7 Essential Carry-on Items for an Overnight Flight

It can be a challenge to travel in an economy seat on an overnight flight and arrive at your destination feeling refreshed and relaxed.  Over the years I have developed a list of seven essential items I bring in my carry-on bag each time I fly to help enhance my overnight flight experience.  These items are readily available in stores and some items may be provided by the airlines.

1. Eye Mask

Korean Air Eye Mask

Korean Air Eye Mask

If adjusting to your new time zone, hitting the ground running, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are important, then getting some sleep on your flight is crucial.  Since you don’t have the ability to sleep in complete darkness or ensure your neighbor won’t turn their light on and disrupt your sleep, the next best thing you can do is bring an eye mask.  Since sleeping upright for several hours doesn’t constitute a good night’s sleep for most people, at least blocking out the light will keep you asleep.  You don’t need anything elaborate or expensive, a basic eye mask will do the trick.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being, so grab an eye mask.

Here are a few I suggest.

 

 

2. Travel Pillow

REI Self-Inflating Travel Pillow

REI Self-Inflating Travel Pillow

One of the most important accessories for today’s traveler is the travel pillow. Enhancing your comfort while stuck in an economy seat for several hours is one way you can improve the quality of your trip.  Use the pillow the airline provides for lumbar support and bring your pillow for your head.  I use one of the best travel pillows available, the REI Self-Inflating Travel Pillow.  Check out a recent blog post of mine to find out why.  You can buy your pillow only from REI.

 

3. Headphones

iPhone Headphones

iPhone Headphones

Bring your own.  If the airline you are flying with does provide them, chances are you are going to have to wait until you are at cruising altitude to get them or the quality of the headphones will not be as good as the pair you own. Headphones not only serve to help to hear your movie or music better, but they also block out sound while you are trying to sleep, especially if you are near someone that snores.  Double whammy.

Here are a few I recommend.

 

4. Essential Toiletries (Toothbrush, small toothpaste and deodorant)

Essential Toiletries

Essential Toiletries

Not only should you aim to disembark feeling rested, but you should aim to feel and smell clean.  An easy way to achieve that is to bring a toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste (100 ml or less of course).  Also, a small stick of deodorant will leave you smelling fresh and clean. The immigration official and those you are meeting will appreciate the effort, plus you will feel ready to start your day.

 

Target is a great place to grab these small sized item.

 

5. Pen

Korean Air Pen

Korean Air Pen

A pen will come in handy if you need to fill out immigration paperwork. Many people forget to bring a pen so it will also make you popular in your row.

 

6. Slippers or Thick Socks

Travel Socks

Travel Socks

You don’t sleep wearing shoes at home so take your shoes off and get settled in. To feel more relaxed and to reduce the possible odor that may emit from your feet put on slippers or wool socks.  Slippers are ideal as you don’t want to walk into the bathroom with your socks on.  If you have stayed at a hotel recently or visited a spa that provided you with a disposable pair then use those.  It made all the difference on my recent 15 hour flight from Dubai to Washington Dulles.

 

7. Water

Water Bottle

Water Bottle

Hydrate and not with alcohol.  Traveling in an airplane causes our bodies to dehydrate, which is why it's not a good idea to drink lots of alcohol while flying.  Bring some water, preferably in your own refillable water bottle.

 

Preventing dehydration from air travel.

 

Pack-it

I keep all of these items (minus the water bottle) in my handy Eagle Creek quarter cube pack-it, so they are easily accessible and I'm not rummaging through my bag as we board the plane.

Eagle Creek Pack-it

Eagle Creek Pack-it

These are the 7 essential carry-on items I recommend to improve your comfort and chances for a good overnight flight.

Here are some options.

 

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