For once you have tasted Flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned Skyward, for there you have been, and there you will long to return. – Leonardo Da Vinci
Flying conjures up a different feeling in everyone. Some people – like me – get overly excited, daydream about daydreaming out of the plane window, while looking forward to the rush of taking off and the thrill of the landing.
Others – like many of my friends/family – have the dread. Flying is the obstacle they have to suffer through to get to the next destination. It will be sleepless, uncomfortable and stuffy.
Whatever your feelings are about flying, I think we can all agree, Long Haul travel is a breed of its own and comes with its own pro’s and con’s.
After numerous trips abroad – many being long haul – here are my top tips on surviving long haul flying.
Choose your Seats in Advance.
Pretty much every airline will allow you to check in online before your flight – do this – if for whatever reason, you are flying with an airline which is still old-fashioned, when you book your flights pay the extra to choose your seats. – You’ll thank me later.
There is nothing worse than turning up for your flight, dropping your bags and being handed boarding passes with the seat right in-front of the toilet that won’t recline – but the ones in-front of you will…. right into your lap.
This happened to me on my flight back from South Africa. I can’t sleep on planes – or any other moving vehicle – but if there was a chance of sleep, it wasn’t happening in these seats.
Your start your travels in these seats, you end your travels in these seats – take the time to make yourself as comfortable as possible.
Make sure you have enough Charge.
If you are anything like me – I.e can’t sleep so need as much entertainment as possible – you will have a phone, iPad, kindle or whatever coming with you on your travels.
There is nothing worse that getting comfortable, unpacking your electronics and realising you haven’t enough charge to last even an hour – instant mood killer.
If you no at some point during the flight – normally when the lights go out – your eyes will need a break from the bright seat-back TV, make sure your iPod/iPad/phone has enough charge to zone you out for the next few hours.
Pack an oversized Jumper/Cosy Socks.
Flights get cold!
At some point during the flight everyone has the individual air cons on – we just want fresh air! – and the cabin is freezing. The blankets and pillows offered to us on long haul flights are – in most cases – very thin, too short and the blanket never fully covers you sitting up. My solution;
Always pack cosy socks – you no the ones i mean, fluffy christmas socks, we all have them – these keep your feet toasty and double up as great slippers for wandering around in.
Pack a cosy (oversized) jumper/hoody.
When I travel I like to be comfy – I am not a glamorous flyer – hoody’s are my choice because i can stuff a pillow behind my head and pull the hood up for ultimate comfort and I’m extra warm and comfortable.
I don’t care if I look slightly ridiculous, at least I’m not battling with a blanket that barely covers my body.
Avoid the Alcohol my friends. It’s a trick.
Contrary to belief, Alcohol actually makes your sleep worse – I mean, who has ever woken up after a couple of glasses of wine feeling refreshed, at ‘home’?
If you struggle to sleep on planes, this will only make it worse. Your more likely to stay awake this way and, yes, buy more alcohol/food/drink to keep yourself occupied.
To clench your thirst, drink water – and lots of it. You dehydrate fast on planes – you may as well be lying in a desert – so make sure you stay hydrated. This will also help you sleep.
Have the essentials ready.
Although on long haul you are often presented with a tiny – tiny – ‘overnight’ kit with the essentials such as toothbrush, toothpaste and a face wipe. There is nothing like your own products.
When I travel I always pack my own toothbrush/toothpaste, face wipes, hair brush and hair bands, spare underwear – nobody likes wearing the same underwear for what feels like days – a little make up, moisturizer and lip balm.
Take care of yourself the same way you would if at home.
Try to be Healthy.
I am not a picky eater, but when it comes to plane food, I’m sorry but it is so heavy (and pretty gross).
Remember you are sitting on your bum for the next 12 – 20 hours (however long flight your on) – everything you eat is going to sit with you the rest of the flight.
When I fly long haul, I like to pre book my meals – tends to be a veggie option – so I get served first and it is light and guilt free. For plane food, it isn’t half bad.
Most people tend to bloat a little on planes anyway – eat feel good food – Don’t make yourself more uncomfortable than you need to be.
Prepare for the Worst.
Throughout my travels I was on a lucky streak – every time I landed somewhere my suitcase showed up, undamaged and intact. Sadly this luck ran out this year and my suitcase was ‘forgotten’.
I was unprepared and had nothing pre-packed in my hand luggage – apart from spare underwear – it was hot and it was going to be another full day before my suitcase would show up.
There is nothing worse than having the same outfit you flew in being your only option of clothing for the next two days – sink washing was my friend that night.
Now, when I travel I always make sure I have at least a spare t-shirt and bottoms in my hand luggage – just incase.
I’m not a glamorous flyer – but I’m not that OK with having no other option of clothing.
What are your tips for Long Haul Travel?