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Long-haul flights are brutal, especially if you’re travelling in coach (aka economy class). The cramped space, stuffy recycled air and bad food can really take a toll, and even if you miraculously manage to get a good amount of sleep (probably because you had an empty row to yourself) you will still get off the other end absolutely exhausted.
Luckily, there are precautions you can take that will make the experience a little easier to contend with.
Follow these steps and your flight won’t be so painful.
Pack your bag ahead of time
Whether you’re going away on business for a few days; going backpacking for a year; or just going on a long holiday, you should pack before you travel – both check-in luggage and carry-on luggage. This will ensure you don’t forget anything and that everything is ready before your departure date.
Your carry-on luggage should include:
- Passport and any booking/visa documentation
- Electric possessions: mobile phone, laptop, tablet, headphones, etc.
- Change of clothes (including underwear) – preferably comfy and loose and plenty of layers
- Toiletries (being sure to check the airline’s guidelines on liquid allowance)
- Blanket/scarf/neck rest/sleep mask/ear plugs
- Extras – books, magazines
For carry-on luggage on a long-fault flight, it’s advisable to take a large hold-all. Whether you’re checking in a suitcase or large backpack is dependent on your trip purposes. Check comparison sites if you’re interested in reviewing the best luggage brands.
When it comes to toiletries, you should carry travel size bottles in your carry-on. An essential is a toothbrush and toothpaste. Depending on your flight, the airline may gift you with a toothbrush set, but it’s a good idea to bring your own as well. Whenever you’re feeling rough on your flight, brush your teeth in the airplane toilet (or in the airport during any stopovers you may have) and you’ll instantly feel fresher.
Other toiletries that will provide more comfort when you’re flying include deodorant, lip balm, eye drops (especially if you’re a contact lens wearer) and hand sanitizer.
Also, sitting on a plane for a long period of time wreaks havoc on your skin; the airplane air and pressure can seriously dry out your skin and cause you to break out. So, be prepared and bring the right products that will help keep your skin hydrated: thick moisturizer/face mask/face spray.
The key to a comfortable long-haul flight is comfortable clothes. If you know you’ll be travelling 10 hours or more, abandon any pride and dress head to toe in soft, breathable fabrics.
Also, you should pack flight socks to keep your toes warm in the air conditioner, and it’s not a bad idea to travel in slip-on shoes as your feet will swell due to the pressure.
It can also get cold on planes, so pack layers and blankets to cuddle up in while you sleep. A thin scarf is a great thing to bring because you can even put it over your face while you sleep to block out the light.
Eating and drinking
Airplane food is, for the most part, pretty bad. It’s not entirely inedible (generally), but the problem is that it’s mostly processed and lacking in nutrients. This can have a negative effect on your comfort on the plane, as it can lead to bloating and sluggishness.
The key is to drink a lot of water and take your own snacks on board. The best foods to bring with you include: nuts, fruits, wholegrain salads and dark chocolate to satisfy your sugar cravings. Also, if you don’t want to become enemy number one with your co-passengers, avoid bringing anything smelly onto the flight.
There’s no such thing as a ‘relaxing and comfortable’ flight (unless you travel first class or maybe on your own private jet), but with these tips your experience will be as pleasant as possible. Good luck!