9 Things to Bring on a Long-Haul Flight from Hell

We’ve seen incredible deals to Europe this year, plus bargains on other long-haul flights to destinations around the world; find one from your town on the Getaway Map. Of course, being stuck on a plane for hours and hours can be a devilishly painful experience, but we can help make it better with this list of 9 things to bring on a long-haul flight from hell.

1. Thermos for hot or cold drinks

If you like coffee, you know the servings from the beverage cart are never big enough; and sometimes they’re not even free, at least not on those super-cheap airlines. Solution: Bring your own insulated mug or thermos and fill it up with airport coffee or ask the flight attendant to fill it up (they don’t have to do this so be sure to say please). Remember, the mug/thermos must be empty before going through security because of the liquid rule.

Tip: Not a coffee drinker? Use the thermos or empty plastic bottle for water; just fill it up at an airport water refill station.

2. The electronics

Yes, people still forget to grab their electronics when they head out the door. Go through a mental checklist before you leave: Phone, tablet, laptop, charger cord, portable charger? Do not pack these items in a checked-bag; instead, place them in a carry-on bag or in your pockets.

Tip: Life will be easier if you make sure everything is charged before heading to the airport.

3. Music

There’s nothing like a bunch of favorite tunes to keep you in a happy frame of mind even when your seatmate is a screaming baby. Several frequent flyers recommend noise-canceling headphones; FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney wouldn’t think of stepping on a plane without his.

Tip: Looking for an inspiritation song? Maybe Learn to Fly by the Foo Fighters.

4. Video

Pack your device with movies and TV shows; binge-watching at 30,000 can make a flight feel a lot shorter than it really is.

Tip: Looking for something fun? The movie Airplane! still makes us laugh.

5. Small comforts of home

These cozy comforts can be found on lots of must-pack lists:

  • Neck pillow
  • Blanket
  • Eye mask (OK, this one didn’t make everyone’s list, but those who use eye masks say they really help them sleep on planes).

Tip: A dwindling number of airlines may still offer a blanket in coach but it’s usually something you have to buy, so bring your own. Don’t want to carry a blanket? A sweater or jacket is just as good.

6. Socks

Thick, compression socks can make your legs feel a lot better, or so say those who don’t fly without them. Might want to ask a health care professional if they’d be good for you.

Tip: Some airlines like United list seat exercises that may help you feel better on a long flight (these include ankle circles, foot pumps and more).

7. Carry-on bag or tote bag

Let’s see, we’ve got electronics, cords, neck pillow, the socks – but where to put them? Use a carry-on bag and if there’s room for your clothes, terrific; you just saved a bundle on baggage fees plus airlines can’t lose carry-ons.

Tip: If you’d rather pack a bigger, checked-bag, no problem but bring some kind of light-weight tote bag, too, so you will be able to keep these items beside you on the plane.

8. Prescriptions of all kinds

If you take prescribed medication, but sure you have it with you, along with the actual prescription. If you take any over-the-counter medications or sleeping aids, anything like that, have what you need with you.

Tip: If you wear glasses and/or contacts, be sure to have both with you (and an extra pair of glasses is always a good idea). Have these optical prescriptions with you, too.

9. Snacks

Fewer flights serve free food to economy passengers so bring your own. Suggestions: Sandwiches, granola or power bars, nuts, cookies, carrots, and apples.

Tip: Here are more suggestions for good food to bring, crappy food to avoid.

Now have a wonderful flight, and safe travels.

Anne McDermott
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