As I get ready for my visit to the United Kingdom, I’d like to share what I have in my carry-on backpack to make the long-haul flights a breeze. As a simple rule of thumb, I try to only check clothes and toiletries: things that are easily replaced. Additionally, for these long flights, I recommend covering every square inch of your skin or bringing layers that will allow you to do so later (nothing is worse than having the air conditioning blast your ankles for eight hours because your pants just weren’t quite long enough). This includes long socks, long pants, a comfortable sweatshirt and a blanket (although long flights usually supply this, they’re usually thin and scratchy). This is by no means an exhaustive list of what to pack, this is personally what I like to have with me.
I usually bring two bags: a backpack and a purse. Things I will used often and would like easy access to go in the purse while everything else goes into the backpack.
Passport, boarding pass: I will usually carry these until I’m seated.
Laptop: Although it’s bulky, I like having my laptop with me to write, watch movies and organize my pictures and documents.
iPad: I like to have my iPad to play games, read (on that note, if you’re not a digital reader, bring a paper book to keep you entertained), and use it to watch movies when my laptop dies.
Prescription pills: If, for whatever reason, my checked bags get lost or delayed, I don’t want to be without any important prescriptions or medical supplies.
Antacid, headache, pain medicine: I never know when a headache or stomach ache will strike (especially with coach airline food). I will usually only pack about 2-10 pills of each rather than taking the whole bottle.
Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant: I like to freshen up and look pretty once I land so I don’t look like a total scrub for whoever is meeting me.
Water bottle, snack: I never seem to be thirsty when the flight attendants dish out those eight-ounce cups of water or soda.
Change of underwear, shirt: Again, I like to feel fresh when I land.
Phone, wallet, keys: Obviously.
Portable charger: While everyone fights for an outlet at the airport, I sit comfortably with my portable charger. Not to mention, a lot of planes don’t have outlet plugs in coach.
Music player, headphones, back-up headphones: If you’re one to listen to music, I strongly recommend bringing an extra pair of headphones in case the ones you bring break or get lost.
Earplugs and sleeping mask: With the crying babies and screaming of the airplane jets, it can be hard to fall asleep. And don’t forget about that one guy who insists on keeping his window open to let the sun blare through when everybody else is trying to rest to avoid jetlag.