In flight essentials
Travel Tips

The Best In-Flight Essentials To Keep You Happy and Prepared

Whether you are flying carry-on only, or you checked everything you didn’t need or want on the plane, it’s so important to have everything in one place and easily accessible while flying. It helps with stress, patience, happiness, and hunger…and on long flights, be prepared can feel like a life-saver! So, let’s get into this:


What you need

What you need for in flight essentials

In case of an emergency and you have an emergency landing, you can not take your large bag with you, but if are able to stick your passport in your pocket or jacket, it’s best to grab it! So keep it close.

Of course you want to keep your ticket for any references you may need to refer to. For customs forms you will need your flight number and other information. Just best to keep with you.

Credit cards and cash are important if you want to buy things on board. Full service airlines will include some food and beverages not the budget airlines will not. Some take cash, but many will only use credit cards. Be sure you’ve let your bank know you are traveling first!

A pen is for any documents you need to fill out, such as customs forms. You’ll be your entire row’s best friend if you have a pen. On my last flight, the guys were so sweet to me and even got me another customs form when I messed up. Next thing I know they asked to use my pen, which I was happy to oblige and be that nice person 🙂


What you want

What you want for in flight essentials

These ideas depend on how long your flight is, but good to keep in mind as a checklist.

Having a sleep mask is self-explanatory; as is a neck pillow which is everything on long flights. I have to have mine. I never forget it, it’s essential for me! It goes around my neck as I board to keep my hands free and to not have to fiddle with my bag. Not just for necks, I often put mine behind my lower back when I don’t need it to sleep. My eBags carry-on has a little strap at the top for another pack, but it’s also the perfect size for a neck pillow.

Along these same lines, a scarf, hoodie, sweater to keep you warm if needed, and a little extra softness if you need that as well. It’s really amazing how flexible simple items can be!

Noise cancelling headphones are everything. They come in so many sizes, types, and price ranges. I was skeptical at first, then I tried my husband’s and it’s like you’re in your own little world. When you take them off, you realize how loud the plane really is.

I get hangry, and I need to eat something every few hours. Little bars are perfect and a great size for travel and no mess. You can even make your own! Just a quick Pinterest search gives you a ton of options. I’ve made a few tasty bars in my time, but honestly I usually just buy a pack before I leave.

Water keeps you hydrated of course, but it’s good just to have when you need a sip of something, need to take a pill, or want to eat your snack and it’s a bit dry. I’m a huge fan of CamelBak bottles but they are a bit bulky, so you’ll need to find what works for you. If on a long flight, throwing a couple tablets of Uppy in your pack is helpful. If you have your own water, just ask for a cup to get the right serving size. It really helped me adjust after my flight from the U.S. Basically, it seems to help with jetlag and dehydration.

Gum is great to help with that annoying ear-popping annoyingness. When they happen as they should it’s not a problem. But if you fly with any sort of sinus issue or cold, it can be a nightmare! Gum can help a bit, and drinking some water can as well.

Things are dirty, so one thing to think about is to grab some alcohol pads before you head out and toss them in your bag. They barely take up any space and can give peace of mind when you’re around so many people sneezing and coughing.

Lastly…the thing that rarely leaves your hand…something you might feel naked without…your phone! There’s probably music or games or educational material on that thing that will make life a little bit better on the plane. I put most stuff I will use on my Galaxy Tab, because I love the larger screen and I don’t drain my phone battery since I’ll need it when I’m off the plane. To go along with this, an portable battery charger and charging cables are super handy too!


How to pack

How to pack the in flight essentials

If I’m carry-on only, I have a large pouch that hangs out in the front pocket of my main bag and I take it out just before boarding. This can’t fit everything, especially not the headphones, but I just make them super easy to grab.

A small backpack is great and super flexible. If I’m checking everything, I’ll just use my Pacsafe backpack which is small enough to go under the seat, has a water bottle pockets and lots of other small pockets to organize everything. Somehow this bag seems like a Mary Poppins bag…you can fit a TON inside. I still use the pouch I mentioned above for my tablet, keyboard, and notebook, just to keep it all together.

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19 thoughts on “The Best In-Flight Essentials To Keep You Happy and Prepared

  1. Getting comfy in a plane is really tough, especially on long flights! Love this list, definitely helpful. One thing I also bring with me is my own cozy socks!

  2. One thing i have never tried and i have considered it the past two times i have flown is a neck pillow. I see so many people with them and i struggle to sleep on planes. I definitely think i need to grab one when i fly next! I never seem to fly short haul nowadays either so i need sleep!

  3. This is so useful! I never ever fly without a scarf. I keep it with me at all times. Because I normally choose the window seat (when I can) I don’t want to bother the other people in the row and try to have as much “on me” as possible. I do like a book too

  4. This is a great post. And, I love the infographic – so easy 🙂
    I always carry my scarf with me – for fashion and to use as an eye mask that I nearly always forget! Keep up the great work.

  5. This is such an excellent piece! Your graphs make things so much easier too! I literally always forget the stupid pen for custom forms! Lol I’m definitely saving this for my next flight!

  6. Nice list. We fly often and try to pack light, but we also find that good headphones are a life saver on long-haul flights – no matter how much space they take. And a scarf – I always carry a scarf, even in summer. One thing I’d add to this list is a pair of thick socks – so that you can keep the shoes off during the entire flight.

  7. Great tips! On long flights, an eye mask and snacks have become necessities. It’s smart to have a large pouch in your backpack you can pull out from your main bag for the flight, brilliant!

  8. Gum is helpful, but there are also ear plugs that are meant to wear during flights to prevent issues. I learned about those after a flight where afterward I had to see a doctor due to an eardrum issue. I use the ear plugs on every flight now and haven’t had an issue since. Great tips on what to bring on the flight with you, thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for your comment! Yes, I’ve heard of those earplug things. I haven’t used them yet because I don’t usually have an issue…only if I’m getting sick. But honestly, they are probably great to have just in case. Do you wear them the whole flight? What about when you use headphones (around ear, not in ear) can you still use them?

  9. Oh boy, I should have brought some of these with me on my last trip. They really do black out the room, and they do make it easier to sleep. I’m so grateful you shared this, because I always struggle with jetlag after a trip, so I’m going to keep this in mind for the next trip!

  10. That’s a great list – I’ve bookmarked it up so I can use it to get me a bit more organized for my next trip. I don’t know what it is, but I always flipping forget at least one thing I really need. Nice job!

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