Checklist: 4 things to consider packing in your hand luggage on a long-haul flight

Long haul flights are a dog. The first few hours are still exciting and then you find yourself counting the remaining hours until landing. “Make it fun” is the best you can do!

While recently flying 12 hours from London to Singapore, I summed up this checklist to help you pack your hand luggage quickly.

Tech – Got all your toys?

Take anything that helps you pass the time like a tablet, books or games. I like to scan through a travel guidebook…

  • Headphones
  • iPod if you don’t store your music on your phone
  • Download your podcasts or Netflix favourites – some airlines have a poor choice of movies
  • USB charger cable or an extra power bank
  • Ebook to read (or the paper version)


Ease the pain and arrive as relaxed as possible at the other end.

  • Use a blow up neck cushion to nap
  • Putting in earplugs reduces noise levels: you’ll arrive less tired
  • Wearing comfortable clothing, that’s not tight and having an extra jumper to keep warm
  • Using a scarf that doubles up as a blanket (otherwise you may have to pay for one when flying low-cost)
  • Have an extra pair of socks for when you take off your shoes
  • Use toiletries to refresh & to brush your teeth
  • Consider an eye cover mask to help you go to sleep


Stay hydrated and keep up your nutrients. Airline food tends to include a fair chunk of processed foods of low nutritional value.

  • Take an extra bottle of water – they never seem to offer enough! 😉 Keep drinking water – air conditioning results into dry air, so keep hydrated. It’ll also help with the jet lag!
  • Nutritious snacks, especially if you’re travelling on a vegan or gluten free diet. My latest so called “vegan” meal contained an egg based mango dessert…
  • Your travel cutlery may come in handy, when you need to get creative “adjusting” food to your diet. (In case the given cutlery doesn’t do the trick.)


Anticipate the side effects of sitting for long periods of time.

  • Consider compression socks to lower the risk of traveller’s thrombosis. Make sure to get up and take a few steps every now and then to get your blood circulation going or do these exercises
  • Vitamin C, for example in orange juice, is generally recommended as it helps your body cope with the eff3cts of flying. It boosts the immune system to help you dodge those bugs being whirled through the air con.
  • Any meds you usually take.

Generally, it’s recommended to pack a light change of clothes and keep it with you in hand luggage. In case your checked luggage might arrive delayed you’ll be covered for the first day or two.

all you need to move abroad for the job

Planning to stay for an extended period of time?

Check out this checklist of what to pack for long term travel.

Anything else that hasn’t been mentioned? Leave a comment below.


I have been a traveller and expat for over 15 years. So far my nomad lifestyle has allowed me to live and work in seven countries including the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Australia. Moving country, studying abroad and a passion for travel has been part of most of my adult life.

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