For those of us travelling in style what’s the trick to surviving long haul flights? And by style, I mean those long haul flights around the world in economy seating. These long flights from the UK to Sydney or New York to Dubai can consist of uncomfortable of cramping legs and no sleep. Let’s face it the space you get on these long haul flights is more often than not lacking. There’s usually always someone nearby coughing and it’s impossible to get warm. Long haul flying isn’t my favourite thing in the world but I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that sitting on a plane for 24 hours is a small price I’m willing to pay to reach beautiful destinations. That said, I believe there are definitely a few things you can do to make long haul flying easier including what you bring in your carry on bag!
Surviving Long Haul Flights – Tips For BEFORE the Airport
The enjoyment of flying starts at home. Not in the airport or the taxi, home. Before even setting off to the airport make sure you are organised! This is one of my biggest tips to surviving long haul flights. I’m a planner so I like to plan and be organised and when it comes to long haul flying if you aren’t organised then you’re already setting yourself up for failure.
Before I even leave home I make sure I’m as prepared as I can be which means, knowing the flight times, which terminal we depart from, what time the taxi needs to pick up us, how far away the park and ride is from the actual airport, is my suitcase weighed and within the limit? Have I got all of my carry-on essentials in my bag? Not around the bag or to quickly pick-up on my way to the airport. These simple things sound so easy but so travellers fall at the first hurdle. If you’ve not weighed your bag prior to take-off then how can you be surprised if you get stopped at the check-in?
In my experience of flying if all goes well on the ground it’s a lot more likely that I’m going to enjoy my flight. So before we even talk about which carry on essentials you must-have for your next long haul flight make sure you’ve figured out all of the following before even leaving the house to reach the airport:
Before Setting off to the Airport Check:
- Passports/Travel Documents are in the carry-on
- You have the correct VISA for the country you’re travelling too
- Luggage is weighed and under the weight restrict for the airline
- Carry-on Luggage is within the weight and size limits
- Everything is packed the night or day before. EVERYTHING
- Know the exact flight time/departure terminal
- Know the other logistics like, taxi times, make sure you make time for extra traffic if driving make sure you know where the airport parking is, what time the shuttle services are.
- Devices are charged
- Podcasts and Movies downloaded
- Kindle books downloaded
Being organised can do wonders for your mental health and I feel so much less anxiety before a long haul flights knowing that I’m already organised.
Surviving Long Haul Flights Tips For In the Airport
Before getting the big bag of long haul carry-on essentials lets talk about making life easier in the airport. Airports can be stressful. I have no idea about you but every time I go through security ir passport control I feel like a criminal or fraud – the human is wild right?! But once we are through those gates and into the departure lounge we can sit back and relax. Here are 5 top tips to making your experience at the airport before a long haul flight as smooth as possible:
- Arrive with plenty of time – no matter where I’m going I always leave 2 hours for domestic flights and 3 hours for international, just do it.
- Preparing any liquids into plastic bags before the airport!
- Make sure all electronics like laptops are easily available to easily remove from your carry-on luggage at security.
- Get a security fast pass – I’ve never done this my parents swear by it and being avid travellers themselves my mum and stepdad know a thing or two about airports! They pay from 5-10 GBP each trip and fast track through the ques!
- Find out your gate number as soon as possible and before it shows keep checking the board for updates. If you’re sat down situate yourself near a board which will tell you the gate number. It’s no good checking half an hour prior to take-off and realise your flight departs from the gate furthest away. These days airport terminals are BIG!
If you’re really snazzy or have the budget then why not book a lounge? You can get deals on Group On a lot for airport lounges! Although, I’ll a little bit more about airport lounges in the Tips for on a Layover Section of this post!
Surviving Long Haul Flights – In-flight Essentials!
What you pack in your carry-on luggage makes all the difference to how great or morbid your long haul flight maybe! These days with the advances in technology you’re allowed to use most devices on a plane which makes entertaining yourself a whole lot easier. We always fly with a bag of carry-on essentials whilst the other bag has the in-flight ‘goodies’ inside. Bring a travel blogger means a lot of tech, none of which I want to put in my checked bag so one of the carry-ons we take always has, the cameras, tripod, laptop and Ipad inside. Before we know it we already have one full carry-on bag!
So because there’s two of us we pack the other bag full of the good stuff! From beauty to eating the best things that keep us sane and feeling fresh during a long haul flight are found in this bag! So what exactly do we have in this ‘goodie’ bag?
- Headphones – no matter how far we are travelling my headphones are always the first item in my carry-on. During most flights, I’m plugged in whether that’s to a movie or podcast I rarely have my headphones out.
- Pillow – I can’t deal with neck pillows and find them so uncomfortable so I prefer to take a bean bag pillow. If you have no idea what I’m talking about then take a look here.
- Empty Hot Water Bottle – Did you know you ask the cabin crew for some hot bottle? Simply fill up your bottle to keep yourself warm – I’m always freezing during long haul flights which makes surviving them even worse!
- Blanket – a small blanket never goes a miss because the ones you get in economy seating, let’s be honest, are crap.
- Water Bottle – Take your empty water bottle and make sure you ask for freshwater during the flight. Staying hydrated will work wonders for your skin and how your feeling by the end of a long haul flight!
- Earplugs – Need I really explain why?
- Hard Boiled Sweets – To suck on during landing to avoid the altitude pressure from affecting your ears!
Beauty Items for the Carry-On Luggage
One of the best ways to leave a long haul flight feeling good is to bring a few beauty essentials on board with you! I have a few tricks which leave me feeling so much fresher once I that plane:
- Fly with no makeup on – I don’t often sleep very well on long haul flights so I’m often rubbing my eyes and having no makeup on just feels so much nicer than having a face full for what could be 24 hours!
- Wet Wipes – I hate wet wipes. They’re bad for the environment and not great for the skin but I do make an exception when flying. I buy a tiny packet of 25 which lasts almost one year. Give your face a wipe a few times during the flight to help your face feeling fresh.
- Moisturiser, Cleanser and Toner – Pretty self-explanatory. If you think you can cleanse and tone on the plane then give it go but for me, that’s a little too much work BUT I do use them during the layover at the airport.
- Rose Water Face Mist – Just makes your face feel nice!
- Warming Eye Mask – There are so many different brands out there now but I swear by a heated eye mask. Simply lay over the eyes and feel beautiful as the mask starts to heat up – helps a lot with trying to sleep on the plane! Spacemask is one of my favourite brands – take a look here!
- Toothbrush – Take your toothbrush and brush your teeth on the plane – it works wonders!
- Lip Balm – Planes are horrible places for the skin. The air is just circulating and it’s so so dry so keep those lips hydrated with some balm!
- Flight Socks – So worth it!
The Best Snacks to Survive a Long Haul Flight
With so many goodies on the menu, it can be so tempting to overindulge on long haul flights but the best thing for your body is to say no! These days most long haul airlines give out snacks and meals as part of the seat ticket and by all means, take full advantage. But, if you find yourself peckish in-between then have sure you have a healthier option in your carry-on. Most airports have somewhere you can pick up some nibbles from before boarding so grab some nuts and dried fruit as a go-to snack rather than chocolate or sweets! And don’t forget to drink lots of water and no alcohol! Don’t get me wrong I enjoy a cocktail or two but not on a plane.
Surviving a Long Haul Flight – Airport Layovers
The majority of long haul flights will have a layover of some sort. The longest flight I’ve taken so far was from the UK to Brisbane Australia. It was one of the most exciting flights of my life honestly, I just could not wait to arrive! But that flight was certainly the definition of ‘long haul’. We had a layover in Abu-Dubai which was supposed to be about 5-6 hours but ended up only being 3 which quickly turned into literally 2 hours. But to secure cheaper flights more and more travellers are being faced with longer airport layovers, so how you make them as fun and as stressfree as possible?
Get Out and Explore!
If you have a layover for let’s say 16-24 hours then get outside of the airport if you can. A lot of countries have transport visas or layover visas so before you go do some research about the requirements and the nearby destinations. You never know what beautiful places could be waiting for you just around the corner – just arrive back at the airport with plenty of time before your next check-in time!
Surviving Long Haul Flights – Rent a Bed in the Airport
A lot of airports these days have little areas where you can sleep! I know in Dubai and Singapore you can hire a little pod to sleep in for a few hours. It’s a great way to pass the time and get some rest as well because we all know sleeping on a plane just isn’t the same as sleeping anywhere else!
If you have the budget the go all out and book an airport lounge. I’ve never actually done this but I think I will for our next big flight. My mum took advantage of an airport lounge on her way back from Australia and she said it was perfect. She had a shower and tucked into the amazing food on offer. Make sure you frequently check deal websites such a Group On or Wowcher for cheaper airport lounges.
Other Things You Can Do to Survive that Long Haul Flight
- Yoga – We had a lady get up and do some yoga on the aisle. My confidence would never let me do so but she was killing it and I bet she felt lovely afterwards.
- Keep MOVING – Not many us will fancy stretching or doing yoga in the aisle but moving around in flight is so important. Moving will reduce the risk of blot clots and swelling to the body!
- Meditate – Use and app or just do some controlled breathing to music, no-one needs ever know!
- Wear comfy clothes! – never ever wear restricting or uncomfortable clothes for flying!
- Board LAST – It never ceases to amaze me how many people stand up and queue to get on that plane! Just stay seated relax for longer and don’t step on that plane until you really need to.
After reading this post about how to survive long haul flights there is no excuse not to be feeling your best during the flight! But what about after?
After the Flight
My number one tip for after a flight is to get out into that fresh air! I always like to be organised as well and make sure I know exactly how I’m getting from the airport to my onward destination. There is no point feeling fresh and relaxed after a flight if you’re going to get all stressed in the airport soon after landing. Of course, the only time this is an exception is if you lose your luggage!!!
I really hope you enjoyed this little post on surviving long haul flights. As travellers, we often spend a lot of time in the air so it’s good if we can feel our best doing so! I always book flights using Sky Scanner for the best deals! Sky Scanner now tell you which airlines are eco-friendly which is amazing to achieving more of a sustainable planet. Sometimes flying is inevitable but if we all choose an airline that’s making an effort to put out fewer emissions! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post if you did please let me know! I would also love it if you could share this with your friends!