There’s nothing more exciting than exploring the big wide world but one of the downsides of gallivanting outside of your home country is that it takes so bloody long to get anywhere else and that means sitting on a cramped, smelly, plane for 8+ hours, which quite frankly sends shivers down my spine just thinking about it.
If you’d told me two years ago that I was going to jet off to sunny Australia – endure an eight-hour flight, a two-hour lay-over and then followed by a further 14 hours on a plane – I would have told you to eff off, literally. But these are the sacrifices we make to check out other, gorgeous, parts of our world.
However, there are some ways to make the excruciating long haul flight (I’m not lying, it’s not fun!) just that little bit more bearable. I flew economy class – also known as cattle class – which meant I was evidently sitting behind a girl with a sickness bug, beside a guy with a cold, and in front of a screaming baby, of course.
As nasty as that all sounds, it is do-able but you just need a few tips and tricks to follow to help you get through it.
Select your seat
So, you’ve booked your flight – well done, you’re one step closer to the dream holiday you’ve had to work your butt off all year for just to gather the funds.
Most airlines let you choose your own seat, so you need to do that as soon as possible because it’ll probably get booked up pretty quickly.
If you can sleep through the flight, choose a window seat as that allows you to snooze through the majority of the journey without being woken by annoying passengers who want to go to the toilet every five minutes.
If you prefer a little more freedom, choose an aisle seat as that allows you to get up when it suits you without disturbing anyone else.
If you’re with your partner, choose the two outer seats as it is highly unlikely that anyone else will want the middle seats, unless it’s a full flight, which will mean you’ll get the whole row to yourselves. However, if someone does sit in between you, just ask politely if they’ll kindly swap with you.
If you have children, choose the seats behind the toilets as they have the most leg room and have enough space for a baby cot to be set up.
Request a special meal
If you have an allergy or any special dietary requests let the airline know as soon as possible as they should be able to accommodate your needs. Plus, if you ask for a special meal- you’ll get your food before everyone else!
Prepare your hand luggage
You don’t want to clog your feet with a huge bag, but you want to make sure you have enough entertainment, medication, beauty products, and food to keep you going for the duration of your journey. Pack all your documents/passport into one compartment (I use a plastic folder) so you don’t have to rummage around in your bag for ages when you’re queuing to board the plane. Put your electronics together so you just need to lift them out when you get to security and make sure your liquids are all under 100ml otherwise they’ll take them off you!
These are a must! You’ll need a good set of headphones to block out the baby screams and annoying snoring. They’ll also need to be super comfortable because they’ll be in/on your ears for hours on end. I used my Beats by Dr Dre.
Neck pillow/eye mask
Most airlines provide you with a neck pillow but I prefer to bring my own made with memory foam and use the airline’s as a back rest. I don’t tend to sleep much on a plane but the neck rest comes in handy when you’re watching movies on the screens in front of you as it provides support to your neck/ upper back. It can also be used as a head rest for when you want to doze off for a few minutes/hours.
The airline will also provide you with an eye mask but I personally find them really rough and uncomfortable. Your best bet is to get one made from silk as they are more soothing to the eyes and rest better on the nose. If you can, try and get one with lavender extracts as this will help you to sleep better and will relax you.
I know you want to look good at the airport but make sure you bring a change of clothes for the 23-hour flight you’re about to endure. Loose clothes – leggings, tracksuit bottoms etc – a t-shirt and a hoodie will be your best bet. Also bring a change of underwear for after the flight!
Compression socks are vital as they prevent you from getting deep vein thrombosis, which can be deadly, and also prevent your feet from swelling up to the size of golf balls.
Make sure you bring paracetamol with you on the plane as nobody wants to suffer with a headache while sitting in a metal can for hours on end. It’s also a good idea to take it 2 hours before you take-off/land for those of you that get ear ache as a result of the cabin pressure.
Hand sanitiser – DO NOT FORGET THIS! You’d be surprised by how many people use the toilet on the plane and don’t wash their hands! I like to wipe down my seat, food tray and screen before I use it. I’ll also use my sanitiser after touching the toilet door and then spontaneously throughout the flight.
Make sure you take off your make-up before you fly. The recycled air really dries your skin out, so you’ll want to bring some moisturiser for your face and body. A lip balm is also great to prevent them from becoming chapped.
Bring a handy pack of wipes, some tissues and tooth brush/toothpaste – pretty self-explanatory.
I don’t know about you but I find plane food absolutely disgusting. I mean, I can nibble on a few bits and pieces but it’s so bland and microwaved – quite frankly – so make sure you pack a selection of treats to keep you going. I prefer to stay away from bread as this can make you super bloated, so I bring along some rice cakes, dried fruit, biscuits and cereal bars. However, check with the country you’re flying into as some places don’t allow food through customs and you’ll probably end up throwing a lot of it away.
Last but not least, make sure you drink plenty of water on the plane. Try and stay away from the free alcohol they have on board – although I know some of you will use it to help you sleep – as it dehydrates you!
I hope these little tips and tricks will help you get through your upcoming flight. If there are any other things you do to help make a long journey bearable, do let me know in the comments below!