If you’re travelling internationally, there’s a good chance you might be in for a very long flight-especially if you’re crossing oceans or going from coast to coast. Long flights can be brutal and can actually set you off on the wrong foot if you’re going on vacation or on a business trip. If you’re going backpacking, for example, a long flight can cause you to be sleepy and sore, which isn’t exactly how you want to be feeling at the start of a backpacking journey.
However, if you pack the right essentials in your carry-on, you may be able to reduce the boredom, aches, and annoyances of lengthy air travel. Here are 7 carry-on essentials for a long flight.
1. Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Noise-cancelling headphones are an absolute necessity for a long flight. Inarguably the most important thing about flying is when you’re stuck next to someone who’s snoring or being a loud talker, or when you’re trapped by a crying baby. And if you’re unlucky enough to be seated by the wings, you’ll get to revel in the loud humming of the engines for the duration of the flight.
Noise-cancelling headphones can make your flight so much more relaxing, whether you want to wear them just to block out sound or to listen to your favorite music. The best noise-cancelling headphones are equipped with different levels of noise-cancellation. Just be sure you buy a pair that’s truly noise-cancelling—it’ll cost you a little more money than standard headphones, but it’s a worthwhile investment if you travel a lot or work in a noisy office.
2. Travel Pillow
A travel pillow is a small U-shaped pillow that you fit snugly around your neck so you can sleep or rest your head comfortably against it—much better than accidentally cuddling with the stranger next to you. A travel pillow will ease neck pain and is especially helpful for any flight where you’re going to catch some shut-eye. And most travel pillows have buttons that enable you to strap the pillow to luggage handle or backpack, so they’re very easy to carry with you on a plane.
3. Compression Socks
Here’s a pretty unconventional travel essential: sports compression socks. Compression socks are a special kind of sock that compresses your ankle more tightly than other types of socks. By compressing your ankle, it improves blood circulation throughout your entire leg. While they’re mostly used by athletes to reduce leg aches, you can actually use them on a flight to keep your legs from “falling asleep" or feeling achy after you’ve been sitting down for hours.
Most modern people are savvy enough to bring some kind of smart device on a long flight, but we thought we’d reiterate. A laptop gives you access to PC games, movies, and other types of programs that can keep you engaged during a flight (and a big plus if your flight includes Wi-Fi access).
The one bad thing about a laptop is that it can be rather hefty and may be difficult to use if the person in front of you decides to lean their seat back all the way. If you’re able to load some movies and music onto your tablet or smart phone, you’ll have an easier time.
Airplane food is… airplane food. Always bring your preferred snacks onto a flight so you can munch on them when you get hungry. There’s only so many airline peanuts you can eat before you start craving something else.
6. A Good Book
The most popular kind of airline entertainment these days are in-flight entertainment and whatever kind of stuff you’ve got on your smart device. Maybe you’ll hit it off with the cute single person sitting next to you, but you’ll have to get lucky with your seating arrangements.
When you get bored of watching movies or listening to music (on very long flights, your eyes will get watery and your ears will ache), you might want to whip out a good book and immerse yourself in a story. There’s a reason why all airports have bookstores, people.
7. Light Cosmetics/Grooming Supplies/Toiletries
In the event that you do hit it off with the cute single person sitting next to you, you’ll want to keep some light cosmetics handy so that you can not look like… like you’ve been on a long flight. Also, it’s nice to look good if you’re going to be exiting the plane and immediately meeting some old friends or family, or if you want to snap some selfies of yourself in the awesome new country you’ve landed in.
If you’re a lady, you might want to pack some light cosmetics in your carry on, and if you’re a dude then you might want to pack some grooming essentials. Both men and women should pack mini toothbrushes and mints.
Unless you’re sitting next to that single cutie, it’s doubtful that any long flight will truly be fun. But if you pack these 7 essentials, it’ll be a whole lot more bearable and won’t leave feeling so worn out when you finally land.