Not only have the Traveling Moms “been there”, we’ve had to get there with our share of long haul air travel. How your trip begins depends so much on how you feel when you arrive. While we can’t turn your coach seat into a lie-flat bed, the Traveling Moms do have some long haul flight must haves to make you more comfortable up in the air.

Single use masks from Korea (available on Amazon) are under $1 each but fee luxe. Photo by Dia Adams, Travel Hack Traveling Mom

Single use masks from Korea (available on Amazon) are under $1 each but feel luxe. Photo by Dia Adams, Travel Hack Traveling Mom

Here at Traveling Mom we have packing lists for the beach, for camping, for ski trips and day trips.  I thought it would be helpful to compile a list of the stuff we bring along when we’re stuck on a plane for the long haul. Most lists you see about what to bring on long haul flights have a few set items.  While we recommend the basics, we have added some hard-learned additions to our flight bag.

  •  Lip balm. Can’t stress this enough! Plane air turns lips into sandpaper in no time flat.
  • Unscented lotion. Overpowering scents spread quickly in a confined space- keep it simple for the benefit of fellow passengers.
  • Speaking of scents – I like to have an essential oil handy to inhale in case someone nearby doesn’t have the same hygiene standards I do. I just dab a little on my wrist and sniff- Teaching Traveling Mom Kirsten recommends lavender oil for its calming property.  Peppermint oil also works well.  Neither scent will spread all over the plane (see above).
  • Latina Traveling Mom Tania likes to give her seat and tray table a good wipe-down with Clorox wipes. Great idea! If you can’t find a travel size pack, just throw a few into a zip lock bag. Baby wipes will also do for quick cleanups.
  • Chargers. Many modern planes now have USB ports even in coach, you just need a charger cord to get your gadget to 100%.
  • Earbuds or headphones you actually enjoy wearing.  Yes, the airline will likely give you a pair, but will they fit?  Autism Traveling Mom Margalit takes it up a notch by bringing Bluetooth wireless headphones for her devices. No wires make sleeping much easier!
  • Photo Traveling Mom Kymri suggests an old-fashioned journal. E-stuff is fun, but long flights are perfect for deep thoughts.  (At a minimum BRING A PEN. You’ll need one for Customs forms.)
  • An important safety item was brought to the table by Luxe Traveling Mom Dana: compression socks. Deep vein thrombosis is real, folks!  Be sure to get up every couple of hours to stretch your legs as well.
  • Pain reliever and sleep aids (try melatonin gummies) recommends Active Traveling Mom Kim. Headaches that are easily solvable with Motrin on the ground are agony when none is around.
  • Yes, gum is good for going up and down but get ginger gum and you’ll get a nausea remedy, too.
  • Dry Shampoo, suggests Candid Traveling Mom Patty.  Great suggestion as there’s almost nothing else you can do with plane head. (PS: Baby powder works in a pinch, but apply VERY lightly unless you’re channeling your inner Hamilton.)
  • An empty water bottle is among Geek Traveling Mom Jana’s must haves. You can’t bring liquids over 100ML through TSA, but you also don’t have to pay $4 for a bottle at the gift shop.  Just use the water fountain on the other side of security to fill ‘er up.
  • No need to be held hostage to airline food.  I find portable protein to be the most expensive and hardest to find in the airport- try beef jerky or nuts as both will pass TSA muster.  As far as fruits, try raisins and rollups. GoGo Squeez is also TSA compliant; don’t let them tell you otherwise.
  • Disposable single-use masks. At less than $1 each, they’re an inexpensive way to feel both moisturized and luxe at 30,000 feet.
  • Spray toner is another terrific pick-me-up. Just be careful not to hit your seat-mates.
  • Adding kids to the mix?  Add diapers, wipes and change of clothes to the carry-on. We mean a change of clothes for both baby and mom! Garden Geek Traveling Mom Julie explains- well, I’ll just let her tell it.  “Let’s just say…leaky diaper + white jeans = lesson learned on a 10-hour flight.”
  • Along the same lines, bring DOUBLE the diapers, wipes and fresh clothes you’ll think you’ll need. Air pressure changes cause gas which causes more blowouts than you can imagine. Trust me on this one!
  • A note about toys. You probably need fewer than you think. My kids got tons of entertainment out of plastic cups, magazines, and even barf bags!  I know keeping the wee ones entertained is important, but don’t weigh yourself down with stuff they’ll use for five minutes, tops.
  • Hoodie or wrap.  No matter how hot it is outside, airplanes at altitude get chilly.  If you want to go deluxe, I love my lightweight cashmere wrap but any ol’ pashmina will do.

What’s on your long haul flight must have list that didn’t make ours?  Please share in the comments.

long haul flight