This is a very obvious list and one that most seasoned travellers will have mentally checked off many times before in one form or another.

However, half way through my RTW adventure as the novel excitement of long haul flights and overlays in airports wore off very quickly, I realised how important a little extra comfort is on a long haul journey and how essential the following cheap items are to achieving this.


Before embarking on any long haul journey I ensure I have more ear plugs than orifices as they are essential to any attempt at sleep or relaxation rumbling plane, noisy bus or busy train.

Earplugs close up

Earplugs are a must

Eye mask

I am not one of those “can sleep anywhere” people and I have been known to throw my (used) earplugs at anyone who is, such is my envy, so for additional sensory deprivation an eye mask is also an essential item. An eye mask has also come in handy when staying in accommodation that deems curtains as an optional extra.


Why do aeroplanes sometimes imitate a walk-in fridge? I will probably never have the answer to this, but I will be able to combat cold toes and chilly ankles by keeping a pair of socks in my carry on luggage.

Eye Mask in Luggage

Don't forget to pack your eye mask


Over my many years of beach hopping, my sarong has become more than a handy cover up or temporary beach mat; it is also a pillow or blanket when I am on the move. Of course if you’re an alpha male or heading to chillier climes this doesn’t need to be a sarong, it could be an fleece blanket or large scarf, but a big enough piece of soft, light fabric which can be folded up small in your carry-on bag will serve the same purpose.


It may not be allowed in some shopping centres in UK, but my hooded sweatshirt is very welcome everywhere I go as it provides comfort and warmth from evil air conditioning or unexpected bad weather at your destination. As a side note should you lose or forget your eye mask you could try putting your hoodie on backwards, it works though you do feel a little bit like you’re wearing a straight jacket.

Moisturiser in luggage

Moisturise after your flight

Hand gel

I threw one of these miniature anti-bacterial hand gels in my bag as an afterthought as we embarked on our RTW trip but really should have foreseen its importance as we have shared breathing, coughing, spluttering, sneezing and even vomiting space with more people than I like thinking about.

Baby wipes

If you’re travelling with children you will no doubt have baby wipes coming out of every pocket and bag you own but childless travellers shouldn’t dismiss how invaluable a baby wipe or two can be when faced with a spilt sugary drink or a toilet roll free bathroom.


At the risk of sounding like a women’s magazine, flying does dehydrate you (especially if you are lucky/rich enough to take advantage of complimentary on board alcoholic refreshments) and so a decent moisturiser will go a long way to making you look and feel a bit more human after a long haul flight. Fellas, I’m talking to you too.

Essential items in Luggage

Essential items in Luggage

PJ Bottoms

If I’m flying or travelling on the same mode of transport for more than four hours, I am putting my pyjama bottoms on, I don’t care how many strange looks I get when I emerge from the aeroplane bathroom. It’s very easy to value personal comfort over strange looks when you’re on a 13 hour flight.

Herbal sleeping tablets.

Of course others may choose to be prescribed something a little stronger but I find herbal sleeping tablets surprisingly effective at relaxing mind and body when faced with a chaotic journey or annoying passenger. Just don’t smell them before swallowing…

Happy comfortable travelling!


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  • I am an ear plug addict (sadcase, I know) – not only for long-haul flights but for getting a decent night’s sleep in shared dorms. Essential!

  • You’re so right Nadia! Earplugs are a traveller’s best friend… I nearly had a panic and a heart attack the other day when I thought I’d used up all of mine until I found out you can actually wash them clean to re-use. Made my day! (Simple things…)
    Bird x

  • My favorite travel item is my flourescent pink luggage tag. It makes it so easy to find my all-black luggage. Though I’m going to get me some ear plugs for my next trip!

  • Simple tip and pretty effective! So much luggage looks the same these day!

  • Oh yes – a nice and bright luggage tag is a must. I have a few actually and it always makes being reunited with my luggage (even after a one hour wait at Heathrow) a more pleasant experience!

  • I have so much respect for anyone that puts their PJ’s on on the plane. I’ve never done it myself but I’m always really jealous of those ppl who do and they look all snug. Maybe for my next long haul flight.

  • Perhaps you should go for a onesie on your next long haul flight Monica!?

  • Now a onesie is on another level, but oh imagine the comfort!!

    Monica – wear your PJs and be proud (often PJ bottoms suffice and they’re not really that different from what the army of Thai fisherman panted backpackers wear) you will not regret it and is even worth interesting times changing into them in the aeroplane loos!

  • They should really supply onesies on the flight I think! New ones of course!

  • Natalie

    Yessss! On a flight through to Rome a couple of years ago they decided to turn the cabin air from ‘cool and relaxed’ to ‘arctic freeze’… with my socks, pj pants, hoodie, eye mask and two free seats next to me it made life so much better 🙂

  • Natalie, you sound like a girl after my own heart! I always get cold on planes and glad to have another PJ wearing traveller on board! 😉

  • You forgot about bringing some tablets for upset stomachs, those things are essential whenever I travel.

  • Ah yes, these are an essential item in my case too. However, this list is just for the actual travelling part so that may have to be another list I can write! 🙂

  • Excellent tips. Most of the tips are important. One should Before leaving Regularly check whether you have put all essentials and everything in your bag and get rid of the stuff you don’t need. Last Month When I Went to Bhopal then i stuffed my bag with lots of stuff that are not also provided by Hotel (Welcomheritage Noor-Us-Sabah Palace) where i stayed.