Pack Your Backpack Wisely for a Long Flight

Recently, I traveled to Japan on a thirteen hour flight from Toronto to Tokyo. It had been a few years since I did a flight of that length. Ok, it had been about twenty years! Now that I am fifty and have hot flashes and restless legs, I was really careful about packing. I put all of my carry on items in a Swiss Gear Scan Safe Backpack and I had a great flight. Here are my travel necessities.



I brought a small, clear cosmetic bag with moisturizer, lip balm, a hair brush and a few make-up remover wipes. I also packed a tube of Lancome Skin Feels Good Hydrating Skin Tint which was perfect. Because I read so much about keeping skin hydrated on long flights, I added a small Garnier Soothing Facial Mist with Rose Water to my makeup bag. It was nice to be able to spray my face with refreshing rose water mid-flight. And don’t forget a toothbrush and toothpaste.


Since I am a blogger and I was travelling for two weeks, I decided to pack my Chromebook because it is light and easy to use with a wireless mouse. I also packed some old school headsets to plug into the in flight entertainment provided by Air Canada. Bear in mind that the newer headsets for IPhone X and later and wireless headsets do not work in flight so it is very important to have a set of headsets to use. Because the Swiss Gear backpack has a full zip pocket for your laptop, it is easy to get through security without having to remove the entire laptop. You could easily have fit a larger laptop such as my 17 inch Dell in the backpack but I wanted to keep it light. I also brought chargers for my phone, Chromebook and Fitbit. The backpack also has a handy mesh compartment that is just right for chargers.

Laptop Backpack


I did pack a change of clothes which served me well. With a change of underwear, leggings and a T-shirt stashed in a zip lock bag, I could layer my clothing, be prepared if my bags were delayed and even use the bag as a foot rest during the flight. It was amazing to have my my feet elevated and cool on such a long flight. Since I flew in the winter, I dressed in layers and wore a lightweight poncho on the plane so I could take it off when I got warm and use it as a pillow or blanket.


I brought my contact lens case, cleaning solution and wore my glasses. I stored my sunglasses in the handy zippered compartment in the backpack. My lenses tend to get dry when travelling so I wore my eyeglasses and brought contacts in to put in when I landed in Japan.



Generally on these long flights, the crew feeds you well. Every three hours they brought snacks or a meal. You really do not need much in the way of snacks or water. If you want some gum or candy for your flight you can bring a small supply but I found that it was not necessary given all the food and beverages served on the flight.

Travel Documents

Be sure to pack your passport and tickets for flights, trains, etc. I used a clear plastic folder to keep all of my hotel confirmation numbers, train tickets and passport together. It is reassuring to know that all of these items are in one place and putting them in plastic assures that they do not get wet. The Swiss Gear Backpack has so many compartments so it is easy to organize your stuff.

Reading Material

It is important to keep your backpack light so I brought a Japan travel book and a couple of magazines. While you have a long flight and need something to read, you have to balance that with the desire to have a light bag when you get to your destination.

The time passes quickly if you divide the flight up into about four segments. Thus, every three hours I would switch activities. If your flight has an in flight entertainment system, you can play games for one segment. Then, binge watch a TV Show that you have never seen. I slept for about an hour and a half but most people do sleep on planes. Then read a travel book about your destination for a couple hours. And for the last few hours, you can read or browse your magazines. The flight went really went quickly.

I hope you will share some of the tips you have for packing and passing the time on a long flight in the comments section.

New Arrival


  1. Great list! Long flights are the best and the worst! I love going places, but being crammed in a small space is not ideal. I always pack tons of reading material and a deck of cards. Makes time fly!

    Casey Anne |

  2. I like your tip to dress in layers – I’m always freezing on the plane! I like using packing cubes as well to keep my different clothing items organized.

  3. Sarah

    I don’t do much traveling, and when I do it’s just short trips to visit family, but I do want to travel in the near future. Japan is one of the countries I want to visit, so this is really good information for when I do go. I would have a hard time limiting the number of books I brought with me, I’d probably need to pack my kindle to give me lots of variety without much weight.

    • admin

      I understand completely! I am a book lover too. Yes, the Kindle is the way to go. Safe travels!

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