5 Essentials for a Long Haul Flight

After 20 years of lots of long haul flights between Europe and the US, I’ve perfected comfort in an economy seat. Deciding what to take and even what to buy among the many choices out there can be overwhelming, so I thought I’d share the 5 essentials I always pack with me when I fly long distances.

Ear Plugs

This seems like a no-brainer, but not all earplugs are made equal! My choice are the Mack’s soft silicone earplugs. I have these on Subscribe and Save on Amazon and I use them at home, too!

Eye Mask

Again, not all eye masks are made equal. I bought a mask once that irritated my eyes and I looked like I’d been crying all night when I woke up. Since then, I pay closer attention to materials and comfort and err on the side of getting a more expensive item that I’m bound to keep. I’ve been using the Manta Mask for a couple of years now and it’s by far the most comfortable I’ve tried. It doesn’t put pressure on the eyes and it blacks out 100% of the light! I have my boyfriend to thank for this mask – he is the one who found it.

Travel Pillow

I used to have a traditional U-shaped pillow, but eventually I found it too bulky and also didn’t like how it forced my neck in a position as if I were looking down at my phone. I am not sure how I stumbled upon the Trtl pillow but I bought it for my trip this past Christmas and I am a convert! The internal support system makes it an odd shape but it’s really light and machine-washable.

Compression socks

Okay, ever since my 2011 trip to Asia, my ankles blow up on long flights. I try to walk around and do those exercises you read about, and I still have a bad case of swollen ankles. I’ve heard a couple of people recommend compression socks. I was hesitant to try them. For one, compression socks are a PAIN to put on. Also, I have thick calves and was worried about the top of the sock rubbing me the wrong way below the knee (it’s happened before). This is another thing I tried on my last trip and it really works! I was able to take off my shoes, which I normally never did before for fear my feet won’t fit back in. I put on the socks in the bathroom once I boarded the plane and made sure to take them off before landing. Go for the full calf-length socks (not a sleeve or an ankle-length) and measure your calf since it’s needed to determine the correct size.

If you’re going to be outdoors or active, the compression socks will come in handy! They are great to wear after strenuous activity to help with muscle recovery. I also like to wear them hiking – they keep dust and dirt off my lower legs!

Wearing my compression socks on a hike in Mt Rainier National Park

Noise-Cancelling Headphones

I resisted these for years due to the price tag, so my boyfriend and I finally decided to get each other a pair as a Christmas gift. We actually waited for Bose to come out with a new line (the 700) so that their old line would go on sale. I have the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 in pink. These headphones are a life saver and I even sleep with them on flights now (though I still bring the ear plugs)! Bose’s return policy is pretty generous if you’re nervous about trying them!

What I look like right before I turn the noise cancellation setting to HIGH on a plane ūüôā

Do you have any go-to products of your own when you’re flying? Let me know in the comments!

11 Comments on “5 Essentials for a Long Haul Flight

  1. Thank you for this. I’ve added the socks to my list for my next trip. Question re: the headphones. Do they block out all white noise? I’m one of those lucky (ahem) people who goes borderline crazy with the constant hum on flights. Some people find it relaxing. I want to punch myself in the face when I hear it. LOL

    • Thanks for reading, Marla! The hum of the plane is practically unnoticeable if you’re watching a movie or listening to music. If not, you’ll still hear it but it’s greatly reduced. Check out the return policy on Amazon (linked) or on Bose’s website. You may be able to try them and return them if you’re not happy with the noise cancellation. I love mine and regret not getting them sooner as much as I travel.

      • Great suggestion, thank you. I’m terrible on planes. I don’t sleep, can’t get comfortable and get stressed by both. Anything that can help is worth looking into. ūüėä

      • It’s definitely hard to get comfortable! Have you tried taking melatonin? I take it sometimes if I can’t get to sleep on a plane.

  2. I haven’t tried but it’s worth a shot. Years ago I took a prescribed sleeping pill and managed to sleep for an hour and am half on an overnight 9 hour flight. It’s shocking that immigration at my destination let me enter their country because I was a disaster. Bug eyed, frantic, unable to form sentences. Basically every box ticked for “do not let her in”! ūüėĚ

    • Oh, man! I admire you for still flying even though it’s so hard for you to sleep! When’s your next big trip? Let me know what you end up doing and how it works out for you!

      • Flying is a necessary evil. I hate it, but it all balances out in the end! I’m headed to Croatia’s Adriatic Coast in a few months so I’ve got time on my side. ūüėÄ

      • Croatia is high on my list! I look forward to your posts about it! ūüôā

      • Thank you! I was thisclose to heading back to France but figured a change of scenery would do me good. I’m travelling solo and am equal parts excited and terrified. What’s on your list for 2020?

      • Solo travel! Love that! Washington DC (hoping to get to Shenandoah national park) Maui and Big Island, Rocky Mountain national park and hopefully Australia towards the end of the year. Now that will be aing flight!

      • YAY you’ve got a lot to look forward to this year! It helps knowing that you’ve got some fun adventures on the horizon. ūüôā

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