Essential Items For An International Flight - What You'll Need Onboard The Aircraft

12 January 2014

There is nothing more exciting than boarding a jet liner bound for some far-off, exotic land where famous landmarks beckon and new cultures await. International travel is one of life’s great pleasures and, judging by current trends, Australians will continue their love affair with overseas travel as new airlines enter the market and new routes open up.

While international airlines from Australia bring quality in-flight products and offer additional amenities not usually found on domestic flights, there are still some items that every passenger should take with them to ensure a stress free and comfortable journey.

Here’s a checklist of the 10 things that every traveller should take on an international flight. Some, such as passports are absolutely essential, while others simply make a long flight that much more enjoyable and relaxing.

 Make your way to the departure lounge confident that you have all the essential items

The Essentials

 Passport and travel documents – A valid passport, usually with a minimum of sixth month's validity is required for all international flights. Certain countries also require a tourist visa and this must be organised well before the day of departure. These items will be required in order to check-in for your flight and to proceed through customs and immigration at your destination. Having this documentation in order before arriving at the airport will ensure a quick and easy check-in process.

 Travel Insurance – Travel insurance is highly recommended for international travel and is, if nothing else, peace of mind should the unexpected happen. Treating an illness, injury or accident overseas can be extremely expensive and travel insurance helps cover these costs. Travel insurance can also help cover the cost for lost or stolen property and even flight cancellations.   

 Toiletries and carry-on liquids – On a long flight, it’s always a good idea to have some basic toiletries in your cabin if you want to freshen up. Many travellers carry toothpaste, mouthwash, hand lotion (to combat the low humidity in the cabin) and other items.

Just remember, for international flights all liquids, gels and toothpastes taken into the cabin must be in travel size containers that are 100 millilitres or less. These items must be stored in clear plastic zip-lock bags and presented separately at the security checkpoint. Any containers that are greater than 100 millilitres will be confiscated by airport security.

The Desirables

 Backpack – For those long flights when you’re seated in a window or middle seat, it’s often difficult to access your bags in the overhead compartment, especially when there is a sleeping passenger between you and the aisle. If you don’t want to disturb the snoozer in the aisle seat, consider a backpack that can easily fit under the seat in front of you without taking up much needed leg room. It’s easy access anytime for toiletries, reading material or anything else that you like to use in flight.

 Contoured pillow– Arrive at your destination refreshed by taking your own travel pillow. Most international flights provide thin, narrow pillows but, if you truly want a relaxing sleep, consider taking a contoured travel pillow for extra head and neck support.

 Eyemask – Bring your own eyemask to block out reading light from nearby passengers or the TV glare from surrounding video screens. It’s just a little touch but can make all the difference when you’re trying to sleep.

 Jacket – Along with pillows, international flights offer blankets. But for those times when the cabin is cooler than you would like, pop on a light jumper, jacket or hoodie for a warm and cosy rest. Just pull it out from your cleverly stowed tote bag – easy done!

 Book and personal entertainment – For me, a good book is priority number one! If you’d rather sit back and relax, most airlines today provide extensive in-flight entertainment from personal seat back video screens. You may be on an aircraft where these systems are not equipped, so why not take a personal tablet or laptop with your very own selection of movies, shows and music. Works every time!

 Pen – I always make sure I have a pen handy for every flight, especially when flying international. Flight attendants will come through the cabin passing out immigration forms and these must be filled out and handed to the immigration officers upon arrival.

 Comfortable slip on shoes – It may seem trivial, but comfortable slip-on shoes are the way to go when travelling on a long-haul flight. They are quick and easy to take off and put on, especially when sitting in a cramped economy seat. The longer you fly, the more your feet swell. Trying to put on a tight pair of leather dress shoes on landing can be torture. While in flight, sliding easily into a comfortable pair of shoes is easy when needing to get up and use the bathroom – something you never want to do barefoot.

That about covers our top 10 list of essential or useful items to take with you on an international flight. Happy flying!

Todd Sturm

I currently live in Brisbane, Australia. No matter where my travels take me, I enjoy experiencing each destination from the perspective of the locals. Some of my favourite attractions include historic sites, national parks and architectural landmarks.