Packing for a Long-Haul Flight

I’m heading home for the Vacances de Noël today! Since I will only be in the United States for about 10 days during this trip and have adequate wardrobes in both France and the U.S., I wasn’t too concerned about packing for my visit.

That being said, I will be traveling for almost 20 hours straight as I make the trek from my apartment to CDG to AMS to ATL to ROA, and then eventually, home.

My travel experience has given me significant routines when it comes to preparing for a long-haul flight, so here is what I packed for this undoubtedly long and stressful day of travel.


Especially on my 9.5 hour international flight, I want to be prepared to get comfortable and hopefully even get some sleep. My packing list for the plane ride includes:

  • Memory foam neck pillow
  • Sweatshirt
  • Slippers

Plus, I always make use out of the blanket, pillow, earplugs, and eye masks that flight attendants give out for free!


If you are impressed by the airplane food, then you can skip over this section, but personally, I cannot say that I am. During my last international flight, I was so turned off by the previewed meal options that I brought my own and didn’t even take any of the food offered to me throughout the trip. This time, I wasn’t as prepared, so I won’t be going so far, but I am bringing the following food items for snacks and makeshift meals:

  • Almond butter packets (in my travel-size liquids bag)
  • Sliced apple
  • Trail mix with cashews/almonds/cranberries
  • Baked chips
  • Cookies
  • Granola bar
  • Clementines

I am also hoping to have some time during layovers to grab something more substantial in case the airplane meals aren’t too satisfying.

One important tip related to food/beverages is that staying hydrated is SO important while traveling! Drinking plenty of water (and avoiding the alcoholic beverages) will help you feel so much less jet-lagged and tired after your flight. I always bring my empty water bottle when flying so that I can fill it up at the water fountain, and I take water any time the flight attendants offer it to make sure I am consuming enough.

Technology & Entertainment

I get bored and anxious quickly, especially while sitting in a floating metal tube for hours at a time, so my technological devices keep me content and entertained. Here’s what technology-related items I packed:

  • Phone (obviously) with downloaded music
  • Airpods to connect to phone
  • Corded earpods to connect to airplane screen
  • Laptop for writing
  • IPad
  • Chargers for everything
  • Portable charger
  • FR/U.S. SIM cards

Additional entertainment-related items I’m bringing along that aren’t so technological include:

  • Sudoku book and pens
  • Planner
  • Newspaper


One of the key lessons I have learned through my experiences with long-haul flights has been the importance of bringing along necessary toiletries and following your normal routine as best as you can. It’s normal to feel gross after 20 hours of travel, but I’m hoping to minimize this as much as possible through bringing along these items:

  • Hand lotion
  • Travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Medications including melatonin and advil
  • Cleansing wipes
  • Retainer
  • Chap stick
  • Oil-absorbing sheets

Additionally, even though I have received my three COVID-19 vaccines, I’m still trying to be as safe as possible, so I have these things packed as well:

  • Travel size hand sanitizer
  • Small pack of disinfectant wipes
  • Extra surgical masks


No matter what type of trip you’re taking, always do your research ahead of time regarding what documents you need. Especially when crossing country borders, it’s a good idea to bring anything and everything you might be asked for, including the following:

  • Passport with visa
  • U.S. passport card and VA driver’s license
  • Proof of visa validation
  • Birth certificate
  • COVID-19 vaccination proof
  • COVID-19 antigen test results
  • COVID-19 attestation

My mom always tells me to make a packing list, and even though I definitely did not do so for my overall trip, I hope that this packing list for what I’ll need during my day of travel counts for something!

Off I go for a new adventure! I’m looking forward to reconnecting with close and extended family members, as well as enjoying some of my favorite U.S. stores, foods, and experiences during the vacation.

À plus!

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