My Travel Essentials for Long Haul Flights



Since moving to the UK, travelling between South Africa and the UK to see family and friends is something that I’ve been doing for a number of years now. The great thing is that it’s an overnight flight even though it is still 11 hours of flying… Recently, I realized that I’ve accumulated a “long haul flight travel essentials kit”. This is my opinion of what makes a comfortable flying experience for me so I thought it might be worth sharing with you.

My travel essentials for long haul flights

1. Eye Mask

Travel essentials for long haul flights

Wearing an eye mask on the plane is in my opinion an essential travel item! It makes falling asleep so much easier when it’s pitch dark. It’s also perfect for those annoying moments when your in-flight neighbour decides to keep his reading light on all night or watch movies throughout the whole flight 😉

2. Noise cancelling headphones

For years I flew with in-ear headphones that worked sufficiently but didn’t quite block out all the aeroplane noise. Last year I finally gave into buying the big daddy of noise cancelling headphones, my Bose QuietComfort Noise Cancelling Headphones. And boy am I glad I saved up for these! These babies are the best purchase I have ever bought for flying! I wasn’t sure whether to go for the around-the-ear headphones or the in-ear ones but I think it comes down to your own preference. I’ve spoken to people that have the around-the-ear sets and they’re apparently quite comfortable too. I decided to get the in-ear headphones as it’s smaller to pack and with all my other flying gear listed in this post I thought it would be the most comfortable for me 🙂 PS. These headphones have reduced quite a bit in price since I bought them. A possible Christmas present for you? 😉

3. Neck Pillow

I find the head rest on planes insufficient for proper sleep. I have often fallen asleep while flying only to be jolted awake by my head dropping. To stop this from happening a neck pillow is the best solution. It also gives you something to rest your head on. I have a neck pillow with a front button fastener which is ideal for keeping your head steady.

4. Small holdall bag

Travel essentials for long haul flights

As I’m short I find that my lower back tends to get quite sore (or it could be old age too…) during a long flight. My solution to this is to travel with a bag that is sturdy enough and small enough to fit by my feet. This means I’m able to keep my feet raised on top of my bag. When I push my seat back my body is then at a more comfortable angle.

I have also bought myself an inflatable foot rest as another alternative. It’s easy to fold up and store in your travel bag if you don’t wish to rest your feet on your bag.

5. Comfortable clothing

Comfortable, loose and stretchy clothing is an absolute must for my travel wear. I prefer to wear loose t-shirts and leggings, joggers or gym pants. I also take an extra pair of socks that I wear on the plane. My Birkenstocks are also great for the plane as I can easily slip them on if I need to go to the toilet or to get up and stretch my legs for a bit. A pashmina is also another handy item to have when flying. It’s useful to wrap around yourself if you’re getting cold or if you forget to pack your eye mask.

6. Bottle of water

I have found that keeping hydrated on the plane makes a big difference to how I feel when I arrive at my destination. If I don’t drink enough water and I become dehydrated, I get a bad headache . My first day at my final destination then feels like a bit of write off because I’m feeling so terrible. So drink lots of water!

These are my travel essentials that I’ve learnt make a more comfortable experience for me on long haul flights. Do you have any travel essentials for long haul flights? I’d love to hear in the comments below if there’s anything you use that I haven’t mentioned.

This post contains affiliate links. This means I make a tiny little amount of money if you buy anything but you’re not charged anything extra. Thanks!

One Messy Mama

Never miss a post

For the latest travel, health and lifestyle posts sign up to the newsletter


  1. 29th November 2016 / 8:31 AM

    Couldn’t agree more with those essentials!

    • whatudidntknow
      29th November 2016 / 10:17 AM

      Hi Greta, thanks for reading and commenting! 🙂

  2. Mike Stuart
    29th November 2016 / 12:55 PM

    Great post as usual!

    Here are a few of my “must haves” for flying:

    1) Some Nature Valley “Oats and Honey” bars for when the food is blah, or like when SAA run out of Vegetarian options for my wife “C”.
    2) Kindle with lots of books loaded!
    3) “C” makes a folder with all our passports, airline tickets, car booking etc. Anything we use (like passports for checkin) goes straight back into the folder when we are done. It is great to always know where everything is and not having to scrounge through bags for something.

    • whatudidntknow
      29th November 2016 / 1:58 PM

      Hey! Thanks for commenting and sharing your essentials 😉 I actually also have a passport holder which I use for holding money, cards, passports etc. I check in from my phone using the airline app and can then get my etickets on my phone too 🙂

  3. 29th November 2016 / 7:41 PM

    oh the headphones are a must for me when travelling especially if it’s with peeps who talk alot lol when i wanna just chill and catch up on reading.
    Havent tried the neck pillow yet, dunno if i’d find it comfortable.
    Great accessory choices here, will def make the trip more enjoyable.

    • whatudidntknow
      29th November 2016 / 8:11 PM

      I was also a little unsure of the neck pillow but my mind changed after I used one the first time as I was no longer nodding myself awake! 😉

    • whatudidntknow
      2nd December 2016 / 11:41 AM

      Hi Kirsten, it’s a pleasure and thanks for reading!

  4. 3rd December 2016 / 7:06 AM

    Having just flown with five kids on a plane i can definitely agree with ALL of these! #GlobalBloggins

    • whatudidntknow
      3rd December 2016 / 7:31 AM

      Hi Brandi, wow! Travelling with 5 kids must be a challenge too. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  5. 4th December 2016 / 2:47 AM

    Can I get those noise cancelling earphones just for home?? 🙂 haha! Man my life would be all sunshine and roses.. Having flown with 4 kids aged 5 and under I love this list! #gloablblogging

    • whatudidntknow
      4th December 2016 / 5:19 AM

      Hahahhaa, I’m sure the noise cancelling headphones would work well for home too 😉

  6. 21st May 2017 / 5:30 PM

    These are really the travel essentials everyone should have in mind to take when on a long flight! Excellent ideas!

    • whatudidntknow
      22nd May 2017 / 11:11 AM

      Hi Agness, thank you – glad you found my post useful 🙂

  7. 11th June 2017 / 1:00 PM

    Thank you for setting out your information so clearly

    • whatudidntknow
      11th June 2017 / 3:12 PM

      Hi Deanna, it’s a pleasure and thanks for your comment. I hope you’ve found my post useful!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

error: Content is protected !!
%d bloggers like this: