Air travel can sometimes seem like an epic journey, but here are my essential long haul flight tips to help you travel in comfort and arrive feeling relaxed and fresh. This post contains affiliate links.
I love travelling, exploring, adventuring but as I've got older I've become a creature of comfort! When I was ::cough:: much younger than I am, I'd be happy to wide up bleary-eyed before an early morning flight and put on a full face of make up and rock up at the airport looking as glamorous as I could, not wanting my fellow early bird passengers to be faced with a spotty, messy mess for the flight duration.
Now after years of travelling back and forward to Menorca I don't worry as much. Do you know why? Because actually who are you trying to impress on a plane?
Leave the glamour to the immaculate aircrew and ditch your skinny jeans and lippy at the Departure Lounge. Wherever you're flying to, whether it's 1 hour, 2 hours, 8 hours or more, the best thing you can be is utterly comfy!
So as we're bound off onto another long haul flight to New York, and breezed through flights to and from Phuket with a 3-hour stay over in Qatar and a night flight, I thought I'd put together all my tried and tested methods from 100s of hours of flying into an essential guide of long haul travel tips!
Essential Guide of Long Haul Travel Tips
How often do you hear someone say they survived travelling? I do quite a lot when talking to family and friends. I guess survive is a strong word but it does seem that survival is the only option for some to get through a long haul flight. But let's take a step back and think... how much do you cram into your carry-on? Then have to empty it out at security to find things for scanning; before trying to force it beneath the seat in front of you because you don't know what you'll need mid-flight, then giving up and stuffing it in the overhead locker 4 rows behind because that's the only one with any space. Sound familiar?
In truthfulness, I've done the same so many times... I remember taking a year's worth of university notes for a revision on board a flight to visit my parents in Menorca. Yes, I've been that person that people look at and roll their eyes and think 'did she really need to bring that?' as I come bumbling down the aisle.
This 'Essential Guide' of long haul travel tips will try and take the sting out of sorting what you need in your carry-on, making you and your flight more comfy and relaxing!
1. Utmost Comfort is Priority
Wear your comfies! Seriously, I can't recommend it enough - joggers, leggings, yoga pants. Loose and comfy means room to stretch and not feel restricted when you've eaten and drunk everything put in front of you by the crew, and you haven't been able to disturb the person next to you so you can get up and pop to the loo! Jeans, especially skinny jeans, really aren't that great for long haul travelling. They get hot and tight, and if you're in them for 24 hours... well just imagine! I stick with a pair of yoga pants or joggers and wear them with a slouchy t-shirt and a sports bra for absolute comfort!
2. Banish the Puffy Legs with Flight Socks
If you're like me and get big puffy, swollen ankles and legs, flight socks are an absolute must! They help to reduce the puffiness and the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) when flying. When you're not up and about moving much and sat in the same position for so long your legs and ankles are the ones that suffer the most. Flight socks are snug fitting and compress to stop the water gathering where you don't want it too. They're also great for wandering around on the plane too without putting your shoes back on. Although I'd highly recommend shoes for the bathrooms.
Top Tip: put your flight socks on in the airport whilst you're waiting to board and you have move room. Trust me, it's a damn sight easier than doing it on the plane.
3. Get Some Sleep
Flight pillows and eye masks aren't the most attractive look, but this isn't a fashion parade, and to be honest, your head slumped forward with sleepy dribble isn't attractive either. That, and it's not good for your neck either! Honestly, investing in a travel pillow was the best thing I did for travelling. Whether you're sleeping or watching an in-flight movie a travel pillow is an essential item, and you'll feel better for it. They are relatively cheap to pick up online but make sure you get a memory foam one for better support.
4. Freshen your mouth up
If you're on a long haul overnight. there's nothing better than arriving at the other end with a fresh mouth. Ban the woolly 24-hour mouth by packing a toothbrush, travel size toothpaste and mouthwash. Simple.
5. Let your skin breathe
Make-up? Quite honestly don't bother! Take the flight as a chance to let your skin be free. If you have to wear make-up, take it off at the start of the flight and re-apply before landing. To be honest, how many people on your flight will you see again? So there's nothing to worry about. Plane atmospheres are very drying, so pack a travel pot of your favourite day cream and pop some on; the same with your hand cream.
6. Keep hydrated
Long haul flights are great for keeping you fed and watered. Eating light will help avoid that uncomfy bloat, and although it's tempting to drink don't forget alcohol can be dehydrating, so maybe just go for 1 or 2. And if you're driving at the other end; remember your time difference allowance.
Top Tip: Reduce plastic waste and take a water bottle with you. Fill it up in the Departures Lounge and on a layover. Just make sure its empty before the security checks.
7. Stay connected
In-flight entertainment has come a long way but if you're after something specific, load it onto your phone or tablet, even games to keep you going. Don't weigh yourself down with books either, take a Kindle. Also worth packing as you might need it whilst you're travelling... a power pack!
8. Block out noise
Invest in a cheap set of in-ear earplugs which are great for sleeping in and cancelling out all the background noise of the plane and cabin. You'll be surprised how much of a difference they make. Or a pair of overhead earphones, they're more comfy for a long haul flight than in-ear ones and they cancel a lot of noise out too.
9. Write it all down
If you're like me with time on your hands, your mind probably goes into overdrive with ideas. I'm not good at using Notes on my tablet and find it easier to scribble them all down in a travel journal. Plus when you need to fill in a landing card, you've got a pen handy!
10. Something to carry it all in
I use a small backpack or tote bag; it means I'm not tempted to ram it full of unnecessary stuff. Its perfect for using when at our destination and I can easily get it in the overhead locker or underneath the seat in front and still have room for my feet!
So there you have it, an essential guide of long haul travel tips - or even a short haul I suppose!
Our flight to Thailand didn't feel stressed or uncomfortable and although by the time we arrived, we'd been travelling for 25 hours door-to-door; a shower and a freshen up when we got to our apartment was enough to get us through the day and fend off the jet-lag.
Do you have any long haul travel tips that you think I've missed out? Let me know in the comments box below, then head on over to check out what we got up to in Thailand.