Gear Check: Packing Properly For A Long Haul Flight

Earth is about 40,000 km all the way around.

The cities that are furthest from each other on the planet are Rosario, Argentina and Xinghua, China – a distance of 19 996 km. Want to move halfway round the world for someone? Here’s where you need to go:

My recent trip from Calgary to South Africa clocked in at just over 15 000km, or just about the furthest I could get away from home on the globe without going to Antartica (the islands of Mauritius are just a few hundred kilometres further away than South Africa).

To get from Calgary to South Africa you first fly 8-9 hours to Europe and then 10-11 hours due south. It’s a 20 hour haul that will test the battery of your noise cancelling headphones, the light blocking power of your eye mask, and your Netflix bingeing commitment.

Here’s what I carry when I’m on a long haul flight:

I use a Swiss Gear backpack (1) for my carry on bag. It’s comfortable, it’s sturdy, it has many compartments, and it’s big enough to hold everything.

The camera bag is the biggest thing in my backpack. I’d carry a smaller pack if I could find one that carried my Canon T6i and my lenses (2). I don’t want this gear out of my sight, so in the bottom of the pack it goes.

I pack eye masks (3) when I travel. I can sleep on planes, I just need it to be dark. I got some goofy ones with eyes on them from the Netflix Stream Team back in the day which are thicker than the ones the airlines normally supply for overnight flights.

Noise cancelling headphones (4) are so important. I used to fly with just a set of comfortable over ear headphones, but then realized they couldn’t hack the flight noise. When everything is maxed on volume, and you have to turn closed captioning on – it’s not good.

I just grabbed these JBL TUNE600BTNC headphones  from the Telus Store before my most recent trip and they were fantastic and cutting out flight noise and keeping me entertained and relaxed – I even kept them on with just the noise cancelling feature turned on for a quieter flight.

Oh, a warning about bluetooth headphones: I had an Air Canada attendant tell me to turn them off saying bluetooth can interfere with controls on planes that are not outfitted properly. If a flight has on board wifi, they are built to withstand bluetooth interference from the cabin, those without are not. I found it to be totally bunk (the FAA gave bluetooth the okay in 2013), but removed my headphones nonetheless.

I choose over ear headphones because they’re more comfortable to me than buds, but I always pack back-up buds (5) just in case.

I carry an iPad (6) when I fly and load it up with podcasts, books, movies, and stories for offline reading. I use Pocket  as a way to store long reads from blogs, newspapers, or periodicals. I use Netflix for downloading shows. I also bring a Kindle (7) along for books.

I have a small pouch (8) in my backpack for all my charging cables (8a Native Union Belt from the Telus Store), external power packs (8b  Mophie Powerstation Plus Mini from the Telus Store), adapters (8c Belkin Global Travel Kit from the Telus Store), and other cords I (or my traveling partners) might need.

I have tried to not travel with my laptop, but I still drag it along for blog writing, photo editing, and any larger work projects I might need to get at while I’m on the road. Some can get away with a screen and a bluetooth keyboard, I still drag my MacBook Air (9) around.

I am the keeper of the family passports, and this small zipper folder (10) keeps all the papers together along with customer loyalty cards for hotels, car rentals, and insurance. It’s just big enough to zip closed with a boarding pass inside.

I print off copies of all itineraries (11) to have as backup in case a device goes dead (and let’s be honest, as a Gen Xer, I’m still more comfortable with paper copies). I have hotel confirmations, flight information, car rental, insurance, copies of passports, all handy.

I know it’s a pain to carry small toiletries around and keep pulling them out for security, but the next section of things I carry is just in case my luggage gets lost. So I have a small toiletry kit handy, and always always always an extra pair of underwear (12).

I could probably do this more efficiently, but this is the gear I take with me into the cabin for each flight.

Want to put my packing list to the test? The longest flight in the world has service between Singapore and Newark. The 15 300km journey will take you more than 18 and a half hours gate to gate.

Better pack 2 extra pairs of underwear.

This post is sponsored by TELUS

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