“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls.”
– Anais Nin
Long haul flights can be quite challenging if you’re anything like me. I don’t have a fear of flying whatsoever, but I hate having to be stuck in the same place and being quiet for so long. On a normal day, I’m not one to stay in bed all day (unless I’m sick), doing the same old things, as my mom would say I am hyperactive. As you can imagine, flying for a long time is a struggle for me. But since I’ve been flying a bit more this couple of years I came up with a few things that keep me happy and makes it way easier to fly.
Before we get onto my tips and tricks I thought I would quickly explain what’s considered to be a long haul flight for those who never been on one. Flights can be described as short haul, medium haul, long haul, and ultra haul. Meaning that short-haul flights usually take less than 3 hours, a medium between 3 to 6 hours, long between 6 to 12 and ultra long over 12 hours of in-flight. All the tips I’m about to share, you can use them in all flights but I found them to be particularly helpful in long and ultra-long-haul flights that I’ve been on.
Some people say it doesn’t really matter where you seat, but for me, it makes a heck of a difference. I understand why you wouldn’t bother too much when it’s a short haul flight but when it comes to long haul you want extra length to straighten your legs and for sure you don’t wanna fly on the middle seat unless you’re flying with family or friends. Hope I don’t sound too picky or too much of a fony for saying this, but I’ve experienced a 12h flight in the middle seat and it was no fun. Since then I always make sure to have a look online and check the seat disposition on that specific flight. There are websites like Seat Guru where you can check what other people say about that seat, like a Tripadvisor but for flight seats.
I never flew in any other class than economy, so I can’t really advise when it comes to business.
Fashion & Beauty
It’s probably a given, what you wear actually plays a crucial part in how your flight goes. I mean, no one wants to seat in a 12 hours flight with tight skinny jeans and heels, right? Airports and planes are not a runway, so make sure to wear comfy clothes. You could wear tracksuit bottoms, leggings or some soft baggy trousers, whatever floats your boat.
Make sure that you’re comfortable and able to stretch on them. I’ve always flown economy and the space you have is not much, so having clothes in which you can move around properly and be able to adopt weird positions is what you’re looking for.
In terms of makeup, I don’t usually wear anything really besides my brow filling and that’s only for a matter of confidence. I tend to wipe it off anyway when I get in the plane and moisturize. I always, always have a face mask on hand so if the flight is long enough I’ll relax and detox my face with a good sheet face mask.
This is one of the things I think about the most when I start preparing for my flights. Whether it’s long or short haul, I always carry something to keep me entertained. I’m one of those people that get bored very, very easily.
Make sure to look into the airline’s website, it usually lets you know what kind of entertainment they have for that specific route. If there s something that you like that’s great but if not you can always download some movies, tv series on your computer or tablet. I tend to like the movies the airlines have, surely they have some oldies but goodies in there for me to watch but if not then Netflix is my bestie.
I also tend to download a few episodes of my favorite podcasts. On the subject of listening, audiobooks are good, they say. Though not for me, I get bored quite quickly, but if you love storytelling then that’s a sure thing for you. Music calms me down in so many situations, hence why I have a tattoo of a clef on my left wrist. It is part of my life, it’s there for the good and the bad times and somehow it always manages to make me smile and bring some light into my life when things get dark. Uh, that just got deep! I tend to download a few albums o my Spotify account, and sometimes I make my own playlist to listen to while on holiday.
Books are great on flights, it just transports me to somewhere else. I just drown myself in the words and live the story in my head. Cucu, right?! Jk * Games, there are plenty of games you can take on a flight. Actually, a lot of game brands make them in travel size. Cluedo, UNO, Cards, Monopoly, Connect four and so many others.
Food & Drink
This is the most interesting part of the flight, or not! Ahah. I mean, no one likes airplane food am I right?! Last time I had a long haul flight, let me tell you I didn’t pack much with me and boy oh boy I was starving!
Food on the plane for those who eat everything isn’t good, now imagine the food for vegans. Yup! it’s that bad! All the snacks they provided were veggie sticks but without hummus or any other dip, most times the dessert was disgusting, the only good thing was the bread to be quite honest.
I ended up buying snacks on our layover, had a “proper” meal in Dubai (i basically had a veggie burger). So now, I make sure to pack granola bars, dried fruits, crispy seaweed and other snacks with me.
Now that’s a tough one if you’re a light sleeper like me. I find it quite hard to fall asleep during the flight, it’s a different environment, the position is not right and there are noises everywhere.
What I usually do, it’s search ahead of time which time I should be asleep in the country I am going to which normally means that I don’t sleep the night before the flight but hey at least I’m so tired that I will fall asleep instantly and I won’t be jet lagged. Probably not the healthiest option.
If not sleeping the night before isn’t your thing, be sure to take noise-canceling headphones and a flight neck pillow to make you a bit comfier. Usually, long-haul flights have pre-packed blankets to keep you warm and cozy too.
Everyone feels anxious now and then. Some people get frightened of flying, maybe it’s the height that makes them wanna crawl into a hole. For me, is pre-flight anxiety. Oh boy, it is the weirdest form of anxiety that I’ve developed in the past 2 years since I started travelling a bit more. A few of the things that go through my mind are: what if I forget/lose my ID?; did I bring everything?; I’m late! gonna lose my flight!; so many other things go through my head but there are just a few. Here are a few tips to reduce your pre-flight anxiety.
Getting to the airport super early, now a lot of people don’t know why I always get to the airport at least 2 hours early. And no, I don’t have to check in or send bags to the hold, it’s just my way to adapt. Getting there early makes my anxiety levels come down, I can reassure myself that I won’t get stuck in traffic and there’s no way I’ll lose my flight.
Most companies nowadays provide their customers with online check-in, it saves time and hassle to get in early and in line at the airport. Since that option is available, make sure to use it. You can familiarize yourself with where you’re going to seat and perhaps even chose where you’d like to be seated.
Make sure to research about the country you’re about to visit. Do you need vaccines? A visa? Don’t you dare giving yourself a panic attack when you land because you just realized you needed it because you overheard someone talking about it? It takes a couple of minutes on the internet to understand whether you need all of those things. Every city has a Travel clinic to give you advice, and if you’re in the UK GOV gives you info about Visas.
Having a list of things that you need to take with you on the flight is a must, you can tick them while you’re packing. Make sure to include all your entertainment, comfort clothes in the carry on so they’re just next to you.
Positive thoughts only, nothing negative is allowed. Keep telling yourself that you’ll be ok because you will!
I really hope this helps in any way, shape of form. Happy travels guys!