23 Long Haul Flight Essentials: What To Pack on a Long Flight

I recently picked up Uniqlo’s Mini Round Shoulder Bag which has been trending on TikTok since the tail-end of 2022, and honestly? I’ll never look back. It fits so much more inside than first appearances would suggest, including a chunky reusable water bottle and a book. Oh, and after being released initially in just a few select neutral tones, it’s now available for spring in a plethora of vibrant pastel hues: from lemon yet to an alluring, Bottega and GANNI-esque apple green shade. No surprises, then, that every discerning member of the fashion set has raced out to buy it. 

Round Mini Shoulder Bag Pink

Round Mini Shoulder Bag Yellow

Round Mini Shoulder Bag Natural

Round Mini Shoulder Bag Blue

It’s no secret that the air recirculated on a plane can leave your skin suffering. Why? It has an average humidity of between 10 and 20 per cent (compared to around 25 percent in the Sahara Desert, for reference), so any moisturising beauty products under 100ml that you have room to pack will be welcomed. While I do tend to pack a miniature, intense moisturiser (the Dr.Jart+ Ceramidin Cream which contains Hyaluronic Acid, Beetroot and Bifida Ferment Lysate is my go-to), I’m aware I stated that this guide would feature essentials only. And as far as beauty products go, I’d suggest that lip balm is one of only two essentials.

The Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask Ex is my pick: a flavoured lip mask designed for wearing overnight that intensely nourishes and smooths the lips. Available in five mouth-watering flavours, it plumps the lips with intense moisture, helping to minimise roughness and cracking due to dryness.

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask Ex

r.e.m. beauty Everything Nice Lip Balm

Dior Addict Lip Glow

StriVectin Advanced Hydration Hyaluronic Omega Moisture Lip Mask

8. A sheet mask

The second essential? A sheet mask. It might make you look silly. It might make you feel embarrassed. But boy will your skin thank you for that injection of hydration when you land in {enter name of tropical, sun-drenched country here}. 

Dr.Jart+ Dermask Water Jet Vital Hydra Solution

111SKIN Y Theorem Bio Cellulose Facial Mask

I once packed in far too much of a rush to lather my limbs in one of the best fake tans ahead of a trip to Jamaica, so I picked up a pack of St. Tropez Self Tan Express Face Sheet Masks at the airport. Not only did they give my skin a dewy, radiant finish, but just five minutes’ wear allows your skin to develop a light and natural tan within eight hours. Such, an easy and convenient way to tan your face.

Charlotte Tilbury Instant Magic Facial Dry Sheet Mask

St. Tropez Self Tan Express Face Sheet Masks

Carrying a bottle of water on a flight is a non-negotiable, since our bodies lose roughly eight ounces of water during a flight. Rather than picking up a single-use water bottle at the airport (plastic pollution is real, people), invest in a reusable water bottle which you can empty before security and refill at the departure lounge water fountains before take-off.

24 BOTTLES Urban Bottle logo-print stainless-steel water bottle

ANINE BING Pia logo-print stainless steel water bottle

Mayim Collapsible Carabiner Bottle

LARQ self cleaning water bottle

Hitch Water Bottle

Stanley IceFlow water bottle

10. Hair ties

Let’s face it: long hair gets in the way when you’re whizzing from security to your boarding gate, so having hair ties to hand is crucial. I always opt for silk scrunchies like these skinny hair ties by Slip, because they’re much kinder to hair and don’t leave that dreaded kink halfway down your head. 

ESPA Silk Scrunchies

Slip Skinnies (Various Colours)

11. Gum

I always carry chewing gum with me on a long haul flight. Not only does it make me feel that little bit fresher, but it also stops my ears from popping during take off and landing. 

12. Snacks

Sure, you’ll get a plane meal on most long-haul flights, but if you’re a hungry girl like me, it might not be enough. Or at the times you’d like. Or sufficient enough to keep you satisfied when your hotel transfer gets delayed the other side. I always pick up a few flapjacks, bananas and chocolate bars in the departure lounge to stow away in my carry-on. 

13. Eye mask and earplugs

Depending on the airline you’re travelling with, you might get an eye mask and pair of earplugs handed to you when boarding, but in case you don’t, I’d recommend carrying your own. Boots’ in-flight earplugs are comfortable and come with their own carry case (they’re also less than five pounds, which is a serious touch), while Slip’s silk sleep mask are bestsellers for excellent reason. That is: the fact that they keep light out while reducing lines caused by frowning in your sleep. They’re made from 100% pure mulberry silk and available in a plethora of colours. 

SLIP Silk Sleep Mask

Boots Flight Earplugs (1 Pair with Carry Case)

14. Compression socks

Being able to stand up and walk around or stretching is limited on a plane, so promoting blood circulation is necessary. A pair of compression socks will help to increase circulation, thus preventing swelling in your lower legs and feet. 

Boots Flight Socks Compression Level 14-17mmHg Size 6-9- 1 Pair

CAMBIVO Compression Socks for Women

Neo G Travel and Flight Compression Socks Medium Black

Delays can happen. Spillages can happen. Period leaks can happen. Sometimes you just want to freshen up. For these reasons – and countless others – I’d recommend packing a spare pair of knickers on your next long haul flight. And if you can, a pair by The Underdays. The Underdays knickers are my new obsession: the result of over 50 rounds of user testing – including consultations with gynaecologists – and two years of design changes. Their high-waisted, super-soft basics are beyond comfy; I’ve been recommending them to all of my friends. 

The Brief Starter Pack

The Thong Starter Pack

16. Travel adapter

An obvious one, but a long haul flight essential that’s so often forgotten. Always remember a travel adapter, so inject juice into your phone/earphones/laptop from wherever in the world you are. 

Universal Travel Adapter Worldwide

Worldwide Travel Adapter with USB

17. A travel pillow 

Most airlines will provide a small pillow on an overnight or long haul flight, but they’re never that good at serving up sufficient neck support. Pack a good-quality travel pillow that curves around your head and prevents dreaded head rolling, so that you can always sleep upright.

Memory foam neck pillow

BCOZZY neck pillow

18. A good book 

There’s nothing like the joy of getting stuck into one of the best new books, especially by way of celebration that your OOO is on and you’re en route to sunnier climes. Our resident literary experts, Chaya Burns and Sophie Ezra, are on-hand to recommend the best new releases in every month of the year. Right now? What Women Want, The Silence Project and Munroe Bergdorf’s Transitional are topping our lists of the most epic page-turners. 

What Women Want by Maxine Mei-Fung Chung

The Silence Project by Carole Hailey

Transitional by Munroe Bergdorf

Hand sanitiser became a necessity when COVID took over our lives, and to be honest, I’d still begrudge flying without it. It’s commonplace in airports, but the stuff they hand out on entry to your plane can be a little too tough on the skin. Aesop’s lightweight Rinse-Free hand mist, bursting with citrus notes, is a gentler option. As is Beauty Pie’s Good Hands, which is infused with Jojoba Oil, Glycerine, hydrating Osmolyte, Lemon and Bitter Orange Essential Oils, Copper Peptides and 60% cleansing alcohol to ensure your hands are kept clean.

Aesop rinse-free hand mist

GOOD HANDS™ No Rinse Hand Cleansing Gel

20. A portable charger 

A portable charger is paramount, not only for accessing the boarding pass you saved to your almost-dead iPhone wallet, but for ensuring your phone has enough charge to pass the time when your flight is delayed. 

Anker PowerCore 20100 portable charger

iWALK mini portable charger

According to TikTok users – the clever problem solvers that they are – people have been turning to tiny bluetooth tracker tags to avoid losing their valuables on holiday. And I’m totally on board. With the worldwide shortage of airport staff meaning that thousands upon thousands of bags are being left in baggage reclaim, a luggage tracker will avoid you being at a loss to know how on earth you’re supposed to locate their bags. 

TUVOS Smart Bluetooth Item Finder

Apple AirTag

If there was ever a time to invest in a pair of wireless, noise-cancelling headphones, before a long-haul flight is it. Otherwise, risk being stuck with a soundtrack of crying babies and clattering hospitality trolleys for an entire ten hour stint. 

Apple AirPods Max noise cancelling headphones

Bose noise cancelling headphones 700

Brushing your teeth is a guaranteed way to have you feeling fresh(er) in an instant, and while some airlines include toothbrushes in their on-flight packs of essentials, others don’t. This mini folding toothbrush is available for less than £4 on Amazon, and will make a world of difference to your mood upon landing. 

Colgate travel folding toothbrush

For more from Glamour UK Commerce Editor Sophie Cockett, follow her on Instagram @sophiecockettx.