Long Haul Hand Luggage Packing List

Those people who manage to travel with carry on only….I’m amazed! I am not and will never be one of those people. I like options too much!However, I do manage to cram a lot of what I call ‘essentials’ into my carry on to make flights as comfortable as possible.

This is by no means a perfect list. In fact, it’s probably the least perfect list out there! I spent what felt like months searching website after website looking at ‘perfect packing lists’ and y’no what….I’m not perfect, so why should my packing list be the same way? I’m sharing this list to show that not everyone who travels is a minimalist. Not all of us can fit out lives into one 30l backpack. I like stuff and I like to be as comfortable as possible when I fly long-haul.

A classic example of how i overpack…here we have my suitcase, hand luggage & a handbag thrown in because why not!

I say it’s time to embrace the imperfections. So fellow over packers rejoice….there shall be no judgement here, just lots & lots of unnecessary stuff. Enjoy!

1-My beloved Osprey Questa Ladies backpack – Big enough to fit all my crap in that I don’t need, small enough to fit on the overhead locker. (See the purple bag above)

2- Squishy pillow!  I’ve had this thing for years. Mine is white and is covered in make up stains but I love it! Some people prefer blow up neck pillows but this is my pillow of choice. (Attached to purple bag above)

3-iPod Nano– Yes I’m old school. Even though I have an iPhone I still like to keep my music separate. Plus I don’t have to worry about killing my iPhone battery.

4- Tablet– I have an ancient iPad2 but I still love it for travelling. I can stick a few films on and kill some time. Especially with more & more airlines getting rid of their in-flight entertainment. (I’m clearly in the minority who tends to enjoy in-flight movies!)

5- Beats by Dre– These were a gift from Kris a couple of Christmas’ ago and I love them so much! I can’t wear ear buds on a flight as I get sore ears when I fly. These rest comfortably on my head, I can even fall asleep with them on! On top of that they fold away into a teeny pouch.

6-Colouring Book  Again, as many of my posts reflect, I am still 5 years old at heart. I struggle to concentrate enough to read a book on a plane but colouring in I can sit and do for hours at a time! I highly recommend these pens & self sharpening crayons.

7-Chargers– NEVER pack these in your hold baggage. What if your hold baggage is delayed and you need to call your accommodation but you’ve got no battery and you’re in a foreign country and have no idea where you can buy a replacement? Exactly. Keep them wrapped up in there.

8- Snacks. Personally I don’t mind airline food. What I don’t like is being charged GBP4 for a small tube of Pringles! Pack your own snacks, healthy or unhealthy, I won’t judge!

9- Medication See reasons why number 7. I also pack some headache tablets and nausea tablets in case we end up expecting a rough landing. No one wants to arrive into their destination throwing up like I did when I arrived at LAX last year.

10- Spare glasses/contact lenses Again, if you’re blind as a bat like I am you’ll want to keep these close by.

11-Antibacterial Wet wipes Have you saw how gross those tray tables are? Yeeech!

12- Hand sanitizer–  Planes are just giant tubes filled with germs…everywhere! Must…sanitise…everything!

13- Tissues- I have bad sinuses, they hurt when I’m flying and make me cry. (Sympathy can be put into the comments below 😉 ) Plus you can use them to mop up any spills…or germs!

14- Local currency for your new destination – Yes you can change when you get there but what if your flights delayed and the Foreign Exchange is closed? What if the only cash machine at the airport is out of money? Better to be safe than sorry!

15- Moisturiser  – Now usually I have a lotion and potion for every part of me but when I fly a tube of humble Nivea will do (I’m honestly not sponsored by them, they are just really cheap and do the job I need!) This cream can be used anywhere you fancy.

16-Face wipes– If I’m on a long flight I like to take my make up off so my skin can breath…then I slap on some moisturiser or when I’m feeling flush I have one of these gorgeous facial mists from Caudalie. Well worth the splurge! A spritz of this before landing is refreshing and revitalising.

17- Cosy Socks I don’t like keeping my shoes on during a flight but I sure as hell aint putting my feet or nice socks on that nasty germ ridden floor! I always pack a pair of thick cosy slipper socks which I pretty much boil when I wash! I also change back into my shoes for visiting the toilet (which I try not to do…those things are terrifying! What if they suck my insides out when I’m sat on it?!) Again, germs…E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E.

18- Pen: How often do you end up having to complete landing cards  or visa waivers on flights. And then more forms again at immigration. In fact, take at least 2 pens. Be someone’s hero!

19- Small blanket I bought mine for $5 on a Norwegian Air flight and it’s been with me ever since. It rolls up so tiny but is the perfect size to get settled on the plane. A great alternative is a big cosy pashmina. On many a fight has my pashmina been my saving grace! Why do they make planes either arctic cold or desert hot? Answers below!

20-Eye Mask- These were a revelation to me. I used to hate having anything on my face when I slept but now I can’t sleep anywhere without one! Grab one from your airline amenity kit or pick up one of these funky styles online before you go.

21- Water bottle Make sure its empty before you go through security then fill it up at one of the drinking fountains before you board.

22- Passport & documents – Always keep a copy of your itinerary along with any accommodation or transfer bookings for when you arrive. The last thing you want to worry about after a 12hr flight is trying to find some free wi-fi.

23- No kinks hair bobble– I first got these in a beauty subscription box a few years ago. I’ve since found a 10 pack in Primark for GBP2…bargain! (although they do snap quicker than the branded ones). When the pilot turns the heating up to what feels like 100’C or for when you land and the heat hits you, get your hair up and out of your face.

24- Miniature antiperspirant No ones likes a sweaty betty! Just don’t be spraying it everywhere on the plane, people could have asthma or allergies….you don;t want to be the one responsible for the plane turning around!

25-Bikini/Underwear – If you’re heading to a hot destination, bikini, if not then a change of underwear. You just never know when your bags could end up in Stockholm and you’re in Singapore.

26- BIG sunglasses– To hide from the glare of the sun or to simply disguise those heavy eyes from lack of sleep.

27- Concealer, Mascara & Bronzer: To help disguise those bags, make your eyes look more awake and to give yourself some colour. My personal favourites are Bare Minerals Concealer, Benefit They’re Real! and Bare Minerals bronzer. They’re also pieces I could survive on if my main case went AWOL.

Some other items that we carry which aren’t necessary essential to everyone:

Lenovo Laptop…gotta keep that blog going!
Nikon DSLR (Kris has the privilege of carrying this!)
Storming Norman. Yes, that is a Storm Trooper. Kris refuses to carry him in his hold baggage in case he disappears. Boys & their toys eh?



What are your carry on essentials? Are you one of those amazing people who can travel carry on only? Let me know in the comments below!

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20 Replies to “Long Haul Hand Luggage Packing List”

  1. Megan Jerrard says: Reply

    Even though I never use them on the plane, I also carry my electonics too – DSLR, and laptop, mainly because I don’t trust how much my check bag gets tossed around underneath! I need to start packing coloring books for the plane, that’s a great idea – thanks for the tip! I also pack a clean change of underwear – amazing how that one change at the end of a flight can make you feel more fresh!!

    1. Same here. I would never trust my laptop in my hold baggage…iI’ve saw how much they toss those bags around! 🙁

  2. Great list for when traveling, some of these items I keep forgetting! Really need to get myself more organised in the future! 😛
    Danik recently posted…Would You Kiss the Blarney Stone?My Profile

    1. I start packing about a month before i travel then repack about 5 times before we leave! I’m awful for forgetting things!

  3. LOL, then you and I are the opposite. I’m a carry on only type of gal. I bring a small carryon suitcase and a backpack. Nothing is checked. This was a nice list. I like to fly Business or First so many of those things: eye mask, socks, moisturizer, etc. are included. And yes, Storming Norman is a must! I must find one.

    1. This is true, although even when we fly Premium or Business i still like to have my own socks & eye masks…i find the socks they give you are always so thin!

  4. So fellow over packers rejoice….there shall be no judgement here, just lots & lots of unnecessary stuff. Enjoy! Hahaha I laughed so hard when I read this. Great list. Women products aside most of those things go in my satchel (wipes, hand sanitizer, Kleenex, chargers, medication etc) Satchel, Drone, Camera and Laptop ride with me. Everything else goes below.

    1. Haha! Glad it make you laugh! I just feel there are so many packing lists that make you out to be a heathen if you even dare think about taking more than a carry on!

  5. Great list although I doubt I’ll have Stormin Norman with me! I also don’t like the small ear buds so even though they take up more space I’d rather travel with headphones like your Beats that you use.
    Nathan recently posted…The 9 Best Meals I Had In IcelandMy Profile

    1. I wouldn’t have Storming Norman if it was up to me…but y’no…got to keep the husband happy haha!

  6. Super list and very similar to mine coloring books, tissues, and electronics for the kids! I too can not live in a carry on…. I need like 5 bags everywhere we go. My hubby can pack a whole summer in a back pack! LOL Super reference list!
    Stacey Veikalas recently posted…The Best Foods Of Puglia, ItalyMy Profile

    1. My husband’s the same! I just don’t understand why he needs so little space yet i need my case & half of his! And i swear i don’t have half as many clothes options as he does!

  7. I have to admit I’m an over-packer at heart, but I’ve come a long way in my time. Especially after lugging around too much unnecessary sh*t once we arrive! I always do seem to bring a handbag full of a few extra last minute “must have” items though, mostly snacks 🙂

    1. Snacks are on of the most important last minute must haves! Snacks have saved me so many times on flight delays on when the in-flight food is horrifically expensive!

  8. I am so with you! I could never just take a carry-on unless I was only going overnight somewhere! I always carry my electronics with me because there is no way I would trust them to be cared for in checked luggage!

    1. Yay! I’m so happy to hear I’m not the only one!

  9. I love lists like these. It makes packing so much earlier. I recently wrote a list of travel accessories too! Definitely bookmarking this. 🙂

    1. I’ll be sure to check your list out 🙂

  10. I love my Osprey backpack! It can hold a lot! And I usually do end up with carry on only, so I try to only pack the essentials. And I think Buddy and Storming Norman should totally meet!! 🙂
    Vicky and Buddy recently posted…Free Things To Do In And Around MiamiMy Profile

    1. Yes! They totally should! 🙂

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