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Even the idea of traveling abroad can be exhausting when you think of being stuck in an uncomfortable plane seat for many long hours.
Fortunately, there is something you can do about it!
Especially for economy class flights, bringing along some nice airplane comfort items is crucial for your physical and mental wellbeing.
Imagine that you step on the ground after a 15-hour flight and you feel great! Nothing hurts, you smile, you look good and ready to have a great day.
If it sounds unrealistic to you, wait until you try it!
Each of these travel accessories will make a noticeable change in how you see your trip.
Every part of your trip should be great (or at the very least bearable) no matter the circumstances!
So let’s find out what are those airplane comfort items that can be game-changers for your next long flight!
What is not allowed on a plane?
Every airline has a prohibited items list to comply with all the countries they are operating at. They care about safety of their passengers so they take it seriously and would not risk having emergencies.
Under no circumstances your hand luggage can contain any explosives, sharp objects, or weapons of any kind. Generally, if you aren’t sure something is safe, better not take it or at least call the airline to check. Medical equipment rules vary according to the destination country. You can bring the maximum of ten liquid items up to 100 ml or 3.4 ounces each, packed together in one transparent zipper bag.
Airplane comfort items that improve your travel experience
1. Inflatable Neck Pillow
For some reason, seats on a plane are always uncomfortable. We have flown with different airlines including tiny low-cost jets where you can’t even recline your chair a little. In such situations or on a long flight when you need to sleep at least a few hours, a neck pillow is a huge game-changer. It supports your head in every direction and you can relax your neck instead of keeping it straight for hours.
Our first round-neck travel pillows years back were travel themed and all, but it was a pain carrying them around. Since then we always go for inflatable ones. This one has a push-button inflation pump, packs small, and can be clipped to your bag. You can adjust the inflation while wearing it and even remove the soft velvet pillowcase to wash so it serves you longer.
2. Eye Mask For Sleeping
Have you ever tried to sleep on a plane but been disturbed by a sudden light situation? Raising sun peeking at you through must-open blinds, cabin crew making rounds with food, drinks or perfume specials, a passenger next to you with the reading light on, or even someone’s screen that just happens to shine directly in your eye… You can easily avoid all of this with one travel accessory that hardly takes any space in your bag – eye mask!
Sometimes you are just bored on a long flight and would be happy to take a nap in the middle of the day… if only it wasn’t so bright. This mask comes in different colors and makes absolute darkness without pressuring your eyes. I’m always worried that a mask will mess up my makeup, but this PrettyCare eye mask is designed with travelers in mind! Unlike a usual silk sleep mask, it has a large space for your eyes to remain untouched and has an adjustable strap to fit any head size.
Eye mask will also be useful if you got jet lag and need to have a nap in your hotel on a sunny day.
3. Reusable Ear Plugs
Even though earplugs are tiny, they make a huge difference and I think this is one of the most useful travel tips I can give you. When you get stuck in the air with a crying baby nearby, you’ll be happy you have them. When we faced noise pollution in Sri Lanka, only one of us had a pair of those and actually slept through the night. Since then, we both always travel with earplugs and therefore they will make every list of my must-have travel essentials.
I always support reusable accessories that don’t get thrown into a trash bin after a single use. These silicone earplugs are waterproof and can be washed and reused next time you need them. One pair also comes with a cord which is handy in travel situations if you tend to lose at least one earplug every time.
4. Airplane Comfort Kit
If you don’t want to overthink it and just want to feel comfortable on your long flights, consider purchasing an airplane comfort kit that includes everything I mentioned above: a pillow, an eye mask, and a pair of earplugs.
This MLVOC kit has received great reviews, especially for being soft, comfy, and travel-friendly. Even though the pillow is not inflatable, its memory foam structure lets it compress to fit a small bag the size of your smartphone.
5. Travel Blanket Or Scarf
Even though there is a ton of compact travel blankets out there made specifically for travel, I prefer multi-functional scarves. I was so happy that I took my warm plaid scarf on my flight to Sri Lanka! I only had summer clothes and as I tend to always freeze on planes, this was one of the best decisions I made.
A good universal travel blanket not only keeps you warm and cozy during a flight, but can also be used as a stylish piece of your outfit, and then to cover up when visiting temples.
6. Foot Rest Hammock
What? A hammock for your feet? For a plane? Yep, it exists, and there are thousands of happy reviews!
If your knees hurt like mine when you sit tight for too long, this hammock may be just what you’re missing! It is supposed to make you feel like sitting in a recliner with your feet resting on pillows. You can adjust the strap to put it under your feet, ankles, or calves, whichever feels more comfortable for the current seat. Not many people are aware that such a thing as a foot hammock even exists, but it is claimed by frequent travelers to be one of the essential products for sleeping on planes.
Well, this is one of the airplane comfort items that are really made for comfort. Keep in mind that the experience might differ according to your height and airlines you use. Check the reviews to see if it’s a good fit for your next flight!
Many travelers also swear by compression socks as they prevent muscle fatigue and the smelly feet embarrassment.
7. Slip-On Shoes
Personally, I never understood people who wear socks around the plane. I would never go to the lavatory in just my socks… I’d probably need to get rid of them right away… but maybe it’s just me. Some prefer to wear slippers, but I don’t feel that comfortable around a hundred strangers to walk around in slippers.
Sometimes you need to quickly put your shoes on: let’s say to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night or just to let someone else out. If you have shoelaces or sandals with straps, it may not be that easy. They might work for short flights when you don’t even take off your shoes, but for long haul flights, slip-on shoes are the best.
I recommend having a pair of shoes like these FitKicks. They are comfy for the plane, but also suitable for different sports activities, long walks, and can even be used as water shoes for rocky shores!
8. Seat Cushion
Ever wondered if it’s possible to make your airplane seat more comfortable? Here is your solution!
Using a good seat cushion improves your blood circulation, relieves your back pain and stiffness, and makes you feel more comfortable overall. Its ergonomic structure also helps your posture in the long run so it’s a must-have on a long haul flight.
Whether you have some vertebra issues or just hate having important parts of your body numb after the flight, a seat cushion is your friend. Besides the plane, you can use it in many other places like on your car seat, as a meditation pillow on the floor, or to support your back in an office chair.
Essential travel accessories for long flights
9. Disinfecting Wipes
Wet wipes can be used for so many different purposes! Especially these days, when the danger of germs is more than ever, you might wanna have a handy pack of wipes at all times. With these, you can clean your airplane seat, armrest, and tray table, clean your hands after eating, or quickly remove the stain if you spill something.
Airplane lavatories aren’t very friendly and comfortable, so you wouldn’t wanna run there for every unnecessary occasion. Especially if you aren’t on an aisle seat. Plus, there are times when you simply aren’t allowed to leave your seat.
Wet wipes are also handy when you need to freshen up after long hours on a plane. It shouldn’t necessarily be baby wipes, but they are generally more gentle on your skin and contain less chemicals, that’s why I prefer them over others.
Good airlines won’t let you starve. The longer the flight, the more food you are probably gonna get. However, sometimes they decide to feed you in the middle of the night and you accidentally sleep through it. Other times you get hungry earlier or just don’t feel very well in the air until you snack on something.
Instead of buying expensive sugary bars on a plane, consider packing a few healthy bars in advance. Grab a couple of your favorite bars from your healthy bar subscription box before each flight – and you will never starve in the air again!
11. Hand Sanitizer
I’m sure I don’t have to explain the importance of hand sanitizer right now. You don’t even need to read a single review, just make sure there is enough alcohol (at least 60%) in it to kill most germs.
Airports and airplanes are full of people and you can’t avoid contact completely, but you can at least make sure your hands are always clean after you touch anything in public places. Don’t forget about the general liquid rule and don’t bring a bottle bigger than 3.4 oz or 100 ml in your hand luggage. I prefer packing a few tiny bottles in every bag and pocket so I can easily reach them when necessary. A spray version is better than a gel as you can use it on surfaces as well.
12. Luggage Tag
Luggage tags don’t directly influence your comfort level on a plane, but they potentially reduce your stress level.
Sit back and relax knowing that even if your suitcase gets lost, it will find its way back to you thanks to the luggage tag you so thoughtfully attached!
13. Reusable Water Bottle
If you’ve ever bought a water bottle in duty-free, you know how freaking expensive it is. For example, on my last trip to Germany, it was 2 Euro for a small 500 ml bottle! And on a plane, it often starts at 3 Euro. They know that as a human you can’t not have water and use it for their advantage.
However, you can still stay hydrated without paying anything! Nowadays a lot of airports have water fountains for you to refill your bottle. So you come with your own reusable bottle, make sure to finish it before the security control, and then refill it before boarding. There are many better ways I can spend those spare money! I always travel with my Nomader bottle and I love how little space it takes up in my backpack when collapsed!
14. Relaxing Tea To Sleep Well
If you have trouble sleeping in the air, perhaps you need a little help. I’m not a fan of using pills and I think natural herbal teas are the way to go. They calm you down, reduce your anxiety level, and soothe you off to sleep.
Whichever tea brand you choose, try it at home first to make sure it won’t rush you to the bathroom!
Hint: You can bring your own tea bag and just ask your flight attendant for a free cup of hot water. It won’t cost you anything and you can enjoy your relaxing tea while you prepare for a calm flight. Sweet dreams!
Best beauty products for long flights
15. Travel-sized Dry Shampoo
Fresh-looking hair after long-haul flight seems impossible? Wait until you try dry shampoo!
Even apart from traveling, dry shampoo is a lifesaver when I’m in a rush and can’t wash my hair. On the road, it simply becomes indispensable! I always have a full version for dark hair in my checked luggage and can’t live without it. I especially recommend having it with you for traveling to remote destinations where you visit local villages and don’t stay in luxury hotels. Also, on camping trips and long road trips dry shampoo instantly makes you look fresh and charming!
Batiste is my all-time favorite dry shampoo brand and they conveniently have a travel-sized bottle!
16. Hydrating Face Mask
Airplanes have the worst dry air for your skin – and you are stuck in it for many hours.
Personally, I wouldn’t dare using a face mask in the economy class, but I’ve seen many girls on Youtube who care about their skin more than they care about the weird looks of strangers. If you are like that or fly business class, consider taking a face mask onboard. Your face will be glowing and thankful when you re-hydrate after long hours in the dry re-circulated air.
Don’t forget to also drink enough water as dry air inevitably draws it from you.
17. Lip Balm
From my experience, lips usually struggle the most in dry airplane conditions as well as in windy weather outside the plane. That’s why I always have a few lip balm sticks here and there, normally in every bag or jacket I have.
Basically, any lip balm you like will work if you apply it regularly. My favorite is Carmex as it seems to nourish my lips longer and leaves the slight pleasant coolness feeling. They always have good package deals so you can buy in bulk and stuff your pockets with this essential self-care product.
Tip: Both tube and stick Carmex balms work great, but sticks don’t count as liquids!
18. Reusable Make Up Pads
Have you ever wondered how many single-use cotton pads you already used in your lifespan? Not very friendly to our planet, huh? These soft bamboo pads come with a laundry bag so you can wash them and reuse however many times you want without producing any unnecessary waste.
I normally try to not wear makeup when I go on a plane, but if you absolutely need to, remove it as soon as you board and re-apply before landing or in the airport later if necessary. Let your skin breathe during that long-haul flight, it struggles enough already from the dry air!
19. Facial Moisturizer
I already mentioned that in-flight hydration is important, and facial moisturizer is another way to keep your skin in good condition. Choose something like this Obagi Hydrate product that doesn’t clog your pores, absorbs quickly, and comes in travel size. And better use a gentle cream/butter moisturizer instead of spraying stuff all over the other passengers!
20. Puffy Eyes Quick Treatment
Long flight or not, we all want to look fresh and young afterwards instead of extremely exhausted. Those dark circles under the eyes is what often gives us away as they are so hard to cover up. Makeup often makes it worth, am I right?
Check out the reviews for this puffy eye treatment product from Seamantika! Before and after pictures from real people are impressive enough for me to give it a try!
21. Travel Bottle Kit
These bottles are especially useful when you travel light and hand luggage is your only luggage. Not everything comes in convenient travel-sized bottles but everything can be put into those. For example, my favorite makeup remover comes in super-inconvenient size 125 ml (why can’t they make it 100 ml?!) so I use one of my travel bottles for it.
Hotels may have shampoo included, but I personally can’t use anything random for my colorful hair. I always bring my own hair products as well as skincare things when I travel. You can absolutely pack all your full-sized bottles in your suitcase, but I doubt that you really need all of that for a short vacation. Better spare some space for souvenirs and such!
Airplane essentials for entertainment
I never travel without my Kindle. My first one was Kindle 5 and served me every day for six long years. Now I have this 10-th generation Kindle Paperwhite and can’t imagine going on a flight or anywhere really without it.
Yeah, you got me, I’m a reader. I used to read 100+ books a year until I started reading in other languages which slowed me down a ton. As much as I love the smell of a real book, it takes a lot of space, makes my heavy backpack weigh even more, and can get damaged in so many ways when I travel. Also, if I finish the book and I’m still on a flight, I’m stuck.
That’s why Kindle (or any e-reader you may like) is amazing! It hardly takes any space, works for weeks without charging, and I can bring as many books as I want with me. It’s waterproof so I’m not afraid to use it by the pool and it has an e-ink display so your eyes don’t hurt. Thus, you can even use it at the beach with no sun reflections or wet hands danger. Simply perfect!
This is an all-in-one solution for in-flight entertainment. You can do all kinds of stuff with it: draw, read, watch movies and TV shows, play various games, and even text your friends if there happens to be Wi-Fi on the plane. It’s not a necessity like a travel pillow, but it makes your time in the air much more fun!
Some airlines have screens inserted into the chairs, but here are just some flaws:
- The angle is often uncomfortable for your eyes, especially when that chair is reclined.
- The movie selection is often very limited.
- Sometimes you need a Wi-Fi connection to use it and it just sucks.
- Your watching or playing process gets paused every time there is an announcement from the cabin crew.
- Finally, if you are very lucky, you screen may be broken.
So many reasons to have your own tablet that just works! You may prefer Apple iPad if you are an Apple fan, but this one is roughly three times cheaper. I guess 30 000+ reviews can’t lie about the quality, but feel free to check it out and form your own opinion!
24. Netflix or Amazon Prime Subscription
A long flight gives you a lot of time that you can spend binge-watching your favorite show, catching up on missing seasons, or re-watching old favorites. As much as physical comfort is important, you won’t notice it if you are bored. That’s why you need some ready-to-use entertainment ideas as part of your long haul flight essentials.
Hint: Some movies may not work in some countries. It happened a few times that we downloaded something and weren’t able to watch it in the next country on our itinerary. Make sure to turn off all your Internet connections before watching so the device doesn’t share where you are! At least with Netflix that we use, it does the trick.
25. Motivational Adult Coloring Book
If you still think that coloring books are for children, this one should change your mind.
Not only is it designed for adults, but you are not supposed to ever let your children color it. Unless they can’t read, I guess.
It is that kind of motivational self-talk that you may just need sometimes. The coloring process is known to relieve stress and these pages with a pinch of swear words will definitely inspire you for success.
26. Good Old Board Game
Board games are so not dead!
If your travel buddy sits next to you on a plane, it’s a good opportunity to spend some fun time together. Enough staring at your screens, interact with each other for a change! A few rounds of UNO will literally make the time fly so landing comes much sooner than you expected.
Even when you travel alone, a good old UNO may be a nice ice breaker with neighbors. Suggest a quick round and see if they are up for it. But make sure they are open to a conversation first and not just polite!
Gadgets to make flying more comfortable
27. Noise-Canceling Headphones
Crying babies? Loud passengers? Someone decided to use speakers blatantly? Talkative neighbors? Noisy airplane? Turn it all off with a tiny switch on your noise cancelling headphones!
What I love about noise-canceling headphones is that you don’t need to turn music or anything else on if you don’t want to. You can literally just turn the silence on and block all the noise around you for a calm journey, focused work, or undisturbed sleep. Not every trip is that bad but in some cases, this device can save you from a disastrous travel experience.
28. Power Bank
We all rely on our devices these days, and unfortunately, they all rely on power. Phones, tablets, e-readers, and other gadgets that you may have, need constant recharging. There is nothing worse than getting stuck abroad with a dead phone that has all your itineraries. A good lightweight but powerful portable charger is essential for a stress-free trip.
Personally, I rely a lot on my phone: to call Uber, to pay for stuff, to use google maps for all the directions, and more. I wouldn’t be able to find my booked accommodation or get there without my phone being alive. Thus, I never leave home without a power bank and it always is at the top of my list of long flight essentials.
As a general rule, I recommend aiming for 20 000 mAh. It can easily charge both our phones twice and there is still some power left. When I travel alone, I don’t even recharge it as it’s enough to cover a couple of my devices on a round trip.
29. Headphone Splitter
A headphone splitter is a very convenient tool if you sit together with your travel buddy and want to share music or watch a movie together. You can probably share earphones too but this way each only gets one and you miss out on that immersive experience! Also, sharing earbuds may not be very hygienic, and sharing over-ear headphones is simply impossible. That’s where splitter comes into the picture and that’s why it made it to my list of the best gadgets for long flights.
Make sure to test the splitter with your specific headphones before flying: we faced a few issues over the years. Sometimes headphones with microphone can be not compatible with a splitter. Another issue can be that your devices are too different and the comfortable volume on yours can be too loud or not loud enough for your friend’s device. Just make sure it works as expected before relying on it for your 15-hour flight.
30. Universal Travel Adapter
All-In-One universal travel adapter is an irreplaceable tool for international travel. You don’t need to research socket types for every country, just take it with you wherever you go and it will take care of all the sockets.
You might not need it on the flight itself, but if you travel abroad it might be critical to have it with you and not somewhere in the possibly-lost luggage. Not only is it useful for foreign sockets, but it can also connect two of your devices to charge at the same time through USB. Genius solution for a situation when there is only one socket in a room. It happened to us more than once in Sri Lankan homestays and this adapter saved the day!
Where is the best place to sit on a plane?
The absolute best place on the airplane is a window seat in front before the wings. This way you get the full view and a chance for unique photos from the sky. There is a wall to lean on for a more comfortable sleep. You don’t get disturbed every time when someone from your row wants to go to the bathroom, and there is less turbulence than in the back.
However, there are other good seat options you may prefer, so let’s see all possible options:
- Window seat
- Pros: Great view, you don’t need to move when others need to use a bathroom or reach an overhead bin. Make sure not to choose the emergency exit row as there is no window there.
- Cons: You have to disturb others when you need out.
- The middle seat is just never good
- Aisle seat
- Pros: You don’t need to ask anyone if you need something, you just get up and go/do it. Getting your stuff from the overhead bin is easier.
- Cons: You have to get up every time someone from your row needs something. People walking back and force the aisle can disturb you too, especially if you are trying to sleep.
- The first row
- Pros: Might seem appealing as you are the first to leave in most cases.
- Cons: There are plenty, better believe flight attendants when they say it’s bad
- Emergency exit row
- Pros: It has extra legroom which may be a great benefit if you are tall. I sat there on my very first flight but I’m 5’1 so it was no different for me, I only saw the flaws.
- Cons: First, there is no window. Second, your small bag goes into an overhead compartment for the whole takeoff and landing time. Lastly, you have to help others in case of emergency, that’s why they don’t allow children, pets, and disabled people to sit there.
- The front half of the plane and the rows over wings generally have less noticeable turbulence
Popular flight packing concerns
Can you bring makeup on a plane?
You can bring as much makeup as you need for your flight as long as you stick to general hand luggage restrictions. Everything liquid like your mascara or BB cream should be put together in a separate transparent zipper bag. You can bring up to 10 liquid items not more than 100 ml or 3.4 ounces each. There are no known restrictions for checked baggage in terms of makeup, but it never hurts to check the rules of your airline before the flight.
I usually use my bag from a travel bottle kit for all my makeup essentials. Even though it’s meant only for liquids, I keep all my hand-luggage make up there, and it was never a problem so far.
Generally, you don’t need too much makeup in your hand luggage. You can always freshen up in the airport lavatory after you land or a bit later when you get to your accommodation. At that time you’ll have all your luggage back and can quickly fetch everything you need. Also, packing a makeup organizer may be a good idea when you have more than five beauty items. This way you just need to take one thing from your suitcase instead of searching for every tight-packed item.
Can I bring snacks on a plane?
You can bring your own food on a plane if it’s sealed and not liquid. Forget about soups and canned food. Home-made sandwiches are often allowed but it’s up to a specific airplane security point to restrict it. Some countries may have rules against specific food: for example, you can’t bring meat or dairy in any form from outside into the EU countries. Bringing snack bars is a great idea as they are quite expensive to purchase on a flight.
To be on a safe side you can buy the food in a duty-free zone after you pass the security control. Everything that you buy in duty-free is generally allowed to take with you on a plane.
If you have some kind of a healthy snack subscription at home, pack a few of those snack bars in your hand luggage! Even if you don’t get hungry on a plane (good airlines usually provide some food according to flight duration), they may come in handy in many other points of your trip. Although it’s not a smart technology or specifically designed travel comfort item, snacks are important and I count them among the best travel items for long flights!
A long layover at the airport, the low energy level on a hike, or when you wake up jet-lagged with insomnia in the middle of the night and get hungry… These are just a few of the many moments when a healthy snack in your bag will feel like a lifesaver.
Can I bring water on a plane?
Airport security will not let you through with any liquid bigger than 100 ml / 3.4 oz. You can either purchase a water bottle in a duty-free zone before boarding or on the flight itself. You can also bring an empty bottle and refill it after security at a water bottle filling station that a growing number of airports have installed.
I use my Nomader collapsible water bottle all the time! Even when I don’t travel I often use it at home as it’s convenient and bigger than a mug. When I’m running errands around the city it’s always in my bag as long as it’s big enough to fit it! I have it in grey as they didn’t have this wonderful aqua blue color at the time of my order. I love how you can roll it up when empty and have half the space available again, a pretty important perk for the trips!
Final thoughts on the essential airplane comfort items
This is pretty much it for my favorite travel comfort accessories!
Some of these are more crucial than the others, but they are all the best air travel accessories I was able to find in my traveling years. I don’t think you will need any more carry-on essentials for long flights other than what I picked for this extensive list! Even a few of these items will significantly improve your airplane travel experience.
Don’t forget to get travel insurance as you never know what may happen on a trip! Many hospitals won’t even check you in if you don’t have insurance. Better safe than sorry, right?
Tell me in the comments which of the mentioned airplane comfort products are on your must-have list for a long-haul flight! Is there anything I missed? Please share it too!