Getting on a plane is nothing but exhilarating, the fact that you can pack all your possessions into a small suitcase (ok maybe large) and survive in another location for a designated period of time is a pure adrenaline rush.
You have your ticket in your hot little hand, your seat allocated and the adventure begins as soon as you pass through the boarding gate. I don’t know about you but I brim with excitement, apprehension and wanderlust picturing the adventure ahead. That is until your realise that you are seated in the middle of the plane between the proverbial chatter and the child with the snotty nose for 16 hours. Now I can’t help you with this predicament but below are 7 of my top tips to get through a long haul flights with ease and keep the excitement brimming when you wearily get off the plane at your final destination:
Ensure you have your own entertainment
Packing your carry-on according to your needs is essential! Don’t rely on the latest movies or entertainment to be at your fingertips as soon as you enter the plane. Most carriers are designed to entertain the mainstream population and you may find that you have watched every season of ‘Friends’ available or due to cultural reasoning the latest version of ‘Sex and the City” is not playing. Avoid the disappointment by ensuring that your ipod/music device is fully charged and loaded with your kind of music and that you have a hard drive loaded with the movies to watch on your computer for the flight. Most planes these days have USB ports in their entertainment console making it far easier to charge your devices and also connect the things that you want to watch. Failing this a good book, colouring book, deck of cards or stack of magazines help to break up the time seated.
Have your own snacks and water
It is human nature that when you get bored you want to occupy yourself, being 10,000 miles above sea level there isn’t much to keep one occupied. Cue reaching for food! However on a flight it is not as readily available for your consumption and more often than not you are usually waiting for the in-air service to come around. Asking the airhostess for food before the designated meal times isn’t frowned upon pre say however 9/10 times it is not the healthiest or most filling option. I recommend packing a small snack bag to take on-board to stave off the munchies until the next meal is served. I suggest a small zip locked back of nuts or a muesli bar, perhaps even some chocolate along with a bottle of water to keep you hydrated.
Get up and walk around
Sitting down for hours at a time is not natural to the human body. Research shows that being sedentary is the number one killer of the modern generation. With the risk of developing circulation problems in the pressurised air it is advisable to get up from your seat at least once an hour and do a lap of the plane. Getting up and moving allows your circulation to flow, occupies your mind, gives your eyes a rest from any screens you have been looking at and also allows you to stretch. It is quite refreshing and interesting to be able walk around seeing different faces and getting feeling back into your limbs all whilst get some much needed movement.
Stipulate your dietary requirements
It is advisable to stipulate your dietary requirements when booking your ticket, however should you forget it is possible to ask at the check-in counter whether they can be noted and allowances made (see how you go). Always remember that different airlines originate from different countries and abide by different customs in regards to the types of food and drinks provided during the flight. The nationality of an airline and the destination to and from it is travelling will influence the types of cuisines and options served on the flight. For example an Asian airline such as Singapore Airline is less likely to serve Western style food on a flight from Singapore to Japan. Therefore stating any preferences or allergies is a must so that you don’t go hungry. (See Aeroplane food for thought)
Water vs Alcohol
Even I have been guilty of getting carried away with a couple of drinks to celebrate the start of a new holiday. Depending on the length of the flight it is easy to get carried away with the offer of free alcohol and celebrating the whole way to your destination… Cue hangover. Being on a flight in compressed air is dehydrating enough, adding alcohol to the mix can double if not triple the effects leaving you parched and irritable by the end of the trip. It is advisable to keep your water intake up even on a short trip. By doing this you are able to ensure that you avoid becoming dehydrated and amplifying the effects of jet lag. Now I’m not trying to be a kill-joy here but just go easy on the vino my friends if you want to ensure you get the maximum enjoyment out of your first days away.
Try and get some shut eye
Like that is going to happen in a cramped metre of personal space you have in the form of a rigidly hard seat you say! I know it is hard but getting some sleep is better than a movie marathon 2 feet away from your face before you land. Now I know aeroplane seats are not the comfiest and I also know no one sleeps sitting upright but if you can manage a few hours of shut eye even in a light snooze your body will thank you for it. Trying to fight your bodies cyclical sleep patterns is never a good idea, especially when combining it with time differences, cabin pressure and sitting for long periods of time. By plugging your ears, putting a eye mask on and trying to get into some sort of comfortable position, closing your eyes for even an hour can have a positive effect on your body… you never know you may even wake up 5 hours later with a crook neck
Take your toiletries on board
By now we all know that you are not allowed liquids over 100ml on board any flight however this is not a reason for you to fall out of your daily skin routine and come off the flight looking like a washed out prune. Packing a carry on toiletry bag with a moisturiser, cleanser, toothbrush and toothpaste, wet wipes, deodorant, and any makeup you require. A hydrating toner or Avent face mist is a God send when it comes to dehydrated aeroplane skin and is a great pick-me-up. Before travelling consult your skincare provider to see whether they provide flight friendly sizes in your products. If they do not, trying something different even if it just for the flight is better than nothing! After a meal or before I attempt to get some shut eye I always head to the bathrooms to cleanse and moisturise plus clean my teeth. Not only will you feel refreshed, your skin and teeth will love you for it at the end of the flight! There is nothing worse than a cabin pressure breakout or scaly teeth as you disembark at your destination trust me.
What are your tips and tricks to long haul flights? I would love for you to let me know in the comments below.