Checklist: Carry-On Items for Long Flights

On Monday, I leave for my next trip to Asia! I have been on an innumerable amount of 16+ hour flights, so I’ve made myself a checklist of what to put in my carry-on. The list looks long, but trust me, I need all of these things!

  1. Compression socks & tie shoes – At the end of my first flight to Hong Kong when I’d moved there, I couldn’t stick my feet back in my shoes (thank goodness I’d also packed flip flops!). Even on short flights, I pack compression socks; they keep my feet from swelling, plus they help keep me warm. I prefer shoes you tie also just in case there is any swelling and I can still fit my feet in shoes with laces.
  2. Chapstick & moisturizer – Airplanes are super dry, so moisturizing methods are a must.
  3. Deodorant – Pretty basic!
  4. Entertainment – Magazines, books, a fully-charged phone with podcasts, music, and headphones are a must. I also always pack my phone charger because most long-haul flights now have plug-ins at your seat.
  5. Neck pillow – I choose window seats every time if I can so that I can lean against the airplane wall and nap away. I don’t typically need the neck pillow for my neck, but it’s extra cushion that I enjoy!
  6. Eye mask & melatonin – With 15-hours on a cramped plane, there isn’t much to do besides read, watch movies, and sleep, so I choose the latter as much as possible. Packed to aid me in this are my eye mask and melatonin.
  7. Water bottle – Instead of waiting for the tiny cup of water every time the flight attendant trundles past, I fill my own water bottle up right before boarding time.
  8. Snacks – As most of my friends and family can attest, I eat every 2 hours or thereabouts. Airplane peanuts can only last so long.
  9. Pen – Whether for the People magazine crossword or for immigration papers, I keep a pen with me at all times on plane rides.
  10. Gum – Good for take-off, landing, and breath-freshening.
  11. Toothpaste/brush – And when #10 doesn’t work, I brush my teeth in the small bathroom aboard.
  12. Sweater/long sleeve – I’m typically cold on flights, so I pack a comfy long-sleeve without a hood.
  13. Passport/visas – Most importantly, my passport! You can’t get on the plane or into another country without it, so I make sure it’s stowed in a safe place (I’ve had more than 1 friend leave it on the plane).


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