Friday 10: Long flight essentials

Long-haul flights can be as daunting as they are exciting. No one likes to sit crammed into too-small seats with nowhere to go for hours on end. But over the years, I've been able to pack my little carry-on with just enough to keep me happy and comfy for these marathon flights. 

Today's Friday 10 is all about the essentials that get me to my destination with my sanity intact. 

A Great Carry On

While I believe in traveling light, I don't like trying to cram my whole trip into one large carry-on. I keep my carry-ons small and pack them only with what I will need on the flight (and a little something for after). I think it saves space and hassle in the long run. Mine is very similar to the great Kate Spade Saturday one above, which I might have to buy once mine kicks the bucket. 

Tart cherries are naturally high in melatonin and they make a nice pre-flight snack. These are from Bob's Red Mill ($9.39/0.5 lb), but I've seen many different brands. 

Tart cherries are naturally high in melatonin and they make a nice pre-flight snack. These are from Bob's Red Mill ($9.39/0.5 lb), but I've seen many different brands. 

Melatonin or dried tart cherries

I started using melatonin for eastward trips a few years ago and I don't think I'll ever look back. It reduces jet lag and helps me adapt to a new time zone quickly. Sour cherries are also naturally rich in melatonin, so if you want something natural that doubles as a great snack they might be a option.

One of the first things I do when we board the plane is change my watch to our destination time. If we're flying to Paris and its midnight there, I'll take half of a melatonin (more is not better with melatonin) to try and get my internal clock aligned with Paris time. It also helps me sleep on the plane without any side effects or grogginess. 

After we arrive, I'll continue to take a little melatonin around bedtime for the first 3 days. Your milage may vary and I'm no doctor, so I recommend you do your own research and ask your doctor about what is safe and best for you.


Staying well-hydrated on the plane is really hard. I find there is never enough water, even when flight attendants make the rounds throughout the flights. I always buy a liter of my own before we take-off. I've also used collapsible water bottles like the BPA-free Vapur one pictured above and filled it at a water fountain in the airport. I love that it's so light and small, it just makes it so easy to reuse it throughout the trip.


I'll watch movies for a bit if something good is available, but after that I like to listen to podcasts or I read. 

I take a Kindle to save space and I like to grab a guilty-pleasure magazine in the airport. That way I have something to look at during takeoff and landing if devices have to be off.  

Downcast ($2.99) is my favorite podcast app. It's easy to use, organizes everything well, has a playlist function, and a sleep timer. I download some of my favorites (I'll do a Friday 10 on this!) before we go and have hours of listening material to keep me entertained if I need it.

I've also used white noise and relaxation/guided meditation apps but they never seem to stick for me.  

Just make sure to put your phone in Airplane mode as soon as you get on the plane, and sure you can either charge your phone or have enough of a charge. 

Beauty Essentials

The next thing I always carry is a plastic bag of beauty essentials to use on the plane or in case my luggage gets lost. As a bonus, I keep the bag in my purse for the trip so everything is always handy. Here's what is in mine:

A change of clothes

I always, always include a change of clothes in my carry-on. I will never forget when our luggage was lost on a trip to Austria. My mom and I spent the first day of our vacation scrambling to find underwear in a new city. It was not fun.  It also ended up being expensive because we could only find a high-end shop. 

Now I try to carry a whole outfit and some pjs if I can. A light dress is great because it can take you from day to night. It also doesn't take up that much space!

At the very least throw an extra set of undies in there. You will be so thankful you did one day!

I love the colors of these  Loomed NOLA Serendipity Scarves ($40) . They're handwoven from organic Turkish cotton. 

I love the colors of these Loomed NOLA Serendipity Scarves ($40). They're handwoven from organic Turkish cotton. 

A cozy wrap

Airplane blankets are gross. I don't want them anywhere near my face. But I also want to be cozy and comfortable and a wrap or pashmina does the trick. Bonus: it doubles as a scarf and folds up nice and small.  


I always try to layer because I never know what kind of crazy temperature it will be on the plane. Half of the time I end up boiling hot, the other half of the time I'm freezing. Dressing in comfortable layers keeps me happy. I like wearing jeans, a tee, a cardigan or blazer, and shoes that are easy to put on and take off. Simple and stylish. No yoga pants needed here!

Always classic, the Roots Park Sock (2 for $18.50 CAD)

Always classic, the Roots Park Sock (2 for $18.50 CAD)

Cozy socks

I like to take my shoes off and wear a pair of ridiculous comfy socks. Some people say you should never take your shoes off on the plane because your feet will swell. I don't have this problem (at least not yet) and I see cozy socks as one of the few things I can use to make the trip more relaxed. Just make sure to wear shoes that are easy to get on and off for those bathroom trips. 


Because airplane food is, more often than not, awful. I can't remember the last time I had an edible "breakfast" on a flight. I always take something with just enough calories to get me through to a real breakfast/meal at our destination. A little protein, fat, and carbs go a long way. Clif bars used to be my go-to, but I'm always on the hunt for something healthy and tasty. I've been digging nakd bars and Larabars lately thanks to the Whole30, but I'd like to find something with more protein. 

What's in your carry-on?

I'd love to hear what essentials you put in your carry-on. Have any great snack suggests? Let me know!