Surviving Long Haul Flights

The past month has been a bit hectic for me. I’ve found myself spending a lot of time on planes; 46 long hours to be exact. I’m more than a little bit tired.

When fashion magazines interview super models they always ask for travel tips.
“Oh Miranda, with your jet setting life style how do you look after your skin?”
Well Miranda is travelling first class and, in my limited experience, that makes a huge difference.

Miranda
Photo Credit: DailyMail – I’ve never looked that refreshed travelling

For me nothing can make a long haul flight ‘fun’. What could make not sleeping, showering or eating real food for 24 hours fun? There are, however, a few things you can do to make experience more bearable. And believe me when I say that I’ve been putting this advice to good use.

1. Pack Spare Clothes
It’s the first piece of travel advice my mother gave my and it’s served me well. Always have spare socks, underwear, a T-shirt and your toothbrush in your hand luggage. Because you never know when you’ll be separated from you bags.

Ironically on my very first trip there was a problem with the plane and I went one way while my luggage went another. It took over 36 hours for the airline to get it back to me. In the meantime, clean underwear and a toothbrush made my time in Athens much more enjoyable.

Packing
Photo Credit: UBC – No matter what, spare underwear is a must!

2. Wear Comfortable Clothes
Ever see people in the airport wearing their track pants and slippers? Ever wonder if it’s ok to be basically wearing your pyjamas in public? The answer is yes, if you’re on a long haul flight.

Fourteen hours on a plane (followed by the inevitable second 10 hour flight if you’re travelling anywhere from Australia to anywhere) is a long time, so it’s important to be comfortable. No skinny jeans, awkward shoes or constrictive tops. I also find layers work well, that way you can take them off or put them on depending on how cold your plane is (they’re always a little cold).

3. Dress (Or Prepare) For Where You’re Going
Look up the temperature of your destination and dress accordingly. Or at least bring appropriate clothes in your carry on. Just because it’s hot in Bangkok when you leave, doesn’t stop it from snowing in Japan when you land. Trust me, the cardigan I was wearing just didn’t cut it.

4. Bring An Eye Mask And Ear Plugs
At home I’m a fairly heavy sleeper, but struggle to sleep on planes. There’s the inevitable snorer, the baby that wakes up or the guy behind you who uses your arm rest as his smelly foot rest. It all conspires against getting any sleep.

An eye mask and ear plugs won’t guarantee you a proper night’s sleep. But it will help you get some rest, instead of spending the whole night greasing off the snorer two rows in front of you.

Eye Mask
Photo Credit: Wideworldtravelstore

Cheap Flights
These last points are particularly relevant if you’re travelling internationally on a super cheap airline. The kind where the only complimentary thing on board is water; food, drinks, headsets and blankets are all extra. Anyone who has flown Jetstar will know what I mean.

5. Bring Your Own Food
If there’s one thing I find particularly cheap about budget airlines, it’s the way they charge for food. Because it’s always such bad food. I like Maggi noodles as much as the next girl, but not for $5.

Tupperware
Photo Credit: Keepingitkleen

One way around this is bringing your own food. I once took a whole meal in tupperware containers onto a Jetstar flight. I’m talking about leftovers, salad and apple pie for dessert. I even had a tin of baked beans as a snack. Why I was allowed to bring all that on a flight, I do not know (particularly the baked beans!). But even if you’re just buying food in the airport, it’s bound to be better than overpriced instant noodles.

6. Bring Your Own Pillow And Blanket
This point mainly applies to travelling in South East Asia. At some point every traveller contemplates buying a pillow or blanket at a bus stop. We often say no, because what would we do with a cheap, flat pillow back home?

If you’re flying home on a budget airline, however, do it. Buy the blanket and the pillow. While the little old lady’s price might seem ridiculous in local currency, Jetstar will always charge you more.

Flat Pillow
Photo Credit: Lastquilt

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