As a frequent flyer I thought I would share my tips on how I survive the longer flights!
There is a reason flight attendants come around offering more water then you can drink! With rising altitude levels during your flight it’s never been a better time to rehydrate your body. I suggest passing on the sugar filled drinks and sticking to good old H2O to keep you hydrated.
Girls this one is for you! There is nothing that dries out your skin worse then flying. You can never go wrong with a moisturising face mask 2-3 days before your flight. Onboard I prefer to fly makeup free with lots of moisturiser on hand. Don’t forget to make sure it is under the 100ml carry on restriction though!
KNOW YOUR LAYOVER AIRPORT
When I headed over to London from Australia I had the inevitable layover. Lucky for me it was in Singapore! Before arriving I was dreading sitting around in an airport for 8 hours. However upon my arrival in Singapore I was pleasantly surprised at the facilities available. An abundance of shops, shower facilities, sleeping areas and even a butterfly garden. A quick online search will show you what your layover airport has to over. Why not use your time exploring?
A neck pillow has to be my favourite investment for flying! Sure you are generally provided a pillow onboard but for better support you can never go wrong with your own. Ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones are a great idea if you're keen to spend your flight sleeping. If you have trouble sleeping with lights don’t forget your eye mask! If you’re like me and can’t handle the cool temperatures onboard you can’t go wrong with a scarf. It can double as a blanket, fashion statement or an extra layer of warmth. Lastly, less it more! There is nothing worse then having to lug too many things onboard. Overhead locker space is limited and I for one like to enjoy as much of my limited leg room as possible. So to save yourself the hassle and inconvenience I suggest only taking onboard the essentials and packing the rest with your checked in baggage.
PASS ON THE FREE BOOZE
It is tempting I know! I am not a huge fan on sleeping pills as I like to arrive in my destination feeling refreshed as opposed to groggy. Sure a vodka on the rocks would put me to sleep nicely but there is nothing worse then waking up hungover on a flight. Due to the altitude levels you are already dehydrated enough so any alcohol you consume affects you more.
CHOOSE YOUR SEAT WISELY
As a frequent flyer seat allocation is on the top of my priorities list. I personally like to be located in the back of the plane and always in a window seat. Sure it will take me longer to depart, get food served and sometimes take longer to board but it is my personal preference. As for my window seat theory there is nothing more annoying then the traveller who needs to use the bathroom 100 times during the flight or always just needs to ‘quickly’ grab something from the overhead locker. Secure yourself a window seat and chances are you will sleep undisturbed. If you are tall consider splurging on an emergency exit seat for the extra leg room. If you have children consider selecting a seat in the first row for the extra room and closely located amenities. The small things in life make all the difference!
My parents always warned me about the dangers of swelling on flights. Unfortunately for me I am prone to exiting a long haul flight with ankles the size of balloons. To prevent this I suggest stretching in your seat, elevating your legs where possible and exploring the plane regularly. If that isn’t enough an aspirin is great for blood circulation and compression socks can do you the world of good!
As a backpacker on a tight budget my mentality towards long haul flights has changed drastically. I used to dread them more then anything. Now? I embrace them! Onboard my Emirates flight from London to Johannesburg, curled up in my Emirates provided blanket, I marvelled in wonder at all the movie options available during my flight. If that wasn’t enough to lift my spirits the impressive menu and magazines available in my seat pocket were the icing on the cake. I don’t remember the last time I splurged on a movie ticket or could afford an entree, main and dessert all in one sitting! Generally you have 15 - 30 hours of time to kill. Read that book you’ve never got around to reading because life gets in the way. Embrace no phone reception and catch up on some work or enjoy the silence. Spend some time pouring over your lonely planet guide books. What ever you choose to do flights are what you make of them!
If you have any other tips to surviving long haul flights i'd love to hear from you!