After years of international economy travel, I have clocked up hundreds of hours in the air on long-haul flights and can confirm that it is definitely an art to master. Sometimes I spend 48 hours waiting, flying and transferring and it can be extremely draining. After a lot of trial and error I have developed some much needed strategies to get myself through long flights as comfortably and as rested as possible. So buckle in, because here are 8 tips that you can use for your next big trip.
1. Choose your seat strategically
Let’s begin with picking the ‘correct’ seat. This is an absolute game changer that you can do online prior to boarding if you book directly with the airline. Do however, keep in mind that it is one of those ‘the earlier, the better’ situations, the simple logic is that there will be more seats to chose from. One of the most important choices is window vs aisle seat; many of us love viewing the outside world from the window however, unless you’re planning to snuggle in for the whole flight, I recommend the aisle seat. Another thing I have learnt is opting for a seat in the middle of the cabin. This is where the least amount of movement is and is located away from the bathrooms which often attract long cues, noise and bad odours.
2. Dress for the flight
There are many occasions to look cute and a long flight is NOT one of them! If you wouldn’t sleep in it, don’t wear it! Opt for stretchy and non restrictive clothing such as gym tights and sweat pants paired with a comfy loose top. I recommend bringing a cosy jumper in hand luggage for when the cabin temperature drops during the flight.
3. Prepare to sleep
You will be sitting upright for a long period of time so it’s easy to understand that this can get uncomfortable. Bring a travel pillow to wrap around your neck to minimise neck discomfort. Couple this with an eye mask to block out any movement and lights within the cabin.
4. Prepare your body clock
Long haul flights often lead to some intense jet lag. To help minimise its severity, change your watch and device times to your final destination and sleep according to their time zone to help adjust your body clock.
5. Bring some snacks
In addition to free meals, there are a limited number of snacks available. Being vegetarian and having an appetite of a whale, I get on board making sure that I’m stocked up on tasty goods. You can’t bring food through customs at the airport but you can purchase snacks from a selection of shops in the departure lounge to fix those cravings while on board.
6. Stay hydrated
Due to the low humidity levels on flights, the air is dry which leads to dehydration. Staying hydrated can make a serious difference to your flight by minimising jet lag, so remember this before ordering copious glasses of vino from the drink cart! It is also advisable to buy a bottle of water prior to boarding as the bathroom water is not for consumption and you do not want to be calling the service button every five minutes!
7. Keep entertained
Realistically, there are only so many on flight movies you can watch without it being a tad repetitive. To avoid falling victim to boredom make sure you mix it up by bringing some activities aboard such as; books, puzzles and personal entertainment devices. Make sure you bring a charging cable along to plug into the USB port so that your phone is freshly charged when you disembark after a long flight.
8. Pack a refresh kit
After spending a prolonged amount of time in a confined space with no shower, it’s safe to say that you will feel gross. This can be reduced by packing a refresh kit in your hand luggage. You can use this in the aeroplane bathroom, the airport or even in your own seat. Along with the essentials, I recommend packing moisturising products to combat dehydration such as a hydrating mask, lip balm, an oil based cleanser and serum.
Keep in mind that air lines will only allow liquids and creams if they’re 100mls and in labelled packaging! Also opt for a cream/ roll on deodorant as aerosols are not allowed.
I left my sunny home in Australia to explore the world and feed my insatiable desire for travel. Here you can find my experiences, tips and guides to help inspire you for your next trip!
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