What to put in your hand luggage on a long-haul flight

From noise-cancelling earphones to a zero-gravity pen, here’s what you should be keeping close to you on planes

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TravGear used to travel with a book. Actually, two books – a novel and a guidebook – as well as a load of printed documents, a spare layer, and a travel pillow. The books are now on our smartphone, as are all of our travel documents, while we’ve learned to rely on the hand-out blankets for warmth. That’s cut-down a lot of what we take on a long-haul flight, though we haven’t included every single item here; a water bottle is a no-brainer, for example. Here are a few of the things – scoured from around the globe and tested over multiple flights – that TravGear never leaves home without:

1 – Thule 13L EnRoute

The perfect choice for the cabin, the conference and the city tour, this backpack can flat-pack a 13-inch laptop and more besides. Ideally sized for a 13-inch laptop, this slim backpack also has a compartment for a tablet or e-reader, a zipped inner pocket for keeping things secure, and space for …

2 – LockJaww phone holder

Still watching in-flight entertainment? Why bother when you can simply download entire seasons of TV, and movies, on the Netflix app (and many others)? This ingenious device grips onto an upright tray-table to put your smartphone at eye-level.

3 – Bose QC 20/20i earphones

These are the best noise cancelling earphones ever made. We’ve tried many pairs of bulky battery-powered noise cancelling headphones that do a similar job, but nothing beats Bose for portability and reliability. The battery lasts for beyond 10 hours, which is more than enough for most journeys. Get the QC20 model for Android, BlackBerry and Windows phones, and the QC20i model for iPhone. It comes with a small pouch He that fits in a pocket, and can also house a folded-up eye mask and a could two-pin earphones adaptor for some inflight entertainment systems.

4 – Moshi Ionbank 10K smartphone battery

Some planes have USB slots  for each seat, but you cannot rely on this yet. However, packing both a phone cable and a portable smartphone battery is a pain. Cue the  Moshi Ionbank 10K, a 10,000mAh battery with flip-out USB and Apple Lightning/microUSB cables. It works as a data pass-through for syncing with a computer, too.

5 – Fisher Bullet Space Pen

A long-haul flight usually mean you have to fill out a landing card. Normally the flight attendant will give this to you during the first hour also flight, so why not just fill it in, folded up and put it in your passport? Able to write in zero gravity (just in case you  out it only takes a virgin Galactic flight), this dependable pen is tiny enough to fit into a shirt pocket.

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