If there is one thing I have learned during my years of non-stop travel it’s not to pack too many things in my hand luggage. There have been far too many times when I’ve struggled through the airport with a sore shoulder due to the incredible weight of 6 magazines, 4 books and countless other things I don’t need pressing on my shoulder.
I’ve also learned from frequently flying between Australia and the UK that the products you pack in your hand luggage can have a huge effect on your overall comfort and wellbeing during the flight.
So on that note, I thought I would share with you the essential items I always pack in my hand luggage, plus suggest some stylish yet practical cabin baggage to carry them in.
(This post contains some affiliate links to Amazon products. Read disclaimer for details.)
Top 5 Hand Luggage Essentials For A Long-Haul Flight
If I’m flying long-haul I won’t leave home without:
- The Trtl travel pillow – regularly voted the best travel pillow on the market, the Trtl provides optimum support for your neck and – as it looks just like a scarf – is not half as cumbersome or silly looking as some others I’ve tested.
- This Works Sleep Balm – a soothing lavender scented balm that’s great for rubbing on pulse points when you need helping relaxing or want to drift off.
- Noise-cancelling headphones – like these ones from Bose which provide superb sound quality and block out cabin noises. Don’t forget to grab a headphone adaptor jack so you can plug into the airplane’s entertainment system.
- Giant scarf or shawl – I always pack a travel shawl when I’m flying so I can wrap myself in it on a flight – I prefer my own blanket to the airline ones!
- A pen – don’t forget to pack a pen for all those pesky immigrations forms or you’ll be begging your neighbour for theirs.
Some Handy Hand Luggage Items For A More Comfortable Flight
If you’ve got room to spare, these are the items that I recommend you pack for a more comfortable flight.
- Berocca, multi-vitamins and headache pills – to fight jet lag before it even begins. I swear by Berocca Boost, which comes with an extra energy kick, when I know I’m going to have to hit the ground running.
- Lucas Papaw Ointment – the best thing for chapped lips. You can pick one up in duty-free in most Australian airports or buy it online.
- Slipper socks – as soon as I get on a long haul flight I slip out of my shoes and into a pair of fluffy socks. I love Totes slipper socks with a tread on the bottom as you can walk around in them on the flight.
- A hair tie – because one is never on your wrist when you really need it.
Hand Luggage Items Loved By Frequent Flyers
Feel like a travel pro with these frequent flyer favourites.
- Kate Spade Passport Holder – although you have to remove passport covers when you go through immigration I personally keep my passport in one as it protects the pages and makes it easier to spot your passport amongst all the other items in your bag. I’ve had this Kate Spade Passport Holder for years and it looks smart and has lasted well.
- Clear cosmetic case for toiletries – I have a TSA approved clear toiletry bag that I pop all my items in at home so I don’t have to mess about arranging my liquids at security.
- Eye mask – just in case you end up in a seat near the toilet or next to a passenger who reads for the whole flight. This silk sleep mask is super soft and cosy.
- Back up battery – I pack a portable power bank in case there is nowhere to charge your phone on the plane. A lot of aircraft have USB ports so I also bring my iPhone cable in case I can charge my phone at my seat.
- Outfit change – if I’m flying all the way to London from Sydney I tend to book a flight connection with a long enough layover to allow me time to shower and change in the lounge or shower room. I’ll pack a spare top and undies and have a mini pack of face wipes, deodorant and face powder to help me feel more human. Shower gel and towels etc come with the entry fee. Don’t forget a hairbrush though, especially if you plan on washing your barnet!
- Laptop and camera – I keep these items in my hand luggage not necessarily to use them on the flight but because it would be a travesty if my luggage was lost and I didn’t have these with me upon arrival. If you are changing planes it’s a good idea to have a spare pair of clothes and essential toiletries in your hand luggage for this same reason.
Best Carry-On Bag For Long-Haul Flights
I’m a huge fan of New York based brand Lo & Sons who design incredibly stylish yet practical luggage for the fashion conscious traveller. Pictured is The OG and I can honestly say I’ve been through many items of luggage in my travelling career but never have I come across an overnight bag as smart as this.
The OG fits everything I’ve mentioned above yet is lightweight and super chic. It comes with a padded 13 inch laptop compartment, secret pockets for everything from your money to your pens, a chain to attach your keys and a side pocket to slip your shoes in once removed on the plane. There’s also pockets for work documents (or magazines!) and with everything so organised it means no last minute rummaging on the plane while other passengers try to get to their seats.
As it’s made from high-quality materials you don’t have to worry about overloading The OG but if it does start to get a little heavy there is a sleeve hidden on the back that lets you attach The OG onto your suitcase handles.
The OG comes in 6 colour-ways so you can choose the exact shades to match your taste – I was instantly sold on the black, gold and lavender combination.
The OG retails at $275. Find out more here.
Do you have any hand luggage essentials that are not on my list?
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Disclaimer: The OG was supplied to me complimentary. All opinions are my own. This post contains some affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase after clicking on the link, I may receive a small commission. Read disclaimer for details.
Post updated March 2018