I count myself a tough cookie when it comes to flying long-haul. I have survived 9-hour layovers, barely missing my check-in, 6-hour delays, sleeping on airport sofas and even leaving my phone on the airplane. Yet, all of these are nothing compared to the challenge of emerging from the airplane after anything longer than a 10-hour flight looking immaculate.
Since my last trip to California in July 2015, it has been a while since I flew long distance - recent trips have been within Asia. With the upcoming Fiji trip on the calendar, I thought I would share this list of tips on how to survive on a long haul flight.
1. Get comfy
Dressing for a long-haul flight is an art. Not only do you have to survive the frigid cold in the airport and the airplane, you want to be as comfortable as possible too (no bandage dresses in hopes of getting an upgrade, girls!). Then, there is the challenge of doing all of that, AND being stylish. So, in my books, sweatpants are a big no-no. I tried it once and it looked like I was going to bed instead of boarding an airplane. The key to being comfortable and stylish at the same time? I count sneakers, stretchy jeans and a blazer/sweater or a leather jacket as the three must-haves in my travel style file.
Another travel hack to getting comfy on board a flight, is to look for a row of empty seats when the chance presents itself. This way you can stretch out when you sleep and get more space without bothering your neighbours.
2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
We all know that going into an airplane turns you into a prune, therefore it is no surprise that this is high on the list of things to do while on the airplane. Aside from hydrating with water while on-board (yes, I am one of those pesky flyers that asks for water every 5 minutes), you might even want to hydrate and lotion up before boarding that airplane. It does wonders for your skin.
3. Charge everything
... and I mean everything - your phones, your tablet, your portable banks, your Kindle, whatever gadget you need to keep you entertained for the next 10 hours. Luckily most cross atlantic flights come with in-flight entertainment these days. However, if your flight does not come with in-flight entertainment, you will be glad that you brought a whole host of options.
I normally load up on e-books for any long haul flight, although I must admit, most of the time I end up doing the next thing on this list.
Yup, sleep. Sounds almost impossible but definitely much needed. Especially when you travel across time-zones, sleep is key to fighting jet lag. Bring an eye shield if you like. Don't get me wrong though, unless you are flying business or first class, sleeping in economy class is almost like being in contortionist school. You bend your limbs in all sorts of weird angles until you find the one that is most comfortable for you. Then, enjoy the shut eye and you'll find that the flight time has just moved that much faster.
5. Pack right
It doesn't matter if you are flying 6 hours, 10 hours or 16 hours, your hand-carry instantly becomes your best friend. Unless of course, you are traveling with your best friend, then that is an entirely different story.
Things you MUST always have in your hand-carry luggage to keep you happy:
- baby wipes
- lip balm
- hand lotion
- gel-based moisturizer or a face mist
- a pen
- portable chargers and cables
- hair tie/rubber band
6. Bring your own earphones/headphones or ear plugs
If you have one of those noise-cancelling headphones, those are the best. I know the airplane provides earphones, but nothing beats having your earphones plugged in even before take-off.
Sometimes I cheat and have them on even if I'm not actually listening to anything. I found that earphones (even the non-noise cancelling ones) can help cut out other sounds that may prevent you from sleeping. Ahhhh.. Peace.
7. Pre-order a special meal online so you get served first
Now this is a nifty little travel hack that gets you served before anyone else. I usually select a low-salt option, which also helps prevent bloating. At the same time, being served early means not having to rush for the bathroom! Keep in mind that most of other flyers use the bathroom, after they have eaten. So if you finish your meal first, there is no waiting in line for the bathroom!
8. Skip the makeup
Your skin needs to breathe. Instead of letting your skin suffocate under layers of thick make up, opt for a light dusting of mineral powder or sunblock. At such high altitudes, you really are that much closer to the sun. Choose waterproof mascara and a tinted lip balm to keep yourself looking. fresh.
9. Ask for a snack
Most long-haul flights will serve you a snack in between your main meals. Sometimes they carry extras, so feel free to ask for an another serving. Other airlines even carry a limited stash of cup noodles! Don't be afraid to ask! You never know what goodies they may have for you.
10. Invest in a good carry-on luggage
Imagine running through an airport from one gate to another... And tripping over your luggage. Your carry-on luggage should help you, not hinder you. A good carry-on luggage is the best travel companion any flyer can have and your relationship with it will last a long time if you choose the right one.
Ideally, it should have 4-wheels with 360 rotation, come with built-in locks, be sturdy, have a solid protective exterior and be able to fit everything you need in it. And of course, it should be the largest possible but universally overhead compartment size!
And you are all done! Ready, jetset, GO!
Did you have any other tips on how to be comfortable on a long flight?
Leave them in the comments below.