How to Pack your Carry-On For Long Haul Flights

How to Stay So Fresh So Clean (So Practical): Packing a Carry-On and Feeling Your Best for a Long Flight

We’ve all been there: You step off of a long, 8-hour flight and feel like a stale piece of bread. Your carry-on is filled with various clutter instead of useful items, and your toes are freezing because you made the fatal mistake of wearing sandals on the plane. This is no way to start your abroad experience!  Here are tips on how to pack an effective carry on bag to look and feel your best:


  • First off, you’re going to need a solid bag. You don’t want anything too cheap that will to fall apart quickly, and you do want a bag that zips. My backpack is from Hemetic: made in the United States and is designed for those who enjoy adventuring in all forms. Investing in a good carry-on is always smart.    
  • An outfit for the next day, in case anything happens with your luggage. Layers work best so that you can even mix and match if you’re in this situation for a couple of days. And always bring extra socks!
  • An eye mask and sleeping aids if you need them. Eye masks are great for creating a peaceful sleeping environment, and not all airlines will provide them on your flight.
  • With that, headphones to block out noise or listen to your favorite jams. Need listening suggestions? I recommend Soulection Radio! Soulection is a weekly mix of relaxing, soulful electronic music that can be downloaded to your device from soundcloud. Bonus points for noise cancelling headphones!
  • Your 3 oz. products (again, in case of a lost luggage dilemma). For makeup wearing folks: bring makeup removing wipes, lip balm, and hydrating face spray. Flights can do a number on your skin! Pack your favorite essentials to reapply when you land to be fresh faced and ready for the day. For everyone: Pack hand sanitizer and a small mouthwash or a disposable toothbrush as well as any other products you need. Don’t forget important medications!
  • Folks who wear contacts: Make sure you pack both your glasses and contacts in your bag. Again, flights can be very dry and tough on the eyes so you might opt to wear your glasses until you arrive.
  • A reusable water bottle to fill up once you are past security to save you money (and will stick with you for the duration of your trip).
  • A good book or e-reader (e.g. a Kindle or Nook). E-readers are lightweight and hold thousands of titles. If you’re not a reader, bring whatever relaxes you and helps to pass time. Podcasts are awesome for whatever your interests are, and help the flight go by faster by keeping you engaged. My personal favorites are NPR’s “The Moth”, “Snap Judgement” and “The Friend Zone.” Podcasts are made for basically any subject! Soundcloud is a great way to find them, and be sure to download episodes before you go into airplane mode!
  • Powerbanks! I have an external powerbank (and there are even powerbank cases that attach directly to your phone) so I don’t have to worry about finding an outlet to charge your devices. Note: Be sure to charge these ahead of time, as many start with an empty battery.
  • Some of your favorite snacks to help your immune system and to make you feel comfortable!


  • Drink plenty of water and get a solid dose of vitamin C. When you’re packed with a group of people in close quarters recycling the same air, you need all the immunity boosts you can get!
  • As you pack your carry on, make sure to pack the less essential items at the bottom, and anything you’ll need during the flight on top. This will make all the difference when your whole carry-on isn’t out on display as you dig for your tiny bottle of mouthwash.
  • Wear comfortable layers, but not sweatpants! 

You want to be ready to step off the plane and move on to whatever adventure is coming at you. If you follow these tips, you’ll be a flight pro in no time!

By Brenna Rosen, WSA Intern Fall '16
University of Vermont, Study Abroad city: Prague


Dan McGlinn, University of Notre Dame

Happy Backpackers

Great mix between learning and leisure. Our tour guide, Lauren, was extremely knowledgable and also very well connected. The weekend was a blast!

Dan McGlinn, University of Notre Dame ~ Notre Dame Global Gateway, Rome, Summer Break 2016

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