6 things you HAVE to pack for your next long flight (don't even question us)
I could write a book on mastering long-haul flights, mostly because I've made so many mistakes in the past—and we obviously learn from our mistakes. After taking hundreds of international and overnight flights, I now know the best seat to reserve, what time to sleep to avoid jet lag, what food to avoid and what amenities to expect onboard. I also know how to expertly pack my carry-on.
Packing is crucial when it comes to long-haul, overnight flights. There are items travelers will always take only to never use them and things they never bring only to regret it later. To ensure you have a seamless on-board experience, definitely stash these 6 things in your carry-on.
1. Pajamas. Call me fancy, but I am not going to sleep in my pants and shirt I wore to the airport, only to wear them the next day through customs and a commute to the hotel. It's a bit sloppy and gross. For me, it has that "walk of shame" or "passed out drunk" vibe, and I'd rather arrive to my destination in clothes I didn't sleep in. I always pack a T-shirt and gym shorts in my carry-on, which I'll change into when the overhead lights dim, then sleep as I do at home. I'm surprised when I see business travelers sleep in their dress shirts and slacks, then wear the same thing straight to the hotel. Trust me: you will feel so much better if you sleep in pajamas. It's a total psychological thing. Luckly, many airlines provide pajamas in business class. Sometimes, you just have to ask for them.
2. Downloaded movies on your laptop. It's standard that most long-haul flights provide seat-back entertainment, which definitely comes in handy on your flight back to the US where you'll likely be awake the majority of the flight. Unfortunately, not all in-flight entertainment is created equal. Some airlines have the worst options, like straight to iTunes flicks and outdated TV shows you've already seen. Worst of all? Some airlines, like Delta, edit the movies! Why would they do that? It's not like the majority of passengers are under 12 years old. Anyway. It's always a good idea to have movies and TV shows downloaded on your computer so you don't have to worry about being stuck with terrible entertainment. I wrote a list of the best TV shows to binge watch on your next flight.
3. USB cord. How many times have you left the house forgetting your phone charger? Know how to fix this problem? Always leave a spare in your carry-on. Most planes will have USB outlets at every seat, so the cord is a good thing to have for a fully powered up cell phone when you land. It's always annoying when you get to your destination, then have to charge up a dead phone and wait a while before calling an Uber.
4. Sleeping pill. I don't care if it's herbal, Ambien, Tylenol PM or a Xanax, you will be grateful to have packed a sleeping aid on your long-haul flight. It's not easy sleeping upright in coach and, while designed with lie-flat beds, business-class seats are not crazy comfortable. You're confined to this tiny pod on a hard-cushioned airplane seat, and they definitely don't give you life-changing pillows. If I don't take an Ambien, I'm always waking up in the middle of my sleep due to discomfort. Unless you've completely mastered sleeping restfully on a plane, you'll want to knock yo' ass out with a sleeping pill.
5. Pen. There was a time flight attendants passed out customs forms a little too late, and I didn't have a pen. In business class, I was one of the first off the plane, but I had to go to that little customs-form booth, somehow find a pen then fill out my paperwork while literally everyone on the plane went through customs before me. Always have a pen handy. You can't rely on other people. Some airlines provide pens in the business-class amenity kits, but you never really know which airline so don't take that gamble.
6. Deodorant. I always pack my deodorant in my carry-on, not my toiletry kit packed in my luggage. I've had long layovers and sometimes have had to go straight to meetings from a flight. You will be so glad you did this.