Thursday, 20 November 2014

How To Survive A Long Haul Flight

I'm sure I'm not the first to declare that I am not a fan of flying. Taking off and landing has me more nervous than an X Factor contestant at deadlock, which is pretty ridiculous considering the number of flights that I have taken. You would think that I would be somewhat over it by now, but I can tell you, flying and me just don't get on... and don't even get me started on the fact of sitting still, in one place for more than an hour. From a world class fidget, this is nearly enough to tip me over the edge. 

In recent years I have traveled on several long-distance flights and I thought I would create a list of handy hints to see you through this painful experience, (unless you're a crazy kid who loves long-distance flights, and if so, seriously... what's the secret?!) 

1. Make sure you arrive at the airport in plenty of time. 
The last thing you need before a long-haul is rocking up to the airport late and having the stress of getting yourself organised. Check in online well in advance to secure your seat and arrive in good time so that you have plenty of time to spare once you're finally through to the departure lounge. That way you can pick up any last minute bits and pieces from Duty Free and relax with a glass of wine in the bar. 

2. Stay hydrated. 
It's really important to ensure you stay well hydrated whilst you are flying. I hate the fact that airlines serve you drinks in what are effectively large shot glasses so I always pick up a bottle or two of water from one of the departure lounge shops, before boarding. (Any water bought before hand will need to be thrown when you go through the security checks, so make sure you only pick bottled water up once you're through.)

3. Pack the essentials.
Your hand luggage bag is your best friend on a long-haul flight and I always use a bag that is a decent size, but can still fit underneath the seat in front of you, so that you don't have to stow it away in the overhead lockers, meaning you're not in and out of your seat whenever you need something. The contents of my hand luggage bag are always the same and includes:

- Warm slipper socks. I always remove my shoes right away on a long-haul flight, A for comfort and B because your feet tend to swell whilst flying and so the less restricting your footwear is, the better. Plus, I find it always gets nippy on a flight and so warm socks are essential to keep my toes toasty. 

- A large scarf. I tend to wear this rather than stick it in my hand luggage bag but again, this is for warmth purposes. I find a lot of the in-flight blankets to be pretty static-y, which isn't exactly a word but you catch my drift. Also, they tend not to be the cleanest from time to time so I'd much rather snuggle up underneath my own, freshly washed blanket scarf. 

- Lip balm. Do not, I repeat, do not take a flight without lip balm... ever! You need it. There's nothing worse than being an hour into a ten hour flight, with dry, cracked lips and nothing to soothe them. 

- Medicine. Yes, I'm usually a walking pharmacy when I take a flight. I usually pack a couple of strips of paracetamol, anti histamines (you know, in case there's a rare mongoose on board that might set off a reaction) and 'sore tummy' tablets... just in case! 

- A pack of tissues. Self-explanatory. You don't want to be waiting on a flight attendant if you've had a particularly vigorous sneeze. 

- A very small amount of make up to freshen up with so you don't look like the walking dead when you finally disembark. For me, this usually includes; a pressed powder compact with a mirror, foundation stick for touch ups, eyebrow pencil for a quick fix as I always smudge them off sleeping, and an eyeliner pencil. This may not be an essential for everyone, but I always like to have a few bits to hand. If you're going to pack any liquid products, they should be in bottles no greater than 100ml, otherwise you will have to ditch them at the security check point. I always pack relatively cheap items so that should they not make it through security, I'm not going to be losing any expensive products. Better to be safe than sorry. 

- Hair clips/bobbles. I always start out with good hair intentions but it always gets whacked up on the top of my head after a few minutes. 

- Hand sanitiser. If you've ever been in an airport/airplane toilet, I don't need to explain this to you. Germs... everywhere. 

- Things to keep you entertained. iPad with films downloaded and saved onto it in case you don't fancy any on the in-flight entertainment system. (Plus, it doesn't get interrupted with announcements - first world problems) Ear phones with splitter if you're travelling with someone so that you can both watch a film together from the same device. A book, magazine... anything that's going to kill some time. It's not like you're going to be short of it. 

- Mints. Three hour sleep with your face stuck up against the window breath is never pleasant. 

- Change of clothes. This only really applies if you have a reeeeeal long trek or you're switching climates drastically. On my recent long-haul flight, I was travelling 30+ hours in total from Vietnam to Paris, through to Helsinki and I made sure I had a clean T-shirt and a jumper to pop on when I needed them. 

- Travel pillow. A long-haul flight's best friend. If you don't have one, get one. Trust me. I prefer the ones with the tiny beads inside as they tend to be much softer and more mouldable than the stuffed kind. 

4. Try to get some exercise.
Make sure you get up every now and again to stretch your legs/check that they are still attached to your body and haven't become fused with the seat. It's important to keep as active as you can, especially over long periods of time to avoid any circulation problems, etc. Go on, give those toes a wiggle. 

5. Make sure you can eat.
If you're a fussy eater or have specific dietary requirements, request a special meal when you book your flight tickets. Alternatively, buy yourself a sandwich and a few snacks when you pick up bottled water from the departure lounge shops. I've found myself in a situation where I was unable to eat both options on the menu during a flight, on a couple of occasions, and if you're polite enough about it, the flight crew are often really helpful and will at least bring you small snacks, bread etc to eat. 

6. Ditch the slap. 
Girls, don't apply a full face of make up when you're heading off on a long-haul flight. It's not good for your skin and you're not going to be able to remove it properly. Plus it's going to smudge everywhere when you're lazing about. I tend to slap plenty of moisturiser on my face along with a very light-weight BB cream or tinted moistuiser and keep eye makeup to a minimum. Lipstick is just no. Stick with a tinted balm if you absolutely need some colour. You can always touch up later with the contents of your hand luggage. 

Remember that at some point it will all be over. No matter how mind-numbingly bored you are right now, eventually this whole sorry episode will be a distant, distant dream, or nightmare, depending on which way you look at it. 



  1. This is such a great post, the first bit about landing and taking off is sooo me. I hate flying yet I have a 8 hour flight to take just before Christmas...eeekkk
    Great tips too and I am not off to search for some travel pillows :)

    Pams Stuff and Things

    1. Thank you very much Pam! Good luck on your flight, I hope you're off somewhere nice xxx

  2. Great post with so many amazing tips! Long haul flights are the worst I get so bored and so fidgety and I can never sleep. Fair play to you for the 30+ hour flight journey x

    Beauty with charm

    1. Thanks Alina.. Glad you enjoyed the post :) xxx

  3. This is so handy for me seeing as I'm going on a long haul flight in 3 weeks. I never take my make up bag I only ever take some powder too, easier to take a little with all the liquid rules. I never thought about taking a lip balm though so thanks for the tip x

    tmzn loves / beauty blog

    1. Glad you found the post useful Tamzin. Good luck on your long haul flight, I hope it isn't too stressful for you! xxx

  4. What amazing tips! I also always start with "good hair intentions" but end up with the classic bun :)

    X Emma |

    1. Thanks lovely... Good hair intentions are never seen through to the end of the flight for me... At least we try! xxx


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