Long haul flights are such a bizarre experience, trapped in a tin can with 400 strangers for hours on end, while your legs swell up and you travel through time. I wouldn’t necessarily say I enjoy long haul flights, but over the years I’ve done enough of them to find a few ways to make them a little more pleasant. It’s all about making yourself comfortable, and looking after your body, so you feel a little less awful when you land. So today I’m spilling my long haul flight essentials survival kit, and sharing a few tips too.
Comfort is key when travelling long haul, so I’ll usually be wearing comfy leggings and shoes that are easy to slip on and off. I like to wear light layers on my top half, a soft tshirt, snuggly cardigan and giant scarf so I can add and remove layers depending on the temperature of the plane. A giant scarf also doubles as a great blanket if you want to snuggle down.
Speaking of snuggling down, my memory foam travel neck pillow is probably the best travel investment I’ve made. It was around £15 in TKMaxx (similar here), and it’s firm enough to offer support, whilst also being soft and squishy. It’s an absolute saviour, even if you don’t plan on sleeping it’s nice to have the support + comfort! I also always pack a pair of long socks, I’m super prone to my legs swelling during flights so I like to have a little compression, but it’s also nice to have something cosy on the feet!
I always take a bottle of water with me on a flight, whether that’s an empty bottle I refill or I pick up a litre bottle at the airport. You need more water when you fly so I always make sure I have some to hand!
I also always travel with the Emergen-C Vitamin C sachets. If I fly more than once in a week I’m GUARANTEED to get a cold so on a long haul flight I’ll drink one of these at the beginning of the flight and one before I land to give my immune system a boost and try and fight off any germs! I also keep a bottle of antibacterial hand sanitizer on hand to use periodically throughout the flight.
Moving on to beauty bits, I always give my skin a full cleanse and remove any makeup before heading to the airport, I want my skin to feel as clean as possible. I take a travel packet of Simple Kind To Skin Cleansing Face Wipes in my hand luggage too, just to refresh my skin throughout the flight, and before we land, they’re also handy for a quick run over the body if you start to feel a bit gross during the flight.
I know using sheet masks in public is a real divisive topic, and I was never brave enough to whack one out until I discovered the Origins Flower Fusion Sheet Masks. They’re SO effective that I don’t care about how silly I look, I just whack one of these on mid flight to keep my skin happy. I love them all but the Softening Jasmin Mask is my favourite for in-flight, it really softens and hydrates the skin, combating the cold air condition and recycled air!
I’ll also pack a lightweight but super hydrating moisturiser, like the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion, to apply periodically throughout the flight, and a good lip balm like the Glossier Mint Balm Dot Com to keep dry lips at bay.
I always take my toothbrush + toothpaste in my hand luggage, I find that brushing my teeth before we land really helps wake me up and make me feel a bit more human! I also take a roll on deodorant to freshen up, and a sample size perfume just to make myself feel nice!
I have a cute eye mask I always keep on hand during flights for if I need a little shut eye, although on night flights they do dim the plane lights, I find this helps me really shut off. I also always take my Beats noise cancelling headphones, they help shut out the noise of the plane if I want to watch something, but I’ll often leave them on if I fall asleep because I don’t like earplugs and this just helps take the edge off the plane’s rumbling.
- Before you board the plane, walk and stretch as much as possible. Travelling through airports tends to mean lots of walking anyway, but make the most of it! When you’re about to spend however many hours stuck in one seat, it’s nice to feel like you’ve still got enough moving done in the day. I skip over the travelators and try to do a little stretching at the gate too so that my body isn’t feeling tight and stiff at the start of the flight.
- Board somewhere in the middle. You don’t want to be the first one on the plane and end up sat in your seat for another hour before you even take off, but you also don’t want to be the last one on, scrambling to get yourself situated before take off. Give yourself ample time to get out anything you may want or need, get your bags and coats away, and get comfortable in your seat.
- Stick to water. I try to steer clear of coffee and alcohol when I fly, and stick to water and peppermint tea. I find alcohol really affects me at an altitude, and peppermint tea helps when your body feels bloated from being in the air too long.
- Move regularly. I’ll admit, this isn’t super easy when you’re in a middle seat in economy, but I do try to get up and do a lap of the plane every hour or so just to stretch my legs. Also try doing something like a mini in flight yoga routine, to stop your neck and shoulders being too tight.
- Try not to overeat. Depending on who you’re flying with, airlines can have a habit of overfeeding you throughout the flight. Instead of eating two big meals at either end of the flight, I try to eat little and often. Flying puts additional pressure on your digestive system + I try to be sensitive to that by not eating big portions!
How do you survive a long haul flight?