Carry-on essentials and must-haves for a long-distance flight

A long-distance flight is certainly not on our list of favourite things to do, however it’s a means to an end (hopefully an exotic beach holiday!). By simply planning in advance, you will be able to ease the burden of your journey, helping the flight pass as quickly as possible. They key is to a good carry on is to pack as lightly as possible, saving space for you almost inevitable duty-free purchases, but simultaneously, so you don’t have the added stress of a back-breaking bag.

While a beautifully stylish designer handbag will make you the envy of every girl boarding your flight (and great for your Instagram post), using a handbag is generally are not the most practical of items. A small sling bag housing all your most important travel documents will work will if you prefer a small handbag, otherwise a backpack or our overnight bag is perfect.

If you’re separate each group or category of items (make up, toiletry, electronics and other) in to smaller cases within your bigger backpack, you’ll be able to find items quickly and easily. Of course, your Passport and boarding pass are your most valuable items. Make sure you have these stored in a safe but easy to reach place. While your boarding pass and other documents can easily be stored on your phone these days, rather have a hard copy of each item just in case. A brightly coloured zip wallet will mean you passport and important documents are easy to spot in a hurry.

Below are some suggested items for each carry-on category:

Make up bag

It’s really not necessary to wear make up on a flight, however sometimes you want to be able to freshen up a bit before you reach your destination. Essentials include:

• A lip gloss (preferably a light non-sticky one)
• A face cream – airplanes notoriously make our skin dry
• Lip ice – to keep your lips nice and soft
• A good under-eye concealer – just to hide those tired eyes!
• A mini perfume or tester perfume – sometimes a quick spritz of your favourite fragrance can make you feel human again after a long flight
• Hand lotion – to moisturise dry hands
• A mascara to open up your eyes
• A pair of sunnies for the airport – just incase you don’t want to bring the rest of the items along
• Hair ties and a mini dry shampoo – dry shampoo is a great short term solution before your next hair wash

Toiletry bag

• Mouthwash – while taking a disposable tooth brush and mini tooth paste can be a good idea, airplane water isn’t the cleanest. If you would prefer to use the toothbrush and tooth paste however, save it for the airport if you have a lay over
• Mini roll on or spray deodorant – you might not want to use a spray deodorant in a confined space like an airplane
• Wet wipes and sanitiser – airplanes are a cesspool of germs, you’ll want to freshen up every so often
• Eye drops – if you’re prone to dry eyes
• Bactroban for under your none to safeguard you from nasty bacterial infections

Ensure all your items meet airline regulation standards – the last thing you want is having to pass over your favourite hand cream to an airport worker.


• Pack your chargers and other electronic paraphernalia in a handy little bag like our double small cosmetics bag
• If it’s not essential you take your laptop, rather take a tablet with a mini keyboard which will be far lighter
• In case anything happened to your main luggage, ensure you have a charger for the country you are going to in your carry-on
• You shouldn’t need to use your phone on the flight but depending on the duration of your trip, it might be a good idea to have a portable charger


• A neck pillow can take up a lot of space but will go a long way in making you feel more comfortable on a long-distance flight.
• if you’re a light sleeper or don’t want to be distracted by someone’s reading light or a screaming baby two rows down from you, an eye mask and ear plugs are essentials.
• Bring along medication like painkillers and nausea pills, muscle relaxers etc…
• A few snacks will also see you through the flight, between meals when you get peckish or on your eight-hour layover where you’ll want to avoid purchasing pricey airport snacks. Nuts and raisins, hard-boiled sweets and gum are good options.
• If you don’t have a Kindle but still want some good reading material, bring a long a light book (light in weight and content) or a magazine that you can easily dispose of afterwards
• If you have the space, pack an extra item or two of clothing should you be faced with a flight delay or your bag gets lost and you need a fresh pair of clothes
• A notebook and pen are a good idea but for the most part do not get used. Have you ever really had a million dollar business idea on a flight? No, we didn’t think so. Rather take a mini stack of post-its and a pen
• A warm pair of socks when it gets colder will see you through the overnight flights