40 Long Flight Essentials, After a Year of Tested by Travel Editors

There’s no denying that travel is fun, amazing, even life-changing. But it can also be tiring, stressful, and downright hard. Missed connections, delayed flights, screaming babies, and sockless passengers looking to “share” your armrest—it’s enough to drive a grown man mad. And long flights can be especially difficult without the right tools to keep you sane.

But packing the right gear can make all the difference. It can turn a torturous 10-hour red-eye into a relatively calm, relaxing travel experience complete with good cocktails, a toddler-sized nap, and hours of enjoying all your favorite books, movies, and music in noise-canceled bliss.

So what to pack is the question? Our travel-obsessed editors and writers regularly test luggage, wellness products, and travel gadgets. We ditch what doesn’t work and share the rest with you. If you’re getting ready to head off on a long-haul international flight, first off: Congrats! But, also, you might want to pack some or all of these recommendations below. These are the best long-flight essentials to keep you cool, calm, and collected on your next getaway.

Bags & Luggage

Keeping your long flight gear game tight starts with the right carry-on luggage. Monos’ flagship Carry-On Pro Plus is among the best we’ve seen, plus a built-in front compartment provides instant access to your essentials.

Medium Rugged Twill Duffle Bag

Filson Medium Rugged Twill Duffle Bag

If a classic duffel bag is more your speed, we love Filson’s field- and time-tested Rugged Twill Duffle. The industrial-strength fabric is built for travel, and the 43-liter capacity is more than enough to hold days worth of essentials.

Travel Backpack 30L

Peak Design Travel Backpack 30L

Few companies know how to wrangle your long-flight essentials like Peak Design. Its Travel Backpack 30L is sleek, handsome, and even expands with plenty of storage, pouches, and pockets to organize all your gear.

Compression Packing Cubes

Nomatic Compression Packing Cubes

Few things make packing easier than packing cubes. Nomatic’s are highly compressible, so your soft goods take up a lot less space in your luggage (leaving more room for important things, like Toblerones and duty-free booze).

FlatPak Waterproof Toiletry Case

Matador FlatPak Waterproof Toiletry Case

Nothing can ruin a good vacation like leaky toiletries spilling all over your clothes, gadgets, and gear. Keep your liquids quarantined with this leakproof roll-top toiletry bag.

Vapor Sling Crossbody Bag

Timbuk2 Vapor Sling Crossbody Bag

Keep all the essentials for your next long flight close at hand with this next-level crossbody bag. With four pockets and a dedicated laptop sleeve, it’s perfect for keeping everything organized under your seat.


If you’re lucky, you might have access to one electrical outlet on your next long flight. Double your power-up potential to keep all your gadgets humming with this dual USB-C fast charger.

This “pre-long-flight” essential is really an airfare watchdog service that keeps an eye on your preferred airports and alerts you when prices drop. Subscribers save an average of $200 on domestic flights and a whopping $500 on international airfare—all for as little as $49/year.

145W Portable Power Bank

Ugreen 145W Portable Power Bank

Now 37% Off

Most of us would rather forget to pack our underwear than our smartphone and other gadgets. Make sure you’re equipped with the portable power you need for all your essential gadgets on a long flight with this beefy power bank.

Kobo Sage eReader

Rakuten Kobo Sage eReader

Take all your favorite audiobooks and book books along on your next long flight. The zero-glare e-ink touchscreen makes for a paper-like reading experience, and the entire device is waterproof to protect against clumsy seatmates and sticky-fingered kids.

True Wireless Noise Cancelling Earbuds II (EAH-AZ40M2)

Technics True Wireless Noise Cancelling Earbuds II (EAH-AZ40M2)

These all-new, low-profile earbuds from Technics are our new go-to for long flights. They’re designed with next-gen active noise-cancellation tech and run for up to 12 hours with the included charging case.

WH-1000XM5 Wireless Headphones

Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless Headphones

If noise-canceling audioware is the only thing keeping you sane while traveling, but earbuds aren’t your jam, splurge on these best of the best travel headphones. The 30-hour battery life is enough to take you around the world—literally.

If the last year (of stolen luggage news) has taught us anything, it’s that Bluetooth trackers are worth their weight in gold. Keep tabs on all your luggage—even your carry-ons—with a cheap, dead-simple AirTag.

In-Flight Airplane Phone Holder Mount

Perilogics In-Flight Airplane Phone Holder Mount

Now 42% Off

For those marathon in-flight movie seshes, you want to know you can stare at your smartphone screen for hours comfortably. This 360-degree tray-table mount allows you to twist and angle it anyway you want.


Soft, warm, and ridiculously comfy—the only three things we look for in the perfect fleece. Houdini’s Power Houdi ticks all those boxes, is available in a dozen colors, and is made with Bluesign-approved fabric, too.

Alpaca is looking to overthrow Merino wool as the go-to natural performance fiber. Case in point: Paka’s T-Shirt. It’s soft, lightweight, and wicks away sweat like a champ. Plus, it doesn’t hold onto odors (unlike you after a 12-hour red eye).

Sunday Performance Jogger

Vuori Sunday Performance Jogger

Upgrade your next all-day (and maybe all-night) flight with the right travel pants. Vuori’s Sunday Performance Jogger is buttery soft, lightweight, and the sweat-wicking knit fabric keeps you dry and comfortable.

If wearing slippers on a plane isn’t your thing, we get it. These slip-on travel shoes are the next best thing. They slide on and off easily for your next long flight, then the back support pops back up to wear like a “regular” sneaker once you land.

Multifunctional Headwear/Neckwear

Buff Multifunctional Headwear/Neckwear

This might be the most versatile travel headwear you’ll ever own. It’s a neck gaiter, a hat, or even an eye mask in a pinch.

Solids Ankle Socks

Bombas Solids Ankle Socks

Bombas’ extra-durable cotton fabric that’s also insanely comfortable makes them ideal for long haul journeys.


Staying well-hydrated might be the second most important thing for travelers (after packing your phone, of course). This new water bottle from Yeti is ultra-lightweight, and the wide mouth makes it easy to fill at the airport.

Anywhere Travel Blanket

Tuft & Needle Anywhere Travel Blanket

Tuft & Needle packs all the same comfort and cleverness of its best mattresses into this simple quilted travel blanket. It’s soft, lightweight, and packs down small into its own sewn-on pouch.

Passport Cover+

Distil Union Passport Cover+

This minimalist passport cover from Distil Union is everything you need and nothing you don’t. It’s simple, handsome, and boasts a surprising amount of storage for cards, a notebook, a pen, a SIM card, and, of course, a passport. Bonus: It’s an RFID wallet too.

Fillo Elite Luxury Pillow

Nemo Fillo Elite Luxury Pillow

If curvy neck pillows aren’t your thing, Nemo’s more traditional, ultra-packable inflatable travel pillow is the perfect alternative. It’s machine-washable, packs down small, and feels just as soft and comfy as your pillow at home.

Inflatable Travel Footrest Pillow

Maliton Inflatable Travel Footrest Pillow

It’s no secret that Economy airplane seats suck. Upgrade your next cattle class experience with this adjustable inflatable footrest to make your seat feel more like a lounger—almost.

Craft Instant Coffee (Bronson Blend)

Verve Coffee Roasters Craft Instant Coffee (Bronson Blend)

They might have great coffee where you’re headed, but you won’t find any on a long flight. Pack a couple of these instant coffee satchets from Verve Coffee to level-up your inflight java experience.

Craft Cocktail Kit

W&P Craft Cocktail Kit

Now 44% Off

We’re hard-pressed to find a decent cocktail on most flights, too, especially in Economy. W&P’s Craft Cocktail Kit packs everything (but the booze) you need to make your favorite tipple into a compact, flight-ready tin.

Passion Journal (Travel)

Moleskine Passion Journal (Travel)

Now 25% Off

Reminisce about the places you just left or the places you’ve never been before. It’s your call with this handsome passion journal purpose-designed to chronicle your personal adventures.

Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs

Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs

Soft, moldable, and extremely effective, these silicone earplugs are our go-to tool for blocking out the world on a long flight.

Micro Travel Scale

Travelon Micro Travel Scale

Travel long enough, and you’ll eventually find yourself the victim of an “over-the-weight-limit” carry-on bag. Sidestep any such surprises with this ultra-packable luggage scale.


Hydrate Organic Electrolyte Powder

Goodonya Hydrate Organic Electrolyte Powder

It’s not enough to only hydrate en route. You also need plenty of salt and other electrolytes. This organic, low-sugar powder is packed with all of the above and tastes great too.

Thin and Crispy Chicken Chips

Wilde Chips Thin and Crispy Chicken Chips

Now 17% Off

Finding healthy food is tough, especially on long travel days. Fuel your hunger and your cravings with these tasty chicken-based protein chips.

UV Clear Face Sunscreen SPF 46

EltaMD UV Clear Face Sunscreen SPF 46

High-flying travelers are subjected to a surprising amount of unfiltered sunlight on every flight. Protect your precious mug with this dermatologist-recommended face sunscreen.

Long flights are a sea of humanity. When you’re ready to block it all out and settle in for an in-flight nap, this simple eye mask from Ostrichpillow is buttery soft and completely blacks out all light.

Adaptogen Soothe + Hydrate Activated Mist

Youth To The People Adaptogen Soothe + Hydrate Activated Mist

Long flights can leave your face feeling dry, irritated, and just plain gross. This travel-sized facial spray hydrates your skin, calms redness, and leaves you looking and feeling ready for landing.

Balm 140 Tactical Lip Protectant

Duke Cannon Supply Co. Balm 140 Tactical Lip Protectant

Don’t forget to protect your lips, too (they are a part of your face, after all)! This “offensively large” lip protectant is vegan, veteran-approved, and has a delicious blood orange mint taste.

Norelco Travel Men's Shaver

Philips Norelco Travel Men’s Shaver

Nothing makes you feel human again like brushing your teeth and a good shave. This electric razor from Philips Norelco helps you tackle the latter, and it’s packable enough to stash in your carry-on for mid-flight touch-ups before landing.

Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash

Aesop Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash

Now 18% Off

Leave the dollar-store hand sanitizer at home. Upgrade to this rinse-free foaming hand wash that smells amazing and leaves your hands feeling properly hydrated too.

Fresh Mint Mouthwash Concentrate

hello Fresh Mint Mouthwash Concentrate

Packing a jumbo-sized bottle of mouthwash isn’t an option for carry-on travelers. Each bottle of this travel-friendly concentrate is TSA-friendly. Just mix with water, swish for 30 seconds, and “carry on” (get it?).

Deep Sleep Synergy+ Gummies

CBDistillery Deep Sleep Synergy+ Gummies

Now 14% Off

When melatonin isn’t enough to help you sleep on a long flight, but prescription meds like Ambien are too much, look to these THC- and CBD-infused gummies for a deep, restful, in-flight snooze.


Mike Richard has traveled the world since 2008. He’s kayaked in Antarctica, tracked endangered African wild dogs in South Africa, and survived a near-miss great white shark attack in Mexico. His travel advice has appeared on the websites for Forbes, Travel + Leisure, CNET, and National Geographic. He loves the great outdoors and good bourbon, and (usually) calls Tulsa, Oklahoma home. Mike also enjoys speaking in the third person. 

Headshot of Christian Gollayan

Deputy Editor, Commerce

Christian Gollayan oversees e-commerce content for Men’s Health and Women’s Health. Previously, he was the Associate Managing Editor at TheManual.com. Christian’s work has also been featured in Food & Wine, InStyle, the New York Post, and Tatler Asia.

This article was originally posted here.

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