A long haul survival guide
G’day from sunny Perth!
I’m not what you would call a ‘low maintenance’ traveller - I definitely like to be prepared and generally squeeze in as many home comforts into my backpack as I can manage.
I’ve realised that the small things really do make all the difference when it comes to long haul flights. It’s never going to be completely comfortable, but with some careful planning (and packing) you can make the experience a whole lot more enjoyable.
I’ve just moved to Australia with my fiance and gone through the 20+ hour flight for the third time, and I think I've picked up a few tips along the way! So here is my short & sweet guide to long haul flights – I hope you find it helpful.
(Disclaimer: I still have jet lag whilst writing this post so apologies if it’s not quite up to scratch)
A couple of things before you even set foot on the plane...
Book an evening flight. This is the first time I have done a night time flight to Australia and I definitely recommend taking long haul flights later in the day. I found it much easier to sleep leaving at night - perhaps because you're working with your natural rhythm and feel tired out from the day. Landing in the middle of the night also meant we could go straight to bed when we arrived.
Pack the day before. If you do fly in the evening then try and be packed the day before. This means you can spend the day moving around and exercising before sitting down for long periods of time. I have been known to still be packing just minutes before leaving to go on holiday but this time I was prepared and it really made a difference. I felt much more relaxed and definitely less stiff on the flight. A game changer!
Re-frame your perspective – as with everything in life it always helps to focus on the positives. Try and see the flight as ‘me time’. You get to sit and watch movies, read, or nap with regular snacks and drinks being brought directly to your seat. Plus nobody can bother or interrupt you as you are phone free!
And some packing tips..
Noise cancelling headphones. These are an absolute must-have - I picked up a pair before the flight and they were amazing! I wish I'd bought them sooner. They cut out the drone from the engine which really helps you to sleep and it’s easier to hear movies too. They are also much comfier than the in-ear style which can be sore after a couple of hours.
Layer up. I always find I am absolutely freezing on flights, but really warm in the airports (especially if you're destination is somewhere hot). So wear lots of layers - you'll be comfortable in all temperatures and won't make the mistake of wearing fluffy leggings on your stopover in tropical KL airport (I won't be doing that again!).
Download your favourite show on your ipad/laptop. I downloaded two series of Narcos (my current Netflix obsession) for the plane and ended up watching them for most of the journey. There is almost always in-flight entertainment provided but often there's just one or two movies that catch your eye - not great for a 20+ hour flight.
Pack some snacks and water. There's nothings worse than being hangry on the plane! I packed a few 'emergency snacks' and munched all of them before arriving. Also pack loads of water - the air conditioning is really dehydrating.
Don't forget an eye mask and neck pillow. In the good ol' days you were given a little pack with these included, but for some reason they don't seem to do this anymore. If you aim to get any sleep on the plane I'd definitely put these in your hand luggage.
Bring some toiletries. My essentials are: toothpaste/toothbrush, my favourite mini face wash, a small dry shampoo, deodorant, hairbrush, moisturiser and some lip balm. I always like to freshen up when we stop halfway through, but you'll also appreciate these on the flight. Remember to buy under 100ml bottles and get them ready in a small plastic bag (so you can just whip them out at security).
And if you can fit anything else in your hand luggage... pack a book, fluffy socks, magazines and a change of clothes (I packed these insanely comfortable pyjamas and they were so cosy for the night time).
I always love to hear other travellers' tips - so if you have any to add please pop them in the comments below.