Twelve items to help you survive your long-haul flight
This week's article follows up on last week's prepping for your long haul flight. First-timers on such a trip typically don't know what to expect and may be overwhelmed at the thought. One you decide you're all packed take a second look and make sure you have these items. I'll start with the no-brainers - things you wouldn’t think of leaving home without, but which you might forget in the excitement. A couple of pro-tips and don't-forgets are included.
A reusable water bottle
You probably carry one with you on a daily basis anyway, so now is not the time to leave it behind. Dehydration on a long flight diminishes your health by drying out your skin, making you more susceptible to jet-lag, and weakening your immune system. A foldable water bottle will take up even less space and if you fly often will be worth the investment. Make sure the bottle is empty before you go through security. Most airports now have bottle refilling stations that are easier to use than water coolers.
If you typically use the earbuds that came with your phone, consider a set of headphones that will be comfortable for hours of binge-watching and -listening, and that can help block out noise when you want some shut-eye. Remember to make sure your movies and music can be accessed offline before you get onboard
Pack lightweight and love-to-eat nibbles like nut mix, jerky, cheese, crackers, and fruits that are low in carbs and high in protein. Meals on long-hauls are generally better than the bag of pretzels you get on domestic flights. However you know you'll want to snack even if simply to fend off boredom.
Don’t Forget: Gum. It takes away bad breath after snacking and helps relieve ear pressure while taking off and landing.
The following are great for any flight,with a few additions specific for red-eye flights and long trips:
- Lip balm;
- hand sanitizer towelettes;
- disposable (or not) toothbrush;
- your deodorant;
- ladies you might like to have a (travel sized, of course) dry shampoo; and
- whatever you need personally like contact lens solution and case, meds (not just prescription but the need-in-a-pinch items like antihistamine, pain reliever, eye drops and such.
Pro Tip: Wipes to consider: bleach wipes so you always have a way to sanitize your seat and surrounding area on the plane, face cleansing wipes, baby wipes. Wipes not only eliminate liquids in your carry-on, they free up space, and won’t leak or spill in your bag.
Don’t Forget: Check to make sure the wipes don’t have an overwhelming smell before using them on the plane. It’s like the sardine thing all over again.
For any flight, compression clothing encourages good circulation and helps your body adjust to pressure changes, and that is especially important for long flights. So, pick your go-to pair of leggings or socks, or even tights/shorts.
Pro Tip: Wear comfy slip-on shoes or a pair of foldable slippers. These look funky but they are perfect for long hours on a plane. Plus, it's better than going shoe-free to the restroom. I receive no benefit in your purchase of these, I’m just offering them as an example. Your feet deserve to feel like they’re going on vacation too.
Ladies, a big scarf
To avoid using the (possibly) gross airplane blanket, wear or carry a scarf. It will fend off the frigid air conditioning and is a smart packing choice for varying your outfits.
ProTip: As I mentioned last week, make sure you dress comfortably—remember you’re in these clothes for the long haul. If you’re on a red-eye, keep in mind you may not be able to check into your hotel right away, so it’s always a good idea to pack an extra set of clothes in your carry-on.
You might need a sleep aid
Everyone has their preferred method for falling asleep but being on an airplane makes relaxation even more difficult. There are natural sleep aids such those that contain melatonin. Hot non-caffeinated tea is a great relaxer. I’m going to leave it to you to choose your own; I’m just here to remind you to pack it.
Full disclosure, I have not been your guinea pig for this; never tried ‘em probably never will, but here they are: No-Jet-Lag pills. They are an all-natural New Zealand remedy to help regulate your body clock and alleviate body stress. I’m not even going to tell you they’re on Amazon (or give you the link), that way you won’t blame me if they make you grow two heads.
Eye masks help create a more relaxing environment for sleep. They are also a good jet-lag remedy, as sleeping in darkness makes you better rested. Make sure to pick a pair that doesn’t apply pressure around your head. For me, an eye mask also means I don’t hear anything either. Really. No, not really, but I sleep so much better with one that I’m not disturbed by casual sounds.
Neck or travel pillow
Another must-have for increasing comfort on airplanes. Some configurations are cumbersome to carry, and some are downright uncomfortable to use. If you don’t already have a favorite, consider an inflatable option to maximize space in your carry-on.
Back-up power charger
Even if you charge all your devices pre-flight AND have power outlets at your seats, chances are you will only have one outlet available to you. Your reader or tablet may need constant juice, leaving your phone to languish toward a slow death. Better safe than sorry, right?
A perfect-sized under-seat bag
Choose one that will hold your essential items and your laptop, one that is easy to get into and doesn’t hog your leg room. I’ve seen this one in use: it even attaches to the tray table in front of you. A slim, not-too-tall backpack would work too.
Pro Tip: Pack a pen to fill out various customs forms and documents. Flight staff will not have a supply for the convenience of passengers, and you’ll have to borrow from your neighbor who was offended by your sardines.
You're now ready for your transoceanic, seemingly never-ending long haul flight. Add to my recommendations whatever things you know you can't live without so that you'll be comfortable, entertained, rested, fed and ready for your long-awaited vacation once you step off the plane. If you think of something I haven't mentioned here, that your fellow readers need to take with them let me know. I'll pass it along and even give you credit for your out-of-the-box-thinking.
'til next week.
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Contact: GLOBAL EXOTIC ADVENTURES - Juliet Weller, Founder