My Long Haul Travel Essentials

…discovered during a 26 hour flight


Air travel blows my mind. I have to not think about the fact that I’m 30,000 ft up in the air inside a glorified tin can whenever I’m on a plane, or else I will end up having to deep breathe in and out of a paper bag. Over the years I’ve become more accustomed with flying and on the surface I appear to have my s**t together, but you’ll still find me gripping onto the armrest during bad turbulence and being wide awake whilst everyone else on the damn flight looks as peaceful as a baby in a deep slumber. HOW? Will someone share the secret?

When it comes to packing, I’m notoriously organised, but I can skew off to the over-packing side of things as I just tell myself I ‘like to be prepared‘. I class anything over a five hour flight as a meaty journey and pack for such a trip as if I’m making a trek to the other side of the world. Seeing as I have recently been to the other side of the world, I feel I’ve now really got the air miles under my belt to know what it’s truly worth packing on your back and lugging the 11,386 miles and what it’s worth leaving at home. So here are my long haul travel essentials…


Your bag of choice. Not only do you want to use a bag that fits the airlines restrictions, you also want something that you can use on the rest of your trip and a bag that makes it easy to find what you’re looking for. I used this Fjallraven Dark Grey Backpack (I think almost every second person we saw in NZ had one of these), and it’s all I really used whilst we were away and was big enough to fit everything I needed for the flight in, without being too bulky.

A change of clothes. Our journey to NZ consisted of two 12-ish hour flights, with a two hour layover at LAX, so it made sense to bring a second pair of clothing – new pants, socks, t-shirt, jumper and leggings – to change into before the second leg. I also threw an extra pair of pants and another t-shirt in my bag to change into once we reached our destination as we weren’t able to check into our hotel for another eight hours *does a rather convincing zombie impression*. Not only are you going to feel fresher at the other end, it’s also a good back-up incase your luggage doesn’t make it as the same time you do.

Shower on the go. 26 hours is a long ol’ time to go without a shower when you’re busy getting clammy on planes, so I made sure I’d packed the Yuni Shower Sheets (better than the Flash Bath No-Rinse Body Cleanser which leaked everywhere!) and a mini deodorant so I didn’t feel completely rank when we arrived. A decanted bottle of micellar water is good for getting your face clean without having to hike to the bathroom, plus we all know that an anti-bac hand gel is a non-negotiable, along with a toothbrush and mini toothpaste.


The beauty bumf. In previous years I’ve taken my whole skincare cupboard with me, but for our trip to NZ I really tried to strip it back and focused on the key area – MOISTURE. After using the micellar water on my face I went in with some eye cream that I’d downsized into a little pot, a layer of the Glossier Super Bounce and then either used the Glossier Moisturising Moon Mask on top if I was feeling dry, or the May Lindstrom Blue Cocoon on top if I was feeling so dry that I thought my face might fall off. I did this every couple of hours, either from scratch or just topping up with the final moisture step. Other essentials included the BITE Beauty Agave Lip Mask, which also doubled up a good cuticle nourisher when I got bored, and a mini Kiehl’s Creme de Corps, which soothed my dry limbs that resembled the flesh of a snake as soon as we got up in the air.

The boring stuff. Of course you’re going to need your passport, money, cards, any travel and insurance documents (it’s best to print these out incase your phone decides to play up at the other end). I always pack my keys and laptop in my cabin bag incase my luggage goes missing. Then because you’re going so darn far I’d suggest throwing in your laptop and phone chargers, mainly incase there are any delays and you start to run out of juice – plus most long-haul airlines provide an in-seat plug for you.


That’s entertainment. I always plan entertainment for the plane like I’m going into some sensory deprivation bunker, completely forgetting that they provide films galore. I sit there downloading Park & Rec episodes and podcasts onto my phone and end up completely forgetting that I have them and watching 10 episodes of Friends back-to-back on the TV instead. I do reckon it’s worth taking noise-cancelling headphones with you, especially if you’re a nervy flyer (I have these ones), a pack of cards mainly for any delays (teach yourself Speed and you won’t want to play anything else) and a book – again for delays or if you’re trying to nod off to sleep.

Keep it cosy. Despite being someone who is perpetually sweaty, bizarrely on planes I can get a little chilly, so I always make sure I have some extra layers to put on or use as extra pillow padding if I need to get comfy. I’d suggest a pair of fluffy socks, a scarf (which can easily be worn so you don’t have to worry about stuffing it in your bag), and a zip-up hoodie (ditto – I have this one and it’s perhaps the best thing that I’ve ever received as a gift).

The sleep essentials. Ahhhh sleep. I’m not someone who struggles to sleep normally, but put me on a plane and I’ll stay wide-eyed for a full 12 hour flight as though my life depends on it. That doesn’t stop me bringing my ear plugs, a silk eye mask and a memory foam travel pillow though. You know – just to be prepared.

Photos by Lauren Shipley

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