Hand lugagge essentials for long haul flights
Flying Packing

My Hand Luggage Essentials For Long-Haul Flights

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 the chic but cheap cabin case with genius handbag compartment that I always fly with.

(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 complicated 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 to sleep.
  • 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 scratchy airline ones! (This Barefoot Dreams one is so cosy.)
  • A pen – don’t forget to pack a pen for all those pesky immigrations forms or you’ll be begging your neighbour for theirs.

Read also: How to sleep on a plane

Hand Luggage Essentials For Long-Haul Flights - Girl Tweets World

Hand Luggage Items For A More Comfortable Flight

If you’ve got room to spare, these are the items 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.

More tips for packing like a pro

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. Most airlines now have USB ports so I also bring my iPhone cable so 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 are supplied by the lounge but don’t forget your hairbrush, which often isn’t.
  • 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.

What to wear on a plane: Stylish outfits for flying

Best Carry-On Case For Long-Haul Flights

Best carry on luggage for women

Image thanks to Cabin Max

A fellow travel blogger has designed the ultimate cabin case for female travellers and it’s been everywhere with me this past year.

Featuring a 28 litre main compartment and genius handbag pocket where you can pop all your toiletries prior to going through security, this cabin case is chic, practical and an absolute bargain at just £50. Buy yours on Amazon now or read my full review here.

Do you have any hand luggage essentials that are not on my list?

Hand luggage essentials for long haul flightsYou may also like:

The 10 items of clothing I pack for every trip

How to pack like a pro 

How to sleep on a plane: 8 top tips for getting more kip

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 October 2018


  • Reply
    July 4, 2016 at 6:46 am

    This bag looks sensational, too bad they only ship within the United States! Will definitely look into mail forwarding for this one…

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      July 8, 2016 at 3:29 am

      They are looking into offering international shipping so maybe join the mailing list so you know when it’s available!

  • Reply
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    July 4, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    […] Hand-Luggage Essentials for Long-Haul Travel […]

  • Reply
    Stephanie Rogers
    July 4, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    I love that bag! I’m in the habit of only taking hand luggage on any trip now but try to bring a second smaller bag to keep all my flight entertainment in. Definitely agree with the ear plugs! They have never worked for me, I’d rather fall asleep listening to music!

    Adventures with Steph


    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      July 4, 2016 at 11:10 pm

      Same! If I’m taking a wheeled carry on I use a small cross body bag to keep my phone in passport to hand. Some low-cost airlines used to be funny about this but even that seems to have relaxed now.

  • Reply
    July 5, 2016 at 6:40 am

    I love spying in other people’s bags! Funny enough, I recently discovered earplugs and love them now for flights! I also always take my own toothbrush – I don’ t like the shape they have on planes and also try to minimize waste. And the bag is beautiful, I want to check out their camera bag!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      July 5, 2016 at 8:08 am

      Good point re waste. Maybe I’ll start packing my own again!

  • Reply
    July 9, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    This was so helpful seeing how I am one of those who packs WAY too much in their carry-on. Every time I tell myself “only the essentials, okay?” and then for some reason I find everything to be essential. I am also still in search of that perfect bag and this might just be the one!

    Fluffy socks are also a must have for me on long trips!

    Jessica | Nearby Wanderer

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      July 12, 2016 at 7:34 am

      This is a great bag as everything’s organised but overall it’s not so big you stuff too much in it! I have a terrible habit of buying too much at the airport so always have to underpack unless I want to end up lugging the world with me 🙂

  • Reply
    Katie MacLeod
    July 11, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    Ooh I’ve had my eye on this bag for a while! I have their Pearl bag which I love for walking around a city – it carries everything I need (and more). This is definitely next on my wishlist though!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      July 12, 2016 at 7:32 am

      I’ve just looked up the Pearl and want one now. Their whole range is divine!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    May 6, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    I love your bag! Thank you for the packing tips. I’m one of those who forget essential things like a charger 😀


  • Reply
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