My Top 10 Travel Products For Long-Haul Flights (And Bose Giveaway)

by on March 21, 2012 · 537 comments

in Points Guy Pointers, Travel Technology, Video Blog Post

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Yesterday I boarded the world’s longest commercial flight: Singapore Airlines Flight 21 from Newark to Singapore, which lasts an astonishing 18 hours and 40 minutes, practically an entire day up in the sky! In fact, due to the flight timing and time zone changes, I spend the entire Tuesday, March 20th in the air!

The flight took off from EWR at 11:00pm Monday and landed in SIN at 5:40am local time Wednesday, so I anticipated my internal clock was going to be all kinds of confused by the time we cruised into Singapore. Like many frequent long-haul travelers, however, I had a handy arsenal of accessories that help me cope with lengthy flights, jet lag and to stay healthy, hydrated and happy. The flight ended up being a breeze and I got almost 12 hours in total sleep, so I’ve been on the go since touching down in Singapore.

Check out this video I made at Newark Airport as I take you inside my carry-on bag of tricks, and find the full list of my must-haves below.

What are your key travel products? Tell me your travel “must haves” and I’ll pick a lucky winner who will receive a set of Bose QC15 headphones. Simply comment on this post by 8pm EST on Thursday March 22, 2012.

My Top 10 Must Have Travel Accessories For Long-Haul Flights

1. Bose QC15 Acoustic Noise-Cancelling Headphones: These drown out both that plane drone and the voices of your neighbors, one of whom always seems to be hacking up a lung on the flight. I also always carry along some extra AAA batteries, because there’s nothing worse than when your batteries die mid-flight and you can’t replace them.

2. Eye Mask: Though you can usually depend on an amenities kit in business class, I always carry my thick British Airways First Class eye mask with me (even when I fly economy) because it’s super comfortable, blocks out all the light, and helps me sleep better.

3. Sleep Aid: Speaking of sleeping on the flight, I always have a sleep aid with me so I can be sure to arrive in my destination as well rested as possible. My sleep aid of choice is Lunesta, though I know a lot of readers prefer natural supplements like Melatonin. I’d stay away from Tylenol PM because of the potential acetaminophen has to damage your liver (in case you indulge in the in-flight wine, which was decent on Singapore Airlines).

4. Loafers: In addition to helping me get through security faster since it’s easy to slip them off and on again, I bring loafers with me on the plane so that I can easily slip them on whenever I need to use the lavatory because those floors are dirty, no matter how many times the flight crew wipes them down!

5. iPad: Even with all the in-flight entertainment options on premium international airlines these days, I’m a control freak when it comes to how I spend my time on the plane and I like to make sure I’ll have everything I need to keep me distracted, from movies and TV shows to music and e-books.

6. Big bottle of water: Though I’m sure to get great service in Singapore Airlines business class, sometimes you get stuck on the runway for a while before takeoff, or there’s an extended period of turbulence, and you can’t get a beverage for a while. However, staying hydrated is probably the single most important thing you can do on a plane, so I always have a big bottle of water with me, just in case.

7. Pajamas: Especially on long flights like this one, the thought of spending over 24 hours in the same clothes (including leaving home, getting to the airport, getting to the destination and your hotel) is gross, so I always make sure I at least have a pair of pajamas with me to change into while I’m sleeping. My pair of choice? The BA first class ones which are comfortable and light.

8. Hand sanitizer: With so many people coming through a plane on flight after flight, I think every surface on a plane is practically a bio-hazard (see: hacking seatmate mentioned above, and don’t even get me started on the tray tables and safety pamphlets!). That’s why I always have a bottle of hand sanitizer with me for a quick disinfecting rub, especially before eating.

9. Moisturizer: As I mentioned, the most important thing to remember on a long flight is to stay hydrated so your body doesn’t get dried out. To keep my skin from drying out, though, I always pack some moisturizer so I can stay feeling fresh throughout the flight and for when I land.

10. Toothbrush: Again, this is something you’ll normally get it when flying in business/first, but I hate the dinky toothbrushes they tend to hand out with these, and if you’re flying coach, you might not get anything at all, so it pays to have a toothbrush with you and keep your dental hygiene up on the plane. It’ll make you feel better before taking a snooze, and freshen you up before landing.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Nat

    I have to bring the most recent issue of “The Week!” I need something to read on take-off and landing!

  • Cindy R.

    I always bring a travel guide for the place I am visiting on a long haul flight so that I can review the best places to see and to get a general feeling about the place, along with post it notes and a pen to highlight the most important points.

  • Mitch

    Since I bought my iPad, it’s definitely my travel must have. I load it up with some TV episodes and movies that I’ve been wanting to catch up on as well as whatever book I’m reading and have queued up next. Definitely beats playing IFE roulette, although in coach I do tend to use the IFE while eating, since there’s usually no place to prop the iPad for easy viewing.

  • Greg

    iphone – movies and podcasts

  • TravelHackerr

    Bose QC15 headphones

  • LarryInNYC

    I always wear slip-ons when travelling (in fact, I’ve pretty much given up on shoes with laces entirely — the laces always break at the most inopportune time).

    I have a pair of Sony noise cancelling headphones and, although they do make a difference I don’t find them as revolutionary as many people report the Bose are.

  • Lindadukess

    My most comfortable walking or hiking shoes for when I arrive- they’re the one thing I can’t risk loosing or being delayed !

  • Dave Op

    1) A panasonic noise cancellation headset
    2) Tissue…Puffs Ultra Strong
    3) Tylenol, aspirin (both, in case one does not work)
    4) toothpaste, brush
    5) disposal reading materials (print outs mostly) that way I don’t have to carry it
    6) I bring a big bottled water with me on economy flights
    7) small down pillow
    8) wet, soap towellette
    9) small amount of food such as peanuts to get you out of a jam
    10) pen and small paper to write on

  • Hao

    I always charge my iPhone before the flight, a clean and fresh pair of socks, a pen (for when you have to fill out those immigration arrival cards!), the NYTimes for that day, and my laptop.

  • Charles Carpenter

    Earplugs. Because you never know when that baby will start crying.

  • sarah

    A water bottle, headphones, toothbrush, contact case/glasses/mini contact solution, and a clean shirt/underwear. For international flights, flipflops or slippers.

  • Brad

    Got to love the loafers. In addition to that, I always use my SeV Travel jacket to hold all my personal carry on items I need to get to quickly, plus it makes traveling through security a breeze.

  • Hank

    Variable attenuation earplugs. Not because you want more sound reduction at louder levels, but because they are generally vented and don’t build up pressure in your ears during flight ceiling changes.

  • Dasu

    MacBook Air. Although I love my iPad for shorter flights, when I’m in the air for four hours or more and need to do serious writing/editing, there’s no replacement for my laptop.

  • Rob Hensley

    iPad for movies and iPhone for music.

  • Karen

    A pashmina shawl. It can be used as a blanket or folded up and used for either a pillow or lumbar support.

  • Mrs.G

    I must have my pillow,all prescriptions including my Ambien , bottle of water, hand sanitizer, small toiletry bag , pashmina, big black sunglasses and my make-up.

  • Nrhandy

    I must have my ipod and headsets. (I have forgotten headsets before, stinks!)

  • Gabriel Josset

    I bring a pirate scope so that I can embiggen the tiny things on the ground under me. It’s more compact than binoculars and a heck of a lot cooler.

  • Michael Prassel

    When you do carry on only do you still bring hand sanitizer and moisterizer? I don’t know if I would have room for all my liquids if I did that.

  • Thomas

    noise canceling headset, iPad w/books or magazines recently downloaded, non-perishable snack, sleeping pill

  • Dhammer53


    I always bring a pair of earplugs. Don’t laugh. You’d be surprised how much sound they block, and at less than $5.00 at the drugstore, the bargain of the century.

  • Drew

    A sleep mask to set my own sleep schedule during the flight and a big bottle of water

  • Get Gowing

    My macbook, flipflops, chapstick, and a sleep-aid.

  • Steve W

    Four items and I’m happy: iPad (obviously), Ultimate Ears in-ear phones (less bulky than Bose, does an equally good job of blocking out cabin noise, and cheaper and more robust for travel than the Etymotics I use at home), Cueritas slippers from La Portegna (available online from Monocle – best travel slippers I’ve ever seen), Inoue alpaca travel blanket (also available from Monocle, but any good lightweight cashmere or alpaca blanket would work – find the rags you (sometimes) get in economy useless and the duvets in business/first too hot generally). And a good compact lightweight stand for the iPad is invaluable for small tray tables (I love the Compass from Twelve South, though it can be fun going through security with it). OK, five items then

  • sixside

    iphone with movies and kindle app as well as travel apps to keep track of my itinerarys
    macbook air
    vibram five-finger flow “shoes” super comfortable and warm
    a pen to fill out the customs forms ahead of time so you don’t have to wait at the back of the line!

  • Todd Brezinski

    magazines (takeoff/landing)

  • Sean

    iPad, water and someone to explore with are my favorites.

  • Jesse Sheridan

    I always have to bring with me my ear plugs to keep all the noise down, sleep mask to help block out all the light (I know I look ridiculous wearing it), a neck pillow to help with the oh so comfortable economy seating, very comfortable clothes, a reading book, headphones (which I sometimes put over while also wearing ear plugs), and of course my iPod.


    Aerosol evian water…I get it at sephora…to keep my face feeling refreshed.

  • aarif1

    My eReader (Nook Simple Touch in my case).

    You mention to stay away from Tylenol PM because of the acetaminophen. FYI, Benadryl is basically Tylenol PM without the Tylenol.

  • MarcusL

    1. Earplugs! For sleeping next to crying babies on the plane or in noisy hotels.
    2. Extra cellphone battery! Or portable USB charger. I end up using my phone a ton while traveling for Yelping, Google Maps/Navigation, booking last minute car/hotels…
    3. Tiny four-port powered 2A USB hub. So much better than carrying 4 separate USB chargers for phone, tablet, bluetooth, camera…

  • Kristy McCoy

    I’m a teacher and haven’t yet gotten to a place in life where I can justify flying anywhere other than coach.

    A few flights ago, while perusing the SkyMall catalog, I came across the SkyRest pillow. (You know the one…strange guy looking all embarassing with his wedge pillow placed on the tray table in front of him so he can lean over and sleep on his face.) Well, I adore this pillow – dork factor or not. I now take it everywhere I fly.

    Like you, I always travel with my iPad and a bottle of water purchased in the airport (after security of course).

    I also bring:
    Wisp (there are four in a package and are similar to a toothbrush but smaller and don’t need toothpaste)
    Wet-Ones Hand Wipes (so I can scrub the yuck off onto something else…not just rub it around on my hands)
    Slippers (so I don’t have to wear uncomfy shoes but my feet stay warm)
    Magazine (so I have something to do after watching the safety demo and before approved electronics can be turned on)
    Kindle (I just can’t read on my iPad)
    Earbuds – I just have dinky ones but they mostly work
    Camera (you just never know)
    Pen (for the crossword puzzles and mensa quizzes in the airplane magazine – and customs forms if you don’t have the amazing Trusted Traveler program/Global Entry – which I LOVE)

    I also bring a good attitude and smile at the flight attendants as they do their safety demo. They get enough grief…I can spare them a few minutes of my time.

  • Liz

    Slip on shoes, and a hoodie- more comfortable for covering my eyes than an eye mask, warmer than the blanket they may or may not provide, and in a pinch serves as an air filter if the air system isn’t working well (particularly in coach).

  • @imtim2

    iPad with zagg’s padfolio. Always a winner

  • Rocco

    1) Inflatable Travel Pillow and Blanket
    2) Toothbrush
    3) Water
    4) Hand Sanitizer
    5) Pen for forms
    6) Towelettes

  • Elai1231

    I always have some preserved plums, it helps with nausea, and Tiger Balm for stuffy nose or headaches.

  • Arthurtol

    Must have: headphones + a book to read (surprised nobody else has said this)

    Usually have: I buy some sort of puzzle book at the newsstand in the terminal to keep me busy.

  • Cody

    Carry a printed, hard copy of hotel addresses, hotel and airline contact details, customer service #’s, etc. You never know when your electronics will die and your left informationless.

  • Points Envy

    Always bring our own decanter. Amazingly some airlines still don’t decant their wines in the premium cabin…

  • Frank Ortiz

    fresh pair of socks, ipad, news magazine (or any for when electronics must be off in case there’s a long taxi from the gate), loose and light fitting clothing

  • Brian Gamblin

    Toothbrush definitely on the long hauls, hand sanitizer, and stink bombs JUST IN CASE..

  • Btime333

    Sleep mask is key for me, along with my (non-noise-reducing headphones). Feel sorry for me please!

  • Federico

    1) Hearing Protection Earplugs (Etymotic Research ER20)
    2) An old Audio-Technica noise-cancelling headphone with extra Sanyo Eneloop batteries
    3) iPhone with GPS software of my destination
    4) MacBook Air
    5) A P&S camera (Canon S95), I always take photos of the airport/airplanes/cabin
    6) Small pillow for my neck or my back
    7) Snack and more snack
    8) Bottle of Water
    9) Toothbrush and Toothpaste
    10) Hand sanitizer
    11) Two Pens and one Pencil

  • Eli


  • infamousdx

    Sleep mask and Bose QC15 for sure! And comfy socks

  • Yaswanth

    I always bring a snack thanks to my high metabolism, a good book, and a neck pillow!

  • Jason

    Earplugs, headphones, kindle, sweatshirt, fleece socks.

  • CW

    I always need a good book to get m e through the flight

  • Jay Hawk


  • MSPpete

    Wipes for the seating area and bathroom. Handy in many cases.

  • Ben

    Sleep aid, inflatable neck pillow, sleep mask.

  • Jason

    headphones & movies on a tablet

  • Tim

    Eye mask, ipad, and noise canceling headphones on long hauls. I also use a collapsible vapur water bottle, and my trusty Tom bihn aeronaut bag.

  • Cgriffin

    iPad for sure

  • Cathy

    Water, Ipad, chapstick, noise canceling headphones.

  • David Esquiliano

    iPhone and camera, currently a canon s100…

  • Brian P

    I like to take a light weight winter cap that can be pulled down over my eyse to sleep. I find it more comfortable than other eye masks/shades.

  • Alan Fowler

    For me, it’s some sort of protein bar or meal replacement bar, which provides as much hunger satisfaction while taking up as little space as possible. We’ve all been on flights where the food service seems to take away or, worse yet, they don’t offer food service, because they’re rerouting (such as when my MIA – LHR TAL got rerouted to ATL due to mechanical issues).

  • Hmados

    Moisturizer, a pen, a book of puzzles, a novel, iPhone, tylenol PM, chewing gum, protein bar, a change of clothes

  • Justanotherblogger

    Lol’ed at this one. Great idea!

    For me. I always bring ear plugs.

  • Arlene Ivana

    The MUJI microbead neck cushion is – without a doubt – the best travel accessory I’ve purchased. I love that it can be used in any number of configurations and I get to use it as a supplementary pillow once I’ve arrived at my destionation:

  • Marianag

    hand sanitizer is a must. a bottle of water to get refills from flight attendants and stay hydrated and a book or e-reader and headphones.

  • Johnnyj3

    1. Nintendo DS for a quick soccer tournament to help pass the time on the flight.

    2. Old Blackberry, so I can use a local SIM card in that phone, and roam on my regular Blackberry on my US wireless bill for data and Internet (AT&T has a good fixed data roaming plan.)

  • Jay S

    iPad, chapstick, hand sanitizer and snacks. If I’m not feeling too drowsy, I like to keep my mind sharp with crosswords, sudoku or kenken.

  • Dave G

    Cocoon Innovations Grit-It! Keeps everything organized for those long flights.

  • James

    Water toothbrush and deodorant

  • Hunter A

    It’s gotta be my 13″ Macbook Air. Nice and light and easy to work with in cramped spaces!

  • Donald Goetz

    My ASUS Transformer Tablet (better and cheaper than an iPad since it upgraded to Android 4.0 yesterday), ear buds (easier to fit in my carry on), and a water bottle bag (its a water bottle but made out of thin plastic that is foldable when empty and fits great inside the seat pocket without expanding it like crazy)

  • JimPren

    Sanuk Vagabond Sandals, iPAD and iPod, deodorant, pair of convertible plants that zip off to shorts for cold to warm weather flights, toothbrush, aspirin and visine, and an older pair of Bose.

  • Rebecca

    Trident spearmint gum (for ear popping and minty fresh breath!)

  • Rob

    Belkin powerstrip, ipad, and earplugs

  • AJM

    In addition to what a lot of others have said, I always have a small flashlight. It helps for finding things in my bag in the darkened cabin and could help in an emergency.

  • Emily

    A small headlamp, useful for everything from hiking to reading in bed. I never travel without it.

    In addition to the many great suggestions already made, after a long flight, I rely on face cleanser wipes (like Basis) to wipe away hours of plane grime. Feels almost as good as that post-flight tooth-brushing.

  • Andre LaPlume

    They wipe down the restrooms?

    Wife, and a case for my eyeglasses so I can doze comfortably. I’m a nut about my glasses.

  • Chris W

    Water is a must!

    Sleeping mask, melatonin (for long flights), moisturizer, laptop and HP touchpad (laptop stores more movies), pen (I’ve forgotten one on an international long haul flight and had the stare down from the flight attendant…something you don’t want!), book (Steve Jobs right now), kindle (in case I finish book and want to read more), almonds (filling, calorie dense), in ear headphones (but would MUCH prefer a set of Bose QC15 headphones!)

  • Michel Saade

    1) ipad with tv shows. 2) headphones. 3) iphone (gsm) to put local sim 4) camera. 5) charger adapters!

  • Beazzy

    iPad, of course. But I bring a back-up battery boost for the device, just in case. I also have the Compass iPad stand, which provides better viewing angles for the iPad. Toothbrush. Hand lotion. Face towelettes for a quick facial cleanse. Comfy shoes! I do not have the Bose headset. Fingers crossed. ;-)

  • Lauren
  • Jasminemoy

    Caudalie face spray, which is super refreshing. Also, baby wipes which you can use to fake-shower with at any point in the flight. Fluffy socks (if I’m not in first and aren’t given any)

  • Yossi Rosanel

    iPad, iPhone, Earplugs, Good music playlist

  • Nik

    Snacks — granola bars, nuts/dried fruit. Travel enough and you’ll eventually be stuck in an airport after everything’s closed…
    Spare USB battery — mine holds 3 phone charges. A lifesaver when stuck without power ports on flights.
    Local currency for my destination, ideally at least enough to cover the airport transfer.
    Noise isolating earbuds (etymotics in my case) for takeoff/landing and things that get through active noise cancellation, like screaming babies.
    Tissues — preferably from whichever lounge I visited last.
    Watter bottle attached with carabiner to cabin bag.

  • Trey

    pack of gum!

  • Lam

    Gum to help my ears pop on takeoff and landing, e-reader or ipod touch for entertainment in case in flight entertainment is not working, my own blanket and pillow (saw an investigative report about the lack of cleanliness of airplane pillows and blankets)

  • Ttxtri

    Compression socks , toothbrush, mints and an iPad. Will never fly without them. Help me on my 16 hr to Hng Kong last week!

  • Rian

    My iPad, loaded up with magazines, shows and movies (because wouldn’t you just know it, but I have had the seat with the broken in-flight entertainment unit before and have learned that you can’t leave that to chance!), plus one hard copy magazine for take-off and landing, since at that point the iPad is turned off.

    Also in my carry-on, you will find a blow-up Brookstone pillow, earplugs and a few snacks. ps…I only have a cheapo pair of Sony in-ear headphones for my iPad, and the cord just snapped on my last flight… I’m JUST sayin’…. :)

  • Maxim

    Bose QC15, Sony Walkman, Thinkpad Laptop, crossword puzzle

  • Taylor

    Definitely hand sanitizer! If I need to use the tray table for work, I’ll often wipe it down first with a kleenex/paper towel and hand sanitizer. As for other “must-haves,” I like to bring an eye mask, a travel blanket, chapstick, moisturizer, kleenex, a toothbrush, snacks, a bottle of water, an iPad, and headphones. As for headphones, I would *love* to upgrade to the noise-cancelling kind!

  • akgw

    Saline solution to keep those contact lenses moist on the flight, spare glasses in case you need to take them out.

  • Kpa7684

    Eyedrops. Without a doubt. Bring some for use with contacts and some for general use when I put my glasses on.

  • worldtraveller2

    For those of us not in Business or First Class… I always bring my blow up neck pillow!

  • Tracystmac

    2. New must- read book
    3. Travel neck pillow

  • Djsinger

    iPad, moisturizer, a snack, and a magazine for reading during takeoff and landing!

  • Eli Gieryna

    Absolutely has to be the hand sanitizer. Even armed with it, I still get the willies from thinking about all of the potential germ bonanzas that are hanging around in an airplane. Last thing I want to do on a great trip is get sick.

  • Sergey

    Laptop, mp3 player, book, hand sanitizer and toothbrush.

  • davidcaitpe

    In my travel bag: iPad, compression socks, Bose headset, eye mask, snack, business cards (you never know who you’re going to fly with)

  • RobS

    Always bring my kindle, studio monitor headphones (sound quality is better than NC ones, were cheaper, and since they’re monitors most of the ambient noise is blocked out anyway), and a headphone splitter. It’s a lot more fun to watch movies with your travel seatmate on the ipad/laptop together than by yourself, and is a nice way to meet new people if they didn’t think ahead to bringing their own entertainment.

  • Chris H

    Eye drops, sleep aid (I prefer Unisom, but only for flights longer than 8 hours or else you’ll land a bit groggy), foam ear plugs, crunchy snacks, water, eye mask, iPod, and the already mentioned toiletries.

  • christine

    Glasses, hand sanitizer and moisturizer, socks, gum, and toothbrush

  • Ang

    Ipad, book or magazines!

  • Dan Berson

    Not to be too graphic, but I always consider my choice of underwear before any long flight. I’m a big fan of merino wool travel underwear– Icebreaker is my preferred brand. It’s definitely the most comfortable when you’re stuck in the same set of clothes for a long period of time!

  • Dan

    Magazine for <10K feet, Kindle, water, smartphone for entertainment.

  • JosephM

    Two other thoughts:
    I bring my own travel blanket — freshly laundered and if you are stuck in an airport or otherwise really comes in handy.
    If you happen to be a smoker – Nicorette gum can make the trip manageable.

  • Big B

    I always have my ear bud noise cancelling headphone. Even when I need to have the power turned off for takeoff and landing they work great as earplugs.

  • Glen

    Trail mix and a bottle of water!

  • Jessica Richardson

    1) Saline nasal spray/eye drops to keep mucus membranes from getting too dry (and more susceptible to germs)
    2) Black-out eye mask
    3) Melatonin
    4) Vaseline – great moisturizer for lips, hands, face (and non-comedogenic!!)

  • Barb D

    ipad, water, snacks

  • Ralph L

    Neck pillow, iPod, ear plugs, kindle, and little snacks (candies, nuts, dried fruits etc..)

  • MWN157

    Not one to often be in Business or First, I always have my neck pillow and a couple of Cliff Bars or Power Bars. My schedule doesnt always allow me to eat at normal hours and the thoguht of being stuck on the tarmac for hours at end having not eaten in many hours led me to this habit.

  • Rob

    1) Quality headphones
    2) Water
    3) Toothbrush/Toothpaste
    4) Facewash
    5) Reading Material (Kindle Fire for me)
    6) Snack food

  • pamdrew

    I love to have a small bottle that can spray a mist of moisturizer on my face. Much light than a creme and feels “oh so good.”

  • Iolaire

    I prefer to bring my wife to make the trip easier…

  • Some Guy

    Wear comfortable clothes
    …(preferably pants that dont require a belt so it is easy to get through security)
    A pen
    … (they always make you fill out immigration forms on the plane)
    Ziploc bags
    …(to keep your passport and other things in when you get to your destination)
    A book
    …(since they make you shut off your phone at landing and take off)

  • Sunny

    Large bottle of water and pajamas for me.

  • ericsee

    Water, gum and a book

  • Andrew

    1) Eye Mask — can’t sleep otherwise
    2) Magazines — I get tired of looking at screens after more than a few hours, and often my attention-span is not good enough for a book. So I like using long-haul flights to catch up on magazine reading.

  • Senorric

    Reading material and candy. Thanks — Rich

  • conniesee

    Neck pillow, water and hand sanitizer

  • Dave

    iPad and super comfy earplugs

  • PJ

    stay loose
    read my only sleepaid – the one bridge book which always put me to sleep
    a few quality instant noodle + trail bars

  • Marcos Carreño

    In addition to what you already bring on, I bring the following:
    1. Fisher Space Pen Military Pen: It’s really handy for filling out immigration forms and for solving the crossword puzzle in the in-flight magazine.

    2. Silicon Earplugs: This is key for falling asleep on longhauls, and combined with Bose QC15, gives you a very quite ride.

    3. Extra pair of Smart Wool Socks: Flights are cold and these are nice to have on. Also when you are walking alover the town before your 10PM red-eye flight, it’s nice to change your socks not just for your seat companion.

  • Susan Cline

    A Pillow, my Kindle and a blanket!

  • Vike80

    Lip moisturizer and ear plugs!

  • Michaelsinn

    Hand Cream
    I must have Bose QC15 headphones please :)

  • JCL

    Magazines, for pre-takeoff and landing.

  • NPV

    Guidebook to my destination–nothing beats the excitement of planning the specifics of a visit from the plane, not to mention the peace of mind of knowing the most efficient and least rip off way to get from the airport to your hotel after a long flight.

  • Lisa Fong

    Yoga pants, a wide scarf and a good book.

  • Nick

    I always bring my iphone, blackberry playbook or laptop, and a pair of ear buds. I also typically buy a bottle of water and some candy to snack on at the store at the airport before takeoff.

  • Brutusabner

    Water, Lip Balm, Newspapers, Books, IPAD, videos, pillow

  • Joel

    For shorter flights, I will bring along earplugs, water, an iPod Touch and headphones that cover my ears. Even if I’m not listening to music, the headphone drowns out some of the cabin noise. However, I’m sure the Bose QC15 headphones would do much better. ;)

    For longer flights, I’ll add an eye mask, toothbrush and, if possible, a sleeping regimen that will help me acclimate to the new time zone I’m getting myself into. That means sleeping as if I were in Australia a day or two before, and on a night flight, not sleeping until five hours in.

  • Brian Hasday

    I’m flying Barcelona to Paris and then 14 hours to Santiago, Chile in a couple weeks and I will definitely have the following with me:
    (1) iPad with plenty of movies rented from the iTunes store;
    (2) Ambien;
    (3) Big bottle of water;
    (4) Big bag of pretzels so I don’t have to eat any plane food;
    (5) Chapstick;
    (6) Extra pair of socks.
    And I’d love to add some noise cancelling headphones to that list as well!

  • tringuyen82

    Wet-ones, toothbrush, advil PM and change of clothes.

  • David

    I echo this, but you forgot to mention Advil, gum, and the ZAGG Sparq. You really can’t ever be too nice to the flight attendants.

  • Christopher P.

    My Must haves include a pair of pants with some elastic in the waste band so I do not have to wear a belt.

  • Michael Gomez Galian

    Warm, comfortable pants and thicker moisture wicking socks (such as smartwool). Who the heck wears jeans on a plane for 8+ hours? Not I.

  • Derek

    Headphone splitter so the kids can watch the tablet both at the same time with headphones on…

  • Churnity

    I don’t need much for a long haul: iPod, hand sanitizer, and toothbrush.

  • chan huntington

    I am a language buff, and I’ve learned more vocab via hand-written flashcards on planes than anywhere else. They don’t run out of batteries, you don’t have distractions, and on an 18 hour flight you can get through tons!

  • JenC

    Lipgloss is key! I like Kiss my Face vanilla honey.

  • Boardndave

    I can’t go without my iPad for reading and my laptop for in-flight music composing!

  • Aneka0925

    Surgical Mask – You never know when someone around you will be hacking and sneezing through the entire flight.

  • sharah

    My headlamp. It gets funny looks, but the overheads often don’t point where you need them.

  • Bryce

    I always bring my own bottle of water (thanks to your suggestion) and an inflatable neck pillow-very portable and fairly comfort for lounging back.

  • Eddy

    Wow, very generous offer. A few of my must haves would be:
    Aleve, Tums, allergy meds, and my hoodie to sleep and stay warm (I’m always in coach, so no pj’s, blankets, and other goodies)

  • Cornroaster1

    Hand Sanitizer is a must have.

  • Joediver

    Many of the items mentioned by you and others but the most important item to me is maps. Love them.
    Maps of my destination. I load all kinds on my iPad (topographical, climate, etc) and I like to have “hard” copies as well (usually the plastic coated type for weather)
    Another great source of information is guide books. No time better than those long flights to further research the area I’m visiting.

    A good tip that I’ve found VERY useful is I use “ReadIt Pro” to download articles I find on your blog and others into a format that I can refer to without having to be online. This program puts the whole article on my iPad convenient to get to even off line.

  • sushi

    for women, a pashmina-type scarf: lightweight and doubles as a blanket.

  • Kim Herlache

    Ipad downloaded with a good book and good movies. I hate relying on the airlines for that as well.
    crossword puzzle magazine (dare I say I love the one People magazine makes).
    Eye mask
    I am going to try the sleeping aid and will research your suggestion
    Comfy clothes are a must.

  • danb1

    Can’t travel without my iPhone. I’ll happily read on it for hours on a plane, and doesn’t take up any space in my luggage.

  • Nick E

    My charger for my iPhone and iPad! Many long-haul flights have USB or regular power plugs, and there’s nothing worse than forgetting to turn on airplane mode, wake up from a nice snooze wanting to listen to some jams or watch some videos, and find the battery drained from searching for a 3G/WiFi signal at 38,000 feet! I learned the hard way that chargers should NEVER be packing in checked luggage.

  • Jvweltzien

    My travel must have is a window seat, so that I can lean my head against the wall and take a nap.

  • LarryInNYC

    I suppose there’s no polite way to express the thought that the use of hand sanitizer under everyday circumstances is closer to a psychological disorder than a reasonable precaution? Seriously, what are people afraid of?

  • edward

    I bring magazines to kill time and you can throw away to save some luggage weight after reading it.

  • Talpiott

    I carry Ipad and 1 “earphone” on board. Maybe it’s because my flights till now were relatively all short, usually less than 5 hours. I also carry nice slipper so that my feet can be comfortable while sitting there,

  • NickO

    Lots of good tips, but one I didn’t see that really helped me on 14 hr flight, was a battery backup for my iPod Touch. I used Belkin Tune Juice, which I don’t know if they make anymore, but I was able to watch hours of video using it. Chapstick, water, a lightweight winter hat and sweatshirt (coach does get cold sometimes), and a book/magazine.

  • Mike L.

    Toothbrush/tooth paste

    Thats it.

  • Adam

    1. A decent sized blanket…makes it feel a bit more like home

    2. Large bottle of water…amazing how much you drink without thinking about it when it’s right there next to you, and how hydrated you become without it

    3. A pen…for those landing cards!

    4. Toothbrush is a must, with a mini toothpaste

    5. Earplugs & Eye mask…makes all the difference in the world when trying to get some shut-eye.

  • YesMissWin

    I like your list TPG and my list includes most of the same, but I’ve got a few essentials that you might want to add! It seems I’m usually holding the losing ticket for the seatmate lottery.

    -A container of mints that I can sweetly smile and offer to the guy next to me that has horrible breath
    -Some cough drops for the lady in front of me that seems to hack all the way through the flight
    -A few pieces of candy that I can turn around and give as a bribe to the kid kicking my seat
    -And a celebrity gossip magazine or two that I’ve already read that I offer to the flight attendants hoping they’ll take pity on me and make my flight a little better somehow.

    All of this served up with a smile of course!

  • AAJunkie

    I always update my Wall Street Journal and New York Times apps on my iPhone. Guaranteed to give me plenty to read. Lip moisturizer is a must. For the long haul, Lunesta does the trick. If I’m traveling late in the day I also bring a fresh pair of socks to change into once I board.

  • Fredrik Lundqvist

    Parachute (just in case…)

  • Elizabeth

    Compression socks (a must!)
    Earplugs, eye mask, inflatable pillow
    Noise isolating earbuds and an adapter so they fit in the airplane audio jacks
    Toothbrush, makeup, comb, hairspray
    Chapstick, moisturizer
    Wet wipes; hand sanitizer and facial cleanser in towelette form (don’t count against liquid restrictions)
    Meal replacement bars
    Big bottle of water
    Netbook and Kindle
    A compact knitting project (if needles are allowed at the destination airport)

  • JTI

    I’ll add another vote to the Ipad for entertainment.

    Also, I always make sure to have a pen when travelling internationally.

  • Cheryl D

    Hi, thanks for the offer! A few things I always carry are: eye drops (the plane air is so dry), gum ( for the pressure changes), for long-haul flights – a travel pillow – I like the Rick Steves one that wraps around your neck and has an extra section for a chin rest.

  • tpat

    I always bring a toothbrush, extra clothes, bottled water, snacks, and a charger for my iPhone. Good point re: the hand sanitizer. I’m adding it to my must-haves.

  • Raymond

    My travel must-have is a bit of a throwback… a pad and paper! I have an iPad, but on long flights while there is the risk of running out of batteries, it’s also that having a pad and paper can seem like a quainter form of meditative thinking. Just jotting down a few ideas about where you’re coming from or where you’re going is both easy and relaxing, especially before getting some sleep on that long flight.

  • Julie

    Fortunately, I travel a lot for work, so I have opportunities to fly business class on long haul flights – which means that blankets, toothpaste/toothbrush, etc. are provided.

    My key travel products include:
    - Bottled water (for the same reason that you mentioned)
    - Lip balm
    - Moisturizer (a light, fresh scent makes you feel refreshed if you can’t pop into an arrivals lounge upon landing)
    - Pajamas (including a change of socks)
    - Ear plugs
    - Strong mints (for a really nice burst of fresh)
    - Kindle
    - iPod/iPhone

  • sfobuddy

    Are you solo on this trip?
    You’ll have a blast! Chinatown is where all the action is ;-)

    As for what I can’t leave home without – The adhesive heating pads – especially on long flights. I put one on my neck or the lower back. It makes a huge difference!

    As for this comment – I’ve NEVER seen anyone with this, which is strange – but apparently it is out there.

    “A few flights ago, while perusing the SkyMall catalog, I came across the SkyRest pillow. (You know the one…strange guy looking all embarassing with his wedge pillow placed on the tray table in front of him so he can lean over and sleep on his face.) Well, I adore this pillow – dork factor or not. I now take it everywhere I fly.”

  • MJ

    Big water bottle, sleeping pills, and hand sanitizer…

  • Long_Ge

    My must have is my Kindle 3G. There is nothing worse than being stuck without wifi when you need to respond to an email quickly. The free 3G of the Kindle really works well in almost every country. It also helps to have a super long battery life and my entire library at my hands for long layovers.

  • Betsy Wuebker

    What a generous offer! Thank you. Here’s our list:
    - MacBook Air (me) and MacBook Pro (he)
    - Nook Color E-Readers
    - our multi-charger roll-up from Restoration Hardware

  • Jonny K

    For me – it’s the eye mask for sleeping and Ipad/books/magazines to keep me from going insane when awake.

  • Aaron

    I didn’t used to think this, but a few recent long-haul coach trips made me change my mind: neck pillow. 4 hours of trying to wedge my head into a comfortable position took its toll on me!

  • Redline325

    I’ll always change some currency before I leave the U.S. so I have at least enough for cab fare to my hotel and a snack when I arrive overseas. I hate stepping off the plane and having to find an ATM right away.

  • Mp1007

    Gotta have lots of water, a chocolate bar, some reading material (paper not digital!) and my laptop for movies

  • UAL777

    On long hauls I bring Clorox wipes and wipe down the seat, tray table, ect, anything I touch gets an antibacterial wipe down. Sometimes I get weird looks, and sometimes others ask for a wipe to do the same to their seat!

  • krbryant

    Agree with charger for my iPhone/iPad and a headphone splitter!

  • Vicki V

    I like to bring some Refresh plus eyedrops, individually packaged so you can hydrate your eyes too. I also like to bring a small can of Evian mineral water spray. You put it on your face or hands, then use the moisturizer and the moisturizing effects last even longer. I also have essential meds such as Advil and zantac, and a magazine or book so you can read during takeoffs and landings too.

  • Alexis L

    I always travel with an eye mask, ear plugs and a bottle of water (I bring a collapsible camping bottle through security and fill it up before boarding). On long flights, I also bring compression socks and my kindle.

  • Alessandra

    I always bring light snacks, water and moisturizer.

  • danny

    must have would be food that i bought at the food court b/c it’s way better than whatever coach fare they’re serving.

  • LZ

    My most important thing to bring is thousands of recent photos (on my laptop) that need organizing and editing. Long flights where I listen to podcasts while I edit photos make the time zoom by. It’s perfect!

  • dcacoaster

    I have a travel pack with eye mask, ear plugs, gum, and chapstick that I keep in my carry-on for long flights — but I’d love to upgrade to the Bose noise canceling headphones instead of the foam earplugs!

  • Isabella Beatrice

    Smartwool Socks! I can’t imagine traveling without these. Sometimes you just want to take off your shoes and stretch out your toes, but there’s oddly a draft under the seats on some of these flights. Smartwool socks (although they aren’t “sexy”) are cozy, easy washable, and light weight, thus the perfect travel companion.

  • James

    A power adapter if I’m flying American with their cutting-edge-10-years-ago powerports

  • Simon

    Here are my must have on long hauls:

    - iPad/iPhone charger

    – Earphones

    – Benadryl (so I can sleep)

    – Pen (to fill out those pesky immigration forms)

    – a scarf (it gets cold midflight)

  • lmgp4333

    1) A pen for filling custom and immigration forms
    2) Emergen-C to enhance my immune system to ward off germs
    3) Compression socks to keep my blood circulating – I used Nike soccer compression socks
    4) Basic toiletries to freshen up: toothpaste, toothbrush, deo, cologne, anti-bacteria lotion, etc
    5) Pajamas and first day clothes – in case check-in luggage get delays
    6) Headphone and iPhone – installed with travel apps for my destinations
    7) Extra battery pack for iPhone – recharge phone inflight and on-the-go
    8) Empty water bottle – filled it up onboard
    9) Netbook – very light – for looking info and backing up photos from camera

  • Henry82

    iPad with a bunch of TV shows, plus some nice noise isolating earbuds = FTW.

  • Mark M

    Agree 110% with your list. I’ll add deodorant and facewash to the list. Every 5-6 hours, I like to fully freshen up — it makes for a much more manageable experience and I feel so much better upon arrival.

  • Brooks

    The benefit of the doubt, to use as needed. Travel can be stressful, for oneself and others, so it’s important to be patient with people, and to give them the benefit of the doubt.

  • Let’s go Bucs

    Hard copy USA Today or WSJ for the first and last 15 minutes of flight, IPad, nalgene (keeps seat partner from spilling my drink over me when they get up to access bathroom during flight)

  • Mikes

    We have a slightly different scenario:
    - diapers bags (2), with snacks, books, stuffed animals, water and wipes (regular and disinfectant)
    - netbook with 20 Barney, Super Why, and Little Bear episodes.
    - smart phone with a few Barney videos (since we can’t all sit together.)
    - suckers for pressure change (we take off from 5000 feet and are usually going to near sea level)

  • Jmw2323

    likewise, must have Lunesta. While i feel like I have slept when taking lunesta, ambien makes me feel like I have been unconcsious. Tylenol PM and the like have diphenhydramine which can add to dehydration, the last thing you need when stuck in a plane that long.

  • Dan

    While I think the Bose headphones are great, the fact that they don’t work (even without the noise-cancelling function) without batteries is a deal breaker for me. Does anyone have a suggestion on a good pair that will still work without power?

  • em

    - extra change of clothes if i’ve checked in my suitcase
    - socks! i won’t fall asleep if my feet are too cold.
    and as for the eye mask, i prefer the brookstone “plush” eye mask since it feels nicer and i think it blocks out the light better.

  • AKold

    Reading material and music are a must for any long haul … You can’t rely on the plane’s IFE. I also bring some dry snacks (like granola) since you can’t rely on the airline’s food.

    I bring long socks that I can change so that I can stay warm without wearing shoes for hours on end. l

  • Cudchew

    my laptop

  • David

    As one who travels long haul with small children, snacks and non-electronic, quiet toys are a must both for our sanity and for the sanity of fellow passengers.

  • Lupofurbo

    iPhone charger comes first.
    Always need a pen.
    Lots of chewing gum is a necessity.

  • Jeff Carroll

    - Collapsible water bottle
    - iPad
    - Long thin strap with velcro. I’ve used this to hold pillows up or a blanket together so I can rest my head in more places.

  • frenchman619

    Things I require when traveling are:
    1) iPad
    2) CrocsRx socks to promote circulation
    3) Tootbrush

  • Dan Create

    Headphones, headphone splitter, and airline to regular headphone adaptor (that weird two plug dealios) and plenty of movies on my iPhone.

  • JB

    pashima scarf
    hand sanitizer and small package of wet ones
    a few of my favorite individually wrapped tea bags
    eye mask
    hi potency chewable echineacia and oscillococcinum
    socks with rubber soles
    calms forte

  • Mon

    No-Jetlag- all natural pills made in NZ, where most flights tend to be long-haul. Pop those babies every 2-4 h and you’re good to go!
    Jobst compression socks – never had swollen feet again, plus help prevent DVT

  • TravelKeys

    OMG I have never thought of this…I just added it to my list for my flight to Europe this summer in coach! I have terrible back/neck pain when sitting extended periods of time and this would be amazing.

    “As for what I can’t leave home without – The adhesive heating pads – especially on long flights. I put one on my neck or the lower back. It makes a huge difference!”

  • LarryInNYC

    The Sonys I use will continue to function as standard headphones (no noise-cancelling) when turned off or the battery has run down. They also cost $40. I doubt they’re as effective as the Bose at noise-cancelling, however, which is why I hoping my lucky number turns up!

  • Steve

    Unfortunately, my travel must-have is nasal decongestant pills. Otherwise I end up with intense pressure and pain behind my eyes. If I remember the pill, though, everything is smooth.

  • LarryInNYC

    Here’s something that I don’t bring, but a friend of mine does: a small bag of balloons. That way, when he encounters an unhappy child whose parents did not come equipped themselves he can blow up a balloon and solve both the child’s problem and that of the people nearby.

    My friend does this on long third world bus trips but, assuming you’re allowed to inflate a balloon on an airplane I don’t know why it wouldn’t work there as well. I’d probably under-inflate substantially to guard against pressure-changed-induced explosions.

  • GoBruins

    Must have is my copy of Bon Appetite and Popular mechanics and my iPhone (for music)

  • onechadtall

    My must haves (I fly short-haul a lot):

    -Printed work reports for review during takeoff & landing
    -Nook Simple Touch for reading (epub format, small, light, and easy to read)
    -Earbuds that double as earplugs when not plugged in
    -Work laptop to catch up on email
    -Jamba Juice Green Apple energy drink in case I don’t feel like sleeping on the plane

  • Cliff

    For my economy flights, I have a killer combination of a ReLeaf neck pillow + inflatable neck pillow off of eBay. Toss both in my ScottEVest, and I’m good to go!

  • Thehousesitter

    Ear plugs and lip balm. Travel size packages of Kleenex. And a pillow case if it’s a long haul flight. Those airline pillows are lousy, but a pillowcase from home is a compact and comforting amenity, especially during long flights.

  • Harrizard

    - Sports Water Bottle (for use on the plane and at the destination)
    - Chapstick (especially in the winter!)
    - Moisturizer (air cabin is very dry)
    - Pajamas (including a change of socks and underwear… just in case!)
    - Ear plugs
    - Eye Shades (Lufthansa ones are nice)
    - Altoids (for me and anyone else that might need it)
    - Magazines/Books
    - iPod/iPhone (with charger) with extra Earbuds
    - Laptop (with charger) for work/entertainment
    - Chlorox Wipes/hand sanitizer
    - Sleeping pills/antacids/vitamins
    - Camera (never know when an opportunity will pop up)
    - DC to AC adapter (for the old AA planes)
    - T0othbrush/paste/mouthwash
    - Light jacket (in case it gets cold)
    - Slippers (use on plane/in hotel)

  • RV03

    Generous offer! I need a laptop, some recent magazines, pen and some snacks

  • Max

    My Kindle Touch and a sense of humor.


    An MP3 device
    A trusty notebook and pen (being out of your normal element inspires the mind)
    & comfortable/warm socks and a large water.

  • Meg Bell

    An amazing bag with easily identifiable baggies inside is sooo helpful. With little room to move around (if you’re in coach like me :)), it’s amazingly helpful to be able to easily see what’s actually in my bag! I know that my toiletries are in the bright orange case, my iTouch and writing materials are in the green case, and any snacks I’ve packed are always in the blue case/bag. This may sound ocd, but I swear it helps!

  • Tifftaylor02

    playing cards if you are traveling with someone else – you can only be on electronics for so long :)Eyemask – a must
    Disposable face wash cloths – helps you to feel fresher
    baby wipes for hands
    lip balm
    Scarf for keeping warm – also works as a back up eye mask

  • waynekim5

    definitely the kindle. best way to carry and read books while on the go.

  • ASen

    lip balm.. the singularly most forgotten part of an essential flying kit

  • karlyn

    -I take sanitizing wipes (good for wiping down the tray & armrest, as well as hands & body parts that need freshening).
    -Also, disposable hygiene masks -not only are planes full of germs my immune system isn’t used to, but I’m nearly always sitting next to passengers who see no reason to cover their mouths when hacking up a lung, or will blow their noses then put the tissue in a pile in their tray!
    -Disposable gloves can be helpful too, especially when using the toilets in coach

  • Sam

    just a good book!

  • tiff

    Hilarious! I’ve been so wanting to see someone using one of those SkyRest pillows. I secretly want one but can’t get past the “look”…vanity is a bad thing :)

  • mike m.

    I agree that the eye mask is a must. I bring big comfy socks to wear on the plane so I don’t have to keep my shoes on, and my seatmates don’t have to deal with my bare feet or long-worn socks.

  • David

    comfy clothes and noise-cancelling headphones are a must when you’re stuck in the back in a longhaul flight (such as LAX-BNE which I’ve had to endure quite a bit lately)

  • Jen

    I always travel with a pashmina scarf big enough to double as a blanket . It’s much softer than the airline blankets and doesn’t take up much travel space.

  • hutchbrett

    Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Eye Depuffer

    Kiehl’s Insider Tip: The perfect on-the-go eye treatment for after a long flight.

    On any flight, especially long haul, I have to travel with my Kiehl’s Eye Depuffer. My friend who is a flight attendant told me about this product and it has greatly improved my appearance since I have been using it. This little baby takes care of those unflattering black bags under the eyes and provides a cool refreshing feeling to wake you up after your long trip. Once you land, just roll it on under the eye and feel the instant affects.

    It’s approximately the size of a chapstick so it will take up little-to-no space in your carry-on, but don’t be fooled the size and price ($20). You will get plenty of bang for your buck as only a very small amount should be used each time. It’s a small investment to make and I promise you won’t regret it; you will feel more refreshed and look better as you exit your aircraft and head out into your arrival city.

  • Jen T

    A few pens and a notepad (in case I have any great ideas that I need to jot down).

  • Marc

    Ear plugs are a must…unless you have the Bose QC15 headphones!

  • Sean

    Ambien is my only must have travel buddy! Everything else is gravy.

  • Sean

    Mophie juice pack powerstation. Sometimes the inflight power doesn’t work and I need my Coltrane!

  • RDMWorldTravel

    Nasal Moisterizer is must, as well as ALL the items listed by TPG, healthy snacks, . I use to use the socks they give out in Business, until my wife told me, how many guys miss the toilet on a moving aircraft? point well taken, so now I pack a pair of slippers (free at many hotels of the world), quicker than putting shoes back on. and last but not least a pocket inflatable neck pillow, just in case, comes in handy if I need a tush support :} I’m curious to know how bug is your carry-on? also do you check bags?

  • Ken Watson

    I typically bring:

    in-ear earbuds
    books (i still frequently buy paperbacks, haven’t made a full e-switch)
    chargers (phone/ipad)
    for a long flight, toothbrush/paste, otherwise gum

  • Ayodeji13

    Bose noise canceling headphones!

  • Walt_K

    Credit card, for the wine when in coach.

  • Mark G

    My key travel products change a little bit based on my destination, but I usually always have the following with me:

    1) Laptop and/or Ipad & Iphone (charging Cables)
    2) Noise Cancelling Headphones (extra batteries)
    3) Comfortable Clothes/Shoes for my flights
    4) Wax Ear Plugs (a must for international flights or hotel rooms with friends)
    5) Toothbrush and the Disposable Toothbrushes
    6) Electric Razor
    7) Sunglasses
    8) Always bring a fleece, even if I’m going somewhere warm/tropical
    9) Discounts/Coupons/Vouchers from research I did about my destination before hand
    10) A Second form of a photo ID. (Passport, Drivers License, Credit Card with my Photo, a photo copy of a photo ID, etc…)

  • Brandon Dean

    For long haul flights, I always get a bag of trail mix, a bottle of water, fully charged iPad for movies, iPhone for music while sleeping, and a Sudoku book for the times when electronics are not allowed.

  • fg

    Headphones and a good book for me. I usually can’t sleep for whatever reason.

  • smizroch

    I bought the small Sennheiser PXC 250 headphones in the summer of 2006 for a long trip from Seattle to South Africa and I still love them and use them on long flights. They don’t rate as highly as the Bose but they work without batteries and they come with a very small case which is easy to wrangle.

  • MSV

    My musts for long distance travel are: iTouch that can play tunes for the entire trip, bose of course, iPad (love it), kindle for my books and free 3g in foreign countries, sleep mask, and chapstick.

  • Sacha Haworth

    1. Eye Mask: I have an Air New Zealand business class eye mask that I take on every flight, juuuust in case.
    2. iPhone for relaxing tunes to block out any sound.
    3. My Giant Black Pashmina that doubles as a blanket because the handout blankets are small and thin.
    4. Slip on shoes!
    5. Unisom as a sleep aid. I tried to be “natural” once and took melatonin and I regretted it. Unisom all the way.

  • Ruby1885

    A good travel guide for the place I’m going and pashmina to keep warm

  • John

    Noise cancelling earbuds with comply foam tips

  • Pikaki

    Always pack those slippers given at hotels and wear on the plane and also at hotels. Hotels have those lovely bath robes more often than the slippers. I take the slippers but not the robes. )Have one at home)

  • CorinneL.

    Here is my list:
    My migraine medication is a must, along with my sleep mask, a good book, a few extra snacks in my carry-on, eye drops, hand sanitizer and lotion, face moisturizing towelettes, gum, a giant bottle of water, a light cardigan that I can easily put on or take off, socks, slip on shoes and most importantly a couple of pens for myself, my husband and a lucky passenger in order to fill out the customs and immigration forms. There are never enough pens in the cabins!
    As for my husband he needs his laptop, phone, chargers, noise cancelling headphones, zanax and a chocolate bar or two. He’s set for the whole flight!

  • smizroch

    The items I grab out of my backpack and throw on my seat before I stow the pack away are mostly the usual things folks have already mentioned:

    - inflatable neck pillow
    - eye shields (packed in my neck pillow pouch)
    - Kindle 3G
    - iPod
    -Sennheiser noise cancelling headphones (pack very small, bought in 2006 and still fine, but not as good as the Bose, hint, hint)


    - Contigo autoseal stainless steel travel mug (can usually be found at Costco in 2-packs). I ask the flight attendant to fill the mug with ice water as early as I can. The mug is insulated and seals perfectly so I can stow the mug anywhere and have ice water all flight long.

  • Jimmy

    Kindle, noise-cancelling headphones, iPod, eye-mask, eye-glasses, contact lenses case filled with solution, Bucky inflatable pillow, hand sanitizer/disinfectant.

  • mike k

    iPad, iPhone, headphones

  • Jason

    Have to bring Blistex

  • BoDacious

    I agree the Bose headset does make a huge difference while I am in the air.

  • DoubleA

    Lots of little goodies for the little one, to award good behavior! Happy kid = Happy trip :)

  • jiefu

    When I fly business/first, my only travel essential is a book or some magazines. I’m usually more than satisfied with the IFE available on flights to keep me occupied and only need physical reading material for takeoff and landings. The rest of my time is spent enjoying the inflight service or sleeping.
    When I fly economy, my travel essential list increases to include good earphones, a computer/iPad, and some snacks and water.

  • Harold

    I too say eye mask!

  • sammy

    Ipad, iphone, tons of music

  • Nick

    Ditch the lunesta, (did you see the NY Times article about even a small amount of prescription sleep aids raise your cancer risk) get the Chinese herbal remedy iSleep Herb Pack. It’s what Asian’s have used for centuries, now in convenient, tasty little packets. Perfect for travel!! I won’t travel with out it! I sleep like a baby and wake up refreshed. I love that it’s all natural. Pacific Herbs also makes a Ginseng Energy Booster packet. (all herbs) It’s awesome. Can’t beat it to stay clear headed and energized anytime.

  • Krista

    Clorox wipes, water, snack, Kindle Fire and Tylenol

  • J W

    The iPad is a must as it’s always stocked up with my Kindle books and documents for work (and the iPhone is more a part of my arm than anything else). I also love my Tumi travel wallet for keeping everything together, especially when there are more documents to juggle (tickets/boarding passes, passport, visa documentation, police registration, loyalty cards, paper confirmations when required, etc.). Also, I always pack a toothbrush and toothpaste in coach.

  • Unknowledgeable_Respondent

    I see a lot of convenience items in the comments, but my must haves are a few key travel size medications (easily brought with you or bought in terminal stores): a stomach med like pepto bismol, an allergy and cold med, and an anti-diarrheal (especially if travelling to or from endemic areas). Nothing worse than a horrible cold or stomach illness when you’re stuck on a flight.

  • Drew

    - ipad for sure
    - water bottle for filling
    - usb charger
    - trader joe’s “sweet & salty” mix for inflight snack
    - change of clothes … especially fresh/warm socks

  • Bexho2000

    a laptop (no ipad yet!), a pencil, a deck of cards…

  • Randy

    Definitely hand sanitizer and an ipad….

  • Jenny

    My travel must-haves are:

    - hand sanitizer
    - bottled water
    - earplugs

  • Grizz

    Item 11. – Airborne. You can argue it’s placebo effect but when you are in circulated air for hours, thinking you are getting a super vitamin and immune boost is priceless.

  • Nathan

    1. My wife :)
    2. Earplugs
    3. A headphone splitter so we can both listen to the iPod
    4. A water bottle
    5. Tons of food
    6. Burt’s Bees chapstick

  • emmygofly

    Noise Cancelling Headphones. Although I just have a cheapy version. No Bose for me.

  • Verena Boylan

    In addition to the previously mentioned items I take a long a small ziplock bag with a thin washcloth and a “leaf” of soap. Washing your face and arms after a long flight is a welcome relief.

    Any suggestions to help with the restless legs after hours in couch?

  • Billiken

    I have to have my TIMBUK2 Command Messenger Bag with me where ever I travel. With all the compartments it makes it easy to organize and access on my other MUST have gear. It also has a TSA compliant laptop compartment so I don’t have to remove my laptop at the security line.

    Check them out at

  • Scott H.

    Comfortable clothes. I like my button up linen shirts, smartwool socks, and a comfortable pair of shoes. Bose noise canceling headphones would be nice too!

  • Chiefmbh1

    I need an iPad, Bose headphones and unfortunately Dramamine on my travels.

  • Edwin Ardiwinata

    Battery pack

  • Phill Gold

    i bring a laptop for movies, ipod, noise canceleing headphones, snacks, power cords, drinks and change of clothes in case i get stuck somewhere unexpected,
    like i did on my last flight when on the stopover i got stuck in Detroit when i was on a easy one day turn around to NY for a meeting, but luckily i had all these things

  • Rickyt196

    Laptop packed with all my favourite dramas – preferably enough to last the whole flight if necessary – having some nice headphones to match would be awesome

  • Bender

    My list is a lot shorter than that, but then again, so are my flights lol

  • TravelKeys

    Note: I tend to fly coach because I am not yet the savvy points girl I hope to become. I am in my 30s so there is still time…

    1. Black Toe Socks (I wear black flip flops for ease of shoe removal…toe socks mean not walking barefoot on the airport floor and keeping feet warm on the plane. You can buy them with no slip on the bottom.) I wear these with comfy black pants and most people don’t even notice I am wearing toe socks. :-)

    2. iPod Touch
    Text/phone app (turns my Touch into a phone when there is wifi)
    Still camera
    Video camera (can always edit vids/pics from Touch with the iMovie app)
    Nook app

    3. Backup charger for iPod Touch, ear buds, headphone splitter, iPod stand (I tend to travel with a partner who also has an iPod/iPhone so these come in handy for sharing entertainment and conserving battery power)

    4. Crackers (I am an anxious flyer with a weak stomach) and reusable water bottle (empty through security…fill before boarding the plane)

    5. Clif Bar/Snacks – Who wants to go looking for food at the airport if you are landing at midnight? I also sometimes stay in the airport overnight before heading to my destination the next morning if I arrive extremely late in the evening. Having food (especially in smaller airports without lots of options) helps tremendously. Are you into budget travel? Sleeping in Airports…google it. I am not affiliated with the site at all…just appreciate it. :-)

    6. Bath and Body Works Pink Grapefruit Body Scrub (travel size) – Use this to wash hands and face after sleeping and it is amazingly refreshing and the scent makes your brain at least think you have just showered. Use the same scent lotion afterwards and there you go…fresh.

    7. Extra under garments (underwear/tank top) – I tend to not have the need to change my outer clothes since I layer and wear light weight clothing but if I change my undergarments AND use my #6 technique….life feels better.

    8. Chapstick, Refresh eye drops for contacts, tissue, eye mask, wet wipes, cough drops – All self explanatory

    9. Travel pillow (always good to have something clean and from home when trying to sleep) and for a blanket I bring my giant (yet thin/lightweight) black scarf that can double as shawl. It folds small. I also tend to bring thin fitted gloves and a stocking cap just in case I get chilly. All black, of course, for the sophistication I am sure I exude. ;-)

    10. Last but not least…Benedryl. Sleeping does not come easy for me (think cpap machine)…so since I can’t use the machine on board…Benedryl is the answer.

    All of this fits in my green Kelty water pack which makes for easy hands free walking through the airport.

  • Jeff

    One thing I always make sure to have besides my noise-canceling earbuds (over-the-ear headphones are not comfortable for long wears) is a soft comfortable zip-up hoody.

  • Sandeep Sahai

    My go to is to bring hand sanitizing wipes. Why wipes? Glad you asked.
    1. It does not take the valuable liquid real estate that TSA limits you to
    2. You can actually wipe the grimy and nasty tray tables, armrests etc.
    3. Specially useful if you are with a small kid. Nothing to spill!

  • Funkdrr


  • Buddym811

    Ipod is #1 priority. Buddy M.

  • Jeff W

    Crucial travel item: comfy breathable socks. I get them at REI or EMS and wear them in the hotel room when lounging. Also great for long days of walking/hiking.

  • RachelT

    A scarf or wrap and antibacterial wipes.

  • Mike L

    tablet, mp3 player, and newspaper

  • yotsubachan

    Travel Books (Lonely Planet, Rick Steves, Frommer’s, Knopf Mapguides). I always like to read up on cities before I visit each place and see what I need to know before I fly in.

  • The Shiz Niz

    Not to get weird Brian, but I’ve heard you complain more than once about your “bottom” being sore after a long flight… (I think I read your blog too often) Anyway…
    The GELCO seat cushion is by far a MUST have on long flights.
    The gseat lite and gseat ultra are both great. (the lite is smaller super easier to fit in your carry on!)

    It sounds so ridiculous but you have to believe me, try it once and it will be at the top of your must-have list.
    I was on a Delta transcon flight and I was talking with the DM sitting next to me and he had one. I was so sore and ordered one that night and since then, I never get on a plane without it. Ever. It’s impossible to quantify how much more comfortable I am. If you ride in coach, you need to get one.

  • Erin PW

    Clif bars, at least one for every three hours of flight time. You never know whether or not the food on the plan will be edible, or even available. Favorite flavor: peanut toffee buzz. Buy em buy the case at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.

  • whendoublewidesfly

    I NEVER travel without my scrub bottoms. They are like Pjs but better! Also deorderant for 1/2 through the flight so I never start to smell, a tooth brush and a sleep aid!

  • Scuzzynutty

    1. Ipod
    2. Snacks that I actually like (the ones on the planes are lame)
    3. netbook and earphones for watching movies

  • Mhop1027

    -Bose Headphones (notice that a lot of FF have these, there is a reason for it!)
    - Contact solution and glasses
    All that circulated air gets to me, as does the sleep. Can’t stand dry eyes.

  • Diana731

    Must have my iPad!

  • Jamie

    –>Sigvaris compression socks aren’t the most pretty thing on the block, but they work to keep your circulation in check for those long flights.
    –> Polar pillow…its like falling asleep on an igloo for a good 30 min until I go unconscious for the next 15 hours

  • Marci

    The biggest bottle of water I can find and a copy of US Weekly. I only read the tabloid trash when traveling, and I can’t get on a plane without it!

  • Kristy McCoy

    Ha! I can’t believe I was quoted. Greatness. =)

    Here’s a link to my awesome pillow:

    What you don’t see in the photo is that there is a pocket on the pillow so you can rest your hands inside. It’s like you are hugging the pillow. I love this sucker!

  • Kristy McCoy

    I was worried about it at first, but, with the cabin lighting down, it’s harder to see the weird looks people give you. Also, after using it the first time and getting 6 straight solid hours of sleep on a flight, I no longer cared. I’ve been able to get several hours of successful sleep using this pillow…I never could with any others. =)

  • Mike Clemson

    Hey Points Guy! That’s a great list, but you’re missing one thing for comfortable travel: food and drink! I have to fly coach for domestic business, so I hydrate before I fly with a decaf iced coffee from the terminal. (2 points per dollar on my Chase Sapphire Preferred.) I’ll pack a healthy TSA-safe snack, like roasted unsalted almonds, fruit, or vegetable sticks (grocery 5% cash back w/ Chase Freedom in Q2), in my Timbuk2 messenger bag (Amazon 5% cash back w/Chase Freedom from Q1!) to tide me over when the smell of hot meals or freshly baked cookies comes wafting from first class back to us plebeians in coach!

  • Matt MSP

    I love my kindle for flights! So much to read in such a tiny space. But of course FAs get cranky when it’s “on” below 10k feet even if it’s not on.

  • ASW

    I love window seats, so my Fuji Z900 EXR camera is a must have for taking bird’s eye view pics stuff from the air.

    Did you take any picks or video of the cargo ships lined up in Singapore harbor on your approach to Changi? Really a cool sight, like the ships have all been lined up with a giant hair comb.

  • AJ

    My laptop with an outlet!

  • Rbwhang

    I really enjoy having my iPad and a sleep mask. All too often on the red eyes I take, there’s that one person who wants to stay awake and read, thus turning on the light…

  • Laviajeramorena

    Travel must haves:
    - Tablet, light and provides hours of entertainment
    - paper and a pen, have come in helpful on numerous occassions

  • nataas

    #1 item is my hoodie. Helps against the cold and also blocks out harsh lighting (you need a model with a good-sized hood). Easier to peek out of than eye masks.

    Also have clif bars (you know, for when I’m not flying Singapore), crossword puzzles, many podcasts, kindle, neck pillow. One more tip is I frantically look up movie reviews on my phone when I board the plane, so I can choose good ones in flight.

  • Suze

    Bottle of water
    Lip Balm
    Sweater or large scarf wrap
    Reading material – Kindle or book/mag

  • bonniejsmt

    I bring snacks. Even if I don’t eat them, I feel better knowing I have them.

  • AC

    A nice book or interesting magazine is my must have. During my mileage runs in past two months that I learn I need to bring my books/magazines during take off and landing after flipping through all the pages on the skymall catalog! Sometimes it’s like 25 min before landing and I have being asked to turn off all my electronics devices and a book/magazine is a good way to spend those times.

  • Jane S.

    I always bring shawl that I can drape over me to keep me warm, to use as a lightweight blanket or ball up for a pillow. I bring water with me because even though they serve water, I have Sjogren’s Syndrome and need to drink more frequently. Hair brush, toothbrush and paste, knitting an a good book are what I need.

    Noise can be a problem for me so I would love the noise cancelling earphones.

  • purplnurpl

    Holy crap, I can’t believe nobody mentioned two very crucial things.

    1. Earplanes – They’re not available everywhere, in the event of a cold picked up while traveling are great if you dont want ruptured eardrums.
    2. Newspaper – What the heck else are you going to do during the first 10 minutes of the flight?

  • Zach

    that is an awesome offer.. thanks Brian.
    I always bring some Tylenol PM with I always seem to catch colds or flus on board.

  • Paul Hansen

    My must have travel product is the Innergie Pocket Rechargeable Battery Not only does it add many hours to your electronics battery life but it has a cool universal cable to fit all your devices.

  • Paul Hansen

    My must have travel product is the Innergie Pocket Rechargeable Battery Not only does it add many hours to your electronics battery life but it has a cool universal cable to fit all your devices.

  • Patshannon06

    My must haves:
    -slip on/off loafers
    -TSA approved briefcase
    -tablet (currently the Motorola Xoom) loaded with whatever TV series I’m watching lately
    -earbuds or headphones
    -small snack/bar just in case

  • Mandrake

    - Eaplugs
    - Earphones
    - Laptop
    - Hand sanitizer
    - Pen
    - Bottle of water
    - Snack
    - Toothbrush/toothpaste
    - Book / Reading material
    - Sweater / fleece
    - Camera

  • xajn

    Germophobic much?

  • snufflespa

    A companion, be it a significant other, co-worker, or imaginary:-) Someone to talk to and to share the adventure with makes any long-haul flight a breeze…

  • Eddy

    1. iPod (for music)
    2. Pen (for customs/immigration forms and Sudoku)
    3. Cell phone (for games)
    4. Sunglasses (to block out the light, even though I’m sure I look ridiculous wearing them on the plane)

  • Tyler

    iPad, Shure SE210 Headphones (they are “noise isolating” earbuds that don’t require any batteries and have blocked out screaming babies) and a neck pillow

  • Matt Langdon

    Much of my long-haul travel is with my two year old, so a nice-sized plastic bag in case she throws up is key. I just learned this…

  • Derf

    Easy, iPad & headphones

  • Lynn W

    My boys, great entertainment, no batteries required, and a long, good book.

  • Bill N

    Noise cancelling headphones are a must. Mine are not Bose, so I would love an upgrade!

  • RJ

    A good book, headphones, and a music player. I don’t have trouble sleeping on planes, and food and drink are free!

  • Ozaer N.

    I always bring a small sample of perfume with me–sometimes people think its okay to just ‘let one fly’ next to you….cant stand that

  • Ty

    My must have is an iPod loaded with movies to help pass the time and some headphones. I like watching the movies offered on the flight, but just in case there isn’t anything worth watching it’s handy to have something to occupy yourself.

  • Venicesnapper

    Earplugs (the poor man’s noise cancelling device)
    Gum and/or breathmints
    Guides and articles about my destination
    A journal for scribbling (and a couple of pens)
    Handy pocket directions on how to turn of my AT&T data roaming once I get to my destination (when going international)

  • Chris

    I always bring along a good book, or better yet, my Nook.

  • Kathy K

    I posted before and I think it disappeared! So, to make things short — I agree with a lot of the basics – purell, moisturizer, contact lens case, glasses. In addition, I wear layers, because planes can go hot and cold (as can I)!. I also wear compression socks on longer trips – they help the circulation – especially if I’ve just run a marathon.

  • gostl

    Definitely an extra pair of socks. Hand sanitizer or wipes are good as well. On a side note, I’ve only had the luxury of BA first class once and I didn’t take the PJs with me. Bummer!


    A sweater.

    I once took a 5:00 am flight on a regional jet YYZ-DFW. I had slept for 1 hour in the night, got on the plane, hoping to sleep a bit. Stupidly I had packed by sweater in my checked bag at the last minute, and so I sat at the front of the plan, on an obscenely cold flight. Luckily I got a blanket, but I had to wrap it around my body and face and breathe into it to keep from freezing. It was not a pleasant flight, and I’m sure I looked insane.

  • Vitaly Romanchik

    I always make sure I have
    - large bottle of water
    - book to read (my nook with plenty of books in it)
    - mp3 player with good in-canal earphones
    - snacks (few energy bars usually)

    The rest is optional :)

  • Jimgotkp

    Water, iPod with headphones, slippers, allergy medication.

  • jason74

    Not much to add to your list except ear plugs and a deck of cards so the wife and I can play a little gin rummy.

  • MinnesotaRick

    I use long flights to catch up on my newspaper reading: The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, Star Tribune and Washington Post (if it’s available at the airport). Then I move on to reading all my magazines.

  • Adam

    My Coutts’ World Card and a smile.

  • Aaron

    A not necessary good book, but a page-turner, like a Michael Crichton or John Grisham.

  • noobtraveler

    I pad 3, Noise canceling earphones, and the Hunger Games.

  • Kristy McCoy

    The Canon S95 is a great point and shoot!

  • Mark Lyon

    Though I do most of my reading on a Kindle, I enjoy having a physical book with me. Far too many times I’ve been on flights where electronics were not permitted for extended periods and, on one occasion, turned on my kindle only to find that something had happened to the screen – it would not show anything (Amazon shipped me a new one overnight at no charge).

  • Trent Morrow

    Extra pair of comfortable socks to wear during the flight. It makes a huge difference for how I feel upon arrival.

  • Luda

    One of the many magazines I subscribe to, but never have time to read otherwise.

  • Matthew F Dolan


    I like to keep it simple so I don’t have too much clutter around/leave something behind

  • DanNC

    1) Bose QC2 (Haven’t upgraded to QC15 yet – how do they compare?).
    2) Spare AAAs, Eye Patch and socks from my last amenity kit.
    3) Ipod Nano with a sleep mix on it (battery lasts forever and you can clip it to your t-shirt / pyjama)
    4) Pyjama bottoms.
    5) Twelve South PlugBug ( converts one outlet into a macbook and ipad/iphone/other USB device outlet.
    6) Tumi global power adapter ( I think you can get an unbranded one for cheaper, but this is the one I use and its compact and great.
    7) 100ml toiletry kit for carry on.
    8) Passport and document holder (I keep petty cash in Euro, USD and GBP for last minute trips, and my frequent flyer cards as well as a spare / emergency credit card in case my wallet is stolen).
    9) Wallpaper city guide ( I like the paper version, but they have an iphone version on the app store.
    10) Latest issue of Monocle & CN Traveler for taxi take-off and landing.
    11) 3G (now 4G) iPad – they are unlocked and work with foreign pay-as-you-go SIM cards which can save you a TON while travelling (typical plan is 10 euro and lasts 30 days).
    12) Micro SIM card holder – credit card sized and fits in my passport holder ( allows me to keep all of my foreign SIM cards and drop them into my device before landing.
    13) Lip balm
    14) Advil cold & sinus (I hate being sick overseas and not having the medication I’m used to on hand)

  • Donnie Berkholz

    1. My ScotteVest for carrying all the stuff I want easy access to, so I don’t need anything under my seat stealing my legroom.
    2. Netbook for productivity; extended battery lifetime is a must.
    3. Kindle / iPad for consumption. iPad just isn’t that great for extended reading.
    4. Noise-canceling headphones w/ iPod
    5. Gum, for the benefit of seatmates and flight attendants
    6. iPhone w/ Amazon and Delta apps, which are free to access in-flight on Delta
    7. My AmEx Platinum, which gets $200/year reimbursed in airline food/drinks/fees
    8. Lotion, because of the very dry environment.
    9. Excedrin, because of babies, hangovers, and whatever else.
    10. Phone charger. You never know when, or for how long, you’ll absolutely need a working, data- and GPS-capable phone.

  • Dmk0

    ~I like to have a neck brace type pillow to sleep when not flying in lay flat seats.

    ~My kindle to have every mood or whim covered.

    ~My camera because I can’t help documenting life moments.

    ~I have a cheap set of earbuds that I get by with.

    ~Guide books to brush up on wherever I’m headed.

    ~Comfortable clothes!

    ~And most important, a big smile and “thank you” for the flight attendants who deserve it and can make or break a fight for you.

  • umeshunni

    A gel neck pillow. Bright red so that I remember to take it when deplaning.
    Unisom sleep aids.
    iPad loaded with movies in case the onboard entertainment choices suck.

  • SFOstudent

    1. Local English newspaper I can pick up at gate.
    2. Wall Street Journal or New York Times, also at gate for free
    3. An eye mask, United one or ANA.
    4. A pocket sized point and shoot camera.
    5. A pen, but when I left it behind, I borrow it from seatmate or flight attendant.

    That’s all I need. I don’t need a lot of med to go to sleep. Some strong alcohol will do the trick.

  • Linanne

    Warm socks – my feet are always cold! I always treat myself to a People magazine when I fly. Love my Eagle Creek eye shades.

  • VictorL

    Headphones and iPad for sure

  • Dave W

    Books and magazines and my iPod for music or podcasts. Plus my cheap noise canceling headphones that are falling apart.

  • Jacks140

    I like to bring my iPad and my kindle!

  • Joshua Smith

    Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket! At 8.6 Ounces you never know its there till you need it!

  • Ctrix65513

    I always wear my Ugg slippers on transcons. They help keep my feet comfortable and body warm.

  • Ty

    The absolute must have is a pair of disposable slippers. I always grab the spare ones at the hotels (the ones from Tokyo hotels or ANA of course being my favorite!) and then take them in my bag for the flight. Nothing is worse than seeing someone walking in their bare socks into the airplane bathroom! Yuck!

  • Joshua Smith

    My other accessory for the QC15 is a big Black Diamond carabiner. This makes it super quick to detach my beloved headphones from my carry on at boarding, as well as vis versa when de-boarding.

    It looks cool, and makes it easy to hang the headphone case unobtrusively on the seat pocket in front of you. (And leave the seat pocket open for laptop, iPad, or both).

  • Steve

    Hand sanitizer for sure!

  • Ryan

    Magazine(s) or book, music to listen to, noise cancelling headphones, gum, and plenty of games on my phone.

  • Gary Fitzgerald

    Good headphones and iPod or iPad.

  • Chris

    noise cancelling headphones
    water bottle
    good book

  • Danielrubinoff

    A pen for customs forms and prayer book for turbelence

  • egtraveler

    I never travel without my Isotoner slippers. They have a leather sole, for walking around, and are so very comfortable. I also need chapstick as well as a Snickers candy bar for my husband!

  • Aleks

    My iPhone, earbuds, charger for the iPhone, and if traveling abroad, plug adapter. The phone is my music player, my game console, my camera, my portable movie player, my book e-reader, and in an extreme need abroad, still a phone. This gets me through any flight, no matter how long.

  • Megan

    I always take lip balm to combat the dry airplane air and a little rollerball of Aveda blue oil – its scent always refreshes me.

  • silam

    Carry on size mouth wash, neck pillow, a long book, and iPod with headphones!

  • OFS

    1. Headphones and MP3 player. I use in-ears but noise canceling ones work also.
    2. Sleeping pills (but only if I’m traveling forward in time on a red-eye. These help to avoid jet-lag)
    3. Lots of previously-unread documentation on wherever I’m traveling. This helps get me even more excited about my destination.
    4. Snacks
    5. Bottle of water – I’ll ask the FA to fill it up if I run out
    6. Hooded sweatshirt. It gets cold on a lot of flights, and if there’s someone I don’t want to talk to sitting next to me, i can just put the hood up and pretend they’re not there
    7. PSP for playing games or watching movies
    8. Slippers
    9. Sanitizer
    10. Chewing gum to help with my ears popping

  • AnnieOnTheGo

    *My Nook Color loaded with plenty of great books, magazines, music and movies (plus earbuds so I don’t disturb my seatmates)
    *Moleskine notebook and pens (preferably Pilot G2 retractables)
    *My indispensable FlyLady stainless steel, insulated water bottle – it has a wide mouth for filling and smaller spout for drinking, making it perfect both in-flight and at my destination
    *multi-country plug adapter if I’m traveling internationally
    *Comfy slippers
    *Hand wipes
    *L’Occitane Shea Butter hand cream
    *Pashmina or cashmere scarf for both fashion and function, since it easily doubles as a blanket or pillow

  • W Brian Duncan (aka IPBrian)

    A good book…perhaps the macbook air.

  • Kal22

    1) iPod – need some good music to listen to instead of watching “bridesmaids” for the fourth time
    2) Neck pillow – In coach especially this is a must have for sleeping
    3) MacBook Pro – I fly AA mostly so the WiFi is convenient albeit slow
    4) Moisturizer – Skin gets so dry especially after a few hours on a plane
    5) Light reading – usually some interesting business book like 4 Hour Work week or Freakonomics
    6) Homework – If its during the school year, as a College student I will bring work to do
    (Noise canceling headphones would come in handy for avoiding the inevitable hour long conversation with the person next to me in coach about where I go to school, what my homework is, and eventually practically explaining to them how to do it, though I have met some nice people that way)

  • Rob

    A pen and a good book

  • Kevy_D

    1) Headphones (hopefully my new Bose QC15′s)
    2) Backpack (carry on is a little too crazy to get things out of)
    3) iPad (because I will not watch the in flight Eddie Murphy movie)
    4) Altoids
    5) Trash Mags (since we spend 70% of our lives looking at glowing rectangles its nice to look at print from time to time)
    6) Pen (for crossword in the Trash Mags)
    7) iPhone/iPad battery adaptor (if they run out of juice I will get pretty bored)
    8) Gas X (You’re welcome!)
    9) Sunglasses (takes place of the sleep mask so I can put on my white noise app and zone out)
    10) Big bag of Peanut M&M’s (because the pretzels/peanuts/trail mix just doesn’t do)

  • thrashsoundly

    Antacid. You never know what you’re going to eat and how it will digest especially when trying to get some sleep after.

  • Alex

    My must haves definitely include a few good books/magazines, and my ipod. A pen is also handy, and the hand sanitizer is a great idea.

  • Caldwell4az

    tums, earplugs, comfy socks & a warm wrap or scarf…
    thanks for all the tips everyone! …invaluable!!

  • Robe0341

    I like my Tempur-Pedic travel sized neck pillow. It works as a back pillow or a neck pillow and offers tons of support.

  • Chad Gibbs

    A good travel book

  • Mary Beth

    I bring a pair of hotel slippers… my favorite are the ones I’ve gottten at InterContinental hotels.

  • Dan Y

    iphone and shure earbuds, pen or pencil for sudoku or crossword puzzles, klean kanteen filled with water from a water fountain past security

  • Elaine223

    #1 is a “plane sheet” to cover my seat (especially cloth seats you can’t wipe down)

    One of those pillows that has a blanket inside of it

    Hand santizer wipes

  • Rob

    Besides what you have listed, there are two things I never leave home without: ibuprofen and Zyrtec.

  • Eric

    Melatonin, to be taken upon arrival in another destination to help with jetlag.

  • Dogface_Bob

    Whenever I travel, I bring my iPhone because its great at playing music/videos/etc.

  • Andrew

    1. Macbook Pro
    2. iPhone
    3. Nikon D40
    4. Pens and paper
    5. Airborne – always take it when I fly
    6. Small ditty bag – toothbrush/paste, lotion, sanitizer
    7. Jacket and socks – always cold in the air
    8. Chargers and adapters – nothing worse than dead electronics
    9. Water – a ginormous one that is way over priced in the airport
    10. Books – especially about my destination.

  • snakedoc1

    1. eyedrops- to keep eyes lubricated
    2. chewing gum- to kill boredom
    3. extra bottle of water- to stay hydrated
    4.toothbrush and toothpaste- to keep my mouth fresh
    5.a good novel- to relax


  • JetPuffed

    Eye drops. The dry air makes my eyes red and dry.

  • Jonathan

    Emergen-C, Airborne, or any vitamin boost that you can use to fight for 18 hours.

  • Peter

    A lot of great ideas. For me, a good book or my Kindle is a starting point

  • Rob H

    I second the eye mask, and would love to get a set of QC15s.

  • Nadine

    I really like having lip balm and moisturizer to combat the dry air.

  • SC6589

    My travel must haves are:
    - Black pashmina in case it is cold or I want to sleep
    - Travel spa neck pillow
    - Bottle of water
    - iPod
    - Kindle
    - Bliss hand moistuizer
    - Olay cleansing wipes
    - Toothbrush and toothpaste for overnight flights
    - Conde Nast Traveler magazine

  • Todd

    Ambien CR works for me on these long flight.

  • Patmom4

    My favorite must haves:
    Ear plugs and eye mask
    Gin-gins (hard ginger candies that are wrapped in paper with little airplanes on them….for queasy stomach!)
    “Special” snacks from Whole Foods bulk bin.
    AND….No Jet Lag (it really works, at least it did for my hubby & me on our way from Texas to Poland!)

  • Hansone614

    I recently took the world’s 4th longest flight, Delta from Atlanta to Johannesburg. At 17:10, I was prepared for plenty, but my saving grace was a TravelRest pillow I bought on Amazon. It works much better than a common ’round-the-neck’ model for those of us stuck in economy.
    I also brought Benedryl. When combined with a few glasses of wine, it put me out for 7+ hours. As a guy who’s also 6’7″, I can sympathize with TPG’s height issues. So my ultimate tool is an early check-in to secure an exit row whenever possible. It worked on the outbound leg. The return flight wasn’t so successful, but the gate agent had sympathy on my lanky-self and gave me a row to myself.

  • Hansone614

    Here’s the link I used to get that TravelRest pillow. I highly recommend it. (Not as good as first class lay-flats, but it’s much cheaper!)

  • Tom

    Especially for long flights, I carry a lightweight cashmere throw in my carry-on. More comfortable (and sanitary) than the blankets provided by the airlines. Also, lip balm is a must!

  • Michael Forte

    I went on this flight several years ago, great trip. I need my Playbook, a pack of Orbit gum, and hand sanitizer.

  • ania

    1.wisp toothbrushes. So much easier than regular ones :)
    2.Avene thermal water in spray – for moisture and to refresh face
    3.hand cream
    4.melatonin+aspirin – aids sleeping and reduces the pain of seating in couch class! Aspirin also is very very important to take on long flights because it dilutes blood and prevents blood clots. Blood clots can happen to anyone.
    5.flight spray – nasal hydration for airline travelers. My nose always drys out and causes pain so the spray helps a lot!

  • memarin1

    a little esoteric here, but I don’t go on a long flight without some way to play Springsteen’s 12-31-1980 bootleg. Worst case scenario, no matter how bad the flight or how bad the entertainment options, it gives me over 4 hours of greatness. (side note, combine this with eyemask…)

    01 Night / 02 Prove it all night / 03 Spirit in the night / 04 Darkness on the edge of town / 05 Independence day / 06 Who’ll stop the rain? / 07 This land is your land / 08 The promised land / 09 Out in the street / 10 Racing in the street / 11 The river / 12 Badlands / 13 Thunder road / 14 Cadillac ranch / 15 Sherry darling / 16 Hungry heart / 17 Merry Christmas baby / 18 Fire / 19 Candy’s room / 20 Because the night / 21 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) / 22 Rendezvous / 23 Fade away / 24 The price you pay / 25 Wreck on the Highway / 26 Two hearts / 27 Ramrod / 28 You can look / 29 Held up without a gun / 30 In the midnight hour / 31 Auld Lang Syne / 32 Rosalita / 33 Santa Claus is comin’ to town / 34 Jungleland / 35 Born to run / 36 Detroit Medley / 37 Twist and shout / 38 Raise your hand

  • Trevor

    (1) Eyeshades
    (2) Pen (for customs form)
    (3) Droid & iPad2 for flight updates (nothing sucks more than being delayed and having no idea why or how long — and I’ve gotten updates faster than flight attendants with them!)
    (4) loafers or boat shoes that can be slipped off
    (5) patience, because some flights are like murphy’s law.

  • jetsetboy

    Brian, like you I must have “amenity kit-type” things: lip balm, hand sanitizer, and moisturizer. Also a pen, as it’s a nuisance to try to borrow a pen to fill out the arrival forms. Previously a “must have” was my laptop, but now my iPad has replaced it for trips. :-)

  • Joanna

    In addition to all the things you mentioned, I make sure to have a soft fleece pull-over and some comfortable socks because it always gets cold on flights.

  • Wis


  • Jamie99

    I love my inflatable foot rest. Light and easy to pack. For a 5 foot 4 inch gal, my feet can rest comfortably on the long flight instead of my toes barely touching the floor.

  • Kyle

    A Monster, travel power strip.

  • Marylynn

    My “must-haves” for a long flight:

    1) carrying an empty water bottle through security, then filling it up on the other side (I can’t stand spending $$$ on water)
    2) magazines which have been lying around the house
    3) a light-weight shawl in case it gets cold
    4) comfy socks
    5) a snack bar
    5) a “roll with it” attitude

  • Jeffrey D

    A Platypus-brand water bottle! They take up nearly no space when they’re not in use, but then become a liter water bottle on demand. Nothing worse then trying to work around a big, empty, plastic space-waster!

  • Jay

    In order of importance….

    - iPad
    - Headphones —- Would love those BOSE ones :)
    - Hand sanitizer
    - Snacks
    - Pen for immigration papers

  • Autolycus25

    iPad has been great. Browsing the net without the hassle of a laptop. for flights, my etymotic IEMs.

  • Sterling17

    My Kindle — oh, and of course a healthy dose of patience and a sense of humor.

  • Avery

    Aside from the items listed in above in your blog post, I always bring a couple sanitizing wipes to wipe down the tray table and armrests. There is nothing worse then arriving at your dream destination after cashing in thousands of points only to come down with a cold or flu you caught during the flight.

  • Mets19

    A hoodie so I can stay warm

  • theavidcruiser

    I know I paid too much, but I like Brookstone’s memory foam transit pillows, Cheaper than an upgrade to Business Class, though.

  • Doug12197

    Definitely a GPS and $

  • Andy

    Macbook Pro Laptop – Works great for watching pre downloaded shows. Works even better when there’s an power adapter port available.

    Amazon Kindle Keyboard – A recent addition to the list. I love how portable and easy to use it is.

    Bowers Wilkins headphones – Not noise canceling, but pretty good. Definitely better than what the airlines hand out (Haven’t tried AA, which I believe hands out Bose headphones)

  • Tova

    1. Kiehl’s moisturizer. I use it on my face throughout the flight.
    2. A small tube of aquaphor to moisturize my lips, which get so so dry with the awful recirculating air.
    3. A needlepoint project. Although I’m in my 20s, I am an older woman at heart, and the only young person I know who needlepoints. It is ALWAYS a conversation starter (for better or worse), and they can keep me busy for hours on a plane. Especially good for takeoff and landing, not that I think you will start packing a project along on my recommendation : )

  • Lu

    Water Bottle and Flip Flops

  • Scott

    Noise-cancelling headphones and the latest issue of the New Yorker

  • Canadensechris

    Nasal-sinus wash

    Berts bees lip balm





    Eye mask

  • Arcanum

    Non-noise-cancelling headphones (since I left my QC-2s on a flight to Toronto last month)
    Sanitary wipes (for tray tables, touch screens, etc.)
    Air NZ eye shade (best I’ve found anywhere)
    Notepad/pen (for handing out numbers to cute guys I meet on board)
    Empty water bottle (like a previous poster, I also refuse to pay for water)

    On the subject of water, I noticed AKL has great fountains with an elevated nozzle for refilling bottles – smart!

  • Audgreene1

    I need my gum and hard candy.

  • VJ

    I second everything you have on your list…except one (see below) . I would only add one of the memory foam pillows that go around your neck- they are great,
    Brian, please don’t mind but I would kindly request you to reconsider your use of lunesta as a sleep aid and also suggesting its use to other people through your blog. It is almost impossible to know what the short term and long term side effects are of drugs that influence the brain like lunesta..especially on people who don’t have a specific medical cindition (i.e insomnia). As a person who travels a lot, I would like to suggest that you try to develop a way of falling asleep on planes that does not involve pharmacological drugs.


  • Kathie N

    I ALWAYS carry my pillowcase from home – long haul or short. You can’t believe how handy this is. On a long haul, you can put the (questionable) pillow inside for added comfort / hygiene. On any trip, this is a great emergency case. If I end up stuck somewhere or on a flight with no pillows, I simply put my fleece or sweater inside and have a pillow. The added plus is it “smells like home” and is easy to fold and tuck into my briefcase.

  • lve2travel

    My longest flight1 has been 17 hours and I can’t image life without saline solution used for your nose and eyes. It gets dry up there

  • SallyLee

    I take a lightweight shawl, great coverup for those extreme changes in temperature planes seem prone too. Plus once you’re at the beach you can use it as a sarong or a beach blanket

  • Tucsonbabe

    1) Chapstick or clear lip gloss.
    2) A flashlight. I spent four hours in first class on an Atlanta to Tucson flight. The light over my seat was out as was the one next to it. The audio in my saet did not work either. It would have been a tough four hours without my trusty flashlight to read by.
    3)Magazines and Newspapers for when the kindle and ipad cannot be turned on.
    4)Christmas Cards if traveling around the holidays.
    5) Fruit
    6) Lightweight blanket. I know mine is clean.
    7) Disinfectant wipes for tray table etc.

  • Thomas

    Gerber flashlight – small penlight
    Have used it often on planes

  • Steve

    Since I’m 6’6″, and always select an exit row seat, keeping warm on a long international flight, that by law must be in the 60 degree range, is important:

    A warm coat that zips up.

    SmartWool socks (Thick)

    Shearling slippers (Warm and keeps whatever winds up on the floor off of me.)

    A large silk scarf to tie around my neck, warm.

    A wedge pillow, not to lean forward on, but due to the fact I’m tall the seat is really uncomfortable, so I move my butt forward in the seat and put the pillow behind my back and I then have full support.

    A list of important phone numbers & addresses in case the cell phone dies.

    A double ear headset with noise cancelling boom mic, makes Skype calls much easier on the iPad. Also the special “Y” adapter so I can also plug it into my laptop computer’s headset & mic ports

    My GPS unit, for driving and walking

    Copy of my passport

    Sharpie, black



    A good sized box of chocolate for the crew – you have no idea what this does for you.

    iPad, cord & charger

    Spare cell phone & batteries

    2 laptop computers (I’m a pro photographer shooting digital and I need to be sure at least one computer works)

    One laptop power supply (the other one is in the checked luggage)

    One Mouse (the second in the checked luggage)

    Beef Jerky – for the times I’m hungry and don’t have time to stop to eat when changing planes

    Neck pillow, earplugs, sleep mask


  • SWizard210

    1. Ear plugs for the loud cabin noise, although they aren’t super effective. =(
    2. I try to wear sandals when applicable with my attire for comfort.
    3. My iPad for some entertainment, reading, or work.
    4. A jacket, coat, or hoodie, since it often gets rather cold on flights, especially in the Emergency Exit Window seat.
    5. MUST Have my toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste.
    6. A small snack since us regular Economy flyers don’t get any free ones nowadays…=(
    7. A airplane power adapter for long flights especially.

  • cowgirrl3

    I bring the same stuff, but I also bring a small ziplock bag of chili peppers to compliment whatever meal I’m having

  • JD

    I try to always remember to bring a pen, especially when traveling internationally so I can fill out the immigration forms.

  • Kfloveinme

    My must haves are cheap flip flops for hotel bathrooms, Moisturizer, mouthwash, shampoo/conditoner, huge bottle of water, extra plastic bags, SPF, hand sanitizer, Ipad, Ipod.

  • Peter H

    Home pillow for me…..

  • Meghan

    I’ve got to have a good book. I’ve found that I don’t get to spend as much time as I would like reading, but on a plane I’m forced to disconnect and place my focus on something besides work. On my last flight it was The Dharma Bums. Next up, the help. A nice pair of headphones helps :)

  • Mikellenza

    Battery powered charger for my iPhone, iPad, MacBook air, sanitizer, skull candy headphones, running gear.

  • Jen

    In addition to all the travel accessories you already mentioned, I actually like to bring my small notebook, pen, and glue so I can actually “scrapbook” during the flight. I’ll paste all my travel/ticket stubs, write a few blurbs, and insert any other cool “travel” bits I’ve accumulated on that trip. If I’m just starting out (1st leg), I’ll actually jot down random thoughts/tidbits.

  • jd33gator

    My ipad, some headphones, and a big bottle of water are enough to keep me occupied for a good amount of time.

  • Marc Knittel

    I bring a Netbook with a ton of movies, so I don’t get bored.

  • Joe

    I’m a bit of a minimalist when traveling and always try to pack as light as possible. I can typically fit everything I list below along with my clothes in my small Lacoste weekend bag, even for longer international trips.

    1) JBuds J5 Noise blocking Earbuds
    2) United Business class toiletries bag (similar size to a ziploc, made of mesh)
    3) ANA Slippers
    4) Kindle Fire
    5) HTC Incredible
    6) Moisturizer
    7) Toothbrush
    8) Chapstick
    9) Pen (Fill out all those pesky customs/immigration forms
    10) Eye Mask: Soft suede one

  • Orion2185

    LONG POST- you were warned!

    I travel often and mostly overseas flights…so I like to be 100% self contained.

    In fact, I have made my own set of in flight kits. These are small compact kits that I carry on the plane. I pre pack them with a set list of items.
    Each kit is different color to correspond to their function.
    such as sleep kit, personal hygiene, in flight comfort and so forth.

    Great thing about I can keep a couple in the seat back pocket- the whole flight. So I have any/everything I mostly likely need right in front of me. No having to get up and search thru the overhead bin…in my bag to find what I need.
    Or, just rotate the kits out when needed. But it’s grab and go…since they are pre-packed with the items. It’s the simple things that make life easier.

    In Flight Comfort Kit:

    - small flashlight/or reading light
    I don’t like to disturb others with the planes reading light…and when it’s sleeping time…I find it allot easier to have my own small compact light- should I need it.

    -pillow that can be used for neck, back, or bottom

    -complete change of clothes. socks, underwear, shirt, pants

    -backup glasses or extra contacts

    -eye drops


    -Charco Caps -to prevent “jet bloat”


    -large bottle of water

    -nasal gel- gets very dry on planes

    Personal Hygiene Kit:

    I’m constantly reminded about personal hygiene every time I step foot on a plane. I’m not going to be “that guy”

    -small sample size of my cologne (which I just fill from my large bottle at home)

    -travel tissues

    -small collapsing cup
    much easier to brush teeth and rise-with a small cup

    -Wet wipes & hand sanitizer.
    I’m a germ freak and clean the tray table and seat

    -bathing wipes (used in nursing homes and that sort of thing)
    I can’t stand not showering for extended periods of time. So yes, I’m that guy that’s in the lavatory changing clothes, taking a “wet wipe” shower.
    -even bring paper shampoo/soap no need to rise with water.

    Also I find myself in situations- that once I land – i’m off to what ever it is I need to do. Don’t have time to check in to hotel, take a shower, and get myself ready. It’s walk off the plane ready to go.

    -toothbrush, tooth paste, dental floss, mouth wash

    never know when you will need it. And traveling to foreign countries- it’ best to be prepared

    -small container of shoe powder. Keeps your feet dry and shoes smelling fresh.

    - Lint roller
    too many times those cheap airline blankets leave their fuzz all over you.



    Sleep Kit:

    -Eye Mask -couple of them

    -Custom sleep ear plugs. Go to your audiologist and get a mold of your ears done…and get a custom sleep plug! Since they are custom made to your ear- you don’t even feel them…and they don’t stick out of the ear. Making them great for sleeping in strange configurations. I could not live without them.
    truth be told… I usually put them in just before take off…and take them out after landing.


    Tech kit/ mobile workstation:


    -Neat Receipt Scanner


    -Flash Drives

    -voice it
    small compact voice memo recorder.

    -backup hard drive
    they always fail when you need them. Though cloud computing is making this one kind of old school…but if you need to restore your files quickly…the complete optical backup hard drive is still the way to go.

    -Back up chargers

    -usb extension cord- retractable
    extends the length of normal usb (iphone/ipad) so you can be further from a power point

    -small power strip
    great when stuck waiting in airport…and there is not outlets available. Plug in your small power strip…and allow others to charge there devices -with you. I make many friends over this.

    -A couple of world travel adaptors.
    the kind with the build in power voltage detection

    -small compact video camera

    -unlocked cell phone
    just get a local sim card and pay as you go. much cheaper

    -carry a complete copy of all my travel docs & phone numbers
    copy of credit cards (stored in safe a secure location) This way you have all the details, phone numbers to call, if you should lose them or they get stolen

    Im sure there is more stuff…but that’s what I can come up with right now.

    But I could not live WITHOUT my custom sleep ear plugs. Hands down MUST HAVE!

  • Scott

    My must haves:
    - Bose QC15′s
    - Lip Balm
    - Economist (including some of my older issues I never got a chance to read)
    - Kindle Touch
    - Ambien (nothing works better to sleep than an ambien and 2, or 5 glasses of vino!)
    - Lululemon sweatpants…nothing beats em
    - A good attitude…because inevitably, something will go wrong and regardless of all of the above, this is the only thing you need to smooth things over

  • Justin Johnson

    1. Ipod
    2. Laptop
    3. Sleeping pills

  • Travis Sherry

    A few must haves:

    1. Eye mask- I used to think these looked ridiculous…until I tried it. If I could only have one thing on a flight, it’d be an eye mask. It’s a lifesaver.

    2. Sweatshirt- I like to use this not only if it gets cold on the plane, but also to use as a impromptu pillow.

    3. My Osprey Farpoint 70 pack- Yes, its technically over the carry on limit, but I’ve traveled on both legacy carriers like American, USAir, Delta, United as well as the more stringent budget airlines like Jetstar and Air Asia (over 10 times) and never been told I couldn’t bring it on. The fact that I never have to wait for checked bags at the airport is a HUGE BENEFIT, and yet this pack is big enough to fit everything I need for a month long backpacking trip.

    4. Something to knock me out.

  • KEK

    Love to fly. But Dramamine is a must!

  • Eli

    The big one not on the list: Power adapters! I once sat in a business class seat from Berlin to JFK with no power to my seat plugs. I was lucky, there was an empty seat next to me. Had this not been the case, my laptop would have drained and I did not yet have an iPad, so all bets would be off. As it was, I watched the same movie 2.5 times because I didn’t have a comfortable pair of headphones (hint, hint) and ended up with the airline pair instead. On the good side, this carrier had noise canceling headphones in business class, so I was able to experience a lower snide threshold and finally slept through the 3rd movie showing.

    Oh yes…. And for those who need it’s before disembarking, dry shampoo! I kid you not! My wife swears by it when needing to be presentable as soon as you get off the plane, and it really works. I myself am folio-ally challenged, so all I need is a quick buffing and I’m ready to go!

  • Michael

    Pajamas,books,ear plug and eye mask

  • Perryplatypus

    Travel pillow and snacks

  • margor

    i just bring boatload of newspaper and magazines i saved due to no time to read it, and trow them away after the flight. the rest i bring same items as everybody else

  • Cardamom

    SIM card that will work at the destination… it’s a real time saver on arrival, and the long flight gives plenty of time to swap over.

  • whrobb

    I often have a lot of trouble sleeping on planes (even in premium cabins), so my necessities generally revolve around keeping me as comfortable and entertained as possible. An iPad loaded with TV shows and movies usually suffices as well as some nice slip-on / slip-off shoes.

  • DeltaDan

    Bose Headphones
    MacBook Pro
    Business cards
    New Balance tennis shoes or loafers
    Mophie battery charger

  • Robert

    Top-end passive noise canceling in-ear earphones, i.e., no batteries and no distortion.

  • Vsl888

    Mine are; Hand sanitizer, iPhone loaded with songs and movie, noise isolated ear buds, Chapstick, bottle of water and hard candy. I need my iphone/ipad on each flight. I can’t trust the operational of onboard entertainment.

  • John3

    1. Duluth Pack canvas duffel – Classic. Invincible. To be replaced by a Bison leather Sport duffel…someday.
    2. Earbuds – They don’t cancel out crap, but Beirut + loud plane is still a step up from loud plane.
    3. Paperback book of the week – Yup, still dig paper
    4. iPad – More entertainment than I could possibly need.
    5. Mixed nut packs – Backup fuel
    6. Altoids – Curiously awesome
    7. Dopp kit – cuz I haven’t earned my first class amenities.
    8. Patagonia Torrentshell – Water/Windproof. Packs down to nearly nothing.
    9. Extra pair of Under Armour – In the unlikely event of a water landing….I’ll probably need clean drawers.

  • Jackie

    I always fly coach… and recommend bringing your own food from home to the airport and on the plane with you… it’s almost always better than the high-priced airport alternatives… though there are some exceptions.

  • generic1234

    Earplugs and eye mask for the full sensory deprivation experience.

  • Hank

    My iPad is my single most important thing I take. I always make sure I’ve got great music and my latest magazine subscriptions loaded on Zinio. TripIt is so valuable for gate connections.

    Since I typically fly coach, I also pick up a sandwich to eat while on the plane. It seems to make the time go faster.

    It is important to take batteries for headphones. It is horrible to start a flight realizing your headphones have no power.

  • Canadensechris

    I find it absolutely unhygienic and personally disgusting that people bring their pillow from home; also a home blanket. There is no telling what they are picking up from the public or on the other hand what they are spreading. With so many bedbugs, lice, bugs and communicative diseases one can spread or pick up I find it repulsive.

    Bring the hand sanitizer and wipes instead!

  • Jorge Navarro

    If it is just one thing, it is for sure a damn good book! I don’t have BOSE QC15, so I hope I win it!

  • Jeff

    Haven’t seen anyone comment this yet, but I like using eye drops part way through, just takes the dryness out.

  • Aaron S

    I will never leave without my cell phone. I know plenty of people that leave home without it for international trips, but even without a sim card, what device that small gives you an alarm, GPS with navigation (cached before leaving so no need for internet), Skype video chat, wifi internet, etc. It’s my all-in-one wonder, and I would leave my laptop behind before leaving my cell phone.

  • VG

    1. Books, books, books
    2. iPad for when books can’t cut it, along with headphone splitter to keep the Mrs. happy
    3. Snacks
    4. Etymotic earphones (I sure would love some over-the-ear noise-cancelling ones…)
    5. Bamboo moisture-wicking socks to keep feet dry and aroma-free
    6. Crystal Light flavor packets to encourage hydration
    7. Eyedrops and hand moisturizer for hydrating other parts of me

    Great topic, enjoyed reading everyone’s responses.

  • Bryan

    Mine are:
    -ear plugs
    -eye mask
    -saline solution
    -hand sanitizer
    -mechanical pencil
    -Nikon slr
    -Macbook Pro
    -Droid X

  • Caleb B

    I need my iPad and water.

  • Gen

    A good book and comfortable shoes are what I need.

  • Joe

    I love to fly… empty handed :-)

  • Courtney

    a good book and hand sanitizer :)

  • JMoney

    Pillow and a Tylenol PM are key.

  • Jesse O

    Must haves:

    1. 1 Liter bottle of water
    2. Fully charged iPad

  • Ben Y.

    My must have include the amenity kit that the airline provides and a MP3 player with decent headphone.

  • Joy

    - Pashmina scarf
    - Chapstick
    - Melatonin
    - Eye mask
    - Face wipes
    - Zicam/Airborne
    - Pen
    - Ipad and Earbuds

  • Hilary

    My kindle travels with me everywhere! Bose QC15 Acoustic Noise-Cancelling Headphones would be nice too, especially after last 14 hours flight where kid in row behind didn’t stop talking the entire flight.

  • Shawn

    1. Alieve – just in case
    2. laptop
    3. n/c headphones
    4. sleeping mask and ear plugs
    5. eyedrops
    6. Canon SLR
    7. chewing gum

  • Ted F

    Charger charger chargers!

  • roomwithaview

    1) An iPod of some sort (nowadays it’s my iPhone)
    2) Klipsch x10i earphones (very comfortable and phenomenal sound)
    3) a good book
    4) breathmints

  • Walton

    Noise-cancelling headphones
    Eye mask
    Hand sanitizer

  • MJLouise

    Chewing gum and ear buds

  • SS

    I travel with my 2 year old.. so TOYS to keep him busy!! :) And a blanket from home to make him feel comfy :)

  • Henry M.

    I usually travel with some earphones for the on-flight entertainment, a good pair of ear plugs and some sleeping pills because I can’t afford a pair of the Bose headphones. Keeps me asleep for those really long flights.

  • sandy

    anti-itch cream. lol

  • Mooper

    Pre-filled (with the info I know in advance) customs forms. I fill out ten at a time and stick them in my bag so I don’t need to bother (except to fill in flight #, date, etc) upon landing.

  • VictorL

    ipad and headphones for sure!

  • Cory Graham

    just do you plug in your power strip if there are no outlets available?

  • Cory Graham

    AMBIEN!!!! (and a neck pillow)

  • Bcred

    I’ve found my new blackberry playbook to be the perfect size for travel. My music,games,video,I can catch up on business correspondence,read a book via the Kobo app. It even has a camera. All in a handy 7×10 size And it was really reasonably priced.
    Along with many of the personal amenities already mentioned, travelling in coach I find it very important to have a bag of trail mix for those I just gotta eat moments. We don’t all travel first class you know!!! Although with your points tips I’m hoping to make travel in coach a thing of the past.

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  • John-Paul

    Instead of Tylenol PM I use Simply Sleep. It includes the same sleep aid as Tylenol PM, but without the potential issues you discuss. A must have! Also, for longer flights where I check a bag, I also bring along a small satchel of toiletries that will sustain me for a day in case my bag is lost. This is especially important on the outbound leg!

  • John Smith

    Nowadays flying long haul to distant locations for business or pleasure is getting more popular. Also, we can find more aircraft and airports to fly and more people ready to spend half a day or longer in the air.

    Bali Seminyak Villa

  • MerRhosyn

    My travel must-haves are: Kindle, iPod touch, gum, chapstick, and luggage lock.

  • Jason Weisbrot

    For me, the big things are:

    Laptop – to watch movies/tv shows and read articles (I use the Read Later plugin for Firefox to download articles so I can read them offline

    Books/Magazines – for reading when taxi-ing, takeoff, or landing, or when I just don’t want to stare at a screen any more

    Sleep aid – the one of choice for me is Benadryl – works like a charm

  • John

    I always make sure to bring:
    1. iPad – same reasons as you
    2. A good book – sometimes I just like to read actual paper a bit more than the iPad
    3. Socks – can’t sleep with cold feet
    4. Mint gum
    5. Sweatshirt
    6. Change of clothes – just in case they lose your bag I want to be ready

  • AlwaysTravel

    1. bottle of water
    2. mositurizer
    3. netbook
    4. toothbrush
    5. snacks for my husband who is always 3x hungrier when flying than any other time!

  • Shari

    Earplugs, unsalted almonds and a sports bottle that I can refill in the airport.

  • Steve

    Yours plus:

    Extetnal battery pack for iPhone & iPad.
    Universal plug adapter

  • MileHighMan

    I usually keep the elctronics to a minimum, so for me its:

    -My wife (don’t leave home without it)
    -water bottle (to be refilled several times in flight)
    -lots o’ snacks
    -earphones for the in-flight entertainment
    -something to do – book/magazine*/cross-stitch project**
    -zip-up sweatshirt – works on legs too, or balled up as a pillow

    *After finishing a magazine, I’ll remove the address label and leave it onboard for the flight crew

    **Being a man doing cross-stitch on a plane is good for picking up flight attendants. Of course, I catch and release, so as not to upset my lovely wife/travel companion.

  • Cean


  • BaDaBen

    I take a deflated 9″ rubber ball. When I am at my seat, I fill it up only a quarter of the way and out it on my seat at my lower back; it provides perfect lumbar support.

    Earbuds are great in addition to noise canceling headphones for when you are going to sleep. This makes it more comfortable to sleep on your side.

  • j-rad

    All I need is my tablet, headphones and a bottle of water.

  • Peter

    iPad 3 and Bose headset. That’s all you need!

  • Sruti

    1. Cellphone
    2. Wallet
    3. Book
    4. Extra sweater since I am always cold on flights
    5. Pair of socks since I am always cold on flights

  • Vick C

    Large bottle of water, headphones, eye glasses (to rest eyes from contacts), face wash and lotion, toothbrush, comfy socks, macbook air, lots of reading material and a companion (wifey).

  • Aslee

    Large bottle of water, Chapstick, and lotion to help keep me hydrated and hands and face from drying out.

    iPhone and charger to keep me entertained.

  • brenda2121

    My biggest must have is my Kindle. I read very quickly and before e-readers and tablets, I had to bring several books in order to have enough reading material to get through a flight. Now I just need one small device!

  • AirplanePeanuts

    My favorite item is my own Burt’s bees lip balm!

  • Chris L.

    Ear plugs – super cheap and I don’t have a set of Bose. Great for walking out on the tarmac to the RJ’s and Brasilias that I end up on too.

  • Mark Olton

    I try to take everything on a carry-on to avoid having to wait at the carousel, so I usually have everything I need with me on the plane. My laptop, iphone and kindle are a must-have on any trip for in-flight entertainment, and if it’s a long flight where I’ll be trying to sleep definitely a sleep mask, NC headphones, some sort of sleep aid and a sweater or light jacket to keep cool.

  • Thomas J.

    A money clip, so that I’m not sitting on my wallet for hours. Also, this keeps me from placing something so valuable in my carryon, where it might be more easily lifted.

  • Preeti

    You covered stuff that I hadn’t thought of in your list. My list includes:
    - earphones
    - iPad
    - at least one book, maybe more depending on the length of the flight
    - chapstick and moisturizer
    - water bottle
    - snacks (at least one salty and one sweet)
    - a camera (or usually my iPhone works fine too)
    - pen
    - Advil
    - gum
    - warm sweatshirt or personal blanket

  • Geoff

    1) Melatonin
    2) Earplugs (poor student who can’t afford noise canceling headphones)
    3) Macbook with movies ready
    4) Large bottle of water
    5) Journal

  • Kelly Hardy

    Jet Lag pills to help with…well jet lag. They are all natural and really work. You can get them on ebay

  • Mjm122696

    Water Bottle
    quick dry washcloth

  • Newton

    I always bring protein or breakfast bars in my carry-on. I’ve learned to never expect the airport or airplane to have anything edible.

  • TravAdam

    I always bring in my carry-on the following:
    a change of clothes if I have a layover
    my Kindle – I have stopped traveling with books since I got my Kindle. It is so much more convenient.
    noise-cancelling headphones – a must-have; albeit mine are not Bose (here’s hoping!)
    iPhone – have to stay connected where ever I am
    a camera – besides travel (and everything related), my other passion is photography and I have to capture the scenes no matter where I am.
    non-drowsy non-drying Sudafed sinus – it won’t dehydrate you more, but it keeps your nasal passages clear so you can breathe easier
    Hand sanitizer
    Burt’s Bees lip balm

  • Rambiboi

    I honestly can’t go on a long haul flight without my iPhone 4s and MacBook Pro. The iPhone can kill time on those TPAC flights with a multitude of apps and music while I can get valuable work done with my MacBook!

  • Char Wilson

    Chapstick and moisturizer to feed my skin, and snacks to feed my body.

  • Yerffej201


  • Heerow

    Ipad and chapstick for the dry air.

  • Jen C

    Love traveling, but it’s very hard for me to fall asleep on planes, motion sickness meds are a must, just in case!

  • postal007

    I like to have my iPad, comfortable shoes, and some Nyquil to put me to sleep!

  • Margir2

    After a 10 hour nite flight where they confiscated every water bottle as we entered the plane (yes, on the jetway!); waking up absolutely parched & barely able to speak; I now carry a 3 oz trial size mouthwash bottle filled with colored water. That experience made me paranoid. (yes, I fly coach)

  • RickyR

    Always keep a quality pen in my Barbour Sapper Jacket (6 pockets for all my travel documents, etc.) for filling out customs cards.

  • Dave

    1) Noise Cancelling Headphones
    2) Eye Mask
    3) iPhone with Tripit, maps etc…..also Dropbox with import travel docs in it
    4) A big bottle of water
    5)Entertainment…..Mac Air and a book
    6) If not flying J a neck pillow
    7) Toothbrush & toothpaste drops (tiny blogs of toothpaste on tin foil and dried) + lip balm
    8) Travel Wallet + a couple of pens
    9) Destination currency
    10) Sweatshirt or cardigan
    11) A sense of humor

  • Love Apple

    I must have my iPad!

  • Consultant415

    1. Kindle
    2. My trusty briggs and riley roller bag
    3. Elite status :)

  • Seventoo

    I always bring with me, while traveling:


    Eye shade

    Ear plugs


    A bottle of water

    And a light snack suck as chips or cookies just in case.

  • zzd

    Crossword puzzles printed on paper, and a pen
    Sleeping pill
    Cash and credit cards

    Everything else I can get on board. If I happened to have a set of Bose headphones, somehow I suspect that would be added to the mix.

  • Aurelien Windenberger

    Since recently purchasing it, my Ipad has become a must have flying. Lately I’ve been amazed at how fast flights have gone by.

  • JDG

    1) Big bottle of water (and an aisle seat so I can get to the bathroom often!)
    2) noise-cancelling headphones
    3) chapstick
    4) eye drops
    5) hand sanitizer
    6) moisturizer

  • Annsedna

    I HAVE to have a neck pillow and a book of Sudoku puzzles to while away the time. If I get drowsy or the meal comes, it’s easy to resume the puzzle afterward.

  • Suzy

    Makeup removing wipes, so I don’t make a mess washing my face in the tiny airplane lavatory. These are my favorite ones.

  • BothofUS2

    I prefer to bring my own pillow, preferably down.

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  • Uther_Pendragon

    Sleep Sounds and Sleep Songs are also very good sleep aid apps.

  • DkLA

    Beats By Dre Headphones
    Inflatable Brookstone Pillow
    Language learning Software
    1 Reading Book
    1 Blank Notebook

  • Bryan Ng

    my must have for long haul flights are
    1. Bose Earphones paired with my iPod
    2. Loafers as well.
    3. Hand Cream
    4. A pair of shades for those sunny flights.

  • Gordon Welty

    He’s referring to when waiting at the airport terminal

  • robin.joshua

    Well, good stuff as per your comfort. There are many other thing, you can carry could be helpful to you any time. Like I carry , some raw fruits and especially some of the nuts and dry-fruits which can be easy to carry and much good if u feel hungry.

  • Flying D

    Excellent list but being an Intl FA for the past 27 years who also commutes every month to Hong Kong from the USA, please let me add a suggestion to your carry on list. Especially those of you that are picky eaters, bring your own lovable snack bars, nuts, chips, chocolates etc. Can NEVER rely on what the airline offers. Of course, if you require a VERY special diet, buy/make/order that special dietary food and bring on the airplane. The special meals that you can order 24 hours or MORE in advance from the airline now is a limited selection plus for some reason do not show up sometimes? Be aware that company policy for health reasons tells us not to put your food in our “cooler/refrigerators” and/or cook/heat up passenger’s own food. But if you need ice…we can always provide a bag of ice to keep your food cool.
    PS: And please TURN OFF your electronic devices when we ask. It’s only for takeoff & landing. Be human and strike up a conversation with your seat partner which can make a long flight a LOT more bearable when there is some personal consideration. Believe me, I’m always sitting in an economy middle seat!

  • New York Attractions

    The benefit of the doubt be used as necessary. Traveling can be stressful, for themselves and others, so it is important to be patient with people, and give them the benefit of the doubt.

  • Ray

    I agree about the toothbrush. It does help.
    Try these that I found online, they are called fresh-tips
    they’re like a lollipop and a toothbrush in one
    they have Xylitol and are disposable

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  • Vietnam tour

    I always make sure I at least have a pair of pajamas with me to change
    into while I’m sleeping. My pair of choice? The BA first class ones
    which are comfortable and light.

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  • janev2014

    I am a survivor of lots of flights from Australia to Europe and from Australia to the US. My tips:

    Check seats on seat guru. Avoid any seats near the toilets otherwise you will be disturbed all flight. We even paid for premium seats on Singapore Airlines and had people talking loudly and almost sitting on our laps while waiting to use the toilets!!!
    Pashmina scarf (it gets cold in planes)
    Don’t take water (you will get it taken off you at the airport check in). It could be used to make a bomb you know.
    Nasal gel
    hydrating spray (Jurlique rose is very nice and refreshing)
    Hand sanitiser (use it constantly)
    Valium or something to knock you out
    Travel pillow
    noise cancelling headphones
    wet wipes (they are a godsend for freshning up)
    Choose your airline carefully – get a quality airline – Singapore, Qatar, Emrates, Air New Zealand are really good – have good seats, good staff, good entertainment systems and good food
    Order special meals ahead, low calorie or vegetarian are usually really good and light.

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