How to Pack a Carry on Bag for a Long Haul Flight
Packing a carry-on bag for a long-haul flight can be a quite tricky, requiring you to balance the need to pack essential items with the threat of overpacking. By knowing what you need to bring with you, carefully organizing all of your essential documents, and using your baggage space wisely you can quickly become proficient at this task. This will leave you free from stress and ready to relax and enjoy your flight.
Packing Your Travel Documents
Don’t forget your passport and visas!Your passport is your most important document on a long-haul, international flight; you’ll need it to check-in to your flight and get through passport control at your destination. Make sure you have all the necessary visas for your trip before departing.
- Keep your passport on your person while you’re in the airport as you’ll need to access it at both the check-in desk and at passport control. A pants pocket works great for this.
- When you get on the plane, store your passport in the top of your carry-on bag. You’ll need it as soon as you get off the plane, so you’ll want it to be easily accessible.
Print your boarding passes and itinerary.Although some airlines will print your boarding pass for you when you check in at the airport, printing your own boarding pass before getting to the airport can save you time. Having a hard copy of your boarding passes and itinerary can also save you from delays should your electronic copy become inaccessible.
Bring your travel insurance documents.If you’ve bought travel insurance for your trip, printing out your policy and bringing it in your carry-on luggage will help you in a pinch. If your checked luggage goes missing, you’ll want to have your travel insurance policy close at hand to help you through the process of recovering it.
Keep your wallet/purse in an accessible location.You’ll want to keep your bank cards and money close at hand while you travel. If you’re planning to exchange money when you get to the airport, having your wallet or purse in an easily accessible location will stop you from having to rummage through your bag.
- Small, side pockets are a great location for a wallet or purse, but make sure they can be fastened closed with a zip or clip fastener to prevent your wallet from being lost or stolen.
- Don’t forget to check with your bank about any card fees that might apply during your travels.You may also need to contact your bank to activate your cards for use overseas.
Pack a pen.Most countries require you to fill out an arrival card with your travel information and planned itinerary. Bring your own pen so you don’t have to borrow one from another passenger. You can really speed up your trip through passport control by having your arrival card filled out before you get off the plane.
Bring any additional booking information.If you’re a careful planner, you may already have booked all your hotel stays, bus journeys, and train trips well ahead of time. Make sure you print and bring along all of your hotel vouchers, tickets, and reservations.
Bringing the Essential Toiletries
Bring a clear, sealable plastic bag for your toiletries.Liquids and gels in your carry-on bag are limited to 100ml (3.4 oz) and need to be sealed in a clear plastic bag before flying.Pack your toiletries into this plastic bag before going to the airport to avoid delays at the security check. All containers of liquids, aerosols, or gels must go in this bag.
- For flights to the U.S. it helps to know the 3-1-1 rule. This rule means that all liquid containers of 3.4 ounces or less (‘3’) must be stored in a single, clear, sealable bag (‘1’) which is limited to 1 per person (‘1’). Medications are exempt from this restriction.
- Store this plastic bag in an outer pocket, so that it may be easily removed from your carry-on bag at the security checkpoint.
Take your medication along.If you have any essential medication that must travel with you, make sure you bring it along. Most medication is subject to a screening at the security checkpoint, so keeping it in its original packaging will ensure you are not delayed in your travels.
Pack your toothbrush and toothpaste.While most airlines will provide you with a small toothbrush and toothpaste set for your long-haul flight, it is always best to pack your own.Being able to brush your teeth will greatly enhance your comfort on the flight.
- If you like to talk to your traveling companions when you fly, having fresh breath will help your confidence and make the conversation flow more smoothly.
Take along some hand sanitizer.Visiting the restroom on a plane can feel pretty gross sometimes. Packing a small container of hand sanitizer to use after trips to the restroom will make you feel much cleaner.
Consider bringing lip balm and moisturizer.The air in airplanes tends to be drier than average. If your skin tends to dry out, bring along some moisturizer and use it regularly. To stop your lips from drying out and cracking, use a gentle lip balm.
Ward off bad odors with deodorant.Unfortunately, there’s no escaping body odor on a long flight. With no access to a shower on the plane, you’re likely to feel quite smelly by the end of your trip. Deodorant is the next best thing, so make sure to bring some along.
Don’t forget your feminine hygiene products.Having easy access to your feminine hygiene products can take a lot of the stress out of long-haul flights. It sucks being caught unaware, so pack these just in case.
Pack a water bottle.While you don’t need to drink more than normal on a long-haul flight, you will need to keep hydrated.Having your own water bottle at hand will prevent you from having to make many trips to the water facility on the plane.
- You can’t bring water through the security checkpoint, so make sure you empty your water bottle before going through - you can fill it up again on the other end.
Have a neck pillow and sleep mask at hand.You’ll definitely want to sleep (or at least try to) on your flight. You’ll be much more comfortable doing so with your own neck pillow and sleep mask.
- Many airlines will provide you with a small pillow and sleep mask, but these tend to be quite uncomfortable and the pillow often slips from under your head.
- A memory-foam neck pillow is a great travel companion, offering lots of comfort and sturdy support for your head.
Wear comfy socks.Your feet might swell if you sit for too long, so taking off your shoes can help you feel more comfortable. You won’t want to walk around the plane barefoot, so wear some soft socks. Avoid wearing socks that are too scratchy, as they can hamper your ability to get comfortable.
Wear something warm.The temperature in airplanes tends to vary between extremes of hot and cold.Wearing a scarf or jersey can help you cope with a cold environment and they can be easily removed if you feel too hot.
- A compact travel blanket is a useful travel companion, but may not be necessary as many airlines offer a blanket on overnight flights.
Consider using noise-canceling headphones.Planes are noisy places. If you’re a light sleeper, wearing noise-canceling headphones while you sleep can help you have a more restful journey.
Snack!Airplane food is notoriously bad. Bring some snacks that you like along with you and eat them when you feel hungry. Having small snacks between meals will keep your energy levels up.
- Granola bars and small chocolate bars make great airplane snacks. Individually wrapped morsels are particularly good for long flights because they help to keep the area around your seat clean.
- For a savory snack, consider bringing little cheese rounds or jerky.
Keeping Yourself Entertained
Bring a good book.Getting engrossed in a great book is a wonderful way to pass the time. You’ll feel the journey fly by with every page.
- An e-reader is a great, lightweight alternative to a book. You can bring more books and will have the benefit of a backlight should the plane be poorly lit.
Game on your mobile devices.Load up some fun games on your tablet or phone and get playing. Packing a small mobile gaming device for the journey is a great way to pass the time.
Watch movies on a tablet.You might not be interested in any of the in-flight entertainment on offer, so consider packing your tablet and loading it with movies and series to watch while you fly. Don’t forget to load up movies for the return journey; you may not have access to WiFi or the correct movie store on your travels.
Bring your charging cables.For every electronic device you bring, bring the accompanying charger. You’ll want your devices to be functional when you land, and having your cables with you is the best way to ensure they stay charged.
- Don’t pack your cables in your checked luggage. If your luggage goes missing or arrives late you’ll be unable to use your electronic devices on your trip.
QuestionHow much liquid can I board a flight with if I live in the USA?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can bring 3.4 oz bottles, sealed in a one quart Ziplock bag, and any liquids you buy after security (like water or drinks).Thanks!
QuestionWhat do I pack for a long nighttime flight?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerFirstly, you're going to need a travel pillow, because the ones on the plane aren't good for you, and they may not be washed. You might also want to bring your own small blanket for the same reason. I recommend that you bring either earplugs or headphones: these can help you fall asleep faster, and they'll drown out any yelling from children who refuse to go to bed. A lot of airlines also offer night masks, but again, you might want to bring your own. Toiletries are also good, because you're going to need to freshen up eventually. There's also a possibility that you might not be able to fall asleep, so you may want sleeping pills.Thanks!
QuestionShould I bring my own pillow even if it's not travel-sized, or do I need a travel pillow?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI recommend you get a travel pillow.Thanks!
QuestionWhat should I pack for young children?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerPack a "plane" bag for children over 5. Let them pick their favorite books and include notepads and crayons or markers. Favorite treats/candies are another good addition. Also, pack their favorite small stuffed animals and put a few films/TV shows on a tablet or iPad.Thanks!
QuestionShould I bring along a rucksack?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you have one, then yes. They're great because they allow you to carry lots of things without sacrificing fashion.Thanks!
QuestionCan you bring candy in your carry on?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAs long as it isn't liquid and is wrapped up, it should go past security.Thanks!
QuestionCan I take an iPad on a flight?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, but you might have to take out of your bag during security. This also applies to laptops. Remember to turn on airplane mode!Thanks!
QuestionWhat should I pack for my tween?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThey can usually pack their own bag, but you should help them and check it over just in case. This will teach them responsibility.Thanks!
QuestionWhat is a suitable bag for a carry-on?Lydia123Community AnswerA rucksack or large handbag would be suitable - but don't choose anything expensive because it may get stolen. Pack light; you don't want to be made to pay for or empty some of the contents of your baggage.Thanks!
QuestionCan I bring my electric toothbrush in my carry-on bag?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, but you can put it in your checked bag. Put a regular toothbrush in your carry-on.Thanks!
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- Pack your hand luggage the night before and make a list of what you put in it. This way, you can check it before you leave.
- Get lots of sleep the night before you leave to go on your trip.
- Before you get off the plane, organize your bag again.
- Keep the clear, sealable bag at the top of your bag. This way, you can easily grab it when going through security.
- Try to get at least 4-5 hours of sleep on a long haul flight. This way, you will be awake when you land.
- Keep all your small essentials in a smaller bag; that way you won't be digging around your things.
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