Airplane taking off with sunset in the background

Must Need Items to Take on a Long Flight

You have packed your check on luggage and now you’ve moved on to your carry-on bag. It’s going to be a long flight and you want to make sure you’re not stuck without everything you need for you and your kids. So you need to decide what items you want to take on your long flight.

The last thing you want is to be sitting on the plane with your kids, getting ready to take-off and realize you forgot a very important essential. You certainly don’t want crying, whiny, bored kids on the flight with you. That will not make an enjoyable flight for any of you.

So, here are the essentials you’ll need to pack in your carry-on bag for a long flight!

What to Take on a Long Flight: Adults

Carry-On Suitcase
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1. Neck Pillow

If it’s a long flight, especially an over night flight, you most likely have plans to sleep. You want to make sure you are as comfortable as possible because let’s face it, planes aren’t exactly the most comfortable place to sleep. So a neck pillow might just help you get a little more comfortable to get some shut eye.

2 Headphones

If you have plan on watching movies, listening to music, you will want to bring headphones on the flight with you. You won’t want to disrupt everyone else around you. Or if you are planning on sleeping, maybe you want noise cancelling headphones as well.

Either will come in handy for you.

3. Tablet with Games and Movies

You will want to have some for of entertainment on a long flight, so you might just want to bring your tablet with some games and movies. Now if it’s a long flight, the plane might already have some movies that you can watch as well. But it doesn’t hurt to also come prepared with your own. Then at least this way you can pick out movies that you know you will like or want to watch and won’t have to rely on the movies chosen by the airline.

Games are also a good source of entertainment and to keep you busy on a long flight.

4. Cards

If you want to give your eyes a rest from staring at a screen, cards is a good old fashioned way to stay entertained and busy. If you are traveling alone, you can play solitaire by yourself. But if you are traveling with your family and kids, you can enjoy a nice family card game as well.

I always bring cards with me on a flight and have enjoyed playing a few card games on some long flights myself.

5. Kindle/Book/Magazines

I never leave my house for a trip without my kindle. This has always been a must for me when taking a long flight. And if you don’t have a kindle, you can certainly stick with an old fashioned paperback book or even some magazines to make the time go fast.

Reading on a plane
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6. Puzzle Book

Are you puzzle person? Do you enjoy tackling some puzzles? Maybe it’s crosswords, sudoku or word search. Either way this can be a fun way to pass the time on a long flight.

I enjoy doing sudoku puzzles myself. Along with my kindle, I tend to bring a fun puzzle book along as well. Another good way to give your eyes a break from staring at a screen.

7. Medication

Do not forget your medication, especially if you have prescription medication. You will need those prescriptions if it’s a long flight.

Plus, you may want to throw in some other types of medication such as Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Tums, Benadryl, and Dramamine. You never know if you may get a headache, upset stomach, motion sickness, etc. It’s always good to be prepared.

8. Extra Outfit

It’s always good to pack an outfit into your carry-on just in case you get to your destination only to find out the airline lost your luggage. If they do end up losing your luggage at least you will have one set of clean clothes. And I’m sure you’ll want to get out of those airport clothes washing that long flight off you.

9. Snacks/Drinks

Yes, you may get a snack on the flight, but it certainly won’t be enough if you are heading out on a long flight. So be sure to pack some snacks for the flight. Drinks are also a great idea too. You’ll need something to wash down those snacks.

Tips #1 – You will need to buy drinks once you are inside the airports and have gone through security. You won’t be able to take any drinks through security. So don’t bother taking any from home because they will confiscate them from you.

10. Eye mask/Face mask

On a long flight, especially an over night flight, you will be planning to do some sleeping. And eye mask can help you sleep better and make you more comfortable on a not so comfortable plane.

And being 2021 during COVID, you will also want to make sure you have a face mask. It’s actually a pretty good idea to wear 2 at once. And make sure you have more packed as well. Don’t leave your house for the airport with just 1 mask.

11. Phone

You may not be able to use your phone on the plane, but you should always make sure you have it with you. It is not a good idea to pack your phone in your luggage, so make you have it in your pocket, carry-on, backpack, purse, wherever you may keep it.

12. Charger

If you’re bringing electronics, such as your kindle, tablet, phone, etc., you will want to make sure you have enough chargers for each device. Even if you have already charged each device before you left home, make you still have them in your carry-on to take on the plane just in case you need them.

13. Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is a definite must in 2021 during COVID. Make sure you have it handy at all times.

Tip #2 – Anything liquid that you take on a plane has to be under 3.4 oz. or security will confiscate it from you. So when getting on the plane make you have a travel size hand sanitizer that is under 3.4 oz.

14. Camera

You might want to carry-on your camera. Whether it be a small digital camera that you just pack in your carry-on or purse or if it’s a Nokia camera with it’s own case, you’ll want to keep it with you.

You certainly don’t want to pack your good, expensive camera in your check on luggage because you don’t want it to get broken. Plus, you may want to take pictures on the plane showing the start of your trip and landscape pictures of your final destination from the airplane window.

Seats and window on the airplane
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15. Carry-On Suitcase/Backpack

All these essentials you’ll need on a long flight, you’ll want to pack in a carry-on suitcase or backpack. Carry-on suitcase with wheels might sound easier to maneuver around because you don’t have to carry it. But recently I have chosen to carry a backpack because even though carry-on suitcase might be on wheels and you don’t have to carry it, it’s still bigger and harder to get around and maneuver through people.

As long as you don’t pack the backpack to be too heavy, I think it’s actually easier to carry a backpack.

Woman sitting on luggage
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What to Take on a Long Flight: Kids

Mother with girl sitting on luggage
(Photo Credit: Pexels,

1. Stuffed Animal

For little kids, you may want to bring that favorite stuffed animal they have or they may not sleep for you. My son’s favorite is a stuffed sheep and if he doesn’t have it with him when I put him to bed, he doesn’t forget to ask for his sheep.

The last thing you want is a meltdown in the middle of the airplane disrupting all those people and the glares you will get.

2. Toys

A couple toys would also be good for your little kids to keep them busy during the long flight. Little kids are not patient and can’t sit still for long. They want to get up and run around. So having a couple toys for their entertainment is definitely a good idea.

3. Books

Little kids like to be read and books are a good idea when you’re trying to get them to go to sleep because you can read them a bedtime story just like at home.

Or if you have older kids, giving them books to read on their own is also a good way for them to pass the time, so they’re not complaining about boredom.

4. Puzzle Book/Games

Doing puzzle books or playing games with your kids is a good way to keep them from being bored and whining while on the long flight. And it’s also a good way to spend some family time before you get to your destination.

5. Tablet with Games and Movies

Bringing your tablet with some games and movies for your kids whether they’re little or older will keep them entertained for a while.

Pick a nice kids movie, grab your headphones and enjoy watching the movie with your family.

6. Headphones

Your kids will also need headphones if they want to watch any movies or listen to music.

7. Car Seat

If you have a baby or toddler, you’ll want to bring a car seat onto the plane with you. It is much safer to put them in a car seat. 

8. Diapers/Wipes

If you have babies or toddlers you will want to make sure you have enough diapers and wipes.

9. Snacks/Drinks

If you think you need snacks and drinks for yourself, you will most definitely need them for your kids. Make sure you have enough or you’ll have to hear “I’m hungry”, constantly and that will be no fun on a long flight.

Tip #3 – Remember…anything liquid that you take on a plane has to be under 3.4 oz. or security will confiscate it from you. So you may have to wait till you get pass security and buy your kids drinks in the airport.

People walking in the airport
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10. Pillow/Blankie

Your kids might have a favorite pillow or blankie that they can’t sleep without. Don’t forget to take that on the plane. I would try to refrain from bringing their full size pillow from their bed because that will just become a pain dragging that through the airport and on the plane.

11. Extra Outfits

Just like you did for yourself, for your older kids, you will want to pack an extra outfit in your carry-on in case you get to your destination to find out the airline lost your luggage.

And for little kids, you will want to pack a few extra outfits into your carry-on. The reason for this is a whole different reason. It’s because babies and toddlers may spit up on their clothes, get food on their clothes, pee or poop through their diaper and you’ll want to be prepared with extra outfits.

12. Bottles/Sippy Cups

Make sure to pack bottles and/or sippy cups if you have a babies or toddlers traveling with you.

13. Formula/Baby Food

Babies need to eat too, and if they are not eating regular food yet, you will need to make sure to pack formula and baby food for the long flight.

14. Medication/Thermometer

Always make sure to pack baby/child medication and a thermometer in your carry-on. You never know if your child may get sick while traveling and it is always good to be prepared with the necessities to take care of them.

15. Chewing Gum

When I was little, I would get earaches on planes and it would be painful for me as a small child. One thing that helped me was chewing gum. 

Kids sometimes get earaches on planes and chewing gum can help their ears pop and make them feel better. So make sure you are carrying chewing gum with you.

16. Backpack/Diaper bag

If you are traveling with a baby or toddler, you will want to make sure you have your diaper bag. 

If traveling with older kids, why not pack all their essentials into their backpack and have them carry it with them onto the plane.

After reading through this list, you should now know what essentials to pack for a long flight. So get packing yours and your kids carry-on bag and enjoy your much needed trip.

Amazed girl with mother in airport hallway
(Photo Credit: Pexels,

Looking For More Packing Tips

Traveling with a baby or toddler, take a look at What Essentials You’ll Need When Packing for a Baby or Toddler.

Also, if you’re thinking about taking a road trip, you can receive an exclusive FREE Ultimate Road Trip Packing List if you subscribe to my blog, Round Trip. Don’t forget to subscribe before leaving Round Trip!

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What do you tend to pack in your carry-on bag for a long flight? Let’s hear about it in the comments below!

16 thoughts on “Must Need Items to Take on a Long Flight

  1. Reply
    Nicole - September 18, 2021

    Some great tips here. I think the first time on a long haul flight is a bit of a shock for some people and can easily get uncomfortable. A change of clothes is a must for me, some wipes and toothbrush. Just so I feel a bit fresh before coming off the flight. I also like hard boiled sweets for helping with my ears rather than gum.

    1. Reply
      Anna Bobar - September 28, 2021

      Yes, all of these are great as well. Thanks!

  2. Reply
    Jacqueline Le - September 17, 2021

    I don’t think people realize how important that extra outfit is until they’ve experienced the airline losing their luggage. Would have saved me so many times. I don’t dare to board any flight without an eye mask either, these are great tips!

    1. Reply
      Anna Bobar - September 17, 2021

      Thank you! Yes you always need that extra outfit incase your luggage gets lost. I have traveled my whole life and the only time I ever lost my luggage was 2 years ago and it was getting off a cruise if you can believe it. I have never actually lost luggage from flying.

  3. Reply
    Claire - September 17, 2021

    I always get sick reading on planes, but for some reason puzzles don’t affect me lol, so I always bring a sudoku book!

    1. Reply
      Anna Bobar - September 17, 2021

      LOL. Well puzzles are always fun. I love sudoku!

  4. Reply
    Linda (LD Holland) - September 16, 2021

    I must admit that my carry on bag is jam packed with things to get me through a long flight or delay anywhere. But I always seem to forget one things. Packing for kids always added another dimension in adding things to keep them quietly amused. Good checklist!

    1. Reply
      Anna Bobar - September 17, 2021

      I also always seem to forget something as well, even when I make checklists. It’s like it’s inevitable. And I agree it’s hard to remember everything for your kids when you’re packing for them as well.

  5. Reply
    Lorry - September 16, 2021

    A very thorough list of items to take when traveling. Even for seasoned travelers, it’s great to have a reminder of the necessities and to double-check your list before you leave.

    1. Reply
      Anna Bobar - September 17, 2021

      Thank you! I’m glad this list is helpful for you.

  6. Reply
    Renata - - September 16, 2021

    Many items from your list are definitely a lifesaver on a long-haul flight. However, I prefer the on-board program over my own movies and music. Somehow, leaving the entertainment to the airline puts me more in the perfect travel mood 😉

    1. Reply
      Anna Bobar - September 17, 2021

      You make a good point here. I like to watch the movies sometimes the airline provides as well. Sometimes it’s a pretty good movie.

  7. Reply
    Mark and Chuck's Adventures - September 16, 2021

    GREAT tips! We don’t have kids so thankfully we don’t have all those extra pieces to remember and pack. We always pack a full change of cloths in our carry-on. And, we love taking some of the single serve drink mixes to easily mix into a bottle of water. Bottled water is cheaper in most airports and if you take an empty sports bottle you can get water at most locations.

    1. Reply
      Anna Bobar - September 17, 2021

      I’m glad you liked the tips. I like your tip too. I never thought of that. Good thinking.

  8. Reply
    Jemima - March 6, 2021

    The lists are great! Great reminders for travelers like me. I always forget to bring an extra outfit because I feel like it will only make my hand carry heavier, but a good tee and clean disposable underwear are the best! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Reply
      Anna Bobar - March 6, 2021

      I’m glad this was helpful for you. Yes, an extra outfit in your carry-on could come in handy.

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