What to pack in your long haul hand luggage

So I’m not always the best at packing. You’re probably thinking well why are you writing a post on it. And to some degree, you’d be right however this is packing for your hand luggage which I think I’ve got nailed. Big suitcase packing I’m of no help. None whatsoever. I’ve been that person on the floor by the check in desk crying trying to work out which of my 10 pairs of jeans I won’t need for a two-week trip. So you’re best off heading to Pinterest or Google to find someone better if you need help with that sort of packing. And if you find any good tips send them my way.

However, if you do want some suggestions on what to take in your hand luggage for a long haul flight then read on. Some will be pretty obvious but other ideas might be something you completely overlooked or never even thought of.

Obviously wallet, passport, phone
You’re not going to get far without these. Have them handy though either in the top of your bag. They come out a lot and you don’t want to be scrambling through your bag all the time.

Travel insurance documents
Hopefully, you won’t need to use it but it’s always handy to have this in your hand luggage in case you do need it. Another option is to have it saved on your phone.

Details on accommodation
Most landing cards require you to fill in where you are staying and also once you get out of the airport you need it handy to know where you’re going. You really don’t want to go rooting through your suitcase looking for it. Similar to the above you can also have these saved on your phone but handing over a piece of paper to your taxi driver is much easier than handing over your phone.

I love an airline film but I also love having some time away from a screen. If I’m really struggling to drop off a book helps every time! Sometimes I also like to have a quiz book like a word search or sudoku. A note pad and pen are also always lurking in my hand luggage in case I have any amazing ideas I need to write down. A pen is also handy when having to fill in your landing cards.

Flip flops
You can take the girl out of Australia but you can’t take Australia out of the girl. Even if I’m going somewhere cold there is always flip flops in my carry on. They are also pretty helpful when the dreaded cankles develop on a long haul flight.

Most planes now have USB charging cables so you can charge your phone or tablet during the flight.

E.g. Toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant and dry shampoo. Just because you’ve been on a plane for 20+ hours doesn’t mean you need to smell like you have. It also helps you feel ‘normal’ again.

Extra clothes
If it’s a long haul flight often a pair of pants, bra and a fresh t shirt will be in my hand luggage. It’s helpful as well if your luggage goes missing or you spill something on yourself during the flight (like I usually do!),

Layers are key! One minute you’ll be too hot then the next you’ll be too cold. I like having a big hoody with me so I feel warm and cosy on the flight.

You want the noise cancelling type. Planes are much noisier than you expect and when you want a break from the in-flight entertainment and want to listen to your own music you’ll be thankful for the headphones. Also, they are handy if you have a long wait in a connecting airport.

Bottle of water
Just make sure it’s purchased after security. Flying dries you out you need lots of liquid and sometimes it can be awhile before they bring the drinks cart round.

Any valuables
Keep those safe and on your person at all times. Bags go missing or can get delayed you don’t want anything valuable or sentimental going missing as well.

And my number 1 tip an oversized scarf
Yes even if I’m travelling to a hot country I’ll always take an oversized scarf with me. It has so many uses; fashion accessory, blanket, pillow or even a sarong on the beach.

Is there anything you take that we’ve missed off this list? Do share below in the comments 


29 Comments Add yours

  1. Shauna says:

    Wow, coincidence! No word of a lie, I’m just looking at what to take on board my flight to NYC. I think I’ve got too much tho….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha spooky! So jealous of NYC!! Have a fab time and hope the packing goes ok

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Rajni.gandha says:

    These are super helpful tips filled with common sense. High five for the oversized scarf and layering tips. You will need them when you come to San Francisco!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheers my dear! You can never go wrong with a massive scarf 😂 Oh how I want to go and explore San Fran!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Alaine says:

    Nice tips! I always carry a first aid kit with plenty of medicine, eye drops, and band aids. You never know what kind of medicine is offered at your destination or if you get sick on the plane. I always keep that handy.


  4. Pen and notepad TICK unfortunately can’t do just hand luggage wish we could 🙂 Good post for a girl who doesn’t do packing very well!


  5. Aarti Kamath says:

    You have covered everything I should say!… The last point about scarf – yes, it is very important because a scarf definitely plays many roles and is helpful during long haul :)..


  6. Good list. And yes oversized scarf is a good carry. Can be used in multiple ways. 😃


  7. Haha I’m slowly getting better at packing my “big” suitcase- and get so proud when I end up actually wearing everything I pack!


  8. Brianna says:

    Great tips! It’s always good to have all necessary documents and a change of cloths if the airline losses your stuff.


  9. I still remember you sitting on the floor with your bag trying to reduce your bag 😂 Your carry on packing sounds very organised and sensible though. Well done! Love the scarf tip too.


  10. Mindi Hirsch says:

    Great tips! I discovered the beauty of oversized scarves when I was in Thailand. I agree with you that they’re awesome for travel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So good aren’t they!


  11. emfletche says:

    Great tips! Hubby bought me noise cancelling headphones at Christmas for our Canada trip as my biggest bugbear on long-haul flights – especially overnight ones – is not being able to sleep because I’m constantly distracted by what’s going on around me! Just need to purchase a fancy sleep mask now too 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. They are sooo good aren’t they! I did miss off a sleep mask! That should also always be packed.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. angelanoelauthor says:

    Yes! I call my oversized scarf my “woobie” after the kid’s security blanket in the 1980’s film Mr. Mom. I know it’s dated and nobody probably gets the reference, but I always have one, too. It’s a must. Also, I bring an empty reusable bottle for water in my carry-on and fill it up after security. I HATE paying $35 for a bottle of water. (I know it’s not that much, but that’s what it seems like.) Thanks for the tips on “smellies” you’re absolutely right! Great post!


  13. Ruth Daly says:

    Great ideas – an oversized scarf is an absolute must!


  14. SherianneKay says:

    I would say you have this nailed, awesome list. Now you need to work on that 10 pair of jeans problem…


  15. I’ve just discovered the joys of a large scarf! Loved the tips.


  16. Totally agree with every item on your list! I have never carried an oversized scarf though but regret it always! I guess I’ll add a bit of lip balm, small travel sized face cream, sanitizer and wet wipes as well! Great list! =)


  17. Carolina Colborn says:

    I always forget headphones and extra clothes!


  18. These are some great tips. I always travel with a book but I love the idea of the oversized scarf and usually, on the plane, it gets a little chilly.


  19. Holly says:

    I take pretty much all of this minus the books. I either watch movies, sleep, or listen to my music on the plane.


  20. Great list. I’d add a flask (full, of course) and tissues.


  21. I almost always travel with just a carry on, so I always enjoy reading these kinds of posts so I can see what extra tips I can get. I think one tip you mentioned that most people don’t remember to do is to pack an extra set of clothes. Like you said, spills happen! lol


  22. Lorna says:

    Gonna use this as a check-list. I’ll trade your flip flops for one of those weird but useful neck pillow things. PS. I hate landing cards, but at least they mean you’ve arrived.


  23. You crack me up! Good tips and I loved the smellies. It’s so true that after a long trip you don’t want to smell like one! I’m always shuffling what’s in my carry-on and need to work some of your ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad you liked it!! Can’t go wrong with some smellies in your bag to keep you fresh as a daisy!


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