Whether you despise flying or you enjoy it so much you feel like you missed your calling as a flight attendant, there's no denying that most airplanes aren't particularly comfortable. More seats have been added to smaller cabins, meaning they're narrower, shorter, and have less leg room, making things particularly cramped on long-haul flights.
It's a bit of a catch-22, of course, as longer flights often mean bigger, bucket list-worthy adventures. So go ahead and catch alllll the flights (and all the adventures!), but do it comfortably — and perhaps even in style.
How, you ask? Great question.
We put together this list of 10 must haves for long flights, each item hand-picked by our TWC crew. You'll find entertainment items, things to keep you comfy, and even a couple of surprises — literally, all the must haves for long flights!
10 Must Haves for Long Flights
Whether you're a frequent flier or you only fly once or twice a year, adding at least a couple of these must haves for long flights will completely change your travel experience.
And while you're in the travel shopping mood, it's never too early (or too late!) to think about travel souvenirs! Consider getting a Wanderchain and adding some Country Tokens to document all the places you've visited in a fun, unique way.
We have plenty of other Travel Tokens as well, including U.S. National Parks, Landmarks, bodies of water, Baseball Stadiums, and many more!
1. Neck Pillow
Available in several different styles to suit every possible need and preference, a good neck pillow is one of our top must haves for long flights. It helps you get some shut-eye on the plane, supporting your neck and offering a soft place to lay your head (literally!).
While many passengers still love the traditional soft, horseshoe-shaped pillows, today, there are many other options. Choose an inflatable neck pillow if luggage space is a concern, or opt for an innovative TRTL travel pillow for maximum support.
2. Noise-cancelling Headphones
Trust us, no matter how sweet and patient you may be, you'll want a way to block out the sound of crying babies or slightly-too-loud conversations at some point.
Noise-cancelling headphones are the perfect solution, and as a bonus, they seriously enhance the sound quality of movies or music — other items you'll find listed as must haves for long flights a bit later on!
3. Scarf or Shawl
Seriously, why are airplanes always so dang cold?! We consider a scarf and/or shawl one of the top must haves for long flights for their versatility and practicality.
Not only can it keep you warm on those chilly planes, but it can also be bunched up and used as a pillow or even a work surface for setting your laptop on your lap (we all know those trays don't hold a computer and a drink or snacks!).
4. Eye Mask
Often also referred to as a sleeping mask, this is one of the most important must haves for long flights specifically for light sleepers.
Eye masks block out light, allowing you to get some rest. They're especially useful for daytime flights when one of your neighbors wants to have their window open, but they also come in handy if you simply want to be left alone!
5. Good Book
There are really no rules when it comes to this one and it doesn't need much explanation; books are simply one of the best overall must haves for long flights.
Our only real recommendation is to bring a book you've been dying to read, not something you have to read for work or school. If it's something you're excited about, not only will you actually read it, but it will genuinely help you pass the time. Conversely, something you're dreading reading can actually make time drag.
6. Travel Journal
This is one of our favorite ways to document your travels (aside from collecting TWC Travel Tokens, of course!) and reflect on your experiences.
Finding time to actually do it is usually the issue for most people, so a long-haul flight is actually the perfect time to set some time aside and catch up with your entries!
We know — technically, books count as entertainment. In this particular case though, to be as thorough as possible in our list of must haves for long flights, we decided to separate them.
Here, we're thinking of downloaded music, shows, movies, podcasts, or games as "entertainment." And the key here is downloaded. While many long flights today have wi-fi service available, things do happen and it's much better to be safe and have a few options ready just in case.
8. Healthy Snacks
Give us all the snacks! But...seriously. Snacks really deserve the top spot as far as must haves for long flights go, but here we're specifically trying to focus on healthy.
Bringing your own snacks helps maintain energy levels during the flight, can keep you on track with any diet/nutrition goals, and saves money so you don't have to buy expensive airport food.
9. Reusable Water Bottle
Staying hydrated is always important, but especially when you're sitting in a dry, recycled-air environment for hours on end. Plus, again, airport water bottles are expensive and those tiny cups flight attendants give out just don't cut it.
A reusable water bottle solves all those problems! Just remember to bring it into the airport empty, then fill it up once you clear security.
10. A Positive Attitude!
This is by far the most important "thing" you can have for long flights. A lot can happen during the course of a flight and even on the smoothest, most uneventful flights, people simply get snippy. Everyone's tired, cramped, hungry, you name it.
Just keep in mind that everyone is in the same boat, and be flexible, kind, and positive. It will not only make your flight experience better, but can also positively impact someone else's!