At 14, when I took my first long international flight from Brisbane, Australia to Paris, France, I remember thinking about 4 hours in to the 30 hour journey, “yep, I got this”. About 20 minutes later, I’d already exhausted all my entertainment options, I was squirming uncomfortably in my seat, I was counting down the minutes until the next snack/meal and I’d become obsessed with watching that little plane on that little world map. With just under 26 hours to go, I realised “I don’t got this”.
Luckily, over the next decade, I got much better at surviving those long haul flights. While I’ll never love them, they are always part of the parcel of travelling pretty much anywhere from Australia. And so I have found myself a great little routine that helps to ensure that those hours pass, in as painless way as possible, and prevent me from staring at the little plane and map screen 20 minutes in.
Given that Ty and I set off for Japan in less than 2 weeks (I know!!), I thought I’d share my tips for surviving long haul flights here. They are pretty simple, but when you are trapped on a plane hour after hour after hour (and then for a few more hours), anything helps!
How To Survive Long Haul Flights
1// Set a little routine for yourself
My routine looks like this: adjust time on watch to match destination time zone asap, read in-flight magazine, watch a TV episode, have a snack/meal, watch a movie, walk around the cabin, wash face and remove makeup, apply moisturisers, try and sleep, listen to music, have a snack/meal, watch more TV shows, peak at the on-screen map only once, and so on. As a traveller who can’t rely on sleep to help pass the time (I always stare incredulously at those people who are asleep before the plane is off the ground – HOW DO YOU DO IT?! – while I struggle to get more than a couple of hours), setting myself a little routine really helps me to compartmentalise flight time into more manageable blocks.
2// Wear comfortable clothing
While airplane seats are anything but comfortable, wearing comfortable, non-restrictive clothing goes a long way in making me feel more comfortable during those long flights. You can read about my go-to travel outfit here.
3// Keep hydrated
After suffering for too many hours on too many flights without enough water, and the flight attendants bringing me a miniature cup that always only manages to be half full every time I asked for water, I have learnt my lesson. I always bring an empty bottle (the biggest that I can find) that I fill up after going through security and sip away all flight long. Staying hydrated goes a long way in helping me avoid feeling less than average and also helps to avoid jet lag!
4// Pack your toiletries
In my hand luggage, I always pack the bare necessities so I can feel as fresh and comfortable as possible. I pack skin cleansing wipes, eye cream, face moisturiser, lubricating eye drops, deodorant, a hair brush and a small amount of makeup that I can apply about 1.5 hours before we are due to land. This not only gives me something to do, but covering up those dark circles also makes me feel better after having had no sleep.
5// Wear an eye mask and ear plugs
My eye mask and ear plugs are absolute essentials for me to even attempt to try and get some sleep. Ever since I started flying with them. I would never fly without them now! Honestly, I think if I got on a plane and realised I had forgotten either, I’d have a mini meltdown.
I find it kind of awkward wandering up and down the aisles of the cabin, but I do it anyway. It’s a great way to pass a little extra time and stretch out your cramped up body, plus it’s important to keep the blood moving on these long haul flights!
And that’s the simple steps I take to ensure “I got this” and that I survive those long haul flights! I’d love to know what your advice is?
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