Long Haul Carry-On Packing Guide

Packing Your Carry On for A Long Haul Flight
Flying an international flight, or as we frequent travelers call them long hauls, can be a very uncomfortable but necessary situation. You are literally stuck on a plane for 10+ hours and for most of us thats in economy class. One day I will be super cool enough to enjoy a flat lie bed, but today is not that day, and I am going to be thankful that I am off seeing the world and got the extra leg room seat.
Now – your carry-on suitcase for your flight is your life line to surviving the flight and getting to your final destination in one piece. So lets get technical for one second. You get to bring two bags with you on a plane… your carry on and a personal item. Your carry on dimensions should be 22″ long x 14″ wide x 9″ tall or 115cm (56 x 36 x 23 cm). Your personal item can be something like a briefcase or purse.
For my carry-on I use the Kate Spade Saturday Large Weekender Bag (seen above). I like this bag because it has a shoe compartment, outer pocket, and nice pockets on the inside. Since this is a canvas bag I put a good coat of Scotch Guard on it before using. The carry-on bag I have been lusting after is the Lo & Sons Large OMG Travel Bag. Again both these bags have the shoe compartment which is a must! Both can also go under your seats – which is why I go with these bags over a traditional roller bag… No one wants to be getting things out of that mid flight.
Now what you put in your carry-on is the real game changer. Below is everything I put in my carry-on. I know, I know… it looks like a lot. But in the long run it is just the right amount.

I have got all the necessities:

  • Passport & Flight Documents
  • Laptop and iPad (for work and back up entertainment)
  • Chargers and Adapters
  • Guide Book
  • Notebook, planner, and comic book
  • 2x Back Up Outfits (1 dress and leggings and tee)
  • Extra Shoes
  • Foot Duvets & Compression Socks
  • All my inflight necessities
  • Valuables (jewelry)
  • Super Comfy Sweater – Mine is the Nasty Gal Dot Com Fuzzy Cardigan
  • Missing from photo: headphones & eyemask
A few things I recommend. I love the Restoration Hardware Foot Duvets for flying. They have soles so you can wear to the bathroom and are fur lined so they keep my feet extra warm. Plus they are on sale now for $9.99. Since I am totally type A I also applied Scotch Guard to these as well.
My In Flight Necessities
These little guys are the most important because they are your key for surviving the flight, any layover, and not looking like death upon arrival.
These end up in three separate bags. My charger bag, TSA liquids bag, and medicine bag.
Lets break down what I keep in each bag and how I use it…
Medicine & Solids: This bag (Shop Bando Peek Bag) has my All Day Pain Relief, Sleep Aids, and Allergy Pills. Always have some kind of Advil or Aleve on a plane with you… I injured my tailbone in high school and these long flights always have me feeling like a 90 year old. I just cannot sit on my but for that long. Sleep aids are a very sticky subject. Personally I do take an OTC sleep aid (think Unisom) for long flights. My biggest tip: do NOT take any sleep aid or relaxant until you are in the air. The last thing you want is to have to change planes or gates all dopped out. Adjust your sleep aids for how long you will be in the air. Half a pill does work. I bring allergy pills because I am allergic to nature.
In this bag I also have my powder, chapstick and Berroca. Berroca is the European version on Air Born… I swear by plopping on of them with your in flight breakfast for an energy boost and to help evade jet lag.
TSA Liquids: Please note I do not have a cute case for this bag. I have the clear TSA version from The Container Store. Each country is stricter about different rules than others, to play it safe when traveling internationally just follow them all to the letter. In this bag I have some face wash, a small bottle of perfume, anti bacterial wipes, hand sanitizer, dry shampoo, mouth wash, emergency pain reliever, and facial moisturizer. This bag stays packed all year and I check it before a trip to see what needs to be replenished. I love Birchbox for all the samples you get that are perfect for your 3oz bag. This is where I get my trial sized cosmetics like CC cream and small mascaras to keep in my bag for touch-ups or completely re-doing my makeup before my final destination.
My tip for this is to bring Wet Wipes. You can use them to wipe down your tray table, your hands, or your body after a long flight. Hell you can even use them on your face in a pinch. It should be worth noting this is not all my toiletries. I pack a traditional toiletries bag in my checked luggage.
Chargers & Adapters: Most seats now have a USB charger so you will kick yourself if you don’t bring your cords with you in flight. I also have my adapters handy for when you need to charge in your layover. Remember if you are having a layover in London and flying onto France or Germany you will need a UK adapter as well. I have a wonderful 5 port USB charger that comes with all the needed adapters and it goes with me everywhere. I am never without a way to charge in any country.
I also keep an external battery charged in this bag in case of emergencies. I love the Henri Bendle dop bags for this. Yes they are for guys but I won’t tell if you don’t. This canvas bag also got hit with some Scotch Guard – cause apparently I am nuts.
Shop this post:

  • B

    This post is amazing! And I can't believe you get ALL OF THAT in that bag! Now I kinda want one! And those slippers!

  • Love! Great tips :-)

  • Wowza! I can't believe you fit that all in that bag. I'm impressed! Great tips.
    The Nerdy Fox