How To Prepare For Long-Haul Travel & My Packing List

Tried and tested, baby.

*This post contains affiliate links (denoted by a ‘*’)

Me and travel aren’t exactly the best of friends. I mean I can grit my teeth as I’m shaken around in a gloried tin can 35,000 foot up in the air, but it’s not my preferred way to spend time. I’m lucky that I get to travel a bit with my job and Mark and I enjoy the odd holiday and city break here and there, so travel is something that I’ve just had to get friendly with, but there’s something about long-haul travel that still to this day, makes my bowels churn.

One thing I’ve found to really help is be prepared for it; both mentally by finding ways to cope when I’m freaking out because the turbulence has been constant for the past SIX hours, and physically, by making sure that I’m packed, sorted and ready to go. This pre-flight routine along with the items that I take with me in my cabin bag are a tried and tested bunch that provide entertainment when I’m gripping onto the arms of my seat and makes feel as fresh and rested when I disembark as is humanly possible (a.k.a the level just above dog turd). So have a read and bookmark this for the next time you head on a faraway adventure…


Be chill. There’s nothing worse than getting on a plane and feeling stressed because you’re unprepared and your mind is thinking about the 27568 you still need to do/probably forgot to pack. Give yourself plenty of time to sort out your suitcase (I usually start the day before we leave, if not a day or two earlier than that), and use my packing list to make sure that you don’t leave anything behind. Leave lots of time to get to the airport and have your transport at either end of your journey already sorted; book tickets, download any apps and get your bearings before you’ve even arrived.

Get hydrated. It’s SO BORING to say, but those planes are water-suckers, so keeping hydrated is paramount to you not feeling like an absolute turd on the other end. I take my biggest water bottle on the plane and fill it up in the airport after I’ve passed security and say yes to any water that’s offered once I’m in the air (as I attempt to say no to any booze because otherwise I’ll look like a raisin when I get to my destination).

Calm your nerves. I could probably write a whole post about this as I wouldn’t count myself as the biggest fan of air travel, but do whatever you need to do to get yourself in the mindset to tackle it because the reward at the end is always worth it. I have a pair of noise-cancelling headphones (the Bose ones* are FAB!) which drown out the engine noise which helps my anxiety massively, essential oils to stuff up my nose incase someone near me voms (the source of all my travel concerns – Emetophobes unite!) and lots of podcasts downloaded to keep me occupied if turbulence kicks in.

Store the snacks. I’m all about the food when I travel, as the thought of chowing down on a stale bread roll is enough to turn my stomach. You can pre-prepare food for the flight, although I tend to pick it up a the airport to save on the amount of stuff I have to schlep through security. Get sweet and savoury and have enough to last you for your journey on the other end because if you’re anything like me, then I am always ravenous during the journey to the hotel. Anything you don’t eat should see you through any jet-lag induced munchies you have at the other end.


When it comes to packing my cabin bag for long haul travel, I tend to take my YSL Tote Bag*, because it’s basically a knock-off of Mary Poppins’ bag and somehow manages to squeeze everything in there. It’s quite the feat. Everything that fits in can be split into four categories; so start at the top of the list with the important stuff and work your way down to the less-essential items. Long haul packing? DONE.

1. The boring bits. That’s your passport, purse, travel documents, phone, any chargers you might need over the next 24 hours (you never know if you might delayed, so I always pack my phone charger just incase!), keys, valuable items and any medication,.

2. Comfort. A neck pillow isn’t essential but I really love my memory foam one (similar one here*), an eye mask to turn off the lights is always good, along with some super squishy ear plugs. I always like to pack a fresh pair of pants, leggings and t-shirt incase I get hot and clammy during the flight and fancy changing before I get to my destination, or if we’re delayed or my bags go missing. These extras can come in pretty handy.

3. Entertainment. As I’ve already mentioned, noise-cancelling headphones are an absolute must for me and I’m always partial to a magazine to flick through during take-off and landing. I always pack my current read as planes are the best place to get some serious reading done and I always travel with my laptop too; part out of habit and part because I have ever single Parks & Rec episode downloaded on there.

4. Beauty & Hygiene. This is where things can get a little out of hand and I do tend to over-pack with this section, however – if we’re stripping it back to the basics then I’d recommend the following. I always steal the mini toothpastes and toothbrushes from flights and pack those in, along with a deodorant, hand-gel and tissues. Then really it’s all about moisture. A lip balm obviously, then I like a body cream which can double-up as a hand/limb/ankles hydrator – whatever is feeling dry. For face I think a micellar water is a good item to freshen up with mid-flight without having to queue for the loo and then some kind of super moisturiser or mask, like the Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask*, May Lindstrom Blue Cocoon* or Weleda Skin Food* should short you out. Oh and for long haul travel? EYE DROPS ARE A MUST. You can thank me later.

Photos by Emma Croman

Sign up to my monthly newsletter ‘An Edited Life’ here