Top 10 Tips for Long Haul Travel
I’m currently doing a lot of travel to the Americas, which often involves extremely long journeys including long flights of 8+ hours. Many of us don’t have the luxury of travelling in Business or First class, so have to make do with Economy, or Premium Economy if you’re lucky. Here are my top 10 tips for getting through long day/night flights without going crazy:
- Choose your seat in advance. Even if you don’t have status with a frequent flyer programme, some flights will allow you to pay to choose your seat in advance. If you know that you definitely want a window or aisle seat, this can be worth every penny on a long flight. My favourite website for checking reviews of the best seats is Seat Guru (https://www.seatguru.com/). This has really paid off for me before, such as the last time I flew on an A380 with BA and managed to select the aisle seat in the middle of the Economy cabin that mysteriously has no seat in front of it!
- Order a special meal. Many airlines will now have the option for you to order a special meal in advance up to 24 hours in advance of your flight. Even if you don’t have any special dietary requirements, the main advantage is that you’ll be served your meal first before they bring out the main Economy meals. I’ve also found that the meals tend to be a bit nicer – if you go for low calorie for example, chances are you’ll be served a nice piece of chicken or salmon with a salad.
- Bring your own snacks. As many plane companies are scaling back on their in-flight offerings, an early casualty has been the free snacks that used to be offered on long-haul flights. This is disappointing, but avoid hunger pangs in-flight by bringing your own from home or the airport. Just be careful that you know what the customs regulations are in the country you’re landing in so you don’t accidentally try to smuggle through things like dairy/fruit!
- Wear comfy clothes. I think this is so key to having a more enjoyable flight. There are always those people wearing full suits on a 12 hour flight in Economy who I genuinely feel for because they must be so uncomfy. Personally, I even go so far as to get into an outfit resembling pyjamas on a night flight (basically tracksuit bottoms and a comfy t-shirt) because that makes me feel comfy enough to sleep. As long as it’s not silky and revealing, I’d say pyjamas are good to go on a flight, but no bare feet please – no one wants that.
- Bring your own headphones. I was once unfortunate enough to lose my ear bud headphones during my trip and was stuck with the free airline headphones the whole way back. They were so uncomfortable and kept falling out of my ears. Ever since then, I’ve obsessively checked I have my own headphones with me at all times. It’s also a good idea to consider investing in noise-reducing headphones to help you get some sleep and drown out your surroundings.
- Take a walk. This is something people always tell you to do in-flight and to be honest, I’m a terrible culprit for not bothering. But it will make you feel a lot better just to get some movement in your legs and keep the blood flowing, lowering the risk of dreaded DVT.
- Bring a neck pillow. I am so obsessed with having my neck pillow with me on pretty much any flight where there’s even a remote chance of me drifting off to sleep. Even a little bit of extra neck support goes such a long way in-flight. There are now loads of options for neck pillows, including memory foam to make your journey extra comfy.
- Take a USB cable. Most modern planes now will have a USB port at the seat, including in Economy cabins. With so many of us using Apple technology these days, losing battery is a huge concern so just make sure you have a cable with you in-flight to keep your phone/tablet topped up for when you land.
- Take a tablet with downloaded films/TV shows/games/music. A little planning goes a long way to curbing in-flight boredom here. If you’re a frequent flyer and often fly with the same airline, you may quickly discover that the airlines actually don’t always update their film selection that often. Some older planes will also have a more limited selection of entertainment to choose from too. Tablets are light, don’t take up much space but can have a bigger screen than plane video screens and are also easier to use if you want to play games to pass the time.
- Stay hydrated. Planes are so dehydrating. In my previous post I mentioned some of the products I use to keep my skin hydrated but as a bare minimum you should be drinking lots of water, particularly if you’re also drinking alcohol on the plane. You can always ask for more water and as a rule, I usually ask for two drinks rather than one whenever they offer drinks.