10 Long Haul Flight Essentials & My Anxiety Story
My first long haul flight is up there with some of the most uncomfortable experiences of my life, I will never forget the flight attendant looking down at me as I cowered in the corner of the lavatory, begging her to let me stay there as we prepared for landing. It was 26 hours of sheer hell followed by the most wonderful European holiday of my life. I suspect that travelling long haul is a bit like child birth in that after its over you quickly forget about the sheer pain, exhaustion and embarrassment of shitting your pants and just continue on living. While some people absolutely love flying for an entire day and night, unfortunately for many of us the long haul isn’t exciting, it’s all about surviving and turning to complimentary cheese and biscuits at the darkest hour. However! Ten years and a dozen long haul flights later I’ve discovered a smarter way to travel that will leave you feeling 100% better when you finally reach your final destination. The secret is preparation and what you take in your carry on luggage.
10 Long Haul Flight Essentials
- A main cabin bag with a zip: While most airlines allow one big carry on bag and one very small handbag the trick is to only take what you can comfortably carry! The worst thing you can do at an international airport is misplace something. It is essential that your main bag has a zip or someway of securing your items as it likely to move around during the flight. This is the Eddie tote bag from Seed Heritage $99.95.
- A travel wallet: is a necessary item for anyone travelling long haul. My travel wallet holds my passport, ticket, car transfer details, itinerary and any random currency I have collected from around the world (I even have enough money for a croissant at Dubai airport). This textured leather travel wallet is from Kikki- K $69.95.
- A mini toilet bag: There’s nothing worse than having to sift through your bag in a tiny lavatory and having all of your belongings fall out onto the filthy floor. It is no secret that the bathrooms in economy during a 14 hour flight can be worse than a nightclub toilet at four in the morning. Make everything you need to freshen up during your flight easily accessible by putting it in one little bag. Keeping everything together will also minimise your trips to the bathroom. In my toilet bag I have a tooth brush kit, mouthwash, moisturiser, hand sanitiser, lip balm, and deodorant, all items are under 100ml and are first sealed in a clear plastic bag for easy clearance through airport security. This Boe bag is from Big W $12.00.
- Neck pillow & eye mask: The aim of the game during a long haul flight is to try and get as much sleep as possible. A neck pillow and eye mask will provide you with some added comfort during your flight. Save your pretty pennies by purchasing these items before your departure date as all travel related goods are generally twice as expensive at the airport.
- Laptop & chargers: In the horrific event that your screen doesn’t work (touch wood) or you don’t like the entertainment selection (there are only so many times that you can watch Free Willy) then it is a good idea to take your own laptop fully stocked with your favourite shows. Don’t forget your chargers and an adaptor that is compatible with the country you’re travelling to. My marble laptop cover is from Showpo!
- A comfortable outfit: I can’t help but smirk every time I see a super fashionable girl beeping her way through security. In many countries they ask you to take your shoes off, so those strappy stilettos mean you’re going bare foot. Layering is important, not only will it help you to lighten your checked baggage but it will keep you at a comfortable temperature at all periods of the flight. I just purchased a basic long sleeves top from Cotton On Body for under $20.00 and plan to wear it with Nike tights and sneakers and a Zara scarf. Don’t forget a pair of socks to keep your feet toasty! Side note: It is better if you can wear shoes that slip on and off for when you need to go to the toilet.
- MASSIVE bottle of water: Not feeling too crash hot mid flight? Chances are you’re dehydrated. Drink water like your life depends on it when flying long haul and your skin will thank you for it later! Alcohol can also add to the dehydration so try and stay away from the drinks cart, you’ll understand why if you’ve ever experienced a plane hangover (hint: it’s 100 times worse than any college hangover you’ve ever experienced).
- A zen bag: This is my little bag of tricks when it comes to remaining calm and comfortable throughout my flights. I have natural relaxing aids such as Rescue Remedy and sleeping spray, Nurofen for minor aches, a soothing eye mask and a refreshing face mist to sprits myself with when I’m feeling anxious. If you find yourself feeling stressed or nervous plug in your ear phones and try some controlled breathing to some relaxing music, go for a walk around the aircraft or try visualising your final destination.
- A notebook and pen – This is the beginning of your journey and you never know when inspiration is going to strike. You’ll also need a pen to fill out the outgoing passenger card and it always helps to be prepared when a cute person asks for your number! This is the Little Black Book Notebook from Blacklist $24.95.
- A positive mindset – If you are an anxious flyer it always helps to remember that plenty of other people are feeling the same way you are and that you are never alone even though sometimes your mind can trick you into thinking you’re the only one with a problem! Cherish the time that you’ll have offline, away from the stream of messages, emails and endless social media notifications. A long haul flight is one of the rare occasions where you can watch hours and hours of movies uninterrupted and not feel the least bit guilty about it.
Other tips & tricks:
- Eat light 24 hour prior to departure to eliminate any feeling of discomfort.
- Pick the perfect seat using SeatGuru.com
- The flight attendants are there to help you, if you feel hungry, thirsty or cold let them know and they will do their best to cater to your needs and don’t forget to thank them!
- Don’t over think about the logistics of your layover. All international airports are designed to make the transition process from one plane to another as easy as possible. If you’re uncertain of where to go ask someone!
- Enjoy the ride!
There are merely hours left until I jet off to London so you can follow my long haul flight journey now on Snapchat @heavenonbourke