Even with the excitement of exotic climes on the other side of the world, most people dread the long haul flight. It’s hardly surprising; the thought of hours in a confined space, with hundreds of other people will do that to you. In a bid to fend off the cabin fever, I’ve compiled some of my top tips to get you through the long haul. Essentially, preparation is key. Prepare and when the plane touches down on the tarmac, you will be feeling refreshed and ready to get on with your holiday.
Pick The Best Airline
Budget doesn’t always allow for this but although most airlines have significantly improved their long haul offerings in the last few years, some are far better than others. www.airlinequality.com has some great information relating to all airlines and includes real people’s reviews too.
Unless you happen to bag an upgrade (you lucky thing), opting for one will cost you $$$. You could opt for the best of both worlds, choosing to upgrade one way, especially if that one was a night flight. Business Class seats are purpose made for sleep and comfort remember.
Choose The Right Seat
Choosing the right seat is critical to an enjoyable flight. You will either need to pay a little extra to choose and book specific seats in advance, or have your fingers at the ready when the online check-in opens (usually 24 hours prior). The bulkhead (located on the front row of economy) or the exit seats (located next to the cabin doors) both give you bags of extra leg room (and nobody in front to recline mid-flight – bliss!). An isle seat is a good choice too as you can get up and stretch your legs, or nip to the bathroom with ease.
Sleep At The Airport
Waking up at 3am for an early flight is not going to make the overall journey enjoyable. Book a night in the airport hotel (or as close to) and start off with a rested and full night’s sleep.
Aircraft cabins are extremely dry places so it is essential to stay hydrated. I try to take an empty water bottle in my carry on to fill up at the plane galley water stations during the flight. Failing that you can always buy a bottle of water from the airport prior to boarding.
It is also important to keep your skin hydrated whilst in flight to avoid resembling a snake when you step off the plane. I like to travel bare faced and apply face, hand and eye creams throughout the flight. Take it one step further and pack an eye-mask to step the relaxation up a notch.
Plane food can be very hit or miss and you can never determine when the trolley will be brought out. That said, a girl’s gotta eat; I try to keep those hunger pangs at bay with pre-prepared snacks. Opt for slow-energy release snacks such as homemade granola bars, fruit and nuts, over carb heavy snacks, as these will keep you going without leaving you feeling sluggish.
Avoid Caffein And Alcohol
I’m guilty as charged for being filled with excitement and reaching for the free glass of bubbles but on a long haul flight, with constant air-con, too much caffein and alcohol will only dehydrate you more. Avoiding the sluggish post-alcohol feeling will also help you beat jet-leg’s butt later on.
Sleep SOS Kit
Sleeping on the plane is an art. I haven’t quite mastered it yet but I do always try to get some shut eye whilst on-board and the best way is to be prepared. Ear plugs, an eye mask and trusty neck rest (we’ve all had that awkward moment waking up to find yourself on the shoulder of the person next to you, no, just me?) are all staples in my carry on.
What To Wear
The age old question; what to wear on the plane? 12 hours in skinny jeans? No thank you. I like to slip into something a little more comfortable during the flight, so a pair of jersey sweatpants and a cosy oversized jumper are my go-to items. The cosier the better is always my moto.
Plane air conditioning tends to fluctuate, so having layers to take on or off depending on the temperature is key to remaining comfortable throughout the flight. Extra jumpers or blanket scarves and a thick pair of socks are perfect options = nice and toasty.
Noise cancelling headphones and a phone packed with podcasts and playlists is the perfect way to drown out the noise from the cabin and daydream about the trip ahead. Just remember to take your charger as some airlines have power sockets. Failing that a back-up battery pack is always handy. Catch up on your reading with that book you’ve been meaning to read for the past two months or take a notebook to catch up on personal projects. Most airlines offer a pretty good catalogue of movies and TV shows, but you could always go prepared with some downloaded onto your laptop or tablet.
9 hours on your bum isn’t going a great way to spend the day or remain sane. Beyond this, there is a high risk of developing deep vein thrombosis. Keep the circulation going by getting up regularly to stretch your legs and circle your ankles every so often in your seat.
When else do you get to be completely free of obligations? This is a perfect time to enjoy being sans mobile, sit back, relax and think about your all of the exciting things you’re going to get up to on your trip.
Prep For Landing
Finally, spend the final 30-40 minutes of your journey packing your bag, and freshening up and getting changed in the toilet. Roll-on deodorant and face cleansers are useful items at this point.