Let me confess. I love to travel but I’m a shit traveller.
I more often than not arrive at my chosen destination with the flue, planes blow me up like a balloon, and I NEED sleep – and lots of it. So you can just imagine how long-haul flights effect me. Terribly. I swear I am the most unsexiest traveller ever.
And then there’s my other half. Denis. He doesn’t need a lot of sleep, has a cast-iron gut, and is like a greyhound – lean and fit. He pulls up quite well after a long-haul flight, and I’m incredibly jealous of this – especially since I’m the one who introduced him to travel!
As a public service, here are my top tips to help shit travellers like me survive their next long haul flight to any destination:
Break up the flight
If you have the choice break your long-haul flight up into chunks. Yes, it may make your overall travel time longer but at least it will allow you some time off of the plane to stretch your legs properly and to have a walk, eat some non-airplane food, breathe some fresh air, change clothes, go shopping, and perhaps even squeeze in a few hours in another country!
Compression stockings are a godsend!
My body (especially my legs) blows up like a balloon the second I step foot on a plane, and at it’s worst – a trip to the UK where I was to be a bridesmaid – took weeks to deflate (notably my legs which had mutated into cankles, much to my disgust).
To save you landing in your dream destination with a pair of elephant trunks that don’t deflate until you are set to return home, invest in a good pair of compression stockings. Okay, so compression stockings aren’t sexy either but they work a treat. They also help to combat deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot that can form in the veins of the leg. Trust me, the unsexiness is worth it.
Move your body
Walking around the plane is possibly the last thing you want to be doing after hunkering down in your seat for your journey, and if you aren’t sitting in an aisle seat you may be a bit reluctant to push past your neighbours continuously. Regardless, moving around during your flight really is good for you! Just like working in an office it’s best to get up to stretch and move every hour. This helps circulation and those stiff joints and muscles which will inevitably occur on a long haul flight. Along with your sexy compression stockings, regular movement will also help combat DVT.
Ditch the heels ladies
You won’t be needing them on the plane! Choose comfort over fashion and go for comfy clothes that breathe and shoes you can slip off and on easily. If you need to, pack some comfy clothes to change into for the flight. A change of underwear and another shirt are also a good plan to keep you feeling ‘fresh and clean’.
Get some sleep any way you can
To be honest with you, there’s only 2 ways I manage to sleep on a plane.
- If I’m exhausted and I can’t keep my eyelids open (generally on the way home);
- If I knock myself out.
Sleeping on a plane is easier said than done for many of us, so I find it’s best to think ahead by:
- Requesting an aisle or window seat so you can stretch your legs out or lean your head against the window
- Wear comfortable, stretchy clothes. Track-pants are okay. Sorry ladies, heels are not
- Include some little comforts in your in-fight luggage, or what I call your long haul ‘survival kit’, such as a neck pillow, scarf or light blanket
- Drugs. Take drugs. The legal kind, that is. Knock yourself out. I do.
Your long haul flight ‘survival kit’
A light blanket, scarf or jacket can come in really handy once the plane takes off, the lights go down, and the air con is cranked up. They also double as pillows. On the other hand, a small neck pillow is also good but they don’t work for everyone.
Other handy items for your survival kit at comfy socks, magazines, cross-word books, a good book, a hair brush, and some essential toiletries such as deodorant, perfume, toothbrush and toothpaste, a refreshing face spray and lip balm.
Saline nasal spray
Nasal spray – there’s no way in hell that shit is attractive. There’s the sound, the feeling. Even the words – nasal spray…nope, it’s not attractive but I tell ya, ever since I discovered this baby I no longer disembark any flight feeling like I’ve been hit by super-flu (which at one time in my life was a guarantee post-flight). These days I travel like a true allergy girl – with a priority to keep my nasal passages flushed and hydrated! Super sexy!
Plan your arrival journey
I don’t know if anyone feels 100% on arrival. I rarely feel human so swear by pre-planning your arrival to make the acclimatisation and onward journey a hell of a lot more comfortable.
These days I always pre-book my accommodation, arrange an early check-in if needed, and plan how I will get to wherever I am going i.e. which train or bus I need to catch, where to catch them from, or even pre-booking a pick up and drop off to the hotel. That way I almost always guarantee arriving at my hotel safe and sound ready for a deep slumber in a cosy bed before I kick off my explorations,
What are your tried and tests tips for surviving long haul flights? We’d love to hear them!