Plans for a holiday overseas tend to get us excited and impatient, but there’s no doubt that the thought of a long flight often brings out the opposite. This is particularly true if you’re travelling from Australia, where the Eiffel Tower isn’t exactly next door.
Moreover, with the world’s longest non-stop service recently reaching a new record of 19 hours, it’s expected we will see more and more airlines offering ‘ultra long-haul’ flights. With the bonus of flying direct, the key question is how can you best prepare yourself for the journey?
Read on for our recommended plane essentials when it comes to smooth and enjoyable long-haul flying.
A large empty water bottle
Being stuck in an airtight cabin can sap your body of up to 1.5 litres every 3 hours. Dehydration can lead to symptoms like a headache, dizziness and irritability - making your journey rather unpleasant.
To help you stay hydrated, bring your own large empty water bottle and ask a cabin crew member to fill this up for you at the beginning of the flight. This will allow you to take regular sips throughout, without depending on meal times for small amounts of water. Make sure to keep this bottle in the seat basket so it’s a visual reminder for you to drink, as well as being in arm’s reach.
A neck pillow, eye mask and ear plugs
When it comes time to sleep, there are three things you can pack that will make zoning off that much easier.
First, bring a pair of earplugs to help block out surrounding noise. It’s worth trying out a few different kinds beforehand to see whether you prefer silicone or foam.
Secondly, wear an eye mask. This will block out light emitted from screens around you, combined with the cabin exit signs, allowing you to better relax and drift off.
Finally, even if you have the traveller’s misfortune of the middle seat (_someone _has to have it), try sleeping with a neck cushion. This will help in avoiding neck strain by providing your head some cushioned support. A little tip: buy yourself a carabiner to attach the neck cushion to the outside of your carry-on rather than packing it.
Non-caffeinated tea bags
If you’re one of those people who like to settle in with a nice hot drink, it’s best to come prepared for your longhaul journey. Caffeinated drinks like coffee and black tea can further dehydrate your body, as well as increase your energy levels instead of helping you relax and get some sleep.
The solution? Bring a few of your own herbal tea bags in a travel mug, such as chamomile and peppermint, and ask the cabin crew to provide you with hot water.
A comfy hoodie
Ever had the bad experience of getting cold on a plane and not having the option to reach for a warm layer? Avoid this and make sure to pack a comfortable hoodie that you can zip up and pull over your head. This will indicate to others when your trying to get some shut-eye and don’t want to be disturbed (even when the food trolley is passing by).
Even if you’re travelling to a hot climate, it’s a good idea to have an extra layer on hand for the flight. Look for a hoodie that you can easily fold and throw into your carry-on when you disembark and walk out of the airport.
A pair of compression socks
Compression socks help to promote circulation, which is impaired during long-haul flights due to a long period of inactivity and sitting. Side effects of poor circulation may include swelling of your legs and feet, to high risk side effects such as developing blood clots -- which can be life-threatening.
Stick to the essentials: a toothbrush, toothpaste, moisturiser and roll-on deodorant. This will allow you to freshen up mid flight and when you land. These will also come in handy in case your checked baggage gets delayed in transit.
Remember that any toiletry liquids or gels must be in containers of 100 millimetres or less and carried in a transparent, resealable bag.
Other travel essentials?
Make sure you don’t forget your must-haves -- your phone charger, an adaptor, your passport and a good read. Ensure that these can be easily accessed in your bag.
Remember that it can be hard to find Australian adaptors outside of the country, so be sure to pack one adapter and consider also packing a power board so you can run multiple appliances from the one connection.
And you’re ready for take-off!
With these plane essentials, you’re all set to emerge from your long-haul flight feeling relaxed, refreshed and ready to hit the ground running.
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