed to be 1.5 hours or so. What I didn’t know was this is a flight that is notoriously delayed (insider secret perhaps?). After sitting at the airport for over 3 hours, I got on an over-full flight with the worst migraine ever. I somehow managed to make it through and landed in Frankfurt to find that my connecting flight was long gone (no surprise there) and that I had another 3 hour or so wait before starting the final leg of my trip. The whole experience was awesome (cue heavy sarcasm), everything I could hope for, along with the wires hanging from the ceiling since the airport was under a major restoration. The saving grace was that I had thought ahead to pack an extra bra and t-shirt, so while I was exhausted I felt somewhat fresher.

What to pack for a long flight


Layers & Comfortable Pieces. This should go without saying, but more and more I’m noticing people wearing really strange outfits on board long plane trips. Maybe it’s because a day doesn’t go by without us seeing a headline about the best dressed celebrity getting off a flight. Is it just me or are most of them wearing heels and really expensive and uncomfortable looking clothing? Seriously, what am I supposed to do with my fedora when I’m crammed into a tiny seat?

There’s no reason to wear old sweats, but soft fabrics and layers will always be cozy and will go a long way to making you look stylish (think no wrinkles) when you get off the plane.


Extra Underwear. You just never know how the flight will go and especially if you have multiple layovers. Sometimes there’s nothing better than changing into fresh underwear (that includes a bra and socks).

Neck Pillow. My husband actually turned me onto the neck pillow. I never realized how awesome they are. Unless you are travelling in business or first class, the pillow really is indispensable. There’s no way you’ll look refreshed after a flight if your neck is sore and cramping.

Noise Cancelling Headphones. Planes are loud, whether it’s the noise of the engines, a screaming child or just people talking and it’s tough to tune it all out. The way I see it is that this is the one time where you can’t use your phone or social media and it might be the perfect time to catch up on some reading, to meditate or to take a long relaxing nap.

what to pack for a long flight

Headache Medication. I learned this one the hard way. I was on that long haul, very delayed, two stopover flight and suddenly my head felt as if it was about to explode. I had a small headache earlier in the day and I guess not enough water and exhaustion won out. By the time the plane took off, I had a full blown (albeit not the most severe one I’ve ever had) migraine. I had no choice but to sleep it off and it was terrible. After that, I’ve never boarded a plane without pain meds.

Beauty Basics. You don’t need a lot of products on plane, but having the basics is a good idea.

  • Deodorant. This should be fairly self explanatory.
  • Toothpaste. Just brushing your teeth can make all the difference in the world.
  • Tinted Moisturizer. You’ll have some coverage, but with a heavy dose of moisture to help combat the dry air.
  • Refreshing Mist. To keep your skin hydrated.
  • Eye Cream. I might use it on my face if needed, but a little bit of cream around my eyes makes me look less tired.
  • Eye Drops. Dry, red eyes never look good on anyone.
  • Lip & Cheek Stain. Just to give yourself a little bit of colour.
  • Hand Cream. With all that hand washing, keep your hands looking great by moisturizing them.


Unless you are flying 1st class and can skip through the lineups, chances are you will look tired after a long flight. There’s really no way around it. So give yourself a fighting chance to look as fresh as possible and ready to go.

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Caroline has worked with international designers in fashion retail and completed professional makeup courses when working in the beauty industry. Her love of writing, photography and film inspired her to work at the Canadian Film Center and then to earn a BFA in Screenwriting. In addition to her blog, Style On The Side, you can see her work in Huffington Post Canada and other international websites.

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