Hey there travel buddies and welcome to my post where we will check out my take on the must have items for flying this year. Now, I am fully aware that what you take with you on the plane is definitely a personal preference and something that admittedly I have played around with my entire traveling life.

must haves for flying - header

I mean I have gone from the extremes of taking everything on this list (and a little more) as well as just me, my phone, passport and wallet. All with varying degrees of success.

So for those of you looking to take a flight and not sure what to take with you, here are some must haves that I think you may need – of course (and probably takes the ‘must-have’ element away) feel free to chop and change as you need.

Must Have Items For Flying - plane cabin

Must Have Items For Flying

Ok, so I have split them into on-plane needs and of course this may change depending on whether you are on a short or long haul flight and whether you are travelling alone or with the family. Let’s get on board…

1. Travel Backpack

Your first order of business is to look for a reliable and durable travel backpack. I have travelled with a backpack, bag and carry-on suitcase and have found a backpack to be the most useful thing of all – even if you are not checking in luggage.

Of course any type will do, but if you can afford it or travel regularly then I strongly suggest a backpack that is purposely designed for travel. These include built in features such as padding for a laptop as well as pockets for all of your gear including warmer layers, passports, valuables and electronics (cameras, mobile phones etc.) as well.

Check out these: Travel Backpacks

2. The Basics

These are the things that you must check you have before you leave and take with you on the plane.

  • Travel insuranceTravel insurance is another must have and provides protection for travel related issued such as delays, theft, cancelled flights, illness, accidents and so on.
  • Cash/cards – In this day and age of budget travel and airlines, you may often find that you will need to purchase food and drink on the plane. Some airlines work in cash only, sone card only. Make sure you have access to both on the flight.
  • Itinerary – This next one is probably less about the flight itself but once you hit the customs desk at your destination. To keep immigration officials happy, print copies of your itinerary and other essential documents so that you can produce them if needed. Some can be saved and accessed on a smartphone – so a backup there will help as well.

3. In plane comfort

Ok, so this next section is probably one where you can argue the ‘must have’ elements of it all but for comfort on a plane, take the following:

  • Hand lotion – Having some lotion on hand can be helpful for those times when your skin dries out – which is a common occurrence on a plane. Just make sure that it fits within airline volume limitations. 
  • Collapsible water bottle – Many airlines will not allow you to take water on a plane (especially if travelling internationally) so a collapsible water bottle is a good investment. When flying, the product is ideal for refilling at the onboard water stations and eliminates the need to purchase little plastic water bottles, saving you money and even enabling you to remain environmentally friendly as well.

Check out these: Collapsible Water Bottles For Travel

  • Wet wipes – These ones took me a little while to accept (they are the first thing my wife packs) however they are a beneficial addition to your carry-on, especially if you plan to take long-haul flights. In short, baby wipes are not only great for a quick clean up in a small space if needed but are also great as a refresher to make one’s face feel cleaner and to to wake you up. The bestselling wet wipes are made of natural bamboo and are categorized as biodegradable.
  • Snacks – Again you will need to check airline policies however to avoid going hungry, be sure to include a snack or two. Food is rarely offered on short-haul flights, and long-haul flights typically charge a premium for snacks. Nuts are excellent snacks for flights (avoid salted ones since these will make you thirsty) and protein or muesli bars are also effective too. Oh, and chocolate or jelly type candy/lollies could also do you well.
must haves for flying - eye covers and headphones
  • Travel pillow – I personally don’t take these but for many, these enables them to sleep more comfortably, especially if you are on long flights. The best travel pillows can conform to your head’s shape and provide needed support.

Check out these: Travel pillows

  • Travel shades – These specialized eye covers are designed to protect your eyes against the sun’s glaring light. Put simply, if you need pitch black to sleep, or have sensitive eyes, then these will be an invaluable asset to your flight.
  • Deodorant – This will help keep body odor at bay, especially after a night huddled under a blanket.
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush – These two are automatically on anyone’s list since they keep our mouths fresh and clean.
  • General medicines – Don’t feel you need to pack the entire medicine cabinet because most nations make it easy to obtain medication. However, it is highly recommended to bring pain relief medication for headaches, cramps, allergies and upset stomachs whilst on the plane and of course any prescription medication as well. A good medication organizer for travel will work here however again, check with airline regulations and those of your destination as well.

4. Gadgets and electronics

For many of us, these are the first things packed so let’s check them out.

  • Cell phone – A mobile/cell phone is essential – full stop. And even if you are looking to be uncontactable, they still make great MP3 players for music and the cameras are usually pretty good too.

Check out these: Airplane phone holders

  • USB charging cable – many airline seats these days are equipped with a USB port to charge your phone as you travel. However they will not provide a cable.
  • Power bank – Should a USB port not be available, then a power bank can replenish the drained battery of your mobile phone. These are especially useful if you have other items to be charged as well such as wireless headphones or an e-Reader etc. I suggest ultra-high capacity power banks (like one with 20,100mAh) because they can recharge everything several times on a single full charge.
  • Noise-canceling headphones – This is another area where it can be argued whether this is a must have or simply a luxury however for many, these are essential for enjoying your music, podcasts, audiobooks and movies on those lengthy journeys. Of course they can be a Godsend if you are a light sleeper as well.
  • Entertainment – If electronic means of entertainment such as movies, music or games are not for you, then don’t forget taking something else to do. This can include a puzzle book, novel or even a laptop to do some writing etc.

Check out these: Check out these noise cancelling headphones

must haves for flying - boy with ipad and headphones


There you have it; my must-have items for flying. I would be pleased to know how this article helped you, and as usual,  let me know of your experiences with them.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, or corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time.

Have fun


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