The Ultimate Travel Packing Checklist for Long-Haul Flights

The Ultimate Travel Packing Checklist for Long-Haul Flights

Before embarking on a long-haul flight, getting your packing game on point is essential. This comprehensive travel checklist will provide all the necessary information you require, from selecting the right suitcase and hand luggage suitcases to choosing high-quality sleep aids and tech essentials to ensure you have the best flight possible.

So, buckle up as we take you through the ultimate travel packing checklist for your long-haul flight.

Travel Packing Checklist for Long Haul Flights

When packing for a long-haul flight, you should consider what suitcase best suits your needs. You'll want to pick a size that comfortably accommodates all necessary items without exceeding airline weight restrictions. You'll also need to think about leaving room for souvenirs, gifts for loved ones and anything else that might take up extra space on your return journey.

Additionally, travellers should decide between a hard case or a soft shell suitcase, taking into account durability, weight, and personal preference.


Finding the Perfect Size Suitcase for Your Long-Haul Flight

choosing the right luggage sizes

Your luggage is your travel team, the guardians of your essential belongings during your journey, so you must choose wisely. A poor choice could see you unpacking and repacking just to find essential in-flight items (not easy to do in the aisle of a plane), or finding it cumbersome to navigate your way through the airport. A good choice, on the other hand, will ensure your journey is plain sailing and stress-free from the moment you leave your home to when you reach your destination.

Here's a guide to ensure your belongings are organised and remain accessible whenever you need them during your long haul flight.

Hard vs Soft Cases for Long Haul Travel

When it comes to choosing between hard and soft cases for long-haul travel, there are several factors to consider, and the decision ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. Both hard and soft cases have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Here are some benefits of each:

5 Benefits of Hard Shell Suitcases

hard shell suitcases
1. Durability

Hard cases are typically made from materials like polycarbonate or ABS, which are known for their durability. They can withstand rough handling and protect your belongings from impacts and crushes.

2. Water Resistance

Many hard cases are water-resistant or even waterproof, which can be advantageous if you're travelling to places with unpredictable weather or need to protect your items from moisture.

3. Security

Hard cases often come with built-in locking mechanisms, providing an added level of security for your belongings. Some models also feature TSA-approved locks for hassle-free airport security checks.

4. Expandable

Typically a feature found more commonly on soft cases, but some hard cases offer centralised zip compartments that allow you to expand your suitcase, utilising an extra 25% of packing space.

5. Protection for Fragile Items

If you're carrying fragile or valuable items, hard cases provide excellent protection against damage.

5 Benefits of Soft Shell Suitcases

Soft shell suitcases
1. Lightweight

Soft cases are generally lighter than hard cases, which can help you stay within weight limits imposed by airlines. This can be especially important if you're trying to avoid excess baggage fees.

2. Flexibility

Soft cases are more flexible and can be expanded or compressed to accommodate varying amounts of belongings. This flexibility can be helpful if you tend to overpack or need to fit items of different shapes and sizes.

3. Exterior Pockets

Many soft cases have exterior pockets allowing easy access to frequently used items like travel documents, chargers, or water bottles.

4. Expandable

Soft cases with expandable features typically have zips that allow you to increase the bag's capacity by up to 25%. This can be convenient for travellers who want to keep their options open or anticipate returning more items than they initially packed.

5. Storable

Another advantage of soft cases for long-haul travel is their ability to be stored more compactly when not in use. Soft cases are generally more pliable and can be folded or compressed to a smaller size, making them easier to store at home when you're not travelling.

Understanding Luggage Sizes
different luggage sizes

Not all suitcases are created equal, and when it comes to travelling, we can all agree that size really does matter. There are hard shell and fabric options, each with its unique advantages that will be perfect for different types of travelling and travellers.

  • Cabin Case: Perfect for keeping your personal belongings close by or for overflow packing. They are designed to fit in the overhead compartments on flights.
  • Medium Case: Ideal for those who like to have outfit options and home comforts, suitable for a one-week trip or longer. These suitcases are suitable for check-in bags.
  • Large Case: Ideal for extended travels and those who scoff at the phrase 'packing light.' These spacious suitcases mean you can shop until you drop overseas or when going on adventures that require specific gear.

Underseat, Carry-On and Vanity Cases

carry on cases for long haul flights

In addition to your medium or large hold luggage, packing an underseat case, carry-on cabin trolley, or vanity case means you can bring aboard those essential and luxury items that will make your in-flight journey more comfortable.

These smaller bags provide easy access to the things you need during the flight and can fit under the seat in front or in the overhead compartment on flights, ensuring convenience and easy access to your belongings.

Cabin luggage should adhere to airline regulations regarding size and weight to prevent any problems when taking them onboard, so it's always important to check size restrictions with your particular airline.

Underseat and vanity cases come in various colours and styles. The best options will use clever design features to ensure you can bring everything you need onboard and are easily reachable throughout the flight.

Navigating crowded planes and tight cabin spaces is a breeze using underseat and carry-on cases, so all you need to do is find your seat, settle down and enjoy your flight. You can also give yourself a rather smug pat on the back, knowing that you are helpfully freeing up overhead cabin space too.

Remember: It's crucial to check your airline's baggage allowance as it varies from one airline to the other. Overweight or oversized luggage could incur extra charges or may not be allowed on the flight at all.

Our Top Picks for Under Seat Luggage

Top Picks for Vanity Cases

Top Picks for Carry On Suitcases

4 Essential Items to Pack in Your Underseat Bag or Vanity Case

Flying long-haul can be a challenge. However, packing the right items in your underseat small bag or vanity case can turn an otherwise arduous journey into a more comfortable experience.

Pink Vanity Case Hand Luggage For Flying
Let's take a look at those must-haves:

1. Travel documents

Never underestimate the importance of easy access to your documents. Make sure you are organised and have packed your vanity case or personal bag with the following:

  • Passport
  • Boarding Passes
  • Visas (If required)
  • Pen

2. Personal Hygiene Essentials

A long-haul flight often means travelling overnight. However, even if this isn’t the case, having essential items to freshen up can make you feel a lot more comfortable. Some useful essentials include:

  • Hand sanitiser
  • Travel-sized dental kit
  • Facial wipes
  • Moisturiser
  • Lip balm

3. Entertainment

Flying long haul means you have hours to spend sitting in one spot. While long-haul flights typically provide onboard entertainment, you might want to bring some of your own devices with you to occupy your time if you feel like a change or the on-board system fails. Typical entertainment items include:

  • Electronic devices (Kindle, Tablet, etc.)
  • Headphones
  • Chargers and power banks
  • A book/magazine
  • Travel guidebook

4. Snacks and Beverages

Although airlines do provide meals on long-haul flights, let’s face it, the quality of food can vary. Packing a few of your own snacks and a reusable water bottle, which you can fill up after passing through security, can come in handy to keep you hydrated, refreshed and energised throughout the long journey.

Remember: It's essential to check the updated hand luggage restrictions of the airline you are flying with to make sure all the items are allowed.

Sleeping Soundly on Your Long-Haul Flight: 6 Must-Have Flight Sleep Essentials

packing in flight sleep essentials for long haul flights

When taking long-haul flights, getting quality sleep can be more than a little challenging. By packing a few sleep essentials, you can dramatically improve the likelihood of catching those much-needed zzz's during your flight. From travel pillows to earplugs, these are the items you should not leave home without.

1. Travel Pillow

A travel pillow can make all the difference on a long-haul flight. Our favourite is a neck pillow that has supportive memory foam to ensure comfort throughout your flight - or check out the Telegraphs’ best travel pillows for long-haul flights.

2. Sleep Mask

For when you want to rest, a sleep mask can help block out the cabin lights or glare from entertainment screens. Choose a mask that is light-blocking and fits snugly without pressing hard on your eyes. You can always view the best-selling eye masks on Amazon for inspiration!

3. Earplugs

A pair of earplugs can also make a huge difference. You'll want to choose ones that are comfortable to wear for extended periods, and that successfully block out the drone of aeroplane engines, that hen party, or your ever-so-chatty neighbour. Check out the in-depth review that Areo Corner has done on some of the best earplugs for flying.

4. Comfortable Clothing

Being comfortable is a must on any long-haul flight. Layers are your friend here as they allow you to adapt to the changing temperature onboard the plane. Opt for loose, soft clothing that doesn't ride up or dig in. The aim is to be as relaxed as possible, so even though you look great in that suit or those skin-tight jeans, it is more sensible to choose something that you know will keep you comfortable for the duration of the flight.

5. Warm Socks or Slippers

Thanks to cold air pumping throughout the cabin and lack of mobility to get the blood circulating, you might find your feet are chilly on your flight, so consider packing a pair of warm socks or cabin slippers to keep your toes toasty.

6. Blanket

Sometimes, the blankets provided by airlines are not warm enough. Packing your own travel-sized blanket ensures you can stay warm and rest easier. We would suggest looking for something soft in cashmere or wool, or a travel sized weighted blanket for the ultimate comfort.

All of the above sleep essentials can be neatly packed away in your choice of hang luggage, so they can be accessed easily.

Note: Remember, airlines can change the temperatures significantly during a long-haul flight. Dressing in layers and having options such as a blanket or a jacket can make a huge difference in your comfort level.

Tech & Gadgets to Pack for A Smooth Journey

Travelling on long-haul flights can be a taxing experience. The latest in tech can keep you entertained during your hours in the sky and help improve your comfort levels. If you want to improve your travel experience and look super cool while doing it, consider taking these gadgets on board.

Packing Hand Luggage for Flight


  • Mobile Phone or Tablet: These devices can be used for entertainment, such as watching movies, reading digital books, listening to music, or even work-related activities. Downloading your favourite games, TV shows, and films can ensure you have lots of entertainment to keep you occupied throughout the journey.
  • E-Reader: Consider investing in devices such as Kindle if you're an avid reader. They're much lighter and more convenient than carrying multiple physical books.
  • Portable Charger: A charger is a lifesaver when your devices run out of juice. Always choose one with high capacity to charge your device multiple times.
  • Noise-Cancelling Headphones: Whether you want to listen to your favourite music or block out the engine noise for a peaceful sleep and are not a fan of ear plugs, these gadgets are indispensable for long-haul flights.

Additional Tech Essentials For Long Haul Flights

In addition to the standard tech gear, some other handy technology-related items include:

  • Universal Travel Adapter: Different countries use different plug styles and voltages. It's better to carry a universal travel adapter to charge your devices.
  • USB Cable: It is essential to have a USB cable compatible with your device for charging.
  • Flash Drive or Portable Hard Drive: Having a portable storage device could be crucial if you need to transfer files from one device to another.

Remember, the goal is to travel light but with care. Choose your technology and gear based on requirements and necessity and pop it safely in your new hard-shell vanity bag or underseat case.

Travel Smart with it Luggage’s Ultimate Packing Checklist

When packing for long-haul flights, it is essential to be well-prepared and organised. Start by choosing the right suitcase to meet your specific needs, and that complies with your airline's regulations. Additionally, remember to include underseat cases and carry-on cabin luggage for easy access to your inflight essentials. These smaller bags can be used to store items like travel docs, toiletries, medications, and entertainment devices.

By following this ultimate travel packing checklist, you can ensure a stress-free and smooth long-haul flight experience. Remember to tailor your travel packing checklist to your specific needs and preferences, and always check the latest airline regulations and restrictions before your journey.

Happy travels!