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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Jessica Cutrufello wearing a green floral dress, glasses and pink lipstick

Hi! I’m Jessica, an American who made Amsterdam her home in 2014. I share European gems through food and memorable experiences. Want to know more? Head to my about page or check out my YouTube channel.

Travel with us - Tuscany October 2022