Guide to your first long haul flight

Guide to your first long haul flight

I have not been on a long haul flight since December 2019 and my last flight was in March 2020. Even if I foresee my next long haul flight sometime in 2022 or so, it doesn’t hurt to already be prepared, right?

Long haul flights – and just flights in general – can be quite exhausting, taking a toll on your body and mind. Even if you know you’re heading off to an exciting destination, you will get there rather tired. I’ve already had my fair share of long haul flights, so I’ve put together a guide for your next or first long haul flight so that you survive the long haul flight in the best way possible.

Packing for long haul flights

I often find packing dreadful. I have to think of the outfits, the beauty products, the various mini electronics I’m allowed to bring, all the chargers, cables and cards, etc. It’s not only important to pack smart for your big luggage, but also your cabin luggage. On a long haul flight, you’ll be spending more than 10 hours with the same luggage (including the layovers). Before a trip, always make sure to check how many and what type of luggage you are allowed to bring (depends on the airline and/or the type of ticket you purchased). I would often be allowed with 2 carry-on bags:

  • ‘hand baggage’: usually a backpack that you stow in the overhead compartment. This is usually a rather big backpack/suitcase where I can fit stuff such as my laptop and cameras, small toiletries, scarf etc.
  • ’personal item’: usually a small handbag or laptop bag that can be stowed at your feet. I would always use in this case a small city bag or backpack that I would use as a day bag at my destination.

Curious about what to take on a long haul flight? Compared to the checked luggage, the cabin luggage is more limited only in terms of weight, but also in terms of what you are allowed to bring. Even if you have your main toiletries in your checked luggage, make sure to take some on the plane too. Don’t forget to check every container so they are 100 ml (or 3.4 ounces) and are all in a clear bag. When it comes to travel-size toiletries and accessories, these are my essentials for a long haul flight!

Stay fresh & clean

Hand sanitiser + disinfectant tissues

These are must-haves not only during a pandemic. I use the hand sanitiser before my meals and I usually disinfect with the tissues my tray and my armrests.


There are must-haves no matter what – they are great either to blow your nose or to take care of anything that spills.

Contact lens liquid + case+ extra pair

I usually wear my glasses while flying, and put my contact lenses on after landing, as it’s much more comfortable for me. And always have an extra pair, you may never know!

Face masks

I did not do it before, but after this pandemic, I will definitely pack some face masks (tissue + one-time use). You never know when you might need them!

Stay hydrated

Cleanser + sheet mask + moisturiser with SPF

After the first meal on a long haul flight, I usually either watch a movie or get some sleep. That’s when I will do a small skincare routine by cleansing and then applying a moisturizing sheet mask. Before landing, I apply a moisturise with SPF.

Chapstick + hand cream

After so much disinfecting and the dry air in the plane, you need to take care of your hands and lips too.

Water bottle

You can have it refilled in the airport, just after you pass security. I know It’s very tempting to drink cocktails/alcohol/coffee/soda on a flight, but make sure that you’re also having lots of water.

Get some rest

Noise-cancelling headphones

This is something I highly recommend! Make sure you charge them completely before your flight. I would use them without any music, and it feels very soothing when there are turbulences. My BOSE Quiet comfort headphones helped me get through my last flights!

Melatonin or sleeping aid

I usually have trouble falling asleep as I’m anxious about flying but also excited about my destination. So I take a bit of melatonin so that I can fast asleep easily.

Neck pillow & eye mask

It’s best to take an inflatable one, as it doesn’t take much space. An eye mask is great – even if the lights are dimmed in the cabin, you never know who turns on their light.

What to wear on a long haul flight

Make sure that comfort is your priority here. When it comes to pants, go either for stretch or loose-fitting ones – in my case, I go either for leggings or baggy jeans. The top is always comfy and loose, paired with a cosy jacket or cardigan. You can also go for a cozy two-piece made of sweatpants and sweatshirt! I usually also add a light scarf. Even if you have a blanket on the flight, it’s sometimes not enough. That’s where the jacket/cardigan and scarf come to the rescue. In terms of shoes, I always go for sneakers, no matter the season/weather/destination.

Things to do on a long haul flight

I often think to myself that I would use this time to be productive and work on my laptop. But I’m usually so tired and sleepy, that I end up not doing it. I often watch use the entertainment system of the plane and watch some movies. Or listen to some music on my phone that I downloaded before my flight. You can also bring your tablet and/or books too!

Waking up at the destination

Before leaving the airport, I do a quick trip to the bathroom to freshen up!


I often freshen up during a layover or after landing. After an exhausting flight, this can really boost your mood!


You can take a very small toothpaste tube, enough for a few uses, and a small toothbrush. Again, this is a great mood booster after landing! It’ll make you feel fresh and ready to take on the rest of the day, despite being tired.


If you have space, I take a small mascara, eyeliner, and lip gloss, these are essentials that would also use at my destination on a daily basis.

Don’t forget these travelling essentials

We got everything to make our flight comfortable and pleasant! But don’t forget to quadruple check that you have

  • Your passport/ID card (depending on where you travel)
  • Pen (needed to fill in the customs forms)
  • Chargers, cables, memory cards
  • Hotel reservations
  • Boarding pass
  • Cards

What are your long haul flight essentials?

Photo by Leonardo Yip on Unsplash

Article Name
Guide to your first long haul flight
Long haul flights can be quite exhausting, taking a toll on your body and mind. Even if you know you’re heading off to an exciting destination, you will get there rather tired. Check out this guide for your next or first long haul flight!
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Saccharine Soul
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