Packing a sharp razor is just the start of it. For all of us, there's a number of things you should never travel without and things you need to do when you're flying long-haul.
Rest well beforehand
If you're flying in economy it can be difficult to get a solid sleep throughout your journey. People constantly moving throughout the cabin, flight attendants bumping your elbows with carts and lights being turned on and off and on top of that, unless you’re up the pointy end with a lay flat bed, it's fair to say we are just not made to sleep sitting upright.
So, suffice to say, arriving at the airport with little sleep the night before your flight is not recommended. Try and get decent rest two days prior to departure to start your journey in the best possible shape.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol
Free alcohol may be hard to resist but avoid it - and caffeine - during your flight. The humidity in the cabin is much lower than ground level which can bring on the effects of dehydration faster and alcohol and caffeine only serve to accelerate the impact.
Staying hydrated (with water!) is the best way to avoid headaches throughout the flight. And don’t worry about needing to use the bathroom often as the exercise of getting up and down is actually beneficial in avoiding issues such as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
Think about and reserve your seat in advance
On a long-haul flight, the window seat can be restrictive when you need to use the bathroom, stretch your legs or need something from your bag in the overhead compartment.
An aisle seat for example in the middle section of the aircraft offers a little more freedom to get up and down with ease without bothering your fellow passengers.
There's plenty to consider so visit a site like Seat Guru (www.seatguru.com) when booking your flight to select the best seat. The site demonstrates aircraft layouts (you can find what type of aircraft you will be on at the time of booking) and where facilities such as the bathrooms, bassinets and galleys are placed, so you can avoid these areas.
Everyone has their preference of where to sit and it’s best to secure your preference well in advance.
Pimp out your tablet
While most airlines have a decent selection of inflight entertainment, it can still be a crap shoot to find something you are interested in. Most travellers have a tablet or smart phone they travel with so pre-load your device with movies or apps to keep you entertained. Many airlines also offer a USB charging port in your seat to keep you going.
And of course newspapers and magazines can also be downloaded before you go, as can your favourite books at sites like audible.com.
Crying children, excessive chatter and the endless drone of the engines for 15 hours non-stop can be deafening when all you want to do is sleep.
Noise-cancelling headphones allow you to simply flick a switch to eliminate background white noise altogether. It's even better to eliminate the noise around you if you're watching movies or listening to music.
When it’s time to sleep, pop the headphones on, tune in to the classical or jazz music channel and turn the volume down super low so it’s just enough to drown out any excess noise.
Pack your carry-on bag wisely
There are a few items that will make any journey a more comfortable one. Apart from your travel documents, there are a few more creature comforts you should consider.
- Spare pair of clothes – It’s a hazard of travel, but checked bags can go missing. A spare pair of clean underwear, shirt and socks can go a long way.
- Moist towelettes – these are great to refresh your hands and face and can be used in the bathroom.
- Avoid high sugar foods and pack healthier muesli bars, mixed nuts or other low GI foods to sustain you.
- Moisturiser – don’t be shy here fellas, you will dehydrate and have dry rough skin from flying. Join the metrosexual revolution and keep your skin hydrated
- Hand sanitiser – Use it before all meals or snacks and after the bathroom
- Don’t arrive looking for a chiropractor. Neck pillows are cheap and super handy.
Dress for flying
If you're sitting on your toosh for more than 15 hours, you need to be comfortable.
Wear pants that are not too tight, a t-shirt or loose polo and always have a jumper or jacket that can be easily put on and off.
You want to be comfortable when moving in your seat so don’t want anything too clingy or that will twist around you. There's not always blankets available and the temperature in planes is unpredictable but generally cooler than ambient air.
A spare clean T-shirt for when you arrive or in case your bag goes missing is advisable bit also a consideration for when that salad dressing explodes over you mid-flight.
Comfortable shoes are must, kick them off when you are in your seat and slip on again for bathroom breaks or when stretching your legs.
Pack your patience
Travelling long-haul is a journey of more than just whiling away the hours. It can be tough physically.
Just remember everyone's in the same boat … nay, plane. Pack your patience and daydream about what's ahead; no use getting stressed before the real fun begins.
Published under license from Well Travelled.