What to Pack in Your Carry On For a Long Haul Flight


what to pack carry on long haul

I’ve done a bit of travelling this year. Chicago, Thailand and now Dubai, so I’ve worked out what I do need in my carry on luggage to make the trip more comfortable (and I fly economy so I need to make it as comfortable as I can, as on average these flights are all 12 hours or more!).

Today I’m sharing with you what I’m packing for Dubai (leaving tomorrow night!).  I like to pack a carry on size trolley case (I’m taking this one from Samsonite with me as it’s super light and versatile).

carry on essentials


Essential Carry On Items:


  1. Headphones (preferably noise cancelling ones to get rid of the roar of the engines and hum of the airconditioning) for my ipad/phone with the little adapter so I can plug into the airplane entertainment system
  2. Reading materials – my stash of unread copies of the Good Weekend magazine, that I never manage to read during the week, but can happily read and discard along my way.
  3. ipad- I always download a TV series or two before I leave so I can watch it when I need, to.  Waiting in the the lounge at the airport or on the plane.
  4. Computer for doing some work, with mouse and an international charger, in case I’m stuck in an airport and can find a power outlet to recharge. Blogging requires constant work!
  5. Smart phone for listening to podcasts and music
  6. Ear plugs to cut out the noise when sleeping


  1. Eye mask to cut the light so I can nap
  2. Empty water bottle, to fill and drink on the plane and in transit, once through customs and immigration
  3. Lip balm and hand cream as it’s drying on the plane
  4. Toothbrush and toothpaste, face wipes, moisturiser – remember no more than 100ml per item and 1L total in a clear plastic bag
  5. Pashmina or two, can be used as a blanket or even rolled up and as extra pillow on those uncomfortable elbow rests.
  6. Ear plus to cut out the noise when sleeping
  7. Neck pillow for sleeping, I much prefer the memory foam ones to the ones with little balls.
  8. A little makeup for making myself look more human at the other end
  9. Small hairbrush


  1. DVT Flight Socks
  2. Sunglasses as I will need them at the other end
  3. Reading glasses because I’m going slowly blind in my old age
  4. Extra wallet with local currency and frequent flyer card, then I don’t have to empty my regular wallet of cards, and I just keep it in the hotel safe til the trip home
  5. Documentation in a plastic wallet
  6. Travel Insurance as I’ve heard horrendous stories of overseas hospital bills.  Never travel without it.  Mine is through Bupa*
  7. Itinerary
  8. Passport
  9. Hotel address/details
  10. Pen for filling in landing cards

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  • Great list!!!

    Lately I’ve been packing in my purse a little pack of disinfectant wipes — usually it comes with 20 or so wipes in a slim packet. I find mine at Target in the disposable utensils, paper plates section — those wipes don’t have chemicals in them that have to be rinsed away (see package labeling). Before I sit in my seat, I wipe it down — head rest, seat. Then I wipe down the arm rests and all the buttons on the arm rests. With another wipe I clean off the tray and entertainment center — anywhere I would touch or have food be on. Two wipes do the trick.

    Also, when leaving the lavatory, I use a tissue to open the door on the way out. Just another way to avoid touching a surface that a bunch of other people touched.

    I sound like a germ freak, but I just don’t like getting sick! So anything I can do to cut down my possibilities of getting a bug, I’m all for it. NOTE: Every time I wipe down my seat, tray, etc., my fellow passengers have always said they wished they thought of that — and I let them have a wipe.

  • Safe travels and can’t wait to hear what you think of Dubai. Always good to see it through a fresh pair of eye after living here now for nearly 10 years.

    The noise-cancelling head phones are one of the best investments I’ve ever made for travel. All my flights are 8-14 hours too and they’re a life saver, esp. when a little one is sick/fussy nearby or someone has a bad cough and you are trying to sleep.

  • Have a wonderful trip Imogen. You are right, noise cancelling headphones are a must when travelling on a plane. I love mine, specially on the oversea flights.

  • All of the above are great suggestions. I would add a change of underwear and spare top to the list, a lesson learned the hard way when I was stranded without luggage for 24 hours. At least I had a great excuse to go shopping!

    • I do take a change of undies, and sometimes a spare top or light change of clothes, particularly if travelling to a hotter climate than where I left! Have been known to spill a drink over myself, so it’s nice to have something to change into.

  • Another vote for disinfectant wipes. Instead of headphones I use ear buds(Sony) that are noise cancelling & can be used for music/IFE etc. & also to sleep. They take up far less room than headphones. I also take a change of undies & a shirt/top in case of lost luggage. For my last holiday I used a backpack with wheels for carry on & it was brilliant. I mostly used it as a wheelie but it was also good to use as a backpack when there were steps on narrow plane aisles.

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