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What to take in your hand luggage for a long haul ...

What to take in your hand luggage for a long haul flight

With mere hours before my long haul flight, and the main bulk of packing done, it’s now time to think about what to take in my hand luggage. There are my tips for anyone having to endure six (or more) hours in the air.

Firstly, think about restrictions. Although not as strict as ten years ago, there are still regulations you’ll need to abide by. Any liquids (this includes pastes, foundation, gels, water, perfume, spray deodorants ect) need to be under 100ml, and must fit in a 20 x 20 clear plastic bag.

Usually you can get these from security personnel, but there are vending machines which have stronger ones (so they’ll last there and back).

So, with this in mind, here’s what to take in your hand luggage for a long haul flight.

Feeling fresh

You’re going to be in a cylindrical cabin for at least six hours – in my case, ten. During that time you’ll be snacking, drinking and eating. As well as sleeping, sweating, and shivering. To keep fresh, take these in your hand luggage for your next long haul flight.

Wet wipes
These are great as a makeshift way to freshen up, as well as clean the area around you. Use them to remove make up before you try and get some sleep, as well as cleaning hands after eating. You can even pop to the loo for a quick freshen up before you land too.

Toothpaste, toothbrush, and mouthwash
Brushing after every meal is important for good oral health, yes yes, however there’s nothing worse than waking up from a snooze with that furry teeth feeling. A tiny tube of toothpaste you can use in the loos is a great way to immediately feel better, and swilling mouthwash with freshen your breath too.

Carmex and basic make up
My lips are notoriously prone to chapping, and coupled with the dry air circulated on board, this is a must have. I’ll pop some on as much as needed to ensure they stay chap-free. I’ll also take eyeliner, mascara and an eyebrow pencil for arrival.

Sleeping tight

Sleeping on a plane is one of the most difficult parts of the entire journey, but it’s essential on long haul flights so you can ease up any jet lag. These are essential hang luggage items for long haul travels.

Eyemask and ear plugs
I need to be in a completely silent, dark room when I sleep, and a plan is neither. I’ve bought my special smaller earplugs already and will grab an eyemask at the airport. At least that way if the screaming child a few rows in front decides to go full opera, I’ll be able to drown out the noise.

Travel pillow
TK Maxx had an amazing memory foam lockable pillow on sale, so I had to have it. It can be flipped backwards too, so stop head lolling if you’re in the middle seat. One of the best purchases I think I’ve made. Coupled with the ear plugs and mask above, this is as comfy as it’s going to get. Unless we get bumped up to first class.

Pyjamas and slipper socks
A steal from Primark, the socks are plush and the pyjamas are stylish enough to pass off as harem pants. I’m wearing a nude pleated midi skirt and tank top for the airport, and there’s no way I’m staying in them for the whole long haul flight.

Drugs and sleeping aids
I’m not a nervous flier once up in the air, but for the few hours before boarding and during take off, I feel sick and nervy. I have Kwells for the trip, and Piriton to make me drowsy enough to not care.

Keeping entertained

For someone as fidgety and easily distracted as me, I need contact entertainment or else I start getting delirious. Long haul travel is a nightmare for a person like me, so my hand luggage will contain as much entertainment as possible

iPhone and headphones
I’ll load Spotify up with about 20 albums, games and a few tv shows as possible – however my battery is likely to die and I don’t have an extra battery pack for it. When the juice runs out, it’s time for some traditional entertainment…

Books, magazines, and reading material
I allow 50% of my hand luggage allowance for books. They don’t require a battery, they don’t stop working in sunlight, and they’re as entertaining as they are long. For a list of the books I won’t be wasting space on read this.

iPad for games and books
I’m not 100% sure if I want to take my iPad – it’s something else for me to break and lose – but I have a few hundred books on there if my hand luggage can’t contain everything I need.

Notepad and two pens
What better time to start something creative than being imprisoned in a metal tube hurtling through the sky? I’ll plan posts, start my 43rd book, or just doodle away. The second pen is backup. Always take backup.

On arrival

Flight cabins can get pretty chilly, and it’s a fair bet your destination will be hotter or cooler than it is here in the UK. I always pack a cape, or thicker cardigan anyway, but a spare pair of clothes (and pants) will hold you in good stead, especially if your baggage is delayed.


  • As a frequent flyer (back and forth between the Middle East and the UK) posts like these are my favourite – always interested to see what people do to make flying that little bit more pleasant! Great post

    • Glad you liked! I’m not a massive fan of what people carry in their handbags, but anything that helps with comfort is good by me!

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