What to Pack for a Long Flight

When I discovered I was going to Australia, you can bet I was ecstatic. But before I could have my summer down under, I had to get there. When I booked my flight, I was so excited about the price that I didn’t realize how much I would hate myself later. My travels plans were as followed…

  1. 1.5-hour drive to Orlando airport EARLY in the morning (thanks to my boyfriend for driving me)
  2. 2.5-hour flight to Chicago
  3. 3-hour layover
  4. 15-hour flight to Shanghai
  5. 7-hour layover
  6. 10-hour flight to Melbourne

My flight back was close to the same except I went from Shanghai to JFK and then down to Tampa. In total I spent almost two days traveling each time, but I survived. As someone with anxiety, such a long flight did make me worry. I have found that a good way to combat my anxiety is to be prepared, so I would like to share my wisdom with others.

What to Pack in Your Carry-On


  • Wipes- for when you want to shower but can’t or for those dirty planes/airports
  • Tissues
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Mints/gum
  • Chapstick
  • Makeup- Personally, I don’t wear makeup when I travel, but if freshening up will make you feel better, go for it. 
  • Deodorant
  • Advil, ibuprofen, tums, etc- Carry any medications you may need to help with anxiety, headaches, upset stomach, or any other common ailments you suffer from.
  • Prescription medicines- Make sure you have enough for a few days in case your checked bags get lost.
  • Extra clothes- This is for both if your luggage gets lost and if you want to change. 

To Sleep

  • Neck pillow- Most flights give you a pillow, but they are not the best.
  • Eye mask
  • Earplugs
  • Melatonin or other sleep medicine- I have a lot of trouble sleeping on planes, so melatonin is a must for me. 


Entertainment varies for each person, but here are just some suggestions. Although many planes for long trips have built-in entertainment systems, it is nice to have more options. If you also have a shorter flight or a long layover, you could be out of luck.

  • Headphones- Most planes will provide headphones, but I always pack them. You may need them for a shorter flight or a long layover.
  • Book(s) (or nook/kindle & charger)- Make sure these are fully charged.
  • Phone, laptop, tablet, ipad- Download movies/tv shows ahead of time in case you don’t have wifi. Make sure these are all fully charged before you leave. 
  • Portable charger- If you are traveling for a long time, a portable charger can save you. Outlets at airports can be overcrowded and scarce. Once again make sure this is fully charged too! (*Be careful what kind you have; mine got taken away in China.)
  • Wordcross/puzzle/sudoku book- After watching movies or napping for hours on end, you may want some mental stimulation.
  • Pencil, paper, colored pencils- You never know what you need this for. You can create a to-do list of things once you get to your location or draw. 
  • Planner- If you are like me, you live by your planner. A long flight gives your plenty of time to organize your planner or write in upcoming events/tasks. 


It is important to pack food for your long trip. When you are on a long plane ride, your food options are limited. Not to mention, airport food often sucks. And not only is it important to pack food but also the right food. Avoid junk food, it will make you feel sluggish and could hurt your stomach, especially if you have anxiety.

  • Empty water bottle- It is important to stay hydrated on long flights. You can fill the bottle up once you get through security. 
  • Powder drink packets- I don’t like water, so I bring these to fill my water bottle up with.
  • Chocolate (or any must haves)- This might just be me, but I CANNOT go a day without a piece of chocolate. If you have any foods that you feel the same way about, consider packing them.
  • Fruit/vegetables (celery, carrots, apple, grapes, blueberries)- After eating crappy airplane food and fast food at the airport, you will probably want something healthier. Try to pack food that is easy to eat and not messy. *Note-Depending on where you are going, you may not be able to bring fresh fruit through customs so eat it all beforehand or try dried fruit. 
  • Bread- I love my carbs and bread helps fill you up.
  • Protein bars or granola bars- Protein-packed foods help make you feel full. They are easy to transport and also come in a lot of varieties so pack your favorites.
  • 1 packed meal- It is a good idea to bring one good meal with you to the airport. I have packed a sandwich, wrap, breakfast bagel, and even a salad before. Keep in mind, you will want to pack something that won’t get soggy, or you will have to eat it more quickly. 
  • Airport meal- Before you board the plane, buy something in the airport that you can bring on the plane for later especially if this is your second or third flight. Avoid anything too messy. 
  • Napkins- Don’t forget these.


While this may seem like a lot to pack, most of these items are small and can be modified to fit what is best for you.

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