Travel Tuesday: Carry-On Packing Tips for a Long Flight

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Travel Tuesday: Carry-On Packing Tips for a Long Flight
Travel Tuesday: Carry-On Packing Tips for a Long Flight

I have flown to and from Alaska on six different occasions.

Six occasions flying either all day or all night over 3000 miles to Minnesota (on our trip to Alabama/New Orleans it was 4200!) and 3000 miles back. Although it’s not an “international” flight, 6-16 hours on flights and airports has given me some valuable insight into absolutely everything needed in the perfect carry-on.

Mostly because I’ve forgotten each and every one of these items at what point or another and it’s made for some rough flying.

On Thursday, it will mark seven long flights from Alaska. And on Thursday I intend to be prepared.

Here’s my perfect carry on for a long or red eye flight cross country (or across the world):


1. Neck Pillow – because there’s nothing quite worse than wanting to take a snooze and having nothing but the cold hard shell of the plane, one of my neighbors, or the table in front of me to lay my head.

2. Duluth Pack Messenger Bag – I swear by this amazing company and their quality products, but any tough bag with a long strap to either hold on your shoulder or across your body will do. I prefer these over backpacks because no one can unzip a section without me noticing.

3. Cell-Phone Charger – Obvious reasons.

4. A Good Read – I prefer a fiction read I’ve already started so I know I won’t be bored. If your poison is a trash romance novel or Cosmo, go for it. Bring something that doesn’t require you to stare at a screen and give yourself a headache in the dim lighting of the cabin.

5. A Change of Clothes – If I have connections I bring a change of clothes in case my baggage is delayed. But for overnight flights like on Thursday, I bring clothes so I can freshen up at my destination when I land. Nothing worse than trying to start your vacation in musty, slept in clothes.

6. Cell Phone & Head Phones – The cellphone is obvious, but I try to never forget headphones. The airline’s headphones are usually pretty cheap and there’s something so hygienic for me about bringing my own.

7. Personal Care Products – To freshen up. If something gets in my teeth? If a long nap leaves me feeling grungy? It feels so good to have lotion*, toothpaste, and deodorant.

*After I took the picture, I noticed that lotion is too big, make sure it’s less than 3oz!

8. Sleeping Mask – Although the cabin is dimly lit on overnight flights, everyone around me could decide to read or watch a movie and suddenly my eyelids are just not doing the trick. I bring an eye mask to help block out all the chaos.

9. 100 Calorie Almond Packs – Nuts are filling and delicious. They prevent me from opting for carbohydrate-filled cookies or pretzels, and if I get the portion sized, I won’t overeat unlike a bag of dangerous trail mix.

10. Supplements/Medicine – I put them all in one baggy so I’m not patrolling around the bottom of my purse for them. I bring Airborne or Vitamin C tablets, Ibuprofen, Pepto Bismol pills, and any prescriptions/supplements I take.

11. Liquids in a Quart Bag – Face wash, liquid make up, toothpaste, and this is also where I’d put the correctly sized lotion!

12. Make Up – I use mainly powder Bare Minerals, so most of my make-up can be put into it’s own bag. I don’t always bring make-up in my carry-on, but on Thursday I’m jumping right into activities and would like to be looking like I haven’t just been on flights all evening…

13. Clorox Wipes in a To-Go Pack – Last but definitely not least. I’m bringing Clorox wipes for the first time ever. I have gotten sick on 4 of 6 trips leaving Alaska. Those odds are not in my favor. I hope being the super germaphobe passenger who wipes down the table, arm rests, and head rests will prevent a cold or flu from killing my immune system. I have super cute nieces/nephews who also send me back filled with germs, but unfortunately I can’t Clorox those rugrats. 

Pick a carry-on bag that all of the items fit very comfortably into, but that you can still stow underneath your seat. I have found that it’s a hassle to have the wheeled carry-ons that must be stowed overhead. Overhead space runs out quickly now days and frankly it’s just easier to bring less stuff aboard the plane. I am even able to fit my thin Fossil purse in my Duluth Pack bag if need be. My purse I’ll note will hold non-liquid chapstick, my wallet, my retainers, my tickets, and anything else of value.

This is basically all I bring throughout the airports and on my flights.


If I can sleep, stay healthy, and arrive at my destination looking somewhat fresh and ready to go I will deem this trip and my carry-on bags an absolute success.

Happy Travels!

Camille Mae (2)

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