Packing for a long-haul journey is hard even with your hold luggage, but a lot of people struggle with their hand luggage on a long-haul flight. I’m very well travelled, having started out as a child, I’m very used to the mid-flight fidgets and sometimes the onset of boredom. Today I’m going to be telling you what I pack for the bag you take on your flight when you’re doing a long haul journey.
This can be tricky for some people who do a hold suitcase, then take a cabin sized suitcase as well, personal if I can avoid a cabin suitcase as well, I do. I’ll take a backpack normally because if you have left something in there when you’ve stored in the overhead locker, it is far easier to get your item out, with a case it becomes slightly awkward. So I love a good backpack for a flight, especially ones I can get into easily and also store under my seat in front without it taking up my foot space.
Long haul flights will always have in-flight entertainment, so, to be honest, the majority of the time you’ll spend the duration watching the latest movies and TV Shows. However, if like me, sometimes that isn’t enough. I get bored and want to do something else, so I’ll always have one or two magazines in my backpack, along with a small paperback book. I don’t carry hardbacks on holiday, nor do I take huge books unless I’ve already started reading and I’m really going to sit and read it on the flight. You have to be realistic throughout this process about what you are actually likely to do on the flight, otherwise, you are taking stuff for the sake of it, and it’s just a faff then. I used to take my laptop to give myself the option to do some writing. Instead, I know to put my laptop in the hold luggage, purely because it is quite big, it’s heavy and my gosh is it awkward! I know to take my iPad mini, and if I want to work, I’ll use the notepad to just get my text down. Granted I can’t edit my photos on there or videos, but it’s actually quite nice having the task that takes the longest easily doable and without it taking up too much space. Obviously, if you have an iPad or some sort of tablet, you can download games, I quite like Diamond Mine, and also things like Netflix. I’ll be honest Netflix saved me on my flight to San Francisco, as I was really into Orange Is The New Black, so I had a complete binge on downloaded episodes, and for my Aruba flight, I was deep into Bates Motel. So, I had the option to dip in and out of TV shows, I even watch the films etc if I am travelling solo in my hotel room, so I do love having that option.
I know myself with long-haul flights in the economy you can sometimes become uptight and stressed by people. Kids screaming or being unruly, people fidgeting next to you, whatever it is sometimes it can become less relaxing as you go on. I decided to pop to The Works and get myself some crayons a small colouring book and crossword puzzle book. This I loved. Even the Dutch lady sat next to me said how lovely and relaxing it looked, and I’ll be honest an hour flew by because I was so absorbed in my colouring! This was a welcomed distraction from technology, as often you can just gravitate towards TV and never really switch off. You can pick up colouring books etc from places like The Works for only a couple of pounds, I even found myself doing some colouring whilst on the beach during my journey, so that was a really good investment.
Obviously, I’ve gone over activities, but other things I always pack are my toothbrush and toothpaste, for obvious reasons! Especially on a night flight or if you’ve eaten, or been asleep and get fuzzy teeth, it just freshens you up. I always pack baby wipes or face wipes, it really helps to freshen you up when you’ve been sat for ages. I personally don’t wear makeup on a flight, or if I do it’ll be BB Cream and a splash of mascara, but just like at home I’ll take it off before bed. I always take a moisturiser that is for hands, body and face, as my skin dries out and that helps. I’ll never go on a flight without compression socks, deep vein thrombosis is a killer and pressure teamed limited movement, you have to be careful. I will get on the flight, pop my socks on and remain on the flight with just my socks and no shoes. I also prefer to wear leggings for compression help, but also the comfort of moving amount – jeans are not the one! Take a jumper or a blanket, most airlines provide them, and even if they do they are thin blankets. I take a hoodie and then pop it on for bed, and then have the blanket over me. It makes a huge difference because the plane can get cold at night.
Some airline give you headphones but I prefer to take my own, I also always take earplugs, in case we get teradactyl children on the flight, an eye mask in case someone has their super bright reading light on and also a neck pillow. I actually sometimes take Kalms before a flight, or if a night flight I take the Kalms Nights, it just really relaxes me and I sleep far better. I personally prefer the cushion ones and not inflatables, I simply attach a carabena to the pillow and attach it to my backpack. I also do the same with a reusable drinking bottle, obviously, you can’t take liquid through security, but once through you can, so I’ll fill up the bottle and take it on the flight. Whilst you will always be provided with water, often it is in tiny dosages, so drinking plenty helps. I’ll take paracetamol, ibuprofen and my epilepsy medication with me, chances are I don’t need them, but in case I suddenly have a migraine I’m well equipment and they take up hardly any space.
Other tips I find help, is firstly if you want to, take yourself for a walk up and down the plane maybe once every few hours, it is always healthy to stretch your legs. If you find you are uncomfortable where you are seated, and you’re travelling solo, chances are there is a spare solo seat somewhere. I moved on my last KLM flight because children were running riot and I just couldn’t settle. Myself and Sian (The Girl Outdoors) were sat at the back of a row with two people in front you as soon as they sat on the plane, shot their seats right back, and when the food came, it was hard to eat. We were upright for dinner and they weren’t so space was ridiculous. I did attempt to politely ask if they could pop their seats forward just for dinner, they ignored me and pretended they didn’t understand, so I got the air stewardess to ask them. Suddenly they understood English! But my point is if there are any problems, instead of getting yourself in a pickle with a fellow passenger just ask for help.
Lastly, when you get on your flight, unload the things you are going to need as long as they don’t make your magazine rack bulge into your legs. So pop your magazine and book in there and then make sure anything you know you will need soon at the top of your backpack so you have easy access. I also make sure before I land that I take my socks off and return to my previous footwear, load all my activity items back in the back, freshen up by using the bathroom and then get my passport and travel documents close by. It makes such a difference to your journey when you feel organised.