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carry-on essentials for long flights

15 Carry-on Essentials For Long Flights

We get asked a lot about carry-on essentials for long flights.  Some people can travel the world with only a carry-on, but some of us, well… we can’t! 

Packing a good carry on is probably the MOST important step when preparing for your next trip, especially for those long flights that seem to never want to end.  But before we get into what exactly should go in your carry-on, we are going to touch on some of the most frequently asked air travel tips.

How much liquid is allowed in my carry-on?

When you get to airport security, you’ll be notified multiple time that you are allowed to take liquids in a container no larger than 3.4 ounces or 100ml and must be stored in a one quart (about one litre) resealable bag. That means you’re not able to travel with a 5-ounce container even if it only has 1 ounce of liquid in it. The good news is you ARE allowed to take an empty water bottle through security with you and fill it up once you get to the other side, which we highly reccommend!

Can I bring e-cigarettes or vaping devices on a plane?

Yes, you can, but only in your carry-on (not checked). Just remember that the liquids cannot exceed the maximum allowances and although it’s not a real cigarette, it still can’t be used on the plane.

Can I bring a lighter on the plane?

No, it is best to say goodbye to your lighter before you leave and get a new one when you arrive. Annoying yes, but they will take it! The smooking rooms provided throughout the airports usually have lighters available, or you could buy a new one once you pass security.

Can I bring a nail kit in my carry-on?

Nail clippers and files, yes, but make sure you don’t have a small knife in your clippers! Scissors, razors and any other sharp objects are prohibited from going in your carry on and must be checked.

Ok, so now we got that out of the way, let’s get to what you came here for:

Our Go-to list of 10 Carry-on Essentials For Long Flights

1. Earplugs & Eye Mask: If you are a light sleeper like I am, these two items will save you! Get some zzzz’s to help conquer jet lag.  Some airlines provide them, but it’s better to be have your own.

2. Local Money & Valuables: Ok, so this isn’t exactly for long flights, but it helps after long flights when you arrive at your destination.  When we travel, we leave with USD and enough local money for 1-2 days and then change money as we need it. We have found that the best exchange rates are in the country we are visiting. One thing to be aware of is to change local money back to USD before leaving because not all currencies will be accepted at exchanges outside of its country making it very hard to get rid of certain currencies!

It’s a good idea to keep a secret stash as well, and pack all money and valuables in your carry on if your luggage is lost! We like to keep our secret stash hidden in a deodorant stick and in my hairbrush.

3. Medicine: Meds are one of those really important carry-on essentials for long flights for obvious reasons. Just be sure to take any meds in their original bottle with your name visible. In the unlikely event that the airlines lose your bag, you’ll have all of the medication you might need. Be sure to check country regulations and what medications you are allowed to bring in and out of a country beforehand.

4. Snacks: Nothing’s worse than getting hungry halfway through a 15-hour flight, and the airline you chose has crappy ‘snacks.’ Nuts, crackers, dried fruit, candy and/or pretzels are all excellent choices.  Try to stay away from salted nsacks as they can make you dehydrated.

5. Water Bottle: One of those annoying things about flying – you’re not allowed to take any water or liquids exceeding 3.4oz past the security checkpoints. A water bottle is one of the most important carry-on essentials for long flights because staying hydrated while traveling is harder than you think! Pick up a Nalgene bottle for your trip and fill up throughout most airports before the flight. We love our Nalgene bottles, BPA-free and durable, we’ve had them for years!

6. Toe Socks & Flip Flops: COZY & convenient! YES! I am one of those people who hate wearing shoes on a flight. I want something that is easy to slip on and off when going to the facilities and keeping my toes warm at the same time! I love my Vibram toe socks and have had them for years, and Mike never flies without his Sanuk’s.

7. E-Reader & Music: Nothing is better than passing the time with a good book! E-readers allow us to carry any book we want, without the weight or space issue.  We pack our phones with music and our e-readers with some preferred reading material, never traveling without them.

8. Extra Set of Clothes: In the event that the airline loses your bag, you aren’t left wearing the same clothes for a couple of days or longer! I like to pack a shawl or a good hoodie because airports and planes can be FREEZING and low budget airlines don’t offer free blankets.

9. Batteries & Electronics: Are NOT allowed in your checked bag, so make sure you have all battery packs, chargers, and batteries in your carry-on. Just make sure the battery packs follow the airline’s rules.

10. Passport & Pen: Most countries you must fill out an entry and exit card, so the pen will come in handy, and the passport… well, that’s pretty self-explanatory!

What are your most essential carry-on's for long flights?

In the end, there are many things you can include as carry-on essentials for long flights. Just remember that you want to be as comfortable as possible during your journey while adhering to airline requirements. Our list comes from trial and error, so try it out and see what works for you.  Let us know what your essential carry-on items are for long flights.  Feel free to leave a comment below!

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