It’s no secret that flying to the Pacific requires patience and a lot more room than those airplane seats give us. Even if you live on the West coast, you’re looking at more than a quick flight to get to Hawaii, Tahiti, or any of the other South Pacific gems. Planes are cramped, cold, and uncomfortable, but after a handful of long haul flights, I’ve narrowed down my list of must-haves. This is definitely not all I bring onboard, but I absolutely can’t leave home without them.

Airplane seats looking down the aisle

1. Reusable water bottle: Not exactly groundbreaking stuff here, but a Hydro Flask or Yeti or whatever brand suits your fancy is a must-have for long flights. Flying dehydrates you and staying hydrated is key for feeling good once you land on the other side. I always empty mine out to go through security and then fill it up at the first water fountain I see before boarding. When the flight attendants come around, I ask for them to fill it up. The only downside: either get an aisle seat or warn your neighbor that you’ll be making frequent trips as a result of all your in-flight hydrating.

2. Scarf or wrap: I sweat my heiney off going through security. But once I’m on the plane, I freeze. I always layer up, no matter what warm location we’re heading to, but a wrap or oversized gauzy scarf can double as a blanket on a chilly flight.

3. Noise cancelling headphones: Whether it’s an audiobook on my phone or the latest rom-com from the plane’s selection of movies, having headphones is a no-brainer. The last thing you want to listen to the whole flight is your neighbor’s snoring.

4. In-flight refresher kit: I always pack a little “freshen-up” kit in my backpack for long flights. In a zippered pouch about the size of a clutch, I carry a travel size hairspray, comb, facial moisturizer or toner spray, toothbrush and paste, deodorant, hand sanitizer, chapstick, hand lotion, and a tiny tube of concealer. About an hour before arrival, I’ll take one last walk to the restroom and spend a few minutes freshening up. It makes a world of difference to feel fresh before landing.

Toiletry and makeup bag

5. Snacks: I alway try to eat a big meal before flying, but I inevitably get pre-flight jitters and can’t do it. Bringing granola bars, dried fruit, and a bag of pistachios allows for light snacking and keeps the hunger away. Plane food isn’t good - I think we can all agree on that - and sometimes it’s hard to find something that suits a specialized diet. Have something to nibble on keeps your energy up, keeps the crankiness away, and holds me over until we land and get our first local meal.

6. Travel pillow: It’s bulky and annoying to keep clipped to my backpack, but I never travel long distances without my travel pillow. The cover zips off so I can wash all the terrifying plane germs off when the trip is over, which is a bonus. But 4 hours into an overnight flight, I’m thanking the travel pillow gods that my head isn’t resting on a strangers shoulder or slumped forward on to my tray table.

Packed open luggage on floor

Have you flown long distances? Is there something you absolutely cannot fly without?
Let me know in the comments below!

Now that you know the secret to surviving a long haul flight, let me send you away to far-off lands.